Everyday Causes Of Hair Loss In Women
Women subject their hair to many everyday stresses that can lead to hair damage and hair loss. A few such female hair loss causes include:
o Harsh shampooso Frequent use of blow dryers, curling irons and other heated applianceso Improper or harsh brushing and/or combingo Frequent wearing of tight ponytails, braids, and other hair restraints
While these things generally do not cause immediate or permanent hair loss in females, they do often lead to dry, damaged hair that is more likely to break off and thus appear thinner and more brittle. In women whose hair is already thin due to hormonal changes that come with aging, actions such as these can have a large impact on hair appearance.
Hair Loss In All Ages
Although certain causes of hair loss might be more common at specific times of life, many of them can happen at all ages. For example, hormone imbalances, infections, vitamin deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases affect women of all ages and these may lead to hair loss. There are also rare inflammatory conditions that cause permanent damage to hair follicles.
What Is Generalized Hair Loss
This is an overall hair thinning without specific bald spots or patterns. While this type of hair loss may not be noticeable to others, often the individual will feel their hair is not as thick or full as it previously was. Common conditions in this category are
Under normal conditions, scalp hairs live for about three years they then enter the telogen or resting phase. During the three-month telogen period, the hair root shrivels up into a small “club,” then the hair falls out. It is therefore normal to lose about 100 hairs every day, more of them on days when shampooing loosens the hairs that are ready to fall out. The body then replaces the hairs.
Sometimes people who worry about losing their hair start noticing hairs on their pillow or in the sink, not realizing that they’ve always been there. A close look at these will usually reveal the club at the end, showing that these hairs are shed normally.
- Normally, about 10% of scalp hairs are in the telogen phase.
Several circumstances produce a “shock to the system” that alters the hair growth rhythm. As a result, as much as 30%-40% of the hairs can cycle into telogen. Three months later, hairs come out in a massive shedding , especially near the front of the scalp. These include
- severe illness,
- severe emotional stress or loss.
Don’t Miss: Will Menopause Cause Hair Loss
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.
Beware Of Big Promises
There are numerous devices and products that are marketed as effective hair loss treatments, but many of them do not work. Beware of all of the false advertising associated with these products. If a cure for hair loss in women sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before-and-after pictures may have been doctored to be misleading. How do you know if a hair loss treatment really works? Ask your dermatologist about any treatment you are considering. Look on the FDA and Federal Trade Commission websites to search for approved medical devices and drugs.
Don’t Miss: What Can I Do With Thinning Hair For A Woman
Hair Loss In Women Causes And Treatments
Until recently, the problem of hair loss in women was believed to be uncommon. Recent research, though, has revealed that it is far more widespread than previously thought. Some estimates say as many as 25 million American women experience noticeable hair loss and the distressing effects that often go along with it. Female hair loss causes are somewhat different than those typically found in men, and the emotional effects can be quite different as well.
Infections That Cause Hair Loss
A number of infections and illnesses can lead to hair loss. An infection that causes a high fever, a fungal skin infection, and bacterial infections like syphilis can all be responsible for balding or thinning hair. Treating the underlying infection can restore hair growth and prevent future hair loss. So your first step is to seek medical attention for the primary health problem.
Recommended Reading: What’s A Good Shampoo For Thinning Hair
How Can You Treat Female Hair Loss
Regardless of the cause, the goal of treating thinning hair is to encourage the hair follicles to function to the best of their ability. Its important to have realistic goals: Of course I want my hair to go from puny shedding strands to 1970s-style Cher goddess hair, but alas, I know that is not going to happen. Before starting any treatment, it is important to consult with your dermatologist to make sure the treatment path you decide is the one that is right for you.
In the past, and during this particular bout of shedding, I took Nutrafol, a supplement that contains a combination of botanical ingredients and vitamins to support healthy hair follicles. It is formulated to treat hair loss in multiple ways, containing highly-concentrated botanicals to support hair at every stage of the growth cycle, Engelman explains. She also recommends Prose, particularly their Root Source product for those with thinning hair. The supplements are custom-made for each person, and theyre packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant extracts designed to boost our stores of nutrients and target the causes of thinning hair. They have been proven effective in clinical trials, and are a fantasticand healthyway to address hair thinning/loss, she says.
What Are The Causes And Types Of Female Pattern Baldness
Genetics usually plays a part in the development of female pattern baldness. A woman can inherit the genes that cause female pattern baldness from one or both of their parents. Its also possible that hormones contribute to the condition. For example, hair loss is a symptom of the hormonal condition, polycystic ovary syndrome.
Female pattern baldness is different from alopecia areata, which is an auto-immune disease resulting in hair loss from the scalp and other parts of the body.
You May Like: Can Humira Cause Hair Loss
Intense Emotional Or Physical Stress
When you’re experiencing something stressful or traumaticnot your average day-to-day stress, but something big and life-altering like a divorce, a death in the family, a significant job change, or a big moveyou may experience a temporary halt in hair growth as your body puts its resources toward getting you through said big event.
“Hairs dont all grow at the same rate,” Dr. Schlosser explains. “Some are growing, some are resting, and some are actively being shed. When you have these conditions, your body halts hair growth, and then things get restarted and all these hairs that have been halted start to get pushed out at the same time.” The same thing can happen with physical stress and trauma, like having a big operation, being hospitalized, or even losing a significant amount of weight very quickly.
