It may be a little distressing to notice, possibly for the first time, that you have thinning hair. For many of us, it’s a natural part of aging that doesn’t necessarily need to be treated.

But aging is only one of many factors that can cause or exacerbate thinning hair—and some of these causes should be addressed.

Once you know what’s causing the issue, it becomes a lot easier to figure out how to manage it.

Below, SELF talked to several experts about ways to make your hair feel thicker and look shinier, as well as ways to prevent more hair thinning.

What’s actually causing your thinning hair?

The first thing to know about hair loss is that it’s actually a bit complex. Your hair grows in three stages, SELF-explained previously.

These include a growth phase from a root in the hair follicle, a transitional phase when the growth stops, and a resting phase, after which the hair falls out and the follicle takes a break before growing another hair.

It’s totally normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), which you might notice on your pillow in the morning, on your hairbrush, or in the shower.

If you go a few days without showering, you might notice more than a single day’s worth of hair in the shower, which may be a little disconcerting, but is still totally normal.

You’re born with about 100,000 follicles on your scalp, and you’ll never gain or lose any, the AAD says.

However, as you age, some follicles may stop growing hair and you may experience hair loss (also called anagen effluvium).

When and how this happens is influenced by a bunch of factors, including our genetics and the natural hormonal changes we experience as we age, Shilpi Khetarpal, M.D., dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF.

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