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What Causes Thinning Hair In Older Females

What Are Some Effective Types Of Treatment For Thinning Hair

What causes hair loss and hair thinning in women?

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.

Stress Can Be A Factor With Thinning Hair In Older Women

As women age their bodies begin to process nutrients less efficiently. Many vitamins and minerals are necessary for hair growth. Iron and Vitamin C are good examples of this.

Iron deficiency has been linked to hair loss in several studies. As the body ages, it can become more difficult for it to obtain the iron it needs from foods. The deficiency can then lead to thinner hair. Interestingly, a Vitamin C deficiency can contribute to the iron deficiency. This is because, without enough Vitamin C, the absorption of iron from foods such as red meat becomes more difficult.

There are a great number of nutrients that play a part in thinning hair in older women. In addition to iron and Vitamin C, getting enough magnesium, B vitamins, selenium, niacin and zinc is important. Some deficiencies can be helped with a diet change or nutritional supplements. Nutrafol is a supplement that contains Vitamin C, Selenium and Zinc â among other things.

As we age our stress levels increase. Additionally, realizing that we are aging can cause additional stress. High levels of stress over a long period leads to increased cortisol production. This can have an negative impact on hair growth and lead to hair appearing thinner.

Why Is My Hair Thinning With Age

Its quite common to see balding among older men, but for women, the thought of thinning hair can be frightening. If your hair is thinning, and you dont know why, you shouldnt be alarmed.

Alopecia is the term used to describe hair loss, and it doesnt refer to any specific type of hair loss. There are several different causes of thinning hair, and you could be dealing with several of them.

Most people know that chemotherapy can cause hair loss, but once the treatment is finished, the hair should grow back. Thyroid disorders, pregnancy, medications, iron deficiency, starvation and surgery are other common causes of hair loss.

How Aging and Hair Loss are Linked

Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the news about hair loss, which is why many women are talking about it. When women experience hair loss, its called alopecia, and according to statistics, women account for about 40 percent of individuals who are dealing with hair loss.

However, if youre losing more hair than normal, it could be caused by a number of issues. As you get older, your hormone levels begin to change, and heredity can contribute to thinning hair. Unfortunately, these are things that cannot be changed.

Statistics show that around 30 million women will experience hereditary hair loss, which is also known as female pattern baldness. In almost every case, the hair begins to thin when menopause begins.

The Signs of Aging in Your Hair

Help is Available

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Treatment For Hair Loss Is Out There

Most cases of increased shedding will gradually resolve on their own without treatment, Dr. Schlosser says. But if your hair doesn’t return to its normal fullness within nine months, see a doctor for an evaluation to find out whether something else is going on. And if you have other worrying symptoms, like itching, pain, burning, flaking, or redness, you should seek help sooner.

See your primary care provider or go directly to a dermatologist who specializes in treating hair loss. They can determine what type it is and what the right treatment approach is for you based on which therapies are currently available for your specific issue.

In addition to changes in products and hairstyling habits, your doctor may prescribe topical treatments to treat hair loss, like minoxidil, or direct you to an over-the-counter version, like Rogaine . They might also recommend treatments like platelet-rich plasma injections , which can be helpful for some patients, SELF explained previously. If youre curious about your options, check in with your doctor or dermatologist.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Different Kinds Of Stress Can Cause Hair Loss

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If youve been under emotional or physical stress, it may lead to hair loss. Things like a death in the family, major surgery, or a serious illness may cause the body to shut down certain processes like hair production.

Theres around a three-month delay between when a stressful event happens and when you might see hair loss, so you may not pinpoint the trigger right away.

However, if you are experiencing thinner hair, consider different events or situations in your life that may have caused you considerable stress. Hair loss due to stress is generally temporary. Hair may begin growing again after the event has passed and the follicle starts producing again.

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Make Sure You Have Enough Protein In Your Diet

Hair mostly consists of keratin protein, which is produced using amino acid building blocks obtained from your diet.

To maintain a constant protein supply for your follicles, eat some with every meal, whether its poultry, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts or beans. If you eat a plant-based diet, you may be more prone to thinning hair as some amino acids essential for healthy hair and micronutrients are often difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities without taking a vegetarian-friendly supplement.

Do not skip meals, as this puts your body into survival mode so that the supply of protein and nutrients to hair follicles is reduced.

And 5 Ways To Save Your Strands

by Cheryl Bond-Nelms, AARP, September 27, 2017

You can take steps to prevent further hair loss or damage.

