Menopause And Hormone Imbalances
Women may experience hair loss during menopause due to reduced production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These changes also lead to symptoms like menstrual cycle irregularity, dry skin, night sweats, weight gain, and vaginal dryness. This added stress on the body may also worsen hair loss.
Some women may even notice thinning and loss after going off hormonal birth control pills. Why? Again, hormonal changes of any kind, particularly falling estrogen levels, can temporarily disrupt the hair lifecycle.
Preventive And Minimization Strategies
Hair, especially in Asian and Caucasian individuals, is generallymore elastic when wet, which means that it breaks more easily than whendry. Therefore, it is important to avoid rubbing wet hair with a toweland brushing or combing wet hair. Allowing hair to air dry rather thanusing a blow-dryer also may be beneficial, because high heat renders thehair brittle and more prone to breakage. Similarly, limiting the use offlat irons and curling irons can also help prevent hair loss.1
Certain products and hairstyles put stress on the hair and cause itto break. Limiting the use of bleaches, dyes, gels, relaxers, and hairsprays can help reduce breakage. Hairpins, clips, and rubber bands cancause breakage when used to hold hair tightly. If these accessories areused, the best choices are hairpins that have a smooth, ball-tippedsurface, hair clips with a spongy rubber padding, and hair bands made offabric. To prevent breakage, hairstyles that pull on the hair, such ascornrows, tight ponytails, and braids, should be avoided.1
What Causes Hair Loss In Women
According to experts, the average human scalp has about 100,000 hair follicles. At any given time, each of your hair follicles is in a different phase of this cycle: Anagen phase , Catagen phase, Telogen phase , and Exogen phase . Thus, seeing some hairs in your brush or in a bath is perfectly normal and doesnt mean you are experiencing a hair loss.
However, if you find more lost hairs than usual, spot thinning edges, or your scalp becomes more noticeable, it is worth analyzing the possible causes and taking action to stop and reverse hair shedding.
Read Also: Does Finasteride Stop Hair Loss
Diffuse Thinning In Girls
Depending on the cause, males and females can typically lose their hair in very different ways . As we saw, boys often show their first sign of hair loss at the hairline and temples.
While women can also recede in the temples, their hair loss is more often diffuse. In other words, they retain a relatively intact hairline but thin all over the top of the head. The main sign of this is a wide part.
At first, such thinning can go unnoticed. By the time girls realize that their hair is thinner and the part wider, they might have lost most of the hair on their head. Unlike males, however, it is extremely rare for girls and women to go completely bald.
How To Treat Female Hair Loss
Whether your hair loss is caused by hormones or a factor such as diet, stress or weight loss, it is treatable.
The first step in treating hair loss is determining why its happening. If your hair looks and feels thinner than normal, the best approach is to talk to your healthcare provider about it. Your healthcare provider will be able to look at your hair and, based on your symptoms and health history, provide a diagnosis.
If your hair loss is hormonal, the most effective treatment options include spironolactone, saw palmetto and minoxidil. Weve listed these hair loss treatments below:
Also Check: Is My Hair Thick Or Thin
How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
You Probably Have Traction Alopecia If
The Skin of Color Society explains that before experiencing any actual hair loss due to traction alopecia, you may start to notice small white or flesh-colored bumps around your hair follicles, particularly on parts of your scalp most affected by tight hairstyles. After this point, people with traction alopecia will start to notice early signs of hair loss, including:
- Short, broken hairs around your forehead
- A receding hairline
- Patchy hair loss in areas pulled tight by your hairstyle
You May Like: What Vitamins Stop Hair Loss
Cosmetic Options For Hair Loss
When medical treatments fall short, women can also consider cosmetic options to make up for lost hair, such as wearing a wig. At the other end of the spectrum is hair transplantation, a surgical procedure that moves active follicles from the back of the scalp to areas where the hair is thinning. Once transplanted, the hair grows normally.
Hair transplantation is typically performed as an outpatient surgical procedure. In appropriate patients, it can be extremely successful, but it wont work for everyone, says Dr. Scott. One drawback is the expense: it can cost thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance. The procedure also requires recovery time. And it may not be appropriate for women who have diffuse thinning across the whole scalp. Its more effective in treating smaller, more defined areas of balding.
