Check Medications With Your Doctor
Some medicines for conditions like heart disease or those used to lower lipids can affect your hair. Talk to your doctor about if any of the medications you take interfere with hair growth or loss, and ask for advice on how to help counteract negative effects. Some of these medicines can cause shedding of finer fibers, Dr. Bergfeld says. Also, when women stop hormone replacement medication, they should expect a fair amount of hair loss.
Theres no one who has the hair at 60 or 70 that they had at 15, Dr. Bergfeld says. Thats why its important to take care of your hair as you age.
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.
The Thyroid Disease Connection
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that rests in the front base of the neck. It secretes thyroid hormones that are used by every cell in the body. There’s a connection between hair loss in women and thyroid disease. Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels are a common reason for hair loss in women. Too much thyroid hormone and too little thyroid hormone may both trigger hair loss. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heart rate, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, and anxiety. In addition to hair loss, hypothyroidism may be associated with weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold, slow heart rate, and constipation. Luckily, thyroid hormone imbalances are easily detectable with blood tests. Treatment helps alleviate symptoms, including hair loss.
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Medications To Treat Hair Loss
Treatment depends on the underlying cause, says Dr. Scott. Sometimes simply addressing a medical condition prompting hair loss will be enough for the hair to regrow. In other instances, a woman might consider a medication like minoxidil , which helps with certain types of hair loss, or another treatment to replace or regrow lost hair.
A newer option being used to treat hair loss is platelet-rich plasma injections. For this treatment, the doctor draws your blood, divides it into its separate components, recombines the blood fluid with a high concentration of platelets , and introduces the resulting preparation back into the scalp.
The science on this isnt totally worked out. We still dont completely understand the mechanism behind PRP, but growth factors contained in platelets can stimulate regeneration of hair follicles and other tissues as well, says Dr. Scott.
In addition, low-level LED laser lights have been found to be helpful in regrowing hair in some cases. Its likely that even more treatments will be developed in the near future.
Consider Using A Caffeinated Shampoo
If you dont already use a caffeinated shampoo, consider switching to one. Caffeine applied directly to the scalp has two beneficial effects. It relaxes smooth muscle fibres surrounding the hair to improve blood flow. More importantly, it also inhibits the enzyme, 5–reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone within scalp hair follicles and which is associated with male and female pattern hair loss.
A growing body of evidence supports the effects of caffeinated shampoos in stimulating hair follicles, and Ive certainly noticed a dramatic improvement in hair thickness since starting to use one. Just two minutes contact with the scalp during shampooing allows the caffeine to penetrate into hair follicles, where it remains for up to 48 hours after washing.
Leave-on caffeine solutions are also available and have been shown to increase the cross-sectional area of scalp hairs by 10%.
Drinking caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee does not have the same effect, as the caffeine must penetrate into the hair follicles itself to inhibit 5- -reductase.
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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.
Can You Measure Hair Loss
Yes. Doctors use the Savin scale. It ranges from normal hair density to a bald crown, which is rare. The scale helps document female pattern baldness, a condition your doctor might call androgenic alopecia. You probably know it as male pattern baldness, but it affects about 30 million American women. Experts think genes and aging play a role, along with the hormonal changes of menopause. Your hair could thin all over, with the greatest loss along the center of the scalp.
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Other Reasons For Hair Loss
When your locks fall out suddenly, instead of gradually thinning over time, itâs usually from something other than male pattern baldness. Other causes include:
- Diseases like anemia or a thyroid problem
- Radiation or chemotherapy treatments
- Medications, such as blood thinners, high doses of vitamin A, and steroids that some men take to help build muscle, called anabolic steroids
- Scalp infections
Get A Hormone Boost To Reduce Hair Loss
Hair loss increases after menopause when estrogen levels fall. This also increases the relative influence of the small amount of testosterone hormone that is made in the ovaries and adrenal glands.
Testosterone is converted into a stronger hormone in hair follicles which increases male and female-pattern hair loss which is genetically determined.
If you are willing to take estrogen hormone replacement therapy, this will help to boost hair quality. Once again, this is something that you can discuss with your doctor.
An alternative approach is to consume more plant estrogens, especially isoflavones and lignans. Although these are between 500 and a thousand times less active than human estrogen, they can provide a useful hormone boost. Isoflavones are found in edamame beans, tofu, miso, and other soy products, sweet potato, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
As well as having an oestrogen-like action, lignans provide an additional benefit by inhibiting the enzyme , which converts testosterone to the stronger dihydrotestosterone in hair follicles. Research shows that increasing your intake of lignans are associated with a reduced rate of hair loss and hair regeneration.
