As They Age Women Lose Their Hair Too Which Treatments Really Work
There are treatments that can slow the hair loss down, but they won’t bring back what you’ve lost. Women of African descent have extra problems, but treatment works if done quickly.
Women expect their hair to turn gray as they age, but they may be far less prepared for another ego-challenging aspect of aging: Their hair falls out.
You can cover gray with dye, but it’s harder to disguise the sparsely covered scalps that millions of women start to notice in their 50s and 60s. Some unlucky ones have thinning hair long before that. This kind of hair loss is unrelated to cancer treatment or other serious health problems.
Of course, there are plenty of men who wish desperately to restore their youthful locks, and a few we can think of one powerful one who cling to elaborate comb-overs, but many balding men simply clip their hair short and go on with their lives. Dermatologists say hair loss is emotionally harder for women, who are often deeply embarrassed by thinning hair even though it’s quite common. By the time they reach 50, about 40 percent of women are experiencing what’s known as female-pattern hair loss, said Gopal Patel, a dermatologist with Aesthetic Dermatology Associates in Media. Women of African descent struggle with even more conditions that can damage hair follicles and cause bald spots.
Like other doctors, Cotsarelis decried the lack of funding for studying hair loss. Said Patel: “The biggest challenge we face is we don’t really have great data.”
Conventional Hair Treatments For Thinning Hair
Drugs for thin hair are available, but merely keeps symptoms at bay. If the drug isnt used every day for the rest of your life, hair will return to its thin self. Scientists report this drug seems to stimulate hair growth, but theyre not sure how it works.
According to the Mayo Clinic, drugs typically given for hair thinning can cause chest pain, rapid heart rate, itching, flaking, redness and scalp irritation, and lower sex drive. Not only does it help grow a full head of hair, but it could give you a mustache and facial hair too!
A 2014 article reported only 30% of people who try hair loss drugs keep taking them because the side effects are too severe. Of course, you should consult with your doctor and do your research to find out the best option for you.
Consider Using A Caffeinated Shampoo
If you dont already use a caffeinated shampoo, consider switching to one. Caffeine applied directly to the scalp has two beneficial effects. It relaxes smooth muscle fibres surrounding the hair to improve blood flow. More importantly, it also inhibits the enzyme, 5–reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone within scalp hair follicles and which is associated with male and female pattern hair loss.
A growing body of evidence supports the effects of caffeinated shampoos in stimulating hair follicles, and Ive certainly noticed a dramatic improvement in hair thickness since starting to use one. Just two minutes contact with the scalp during shampooing allows the caffeine to penetrate into hair follicles, where it remains for up to 48 hours after washing.
Leave-on caffeine solutions are also available and have been shown to increase the cross-sectional area of scalp hairs by 10%.
Drinking caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee does not have the same effect, as the caffeine must penetrate into the hair follicles itself to inhibit 5- -reductase.
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What Can I Do
- The appearance of menopausal hair loss can sometimes be improved by cosmetic practices, e.g. reducing the use of straighteners, hair dryers and other heat damaging tools. This along with the use of thickening shampoos and conditioners may improve hair appearance.
- A healthy, varied diet is a contributing factor to a healthy body, so a nutritional review may be helpful.
- Topical solutions to increase hair growth can be purchased. These take several months to take effect and must be used on an ongoing basis, or hair loss will return.
- Laser devices that emit low-energy laser light may stimulate hair growth to help fight thinning hair. Laser therapy is best carried out by a hairdresser or therapist with experience and training on these devices. The long-term safety and effectiveness are unknown.
- Some medications have side effects that could include hair loss. Make sure to talk to your doctor if youve noticed significant hair loss and you think that your medicine might be the cause.
- An important function of hair is to protect the scalp from sunlight it is therefore important to protect any bald areas of your scalp from the sun to prevent sunburn and to reduce the chances of developing long-term sun damage.
- Be reassured. Most menopause related hair loss does slow down with time.