About the Author
Effective Hair Loss Treatments
Hair loss caused by stress or hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause, may not require any treatment. Instead, the loss will likely stop on its own after the body adjusts.
Nutrient deficiencies also dont often require medical treatment beyond supplements, unless the deficiency is caused by an underlying health condition. And any medical conditions that lead to hair loss should be treated directly to address the full condition, not just its symptoms.
That said, there are a number of possible medications and treatments for hair loss caused by female-pattern baldness and other alopecias. You may need to use one or a combination of treatments for months or years to see the full results.
Read Also: How To Halt Hair Loss
What Is The Relationship Between Hair Loss In Women And Menopause
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didnt before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.
Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth.
Is It Normal To Lose Your Hair In Your 20s
Um, hi, yes, it’s absolutely normal to experience hair loss or thinning in your 20sespecially when you think about all the factors that cause it in the first place. Hair lives in a four-step cycle, not just one. It grows, it rests, it falls, and then it regenerates. And because there are are a number of different genes involved in this cycle, its super easy to upset the process, says Burg. Lucky you. Still, even though there are a ton of reasons someone may be experiencing hair loss, these are the most common:
Read Also: What To Eat To Reduce Hair Loss
Can Coronavirus Cause Hair Loss
Although not officially listed as a symptom of Coronavirus, a wave of women have come forward with claims of hair loss as a result of having the virus.
‘Patients who have suffered prolonged and heavy onset of coronavirus about 2-4 months prior are now reporting severe hair loss,’ says hair loss and growth expert Laura Sagen.
‘Hair loss is not on the list of the official symptoms, so at first its easy to become alarmed around potentially one more symptom to start looking out for. Notably, it occurs after the onset of the disease rather than prior. This can be a result of severe stress that patients who suffered a severe or prolonged form of coronavirus, otherwise known as telogen effluvium stress-related hair loss.’
With more and more women experiencing dramatic hair loss on top of other symptoms it seems to be more than mere coincidence.
But, as any women that have suffered from hair loss themselves could tell you, the sterile medical explanation of hair loss rarely correlates to the human experience of being a woman that’s losing their hair.
We spoke to six women about their personal experiences and how they’re giving female hair loss the finger, one day at a time…
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.
Read Also: How To Make Your Thin Hair Thicker
How Can I Stop Losing My Hair In My 20s
First things first: Turn back the clock about three months and see if anything major happened in your life. If youve experienced a huge amount of stress or had a significant change in diet, theres a good chance itll line up with your hair loss. The good news? Diet and stress-related hair loss are both relatively easy to correct if you catch them early enough.
That aside, Burg recommends seeing a professional who can help identify next steps. Usually, patients are prescribed topical solutions and medications , although theyre known to have side effects and should always be used under medical supervision.
Just keep in mind that those viral hair-growth vitamins youre seeing all over your Insta feed are not a solution to hair loss. Dont buy into the hype of these miracle pills that promise a change overnight, says Burg. Hair growth takes timethink: half an inch a month. Even hair-loss treatments that work take time, so you usually wont see results for three to four months.
Diagnosing The Underlying Cause
A doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your hair loss with a physical examination and by examining your medical history. They may do a pull test to see how many hairs come out, and examine your scalp with a microscope.
A doctor may order a blood test if they suspect a hormonal imbalance or nutrient deficiency. They may also take a small biopsy of your scalp.
The best treatment option for your type of hair loss depends on the cause. In some cases, hair loss may be reversible with proper treatment.
|Type of hair loss|
|Avoid tight ponytails and buns, corticosteroid injections|
|Trichotillomania||Behavioral therapy, various medications|
* Topical minoxidil is not FDA-approved for people under the age of 18 due to a lack of research. However, its been used successfully in some studies for treating pattern hair loss. You should only use minoxidil if your doctor tells you its okay.
Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Skin Conditions Of The Scalp
An unhealthy scalp can cause inflammation that makes it difficult for hair to grow. Skin conditions that lead to hair loss include seborrheic dermatitis , psoriasis, and fungal infections such as ringworm.
