I get a lot of emails about determining if your hair is miniaturized or not. People think that this determination is very important because hair that is coming in finer or thinner is typically indicative of androgen driven hair loss (AGA) or chronic shedding that has affected the follicle’s ability to reproduce a healthy hair with normal thickness. Either way, the miniaturization will need to be quickly addressed because if it isn’t, volume and coverage are going to be negatively affected pretty quickly. But, how hard is it to spot miniaturized hair? Not very if you know what you are doing. I’ll go over this more in the following article.
The Inadequate Coverage (Scalp Showing Through) And / Or Shiny Scalp Test: Often, the first signs of miniaturization is white scalp (or red or pink if you have inflammation) showing through your hair. Thinner or finer hair has provided less coverage so you are seeing more scalp. Often, you will see a noticeable lack of volume or fullness before you actually start to see your scalp showing through. Also, many times you will notice a sheen or a shininess to your scalp that wasn’t there before (this isn’t always true, especially for women, but this can be indicative or androgen driven loss or DHT when it is present.)
Actually Examining The Hair That You Think May Be Miniaturized: Another way to tell what is really going on is to physically examine your actual strands of hair. First, you’ll need a regular, course and thick strand of hair for comparison purposes. You’ll often find this in the back bottom of your head. You can either pluck one of these out or check your brush or comb for one. These hairs should be long with a tapered end. (The tapered end means that the hair wasn’t recently cut. If it was cut, it would have a blunt end.)
Next, you’ll need to get a strand that you think may be miniaturized or growing in too fine. Typically, you will find these hairs at the top of your head near your part line, at the temples, or on the sides (mostly for women.) Although most healthy hair will come in normally even when it is pretty short, just to be safe, you want to make sure that this strand is long enough that you can easily grab it.
Look at the two strands of hair side by side. (The easiest way to do this is to find a light colored surface like a kitchen or bathroom counter and lay the two strands side by side so that they can be easily seen.) Are there any noticeable differences in diameter or color? Often, thinner hair will be slightly lighter in color. Next, hold the hair that you suspect may be thinner between your fingers. Move your hand quickly up toward you so that the strand is forced upward. Notice how the strand comes down. Does it come down quickly or does it linger in the air like a feather because it doesn’t have enough weight to it? Then, repeat the process with the normal or thicker hair and note the differences in how long it takes each to come back down, if there are any.
Often, this process will make the differences very obvious. A miniaturized hair will look and behave differently than the normal hair. So to answer the question as to whether it’s hard or difficult to spot miniaturized hairs, the truth is, it’s not all that difficult. You will typically have your doubts just by taking a long range look, but you can often confirm this pretty easily upon closer inspection.