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Cancer Treatment Is A Trigger
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.
What Are The Different Types Of Female Hair Loss
Engelman explains how the hair cycle is a four phase process: Anagen , Catagen , Telogen , and Exogen . Each hair follicle goes through this process at different times, otherwise we would lose all of our hair at the same time before it started to grow again. There is no exact normal number of hairs shed per dayit depends on the individual. But if your normal seems to have changed, and youre finding extra hairs on your pillows, clothing, and even falling into your food, it could mean your hair growth cycle has been disrupted.
According to Joshua Zeichner MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, female pattern hair loss, or FPHL, is polygenic, meaning that its likely caused by a combination of genetic factors from both your mom and your dad, though other factors can contribute to hair loss. It is important to understand whether hair loss is caused by genetics alone or whether there are contributing medical factors involved, Zeichner adds. Medical factors might include hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause, menopause and post-partum, as well as stress, illness, weight loss, and even gut health.
Stress can play a big role in female hair thinning and loss. The Mayo clinic describes
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Why Is Thinning Hair In Women Such A Challenge
Each of your hair follicles goes through a cycle of hair growth, during which the hair lengthens, followed by a resting phase, in which the hair follicle shrinks and the bulb pulls away from the root. The hair then remains at a constant length until it loosens and falls out.
Because each hair has its own cycle, you normally lose between 80 and 100 scalp hairs per day. If daily losses are greater than this, gradual thinning occurs, especially in later life when hair growth also slows.
After the resting phase, the follicle may reactivate to produce a new hair, but this cycle does not repeat indefinitely. On average, each hair follicle reactivates around 25 times before it switches off, or produces hair that is increasingly wispy and short.
The way your hair changes with age depends partly on the genes you have inherited. It is also impacted by changing hormone levels around the time of menopause, as well as your diet and lifestyle.
Preventing Hair Loss: Over
The simplest solution is to start using 5 percent minoxidil, which is available without a prescription, says Bruce. The trade name is Rogaine, but there are also generic versions available. This treatment is effective in about two out of three people who use it, she says.
Compliance can be an issue, because you have to use it every day to retain the benefits, she says. There are medications marketed to both men and women, but women can use the mens formulation and it is often less expensive.
Oral prescription drugs have been shown to help with female pattern hair loss. These drugs have been approved for use in other conditions, but are used by doctors off-label for FPHL, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association .
Spironolactone, a blood pressure medication that is a diuretic can prevent hair loss from worsening and restore hair growth, according to the AAD. Other drugs block the effects of circulating androgens or lower androgen levels.
These oral medications should not be used by women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, according to the AAD.
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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.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Thinning Hair
If you feel self-conscious about thinning hair, there are options beyond treatments and procedures that may make hair loss less noticeable, says Bruce.
- Wear a wig, extension, or hairpiece. Some women find this to be a suitable option.
- Style your hair differently. This can make a widening part less noticeable.
- Try hair powders. These contain tiny fibers you sprinkle the powder in your hair and the fibers cling to the hair shaft, giving the appearance of fuller hair and hiding where the scalp is visible.
- Consult a hair stylist. Some stylists specialize in thinning hair.
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What Can I Do About Traction Alopecia
To protect your hair from traction alopecia and prevent further damage:
- Ask your stylist to create looser braids or dreadlocks.
- If you have braids, remove them after three months.
- If you wear a weave or hair extensions, remove them after eight weeks.
- If you have relaxed or dyed hair, make sure these treatments are applied by a professional. If you still notice breakage or hair shedding, avoid chemical treatments completely.
- Minimize heat styling, including hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons. These wear out the hair and can lead to major hair loss.
How Is Hair Loss In Women Treated What Medicines Or Supplements May Help
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss.
- In cases where the loss is due to stress or hormone changes like pregnancy, there might be no treatment needed. The hair loss will stop after a period of time.
- In cases of hair loss being due to hair styling practices, like tight braids or ponytails or certain chemicals, treatment means not doing the things that caused the damage.
- In cases due to nutritional deficiencies, you might be told to take supplements. For instance, you might be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin daily.
- Minoxidil is approved for treating FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution can be purchased in stores. However, you have to follow directions exactly and use the product indefinitely. Dont use this product if youre pregnant, if you plan to get pregnant, or if youre breastfeeding.
- The HairMax Lasercomb® low light laser is approved by the US FDA to treat FPHL. Another FDA-approved laser product is the Theradome LH80 PRO® helmet and low light laser helmets and caps.
Other medications that have been studied, but not approved, for hair loss in women include:
- Spironolactone and other anti-androgens.
- Other light treatments.
It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception. Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.
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