All you need to know about hair loss for women
Aug. 24, 2020
If you’re like me, then you may have thought that baldness only happens to males. But in actual fact, the American Hair Loss Association reports that of all the people who experience hair loss, 40% are women. If you ever had concerns that you’re losing hair, then read on to find out what type of hair loss you’re experiencing, what causes it, and possible treatments.
Types of hair loss
The first thing to call out is that every loses hair. It’s very normal to see between 50-100 hairs being lost every day. Where you do need to start worrying if you’re losing significantly much more than that. You might want to get in touch with your dermatologist to see what’s happening if you’re experiencing rapid and significant hair loss.
Thinning hair and receding hair line
The most common type of hair loss is genetic, and happens as you get older. This type of hair loss is called male-pattern or female-pattern baldness, and is marked by a receding hairline, thinning hair or bald spots.
If the hair loss is gradual and there are people in your family with a history of hair loss, then it’s probably safe to assume that it’s female-pattern hair loss.
If you recently gave birth, and are experiencing hair loss in the months post-pregnancy, then it’s likely that this is post-partum hair loss, also called telogen effluvium.
If you’re seeing thinning at the temples and in the hair line, this is a sign that your hair follicle is affected, and you’ll need a dermatologist to screen for underlying issues like iron deficiency or hormonal imbalances that could be causing this.
Although there’s nothing quite so alarming as watching your hair shed, the good news is that there’s often a treatable cause, and all the hair that you shed can eventually grow back.
Shedding usually occurs after physical traumas (surgery, childbirth) or emotional traumas or periods of intense stress. This is because events like these can knock your hormones and your body off-throw, disturbing the natural balance and equilibrium your body fights so hard to maintain each day. That’s why changing your birth control pill could also be enough to trigger hair loss. If it’s likely that the cause of your shedding comes from emotional trauma, then don’t let hair loss add to your woes – as long as you take care of your mental health and body, and lower your stress levels back to a normal, healthy amount, the shedding will more than likely disappear. Women are particularly sensitive to cortisol, the stress hormone, so keeping it in check is the secret to managing your shedding.
Hair breakage near the scalp
If you hair is literally snapping in two – and this often happens in the middle of the strand or just a few centimetres above your head, this isn’t traditional hair loss. Instead, it’s breakage due to severe damage to keratin – the structural protein found in your hair that gives it its toughness, rigidity and shine. In this is happening to you, then you’ll need to focus on building up strength in your hair again by restoring keratin. You can do so by staving off damaging treatments that involve excessive heat, bleach and dyes, and to instead take good care of your hair by using hair oils and masks to nourish it and keeping your hair hydrated and moisturized.
Balding can appear as patches across the head (alopecia areata), or can even be full-scalp baldness (alopecia universalis). At the extreme end, loss of eyelashes and eyebrows will accompany the hair loss on your head. This happens because your immune system is attacking your hair follicles. It’s a chronic condition and happens quite suddenly, so if you notice a rapid rate of hair loss in one or more circular patches, it’s best to see a dermatologist to get a diagnosis.
Hair loss caused by other conditions
Our endocrine system is closely related to the growth and health of our hair follicles, and since hair loss can be a symptom for an underlying health condition, it can be a vital early warning sign to help you avoid undesirable outcomes.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is very often hard to diagnose, is marked by increased levels of testosterone. So again, seeking help from your dermatologist sooner could help you plan out your treatment.
How to treat hair loss
While there are too many treatments that work – and don’t work – for this article to cover, it is worth mentioning a few, just so you have an idea of what to look for.
Platelet-rich plasma injections contain many compounds that stimulate growth an reduce inflammation, and does help with hair growth. Botanical-based treatments like Nutrafol, which contains curcumin, turmeric, ashwagandha and saw palmetto, can improve hair thickness. And some natural ingredients like vitamin B5 and rosemary oil have also shown some benefits in treating hair thinning.
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