Thinning Hair In Women: Why It Happens And What Helps
- By Kelly Bilodeau, Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
Many people think of hair loss as a male problem, but it also affects at least a third of women. But unlike men, women typically experience thinning hair without going bald, and there can be a number of different underlying causes for the problem.
Some are associated with inflammation in the body. Some are female-pattern hair loss, says Dr. Deborah Scott, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic at Brigham and Womens Hospital. But the good news is that in many cases this hair loss can be stabilized with treatment, and it may be reversible. When its not, there are a number of new cosmetic approaches that can help.
Use A Shampoo Thats Mild And Suited For Your Hair
The purpose of shampoo is to cleanse your hair of dirt and excess oil. But many commercial shampoos contain harsh ingredients. After just one use, they can strip your hair of the natural oil and fatty acids that make it strong and supple. Read the ingredients of your shampoo and purchase one thats as close to all-natural as possible. Try switching up products if youve been losing excess hair.
Hair Falling Out From Stress Lets Talk
Hair loss can happen to anyone and for a number of reasons, so its important to talk to a doctor if you are seeing handfuls of hair in the shower unexpectedly. However, if you need a pick-me-up after a few stressful weeks or months in your life, you can reverse hair loss from stress at home with the help of hair care products and the right vitamins and supplements. So while there is no magical pill for knowing how to stop hair loss from stress, reading up on what causes hair loss and practicing self-care are two of the first steps. And youve already begun them both!
Read Also: How To Stop Hair Loss During Menopause
Eat A Complete Protein
You cant control healthy locks by genetics or age, but you can help your hair through eating healthy. The old adage says you are what you eat and this is definitely true when it comes to your hair. Dr. Bergfeld says first, be sure youre eating enough overall. As you age, you start to eat smaller portions because your taste level goes down, and you become nutritionally deficient. She says, Usually, when a person says, Im on a healthy diet, theyre on a restricted diet. Include a variety of foods in your diet.
Because hair follicles are made of mostly protein, dont skip this vital nutrient. A lack of protein has been linked to hair loss. Dr Bergfeld suggests women eat a little bit of low-fat, red meat a couple times a week. This captures your protein and other vital nutrients. Whats more, she says with age, your thyroid slows down. Patients get a little tired and think its old age, but they have mild iron storage anemia. Eating low-fat red meat alleviates this iron shortage
Other nutrient-rich foods for lush locks include:
How Can Hair Loss In Women Be Prevented
Preventing hair loss is not possible when it is due to disease, aging, heredity or physical stressors like injuries. You can prevent hair loss caused by caustic chemicals or tight hairstyles by avoiding them. You might be able to prevent some hair loss by eating a healthy diet that provides necessary nutrients in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein. You can stop smoking.
Also Check: Does Hair Grow Back After Thinning Out
What Are The Causes Of Hair Loss During Menopause
While menopause symptoms are the primary factor for hair loss in women, there are a number of other factors that can predispose one to have thinning hair.
When these hormone levels drop, the effects of male hormones, which are scarce, but present in females, increase. As a result of this, hair grows much more slowly, and the follicles of the hair begin to shrink. This ultimately causes not only hair loss but weaker hair once it regrows.
While menopause symptoms are the primary factor for hair loss in women, there are a number of other factors that can predispose one to have thinning hair. These factors include elevated stress levels, nutritional deficiencies or genetic disorders. Of course, follow-ups with a medical provider to deduce the true underlying cause.
How Should I Take Finasteride
- Take finasteride exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
- You may take finasteride with or without food.
- If you forget to take finasteride, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.
- Finasteride will not work faster or better if you take it more than once a day.
Also Check: How To Fix Hair Loss From Pcos
Solution: Take A Break
If you frequently dye and style your hair, try taking a break from these habits for a month or so to see if they are the prominent cause of your hair loss. Semi-permanent colour or highlighting and balayage techniques can also be less harsh on your tresses, so seek a hair consultation before your next colour appointment to see what options are out there. Hair conditioning treatments, such as Philip Kingsleys Elasticiser and Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask can also help improve the condition of your tresses after a trip to your colourist, by keeping your hair really hydrated, so get into the routine of using them once a week.
Fenugreek Seed Hair Mask
A fenugreek hair mask is another great way to attain thick and strong hair as well as reduce thinning of hair. Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Then, Strain the water, in the morning, and grind the seeds to make a thick paste. You may also add coconut milk to the mask to further nourish your hair in a natural way. Apply the fine paste on your scalp and hair for 30 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water thereafter. Try this remedy at least once a week.
Read Also: How To Stop Lupus Hair Loss
Keep Your Hair Away From Heat
Heat is dangerous for your hairs, especially at the ends. With excessive heat, your hairs start to damage and thinning. All the hairstyle equipment like a blow dryer, hair straightener or curling irons use to produce heat. Avoid them all if you really love your hairs.
Let your hairs dry naturally and if its too much necessary for you to use hairstyle equipment, then dont use them more than once a week if you really love your hairs. And one thing, before giving heat to your hairs, never forget to apply a protectant spray on your hairs.
Initial Signs Hair Loss
The early signs of male pattern baldness are as follows:
Noticeable change in your hairline
Male pattern baldness generally begins in the hairline, when you notice that your mildly receded hairline has turned into a more obvious M-shaped hairline. For most men this begins around the temples and the crown and often starts with thinning rather than total hair loss.
Noticeable thinning of your hair
Not all men experience baldness in their hairline. Some men experience what is defined as diffuse thinning a type of hair loss that either affects the entire scalp or specific areas like the crown that results in hair loss that starts from the back or top, rather than from the hairline.
