Hair Loss In Older Women: Causes And Treatment Options
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Aging gracefully is everyones goal. Often, the things we worry about skin, gray hair, heart and mental health get the most attention.
But for women, one of the less talked about aging concerns is something traditionally associated with men: hair loss.
Hair loss is not something normally associated with women, and yet for many older women it becomes a growing reality as they lose more through their later years.
But its not the only reason a woman out of her younger years might be losing hair.
Before we discuss reasons women might lose hair as we age, its important to understand some basics about how hair grows, and why it may stop growing.
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 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.
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How To Protect Your Hair And Stop Further Hair Loss
When hair loss happens, it can have a serious impact on your self-esteem. Styling your hair can become more difficult, and you may no longer feel like yourself. Many women with aging-related hair loss experience some degree of mental distress.
The good news is that pattern hair loss is treatable, and the earlier you start treating it, the more likely you are to experience positive results.
Below, weve shared hair loss treatments that you can use to protect and potentially regrow your hair, as well as habits and lifestyle changes that you can use to keep your hair thick, dense and healthy as you age.
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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Famous International Hairstylists Explain Why They Recommend Viviscal Hair
Ted Gibson Lead Hairstylist New York Fashion Week,Ted Gibson salons in NYC and Fort Lauderdale
This is the time when I older women clients start to tell me, My hair isn’t quite how it used to be. The biggest complaints: thinning and gray tresses. A daily supplement like Viviscal is fantastic for growing hair.
Trisha Buller Leading Trichologist, Clinic and Salon Owner
Our hair is a barometer of our inner health. Nutrition, minerals and vitamins play an important role in maintaining healthy hair growth, so a balanced diet is essential. When were under stress or have experienced ill health, it will have an adverse effect on our hair. I am seeing more and more people complaining of fine, weak, limp hair lacking in shine and luster. Supplements such as Viviscal include Biotin and Zinc, as well as other key ingredients crucial for healthy hair.
Tabatha Coffey Hairstylist and TV Host of Bravos Tabatha Takes Over
I cant believe how well Viviscal hair growth supplements have transformed the look and feel of my hair! The results Ive experienced have allowed me to regain confidence in my hair and appearance. Im excited that Viviscal can help other women experience the same success that Ive had.
Adam Reed Creative Director of Percy & Reed London
Errol Douglas President of Fellowship for British Hairdressing
Specific results are not guaranteed and results may vary.
Based on Nielsen AOC L52 wks ending 12/30/17 Existing hair growth
Women And Hair Loss: Coping Tips
Losing your crowning glory can be particularly difficult for women. But there are ways to cope.
Losing your hair as a woman, especially if you’re young or at a vulnerable time in your life, can badly affect your confidence.
Hair loss, known medically as alopecia, is fairly common. It’s estimated, for instance, that around 40% of women aged 70 years or over experience female-pattern baldness the most common type of hair loss, which is thought to be inherited.
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Yes Women Experience Thinning Hair Too Heres Why And Possible Treatments
At first, I blamed the hairstylists. For several years, my hair had been flat, the cowlick too pronounced, the texture different. I kept switching salons in search of the perfect cut, the miracle product or, ideally, both. Then, as I ticked off my complaints to a new stylist, he ran his fingers through my hair and shrugged. It happens, he said. We get older. The hair thins.
Just a few months later, Ricki Lake, 51, revealed her own struggle with hair loss an irony for the actress who found fame as the star of Hairspray. My fixation kicked into high gear, and I started searching online for answers. I learned that its normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, and that new ones should grow in their place. But a variety of factors, including genetics, illness and poor nutrition, can disrupt that growth cycle, not just in men, but also in women of all ages. The American Hair Loss Association reports that 40 percent of all hair loss sufferers are women.
Genetics is the leading cause of hair loss for both sexes, said Marc Avram, a New York dermatologist who specializes in the condition. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 30 million women in the United States suffer from hereditary hair loss, compared with 50 million men, though Avram suspects the numbers are much higher.
Female Pattern Hair Loss And Age
If youve noticed that your hair has started to appear a little thinner over the past decade, youre probably not alone. Although we usually associate aging-related hair loss with men, the reality is that women can also lose hair with age.
Most of the time, the type of hair loss that affects women as part of the aging process is referred to as female androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern hair loss.
This type of hair loss occurs when certain androgens, or male sex hormones, bind to receptors in your scalp. Over time, this can cause your hair follicles to enter into a process referred to as miniaturization, in which the hair growth cycle becomes shorter.
The specific hormone responsible for this process is called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. As its name may suggest, its related to testosterone — the hormone thats involved in mens physical feature and sexual health .