En español | Visible hair loss can be deeply distressing and affects both men and women of all ages. While this condition is more common in men, women can experience thinning or complete hair loss, as well.

For women, pattern hair loss occurs mostly when they are in their 50s and 60s. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, Female pattern hair loss is the commonest cause of hair loss in women, and prevalence increases with advancing age. Affected women may experience psychological distress and impaired social functioning.

According to a posting by Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Hair loss often has a greater impact on women than on men because it’s less socially acceptable for them. The organization notes that as many as two-thirds of postmenopausal women have thinning hair or bald spots.

Hair loss in men, the Harvard article explains, “usually begins above the temples,” with the receding hairline forming the shape of an M. In women, thinning hair appears gradually, usually at the part line, and increasing hair loss spreading from the top of the head.

There are several causes of hair loss in women, including medical conditions, certain medications, and physical or emotional stress. Here are five categories of hair loss affecting 50-plus women.

  • Aging
  • Family history of pattern baldness
  • Stress
  • Diet i.e., poor nutrition

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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.

Changes In Birth Control

Thinning hair: Hair loss in women

Going off hormonal birth control or changing to a different type of hormonal contraception can also cause hormone-induced shedding. “Whether you’re just starting it, discontinuing it, or changing brands, your body can react by causing the hair to go into an increased shedding mode,” Dr. Fusco says.

This is another form of telogen effluvium, which means that its usually temporary. You can rely on volumizing products and styling tricks while you wait for your hair to regain its fullness.

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Chin Whiskers: Just What Every Menopausal Woman Wants

Remember when your great-grandmother kissed you and you could feel spiky whiskers poking your face? Now its your turn. All kinds of delightful changes occur when a woman goes through menopause and facial hair is one of them.

Facial and body hair that increases after menopause is called hypertrichosis. When coarse hairs pop up on a woman in areas where you would see hair on a man this is considered hirsutism and is often the outcome of increased male hormone levels. Hairs that were always there but werent obvious become visible when hormonal changes from menopause take place.

T.S.: I pluck and wax. I thought about letting it grow and joining the circus as the bearded woman.

The true irony is while hair on the face may increase, hair on the head is simultaneously thinning and falling out. As noted by Womenvoicesforchange.org, Father Time and Mother Nature do have a wicked sense of humor when it comes to deciding where hair grows or doesnt grow on older women and men.

S.R.: I had facial hair, peach fuzz. When my son was getting ready to get married he said to me, Mom, what are you going to do about that hair on your face? Needless to say, I had it waxed.

J.S.: Hairy genes plus age = yuck! C.G.: Im a tweezing fool!

Because estrogen receptors are plentiful around the face, this area is susceptible when circulating estrogens are reduced as a result of menopause and, voila, hair appears.

Hair Loss Is Often Caused By Genetics

Its important for women to realize that a lot of why they may experience hair loss is influenced by genetics and the aging process, says Bruce. A genetic cause doesnt mean that its necessarily something youve inherited directly from your mom or dad, she adds.

There are multiple different genes related to hair loss, and this is a very complex interplay of many genes. You shouldnt assume youve done anything to cause your hair loss, especially if you are otherwise healthy, says Bruce.

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How Thinning Hair Occurs In Women Vs Men

A healthy scalp has around 80 percent of its hair follicles in the growing stage while the other 20 percent is in the resting stage. Hair thinning and loss occur when that vital growing state either slows down considerably or stops.

What causes hair to thin out for women? Just like our bodies change with age, most women notice some hair thinning as they get older. This is quite natural. Its said that by the age of 50, half of women will complain of hair loss. If a womans thinning hair is related to female-patterned hair loss, then the thinning is believed to be 90 percent genetic and 10 percent hormonal. Youll probably be surprised to learn that female-pattern baldness affects about 30 million American women. You cant change your genetics, but thankfully, you can work on the hormonal aspect .

Thinning hair in women typically occurs slowly all over the entire scalp without a recession of the hair line . If a woman has female-pattern hair loss, it can lead to extreme hair thinning but rarely leads to baldness.

What about thinning hair in men? For men, hair thinning can start as early as puberty and progress for many years to come after that. The thinning usually begins above the temples and travels around the perimeter and top of the head. Ultimately, this can result in a ring of hair often referred to as a horseshoe remaining along the bottom of the scalp. For a lot of men, hair thinning continues until there is no hair left resulting in a completely bald scalp.

Cancer Treatment Is A Trigger

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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.

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