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Hair Looks Thin Under Light - Why? Is It Normal?

If your hair looks thin under light and you want to know why, NHP has your answer here. If you’re worried that it’s not normal to see your scalp or see thinner hair than usual, stop worrying.

The issue is more likely the common effects of light than hair loss or thinning.

If you were truly going bald or shedding, that’s something that would likely be noticed before you got scared at what you saw when your hair and scalp got under the bright lights.

woman frustrated because Hair Looks Thin Under LightYou frustrated because your hair looks thin under light? GET ANSWERS!

Hair Looks Thin Under Light From Bright Fluorescents - Why?

Hair may appear thinner under bright lighting, especially when light is shining down (fluorescent light is particularly bad for making your hair look thin, even when your hair thickness is perfectly normal).

The result of being under such penetratingly bright lights is that your scalp looks like it has less hair than you did before. It’s a visual illusion caused by the light and not by any hair problems.

Hair Looks Thinner Under Bright Lights From Flash Photography. Does This Mean Hair Is Thinning Or Not?

Why does your hair look thin under lights from camera flashes? Answer is, all hair looks thinner under bright flash lighting. Although it’s true that men and women often become aware of hair thinning when they see themselves in different lighting conditions, it doesn't necessarily mean hair loss.

Any good photographer can explain how bright light (such as a bulb flash) can show detail or hide it on the photo subject. Bright direct light from a flash bulb can even mask cellulite, facial folds and wrinkles while removing the shadows that hide the scalp under hair.

All-in-all, if a man or woman’s hair looks thin under light it’s likely not a problem unless you are also noticing thinning in normal lighting conditions and when hair isn’t wet.

If you truly think you are losing your hair, take a photo and then see a hair specialist (in that order). Your photos will be a helpful guide over time as to what might be happening to your hair - if in fact there is anything.

[RELATED: Why is my hair not growing?]

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Why Does Hair Look Thinner In Bright Light & When Wet, Yet, Full & Thick Under Normal Conditions?

Here is an unusual thing to learn about the supposed appearance of thin hair when wet.

The more water hair has in it the flatter and thinner it looks. Combine that with bright fluorescent or flash bulb lights and it’s easy likely that your hair looks thin under light while wet. To solve the problem just remove the liquids or moisture and your hair becomes fuller and thicker looking, almost automatically.


Think of a fine hair coming up out of your scalp, it weighs more than thicker hair believe it or not. So, it comes up a little and falls down because of the weight.

REMOVE the moisture and it will come up farther out of the scalp before it falls back down and give you more lift from the scalp which in turn will make it look fuller and thicker.

We wrote a whole article about why hair looks thin when wet, check it out because there can be various reasons that we don’t go into detail about here.

Why Can I See My Scalp Under Light?

Is it normal to see your scalp under lights? The answer is, yes, it is normal to see some parts of the scalp when your hair is short and/or lights are very bright. The reason being is that the shorter the hair the more it tends to stand and not bend, allowing light to illuminate the scalp and draw your eyes to it.

With longer hair, the thickness and bend of the hair tend to shield the scalp from light and visibility far better. Yet, even with longer hair your scalp may still be seen because hair looks thinner under light.

[RELATED: How to make hair grow faster? Learn now...]

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Hey, and if you liked this "hair looks thin under light" tutorial, take a look at our NHP hair growth articles about how to get increased natural hair growth. and learn if hair loss due to hormonal imbalance can be reversed.

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Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.

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