Excessive hair loss after showering or brushing
On average, people lose round 50-100 hairs a day, meaning that the five to 10 hairs you notice between your hands after shampooing aren’t anything to be concerned about. However, if you start noticing an excessive amount of hair falling out throughout the day, then there is a risk that it could be the result of male pattern baldness.
In general the early signs of hair loss show up in the following ways
Gradual thinning of the hair on the head
Receding hairline that becomes more visible with each passing year
For women, the first noticeable sign of hair loss is often a widening part or less fullness to their ponytail.
Recommended Reading: Can Remicade Cause Hair Loss
About Hair Loss Or Hair Thinning
Hair loss is one of the most well known side effects of cancer treatment. For many people losing their hair can be distressing and devastating.
It can be a constant reminder of your cancer and what youre going through. But for most people, their hair will grow back once treatment has finished.
Cancer drugs can cause:
- mild thinning of your hair
- partial hair loss, or loss of patches of hair
- complete hair loss
Chemotherapy is the type of cancer drug treatment most likely to cause hair loss.
Complete hair loss is very unlikely with any other type of treatment. But some other cancer drugs can cause hair thinning. It is not possible to tell beforehand who will be affected or how badly.
Hair loss also depends on factors such as:
- the type of drug or combination of drugs you are taking
- the dose
- the route
- how sensitive you are to the drug
- your drug treatment in the past
Treatments For Hair Loss
Are there effective preventative measures that can be taken?
Treating hair loss in its early stages can help minimise overall hair loss and increase the treatments efficacy. There are a few ways to control hair loss, but what to do depends on the cause of why you are losing your hair.
Some hair loss conditions such as hair loss experienced after pregnancy are temporary and may resolve on their own. However if your hair loss is persistent you may want to schedule an appointment with your local dermatologist so as to diagnose if your hair loss is caused by conditions such as male pattern baldness, thyroid issues, scalp infections, nutrient deficiencies, stress or simply ageing.
I would recommend four main hair-loss prevention treatments to consider, all of which work to stimulate regrowth on dormant follicles.
Finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia®, is an FDA-approved prescription medication for hair loss prevention in men. Finasteride can be an effective way to prevent your hair from thinning because it prohibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone . DHT is a powerful hormone that is thought to cause hair follicles to miniaturise and eventually stop growing hair. To get this benefit of finasteride, you need to take it properly and consistently as prescribed by your doctor.
4. LLLT or LED Light Therapy
Can hair grow back after it falls out?
Improve blood supply to the scalp
Promote hair strengthening
Don’t Miss: What Causes Hair Thinning And Loss
Choose The Right Products
If you decide to color-treat your tresses, its best to opt for a stylist to color your hair. A professional can help determine the safest dye to use for your hair type, and can provide tips on shampoos, conditioners and other hair products made specifically for color-treated hair.
Its also wise to forego daily heat styling, such as with blow dryers, curling wands and flat irons. We all want to look our best, but cutting back on intense heat styling tools one or two days a week will help hair bounce back from the damage they inflict.
If you must use heat-styling products, apply a heat protectant to hair prior to use. A heat protectant provides a protective coating between heated styling products and hair, and adds moisture to protect against damage during heat styling.
Avoid hair products that contain hormone-disrupting chemicals like parabens and phthalates commonly found in many hair products. Dr. Bergfeld adds, Having said that, the science does not substantiate that these cosmetic chemicals you at any risk since the natural environment and foods have a greater risk.
What Are The Signs Of Balding
There are several different signs that you might be starting to experience hair loss .
From thinning hair all over your head to a receding hairline, male pattern baldness comes in many forms.
Recognizing the signs of male pattern baldness is an important part of the treatment or prevention process.
Because male pattern baldness occurs in stages, it may be possible to recognize the signs early enough to reverse hair loss or prevent any further damage to your hairline.
Below, weve listed three warning signs that you should be aware of, as well as simple but effective ways that you can take action to prevent your hair loss from getting worse.
Also Check: Does Collagen Help With Thinning Hair
What Does Folic Acid Do
Folic acid is primarily responsible for healthy cell growth. These cells include those found inside your skin tissues as well as in your hair and nails. Such effects on your hair has spurred interest in folic acid as a possible hair-growth treatment measure. Additionally, folic acid helps keep red blood cells healthy.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a type of B vitamin. When found naturally in foods, this nutrient is called folate. The manufactured version of this nutrient in fortified foods and supplements is called folic acid. Despite the different names, folate and folic acid function in the same way.
- soreness in your mouth
- thinning hair
If youre not deficient in folate, you dont have to take a folic acid supplement for healthy hair. Any more than 400 mcg a day wont make your hair grow faster.
In fact, taking too much folic acid can be unsafe. A folic acid overdose can occur when you take too many supplements or eat a high amount of fortified foods, but not if you eat folate in natural foods. Taking more than 1,000 mcg per day can hide signs of vitamin B-12 deficiency, leading to nerve damage, according to the Office on Womens Health .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that women take 400 mcg of folic acid a day while pregnant. They suggest starting it a month prior to conception, if possible.
Certain whole foods are natural sources of folate, such as:
Follow This Healthy Hair Lifestyle Checklist
- Avoid excess stress.
- Stimulate the circulation to your scalp with a daily finger massage. Also take handfuls of hair and gentle move the scalp to and fro, and side to side, to loosen tension and promote blood flow.
- Use a shampoo containing green tea caffeine which blocks DHT production and stimulates hair growth. Caffeine also reduces smooth muscle constriction around hair follicles to improve blood flow and nutrient delivery.
- Ask your doctor if you need any tests to assess your thyroid function, to measure your serum ferritin levels to look for iron deficiency, or if any other hormone imbalances are likely.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Frontal Hair Thinning