The symptoms: Seborrheic dermatitis causes the scalp to shed its skin, so you’ll notice greasy, yellowish scales on your shoulders or in your hair. It may be the result of yeast called Malassezia, hormonal changes, or excess oil in the skin. Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes excessive skin cell turnover, produces a very thick white scale on the scalp that can bleed if pulled off. With ringworm, a fungus you contract by touching an infected person or animal, you’ll notice red patches on your scalp, which may be diffuse, Jakubowicz says.
The tests: A physical exam of the scalp will help determine which condition you have. A fungal culture and possibly a biopsy of the scalp may pinpoint ringworm.
What you can do: Each condition usually requires a prescription: a medicated shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis, medications or light therapy for psoriasis, and oral antifungals for ringworm.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. It affects about 4.7 million people in the United States and occurs equally in men and women. The cause is unknown, but it may be triggered by stress or illness.
***More from Prevention:
Poor Diet Or Eating Disorder
Body image issues trouble many teen girls, a challenge that sadly can lead to poor eating choices. If a teen is malnourished or has an unhealthy diet, their body will have difficulty getting the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals required for healthy and robust hair follicles. Sometimes, simply eating a more nutritious diet can take care of the problem, but teen girls struggling with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia face more significant challenges to their health and well-being.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Thin Hair
What Are The Myths About Hair Loss
Myths about hair loss are widespread. Nothing in the following list is true:
- Youre losing hair because you shampoo it too much, or because youve colored it or gotten a perm.
- Dandruff causes permanent hair loss in women.
- Stress causes permanent hair loss in women.
- If you shave your head, your hair will grow back twice as thick.
- If you stand on your head youll increase circulation, stimulating hair growth.
- If you brush your hair 100 strokes a day that will make your hair healthier.
- Hats and wigs cause hair loss in women.
- Hair loss only affects intellectual women.
When Will The Hair Grow Back
Most of these problems related to young female hair loss will resolve themselves over time. Assuming its not a genetic issue, the hair follicles still work properly, even if theyre not thick at a given moment. Your body will naturally replenish the strands as it recovers.
If you suspect any changes in your hair growth or you think youre experiencing the early stages of hair loss, it never hurts to talk to your doctor. Sharing details on possible lifestyle factors that could be affecting your hair growth can help pinpoint the issue. A lot of times it comes down to simply modifying your lifestyle. Getting more sleep, staying more organized, and making sure your diet is balanced can help slow down thinning hair in young women in a matter of weeks.
You May Like: Can Xeljanz Cause Hair Loss
Can Hair Grow Back After Thinning
That totally depends on what’s causing your thinning in the first place . And, like, not to sound like a broken record here, but this is just another reason why you should always, always see a professional to diagnose your hair loss before you make any decisions. At the end of the day, early prevention is key with any form of hair loss, so book an appointment if you’ve noticed thinning and want to get ahead of it.
Can Traction Alopecia Be Reversed
Traction alopecia can be reversed in its early stages, Robin Evans, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Yale University tells WebMD Connect to Care. According to Evans, if you start to notice signs of traction alopecia, you should switch to a looser hairstyle as soon as possible.
But according to Evans, if you continue wearing tight styles for years, you can cause permanent damage to your hair follicles. At this point, the hair will not regrow even if you switch to looser styles. So it’s important for people who regularly wear tight hairstyles to be on the lookout for signs of traction alopecia. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends switching up your hairstyle every few months, and, if possible, wearing looser styles when sleeping.
Also Check: What Shampoo Do Dermatologists Recommend For Thinning Hair
How Common Is Female Hair Loss
Just like male hair loss, female hair loss becomes more common with age. Studies show that only 12% of women between the ages of 20 and 29 show some degree of hair loss, from loss around the hairline or temples to diffuse, overall thinning.
On the other hand, women aged 80 and up have a more than 60% chance of experiencing some degree of hormonal hair loss. Because hormonal hair loss is partly caused by a genetic sensitivity to DHT, your risk of hair loss could be higher if your mother, siblings or other female relatives have hair loss.
If youre concerned about hair loss, its important to take action quickly. Because hair loss is gradual and affected by DHT, acting quickly allows you to minimize hair loss and maintain as much of your hair as possible.