Hair loss in women is prevalent. According to the American Hair Research Society, around 50% of all women start losing their hair by the time they are 50.
Hair loss is not reserved for men only. In fact, a large percentage of women start losing their hair at a later age, most likely due to a natural increase in the male hormone (androgen) levels. . For some, it will start in their 20s or 30s. Genetics, stress, pregnancy, menopause, and a bad diet can cause hair loss in women. Hair loss treatment should be customized to the root cause, type, and severity of hair thinning.
What is the hair cycle?
Each one of us has 70,000-100,000 hair follicles on our scalp. Each follicle produces 20-25 hair during its lifetime. The hair cycle is 3-4 years when hair is produced in the hair follicles, grows, and falls. Shedding 80-100 hair a day is typical. When shading rate is higher than production, get thinning hair and baldness.
What can cause hair loss in women?
Genetics is the most cause of hair loss in women (and men). This hereditary hair loss, called androgenetic alopecia or female pattern baldness, typically beings with thinning hair and gradually worsens with age. Hair thinning and bald scalp areas happen when the hair’s growth phase slows down and follicles shrink. In women, genetics-related hair loss starts from the crown of the head, but unlike male pattern hair loss, it doesn’t result in complete baldness.
Hormonal imbalances can cause several unwanted side effects, including adult acne, weight gain, and, you guessed it - hair loss. If your hormones are out of whack, the results will manifest throughout the body. Hair loss inducing hormonal imbalance can be triggered by stressful events or medications such as pregnancy, menopause, oral contraceptives, or childbirth.
Deficiencies in vitamins such as L-lysine, zinc, and B6 could lead to transitory hair loss, telogen effluvium and cause hair loss. These essential vitamins are vital to hair cell protein production, and without adequate levels, your strands can suffer.
The thyroid gland helps regulate the body's metabolism and controls protein production. Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can affect hair follicles and result in hair loss.
It's not a myth that stress can literally make your hair fall out of your head. Increased stress or the occurrence of a traumatic event can cause sudden hair loss, though it is usually temporary. Stress triggers a spike in androgen levels and causes scalp problems, negatively affecting the hair. The imbalance of hormones may disrupt your hair's growth cycle, causing it to skip over the growth phase (anagen phase) and stay in the resting phase (telogen phase).
It develops when the hair is repeatedly pulled or if you have a tight ponytail, bun, or braids.
Excessive bleaching, heat styling, and other hair treatments may cause hair to become damaged and more susceptible to hair breakage. Other external factors such as sun exposure and pollution may also be triggers for hair loss. The main risk with these factors is that they interrupt protein formation in the hair structure, leading to weaker hair that can break easily.
What are the best treatments for female hair loss?
Since its creation, Minoxidil is the most effective way to regrow hair in women. This is an FDA-approved ingredient for hair loss available in a concentration of 2% (for women) or 5% (for men) and has been found safe to use for both males and females. It's most effective for women to treat overall hair thinning at the top of the head. For optimal results, Minoxidil should be applied twice daily for 4-6 months.
DHT Blocking scalp serum
An alternative to using Minoxidil is using a high-quality DHT Blocking scalp serum. This scalp serum uses active DHT blocking plant extracts to counteract the effects of DHT on the hair follicles. The best hair care serums will also contain ingredients that stimulate blood circulation in the scalp, add essential vitamins and minerals needed for hair regrowth, and act as antioxidants to reduce the harmful effects of toxic chemicals and air pollution.
DHT shampoo and conditioner
Look for products that contain DHT-blocking ingredients. DHT is an androgen hormone that attaches to the hair follicle and is linked to hair loss. Some of the best ones include ketoconazole ingredients, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil, and biotin.
Rosemary leaf oil
This wonderful-smelling essential oil has been shown to promote hair growth and stimulate the scalp. Try mixing a drop or two of the essential oil into a carrier oil such as olive or coconut and massaging it into the scalp. Leave on for 10 - 15 minutes before shampooing.
Vitamins E, D, B6, Folic acid are essential for healthy scalp and hair regrowth. Vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate hair thinning and cause brittleness, making the hair more susceptible to breakage. It is a crucial nutrient for immunity, bone health, cell regeneration, and hair follicle production. You absorb most of your vitamin D requirements through the sun, but dietary supplements can also help your intake.
Zinc, selenium, and copper: Minerals that are essential for healthy scalp and hair regrowth. Iron levels play a huge part in hair and nail health. Women who do not have enough iron in their bodies may find that it causes hair to fall out in a fashion similar to genetic male- and female-pattern baldness. Be sure to fill up iron-rich foods such as spinach, lean protein, peas, and fruits.
Regular head massages can encourage scalp health, improve blood flow to the area, and increase hair oil production, making the hair stronger and fuller. The best time to perform a massage is in the shower after applying shampoo and conditioner. Gently move your fingers in a slow, circular movement around the head to reduce stress and promote hair growth.
Be mindful of styling.
You want to reduce the amount of stress you are placing on your delicate strands. Try and avoid hairstyles that pull at the root, such as tight ponytails and buns. You'll also want to be mindful when choosing products that may contain harsh chemicals. Whenever possible, limit or avoid heat styling entirely as it can cause damage that leads to shedding and breakage.
Wash regularly, but not too often
Under and overwashing hair can impact the volume and feel of your hair. Not washing enough can cause a buildup of product that weighs down hair, but washing too frequently can strip the hair of natural oils necessary for vitality and moisture.
Surgical hair replacement
Hair transplantation involves removing single hair follicles from the head's back and reimplanting them into the scalp area where the hair is thinnest. This procedure is very lengthy and costly, but the results are natural-looking once it heals. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of a hair transplant, contact your dermatologist for medical advice and consultation.