In fact, your body produces DHT as a byproduct of testosterone, all via the effects of an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase.
At first glance, this can seem more than a little confusing. After all, as a woman, why should you need to worry about a hormone related to testosterone causing your hair to fall out?
The reason is that although testosterone is thought of as a male hormone , men and women both produce testosterone and estrogen, just in different quantities.
Men typically have 300 to 1,000 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood , while most women have between 15 and 70 ng/dL.
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How Do You Measure Hair Loss
Doctors characterize the severity of hair loss using something called the Savin density scale. This scale has 8 stages and describes hair loss around the midline part as well recession in the front of the hairline. Some women lose hair to various degrees around the midline and/or in the front of the hairline. Some women experience hair thinning all over the scalp. Hair loss may occur in episodes or continuously. The doctor parts the hair down the middle of the head and then determines the severity of hair loss. The most common pattern for female pattern baldness is thinning around the midline that occurs in the shape of a Christmas tree. The pattern and severity of female hair loss helps determine the appropriate course of treatment.
What Can I Do To Reactivate Latent Hair Follicles
The papilla, in turn, supplies the blood flow required by the hair follicle to encourage hair development.
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Dandruff Or Scalp Psoriasis
When the skin on the scalp is inflamed and itchy, its obviously tempting to scratch it. But that may cause your hair to shed more than usual.
Dandruff is the most easily treated cause of hair loss, Dr. Fusco says, because you can treat it with over-the-counter products, like a shampoo containing zinc pyrithione or exfoliating ingredients such as the classic Head & Shoulders Classic or Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo . “Consistency is the trick,” Dr. Fusco says, so it’s important to find a shampoo and conditioner you like enough to use regularly.
But other conditions can also cause itchiness and scalp flaking, including seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis . Treating these issues may take more time and effort than dandruff, so its important to check in with a dermatologist if you think you may be dealing with one of these conditions.
What Are The Common Causes Of Thinning Hair In Older Women
The most common causes of thinning hair in older women are female pattern hair loss, extreme stress, and self-inflicted hair loss. Female pattern hair loss affects tens of millions of women around the world and is genetic in nature. Everyone experiences stress here and there, but too much stress can lead to more hair loss than usual. In addition, many women are responsible for their hair loss because of harsh styling practices, over-brushing, and aggressive towel drying. Lastly, some people suspect that thinning hair in older women is linked to menopause, but others remain skeptical.
Female pattern hair loss is one of the most common causes of thinning hair in older women. The lessening of hair is usually noticed in the top or front half of the scalp rather than the back. While there are several other potential causes of thinning hair in women, a good rule of thumb to use is to think about female relatives around the same age or older. If some of these mothers, aunts, or sisters have difficulty with thinning hair too, female pattern hair loss is the likely culprit. This troublesome genetic hair condition is genetic, meaning it runs in the family and a person who suffers from it might pass it onto her own children.
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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.
Protect Hair From Thinning
Since aging hair generally does not grow at as rapid a pace as it once did, it’s important to protect the hair in order to slow down additional thinning. For example, tight hairstyles like ponytails can be damaging, as can frequent use of curling irons and blow dryers. Prevention Magazine suggests people with thinning hair should replace the natural scalp oils lost in aging by using olive oil on the scalp while sleeping at night.
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How Common Is Hair Loss In Women
Many people think that hair loss only affects men. However, it is estimated that more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss , which affects about one-third of susceptible women, which equals out to some 30 million women in the United States.
Hair Loss In Women After 30 40 50 60 Years
It has been scientifically proven that hair loss in women has age specific features. So in young girls, this problem is quite a rare phenomenon. Symptoms of alopecia arise from improper care of curls, because of frequent experiments with staining and curling, with unbalanced nutrition during a diet. After eliminating the provoking factor, the condition of the hair is restored.
There are more serious reasons for hair loss, which are inherent for women of any age:
- Chronic fatigue, stress, emotional stress.
- Treatment with antibiotics, antidepressants.
- Infectious lesions of the body.
- Long-term use of hormonal contraceptives.
- Dermatological diseases
Another important factor is the instability of the hormonal background, from the period of puberty to menopause. Hormonal fluctuations affect the density of vegetation, skin condition, nails and overall health.
Can indicate hereditary predisposition or the effect of the above factors. The damage to the head of hear is carried out gradually, evenly over the entire head, which is hardly noticeable from the side. Girls over 30 are at risk for thyroid disease and anemia .
Dull and thin curls can be a sign of hypothyroidism. Pregnancy and childbirth should also be considered , since this age is most preferable for motherhood.
There are such main reasons for the loss of vegetation on the head in women after 40 years:
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