As with every hair issue, understanding the 'why' is so important to find a solution. Let's get into why your edges may be thinning:
1. Genetics: The first thing to always consider is genetics. Have you always had thin edges for as long as you can remember? Have you found that most people in your family have thin edges/hair? If so, your thin edges may just be down to genetics.
2. Health issues: Issues like Hypothyroidism or treatments like chemotherapy can impact the thinning of your hair generally and your edges.
3. Hormonal changes: Changes due to pregnancy or hormonal drugs like birth control pills can also impact the thinning of your hair and edges.
4. Poor diet: One overlooked thing is the impact of a poor diet on your hair. A lack of iron, vitamins- A, B & C can lead to thin hair generally and hair loss.
5. Damaging hair styles: These would be hair styles which are tights around the edges and put a lot of pressure on your edges. Some common examples are ponytails (especially when you do them often), tight braids and glued down wigs. These kind of hair styles can actually lead to Traction Alopecia. Even things like head bands and hats can rub against your edges and cause damage.
6. Heat: Drop that straightener sis! You don't have to straighten your edges everytime you want to lay them down. You need to understand that your edges are a lot finer and more delicate than the rest of your hair so constant use of heat on the edges can lead to thinning.
7. Chemical processing: Over processing your hair i.e. overlapping relaxers, leaving relaxers longer than needed, double processing- dyeing/bleaching and relaxing can all lead to thinning edges. Also, I have seen some people who only relax their edges so they can 'lay' them- please don't do this! You are literarily begging your edges to fall off at this point!
8. Harsh facial cleansers and products: This might be one you don't realise but using harsh facial cleansers and getting them into your hairline can actually lead to the drying and damaging of your hairline.
If your thinning edges are due to genetics, it doesn't mean that you should neglect your hair, you will have to just do the best you can to maintain your edges and not do anything that would cause it to thin more. You can follow the tips below to help. This also applies to where your edges have just started thinning due to any of the reasons above:
1. Keep your diet balanced. Eat foods rich in protein, vitamins (A, B & C) and minerals like Iron. As i have mentioned previously, products alone aren't the answer, you also need to take care of yourself internally.
2. When you are getting braids, always make sure your edges are not being picked. Leave as much of your edges out that you can. If your hair stylist doesn't listen or makes a fuss, please change stylists. You should be getting your hair done with someone who cares about the health of your hair. Make sure you keep moisturising your edges and taking care of your hair generally while in braids. Don't leave your braids in too long- not longer than 6-8 weeks.
3. Your ponytail should not be so tight that there is pressure on your crown area. Always make sure you can easily move your head around without feeling tension. Let us be released from the shackles of sleek looks that come for our edges and crown area generally!
4. Go for glue-less wigs and make sure you give your hair a break in between wearing wigs. Prolonged wearing of wigs can also affect your edges especially where the wigs aren't lined properly. Everything in moderation!
5. Go for satin lined bands and hats where possible to prevent damage to your hair line.
6. Keep the heat and chemical processing to a minimum. Always make sure you use heat protectors when you use heat and space out your chemical treatments. Preferably choose one chemical treatment!
7. Avoid using harsh cleansers on your face and if you really have to, avoid pulling these products into your hairline.
8. Scalp massages when done gently with essential oils can also be great to help with blood circulation to the scalp and help promote healthy hair growth. When using essential oils- never use them alone directly on your scalp, ensure you mix it with a carrier oil like almond oil or buy a product containing essential oils.
Mielle Mint Almond Oil
This almond oil is enriched with peppermint essential oil to help with blood circulation and therefore healthy hair growth
T444Z Hair Food
This hair food is infused with rosemary and peppermint essential oils which help with blood circulation and therefore hair growth!
9. Avoid regular use of edge controls on your edges. These can be a bit drying and can lead to thin edges. Where you use them occasionally, make sure to put some water on your edges to take it off at the end of the day.
10. Visit your doctor for health related issues.
11. If you have a very extreme case of thin edges, please visit a trichologist.