Usually this type of hair shedding is temporary. But if it bothers you, check in with a dermatologist to learn more about styling changes and products you can use to make your hair look and feel fuller.
Thinning Hair In Women: Why It Happens And What Helps
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Mirena Iud Cause Hair Loss
Childbirth May Be A Trigger
Moms-to-be are often very happy that their hair seems much fuller during pregnancy, but they are then disappointed when they experience hair loss after giving birth. Losing hair after pregnancy is not true hair loss and is normal. That’s because hormones and hair loss in women are linked. Hair falls out after women give birth due to decreasing estrogen levels. Some women notice that they lose a lot of hair in a short period of time after giving birth. The good news is that after this shedding period, hair fullness often returns to normal within 1 to 2 years. Many people wonder what’s the best treatment for hair loss in women? For postpartum moms waiting for their full head of hair to return, using over-the-counter volumizing shampoo and conditioner formulated for fine hair can make hair appear fuller.
Top Ten Reasons For Sudden Hair Loss In Women
- Excessive exercise: Too much of exercise drains essential nutrition from your body which causes hair follicles to lose their strength.
- Change in dietary conditions/ malnutrition
- Lack of sleep: Sleep apnea causes stress to hair follicle causing hair to fall out earlier than usual.
- Medications: Common medicines that cause hair loss in women include oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, NSAIDs, and beta and calcium channel blockers.
- Pregnancy and child birth: Hair loss occurs 2-3 months after child birth mainly due to the hormonal changes in the body.
- Allergies: Allergies from dust and medications can cause itching and scaling resulting in sudden hair loss.
- Hot weather: Hot weather causes hair follicles to lose the moisture content. This results in sudden hair loss.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs cause severe and sudden hair loss in cancer patients. Though this type of hair loss is reversible, the hair that is re-grown after the treatment may lose its natural color and texture after the treatment.
- Thyroid diseases:Hair loss can occur either due to an underactive thyroid or a hyperactive thyroid . Each condition causes a hormonal imbalance and results in hair loss.
- Viral infection: Viral infection can result in sudden hair loss called alopecia areata.
Don’t Miss: What Is Roman Hair Loss
What Is Female Pattern Baldness
Female pattern baldness is a term used to describe hair loss and thinning in women. It is also known as female pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, in women.
It’s a similar condition to male pattern baldness, but the hair loss and thinning follow a different pattern. The hair usually thins across the whole scalp. A receding hairline or a bald patch on the top of the head is rare, although this can happen.
Female pattern baldness can develop at any age. It usually progresses slowly, but can also come in bursts.
It often becomes more noticeable after menopause. Almost half of all women show signs of hair loss by the age of 50.
There Are Things You Can Do To Prevent Hair Loss
If you notice your hair is thinning and it bothers you, there are some easy ways to make it appear fuller and simultaneously help prevent more hair loss or breakage. For instance, as SELF explained previously, its important to:
Wash as often as you need tobut no more. Both under- and overwashing can affect the volume and feel of your hair. Not washing enough causes a buildup of product and oil that can weight your hair down. But washing too frequently can strip the hair of its natural oils, making it more dry and prone to breakage. Experts recommend sticking to washing about two or three times per week and adjusting as needed for your particular situation.
Always use conditioner after shampooing. Conditioner makes your hair shinier and helps reduce static electricity, both of which helps thinning hair look fuller and glossier. But remember: A little goes a long way, and too much will weigh hair down.
Try leave-on products. Leave-in conditioners and detanglers help keep your hair moisturized throughout the day and protect against the effects of heat styling that otherwise can cause thinning and breakage.
Use hair masks for deep conditioning. If your hair tends to be dry and brittle, an occasional deep-conditioning mask may be just what it needs to regain some life and strength. These can also help hair look shinier.
You May Like: How Can I Grow My Thinning Hair Back
Living With Hair Loss
Losing your hair can be devastating. Many people consider a thick head of hair a symbol of youth and vitality. So losing it no matter how young you are can make you feel old. It can make you feel less attractive. It can lower your overall self-esteem.
Remember that it is okay to feel what youre feeling. It is also okay to seek out a strategy for stopping or even reversing hair loss. Wanting hair doesnt mean that you are vain. You should not feel guilty about doing something about your hair loss.
If adequate treatment is not available for your type of hair loss, you may consider trying different hairstyles or wigs, hairpieces, hair weaves or artificial hair replacement.
Is Hair Loss In Women Different Than Men
Women lose hair on an inherited basis, too, but female pattern hair loss tends to be more diffuse, with less likelihood of the crown and frontal hairline being lost.
- Although some women may notice hair thinning as early as their 20s, the pace of hair loss tends to be gradual, often taking years to become obvious to others.
- There seems to be a normal physiologic thinning that comes with age and occurs in many women in their early to mid-30s.
- More women have underlying causes of hair loss than men. These include treatable conditions like anemia and thyroid disease and polycystic ovary syndrome .
- These conditions are diagnosed by blood tests along with historical and physical evidence.
While stories about hats choking off follicles or long hair pulling on the roots may be more folklore, repeat hair trauma like tightly woven hair pulled back and consistent friction can potentially worsen or cause localized hair loss in some individuals. Individuals who pull their hair tightly back in a rubber band can develop a localized hair loss at the front of the scalp.
Hair loss “myths” of special concern to women
Recommended Reading: Does Lack Of Estrogen Cause Hair Loss