Patterns Of Female Hair Loss
Clinicians use the Ludwig Classification to describe female pattern hair loss. Type I is minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hair styling techniques. Type II is characterized by decreased volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part. Type III describes diffuse thinning, with a see-through appearance on the top of the scalp.
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Can Hair Loss Be A Sign Of A More Serious Problem
Yes. Hyperandrogenism, a medical condition characterized by excessive production of male hormones called androgens, can cause hair loss in affected women. The most common cause of hyperandrogenism in women is functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome. In addition to hair loss, other signs include obesity, acne, and irregular menstruation, and it is one of the most common causes of infertility.
Many of these women have metabolic syndrome — a combination of five medical conditions including belly fat and high blood pressure that increase the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
Although hair loss stemming from hyperandrogenism can be treated with minoxidil, you need to seek care for the other conditions.
Medication For Hair Loss
Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a topical medication that is used to treat female pattern hair loss and male-pattern baldness. It was initially developed as a blood pressure medication and was used off-label to treat hair loss until it became FDA-approved for that purpose. Minoxidil can slow the progression of hair loss. Most women who use the medication experience regrowth of hair. The medication needs to be used continuously to maintain results. Other types of treatment work for different kinds of hair loss. Corticosteroids help suppress the immune response that damages hair follicles in people who have alopecia areata. Once the follicles recover, hair can grow back. If nutritional deficiencies underlie hair loss, eating a healthy diet with adequate and protein and nutrients can help you regrow hair. Certain medical problems may trigger hair loss. Adequately treating these conditions may help restore hair growth.
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Cancer Treatment Is A Trigger
Radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer are some of the common causes of hair loss in women. Both therapies harm hair follicles in addition to killing cancer cells. People undergoing cancer treatment often experience dramatic hair loss as a result of these therapies. They may wake up with clumps of hair on their pillow or they may lose large amounts of hair in the shower. Rapid hair loss in women often starts within 2 weeks of beginning treatment. It may be worst between 1 to 2 months into therapy. The scalp may be extra sensitive during this time. It may be irritating to wash, brush, and comb hair. The good news is that once cancer treatment is over, hair tends to grow back.
Managing Major Hair Loss
There are many things you can do to disguise sudden hair loss in women that is severe. You can use a hat, scarf, or bandana to cover your head. If you have bald areas, consider getting a weave or concealing the bald area with a hairpiece. Wigs can be very natural looking. They fit so well you can even wear them while you are working out at the gym or swimming. If hair loss causes severe distress and it is affecting your self-esteem or ability to carry out daily activities, seek the help of a therapist.
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Female Pattern Hair Loss
In women, hair slowly thins all over the scalp, but the hairline usually doesnt recede. Many women experience this type of hair loss as a natural part of aging, although hair loss may begin any time after puberty. Female pattern hair loss can cause hair to thin dramatically, but only rarely does it lead to baldness.
How To Stop Hair Breakage
Prone to breakage? Your scalp may be parched. Whether from the suns heat, chlorine, or hormone flux, a severe lack of moisture on the scalp can lead to weak locks that break easily.
There are so many uses for avocados in the kitchen, and as it turns out, they are Roberts-Coopers kitchen fix for an instantly hydrated scalp. The fruits omega-3 fatty acids penetrate the layers of scalp skin to replenish moisture, while its vitamin E helps repair the skins barrier to lock in that moisture. Bonus: Those same nutrients infuse locks with luster.
To make an avocado hair mask: Rub half a mashed avocado onto damp hair from the roots to ends, cover with a shower cap for 30 minutes, then rinse.
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What Types Of Health Conditions Can Lead To Hair Loss
Hair loss itself is sometimes treated as a diagnosis, but it is often asymptom of something bigger. “Hair loss can be a sign of an underlying health issue and act as an early warning system,” says Richard Firshein, an expert in integrative and precision-based medicine and founder of the Firshein Center. “The health of hair follicles is directly related to health and the functioning of our endocrine system.”
For conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome , which is often difficult to diagnose, hair thinning is often one of the first tell-tale signs along with acne and body hair caused by the increased levels of testosterone. “Patients with PCOS can have overall elevated testosterone leading to androgenetic alopecia,” explains Henry. Talking about it openly with your dermatologist, OB-GYN, or general health provider can help get you to a diagnosis and treatment plan earlier.
Shampoos For Hair Loss
Shampoos that moisturize the scalp can create a healthy environment for hair regrowth. Anti-dandruff shampoos like Head & Shoulders and Dove Dermacare Scalp contain zinc pyrithione , an ingredient that removes dead skin cells that could be preventing growth. Plus, all of that itching and scratching from a dry scalp can lead to excess shedding.
Whats more, hair thinning can also stem from a hormone called DHT . DHT signals hairs to shrink and become vellus hairs , says Caroling Chang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Rhode Island Hospital and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board. It does this by changing the hair cycles and causing a shortening of the growth phase and increase in the resting phase, she explains. In this case, consider a DHT-blocking shampoo like Alterna Haircare.
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What Are Some Effective Types Of Treatment For Thinning Hair
If you find yourself hyperventilating in the aisles of Whole Foods and buying $70 worth of biotin, take a step back. Though its use as a hair- and nail-growth supplement is prevalent, research demonstrating the efficacy of biotin is limited and most has focused on nails. “We don’t really have great data supporting its use,” says Henry. “The original studies on biotin and hair were actually quite small because of this, I don’t recommend very high doses of biotin. Further, high doses of biotin can interfere with some blood tests, especially in older patients and patients with a history of heart disease.”
Many women may have had these supplements recommended to them at some point, but unless there is a severe natural deficiency , it’s typically preferable to incorporate proven lifestyle changes, like a nutrient-filled diet and decreased stress.
There are a few treatments, like platelet-rich plasma injections, that do work. “PRP contains a number of compounds that are unique to platelets that stimulate growth and reduce inflammation,” explains Firshein. “Platelets work similarly to how they do in other parts of the body by repairing damaged areas and helping them to regrow.”
Hair loss is incredibly common, and women should not have to suffer in silence or try to hide their hair loss for fear of being seen as unattractive or old. Aging is a natural and beautiful process, and whether it’s going gray or thinning out, it is time we normalize beauty at every age.
How To Stop My Hair From Falling Out
Is your hair shedding? Your scalp may be sweaty. Perspiration creates a moist environment that allows the natural fungus on the scalp to thrive. The resulting inflammation and itching can lead to follicle damage, making hair vulnerable to fall-out, says Roberts-Cooper.
One of the most natural ways to stop hair from falling out and thinning? Honey. Research shows applying honey, which is a natural antifungal, to the scalp every other day eliminates fungus in one week, plus leads to a noticeable drop in shedding in four weeks.
To make a honey hair mask: Mix two tablespoons of honey with 2/3 cup of warm water. Massage into scalp and let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.
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How To Keep Your Hair From Thinning
Take these steps to preserve your strands as you age.
Can you give me thinning hair that makes me look older? said no woman ever to her stylist. Thick, vibrant hair is a hallmark of youth and vitality, which is why we all want it. Shampoo commercials promise us luscious locksplus, watch any red carpet event, and you can bet that a majority of the celebs are rocking extensions in order to fake that fullness. Many of our brides wear clip-on extensions for the same reason our celebrity clients wear them, notes Lauren E. Hack, beauty guru at LAUREN+VANESSA, because your hair will look amazing.
Sadly, as we add more candles to the birthday cake, our hair can lose some of this lusciousness. As we age, hair decreases in density and the individual hair strands become thinner, says Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and a clinical instructor at the University of Southern California. Individual hair strands have a two to seven year life cycle, but as we get older, the hair follicle shrinks and the rate of hair growth slows down, says Shainhouse. The hairs produced become much finer, until, eventually, the follicle can even stop producing new hairs, she says. Yikes. Luckily, there are steps you can take to preserve your strands. Here are five ways to deal with thinning hair.