What's the Difference Between Fine Hair and Thinning Hair?

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Question: What's the difference between fine hair and thinning hair?

Diagram Showing Hair Fibre Characteristics by Race Diagram Showing Hair Fibre Characteristics by Race


Hi, Ivy. Put simply, fine hair is a hair type whereas thinning is a symptom of a hair loss condition which can affect any hair type.

Our hair is a reflection of our race and heritage; as a result, this quite literally shapes our follicles and the hair that they produce, from thickness to texture.

Caucasian - also known as 'European' - hair is 'finer' as the individual hairs are thinner in diameter compared to Asian hair, for instance. This does not mean that people with this hair type necessarily have 'thin' hair though. They will often have more hairs in total than those who have thicker hair types so that, appearance-wise, the overall volume is similar, person to person.

People with afro hair, particularly if it is longer and worn naturally, may look as if they have a lot more hair than their Asian and Caucasian counterparts but this is mostly an illusion created by the hair's texture and the diameter of each strand, though there are some subtle variations in quantity between races.

Caucasian hair, despite being the finest, actually has the greatest density of all three hair types. Depending on the hair's natural colour, someone with Caucasian hair will have an average of 86,000 to 146,000 scalp hairs. Afro hair grows the slowest and clocks up an average of 50,000 to 100,000 hairs per individual. Asian hair grows the fastest and those with this hair type have between 80,000 and 140,000 scalp hairs.

Thinning hair can be caused by a number of different conditions and is most prevalent in women as hormonal changes can bring on a number of these. The disadvantage of having a finer hair type should hair loss occur, is that the scalp tends to show much more quickly compared to a person with coarser hair.

The most common cause of shedding is Female Pattern Hair Loss, the women's equivalent of male pattern baldness which, instead of displaying in clearly defined areas as it does in men, tends to present as a general thinning across the top of the head. Telogen Effluvium and its more persistent longer-term form, Chronic Telogen Effluvium both cause diffuse thinning across the whole scalp, but - unlike female hair loss - these conditions are temporary.

Bespoke hair loss treatment courses featuring clinically-proven components such as minoxidil are available to help stabilise shedding and promote regrowth in each of these cases.

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