What causes female hair loss?
Losing your hair as a woman isn’t dissimilar to male hair loss. Although when females experience alopecia it normally occurs in the parting, as bald spots, or through gradual thinning. Similarly to men, types of hair loss in women are numerous, however with women hair loss is often hormonal or genetic.
Hair goes through a hair growth cycle. Firstly, the anagen stage (new growth), secondly the catagen stage (regression/ transition), and lastly the telogen (rest). Shortly after, the follicle returns to the anagen stage and the cycle continues.
The hair on your head has a much longer growth cycle than the hair on your arms, eyelashes and eyebrows (for example) hence why they don’t grow as long. Furthermore, hair loss occurs when more hairs fall out than grow back.
- Is female hair loss hormonal?
- How fast will female hair loss progress?
- What is the best treatment for female hair loss?
- Is female hair loss reversible?
- Why does female hair thin at the front?
Is female hair loss hormonal?
Both Telogen Effluvium and Female Pattern Baldness are caused by hormones. Nevertheless, this isn’t the only cause of female hair loss. Telogen Effluvium can also be a result of stress, extreme shock, thyroid disease, and medications. Meanwhile, Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is a result of genes (hair loss through family history), ageing or menopause.
Will estrogen help female hair loss and boost hair growth?
During menopause, the change in estrogen hormone levels can either cause hair to grow where you didn’t have hair before, or you may experience hair thinning. To summarise, when the levels of estrogen change, the male hormones increase. Thus causing hair fall due to the effects of androgens.
Hormone Replacement Therapy aims to help the body to maintain a healthy, balanced level of hormones. To point out, this is why many women notice changes in their hair thickness when undergoing this treatment.
Furthermore, a woman’s estrogen levels have a huge effect on female hair loss and hair growth. A decrease in estrogen means that the hairs are kept in the anagen phase for longer.
Which therefore allows the hair to grow for an extended period. Consequently, lower levels of estrogen mean that the hairs may fall out prematurely.
How do you stop hormonal hair loss naturally?
Female hormonal hair loss can be stopped naturally with:
- Green tea
- Keeping hydrated
- Eating a balanced diet and foods rich in estrogen, and protein
- Scalp massages
- Applying hair oils to the scalp
- Gently brushing hair with a boar bristle brush
How fast will female hair loss progress?
The speed of female hair loss depends on the cause. It can even occur suddenly or gradually develop. If hair loss occurs suddenly it’s a sign of a serious medical condition or caused by medication, childbirth, or diet. Genetic hair loss is more likely to be slow and in this case you’ll see the hair thinning.
How do I know if I’m losing too much hair?
If you’re worried about how much hair you’re losing, you can perform a “pull test” on your hair at home. Therefore, by doing a pull test you can analyse how much hair fall you have. And subsequently whether it is a cause for concern.
To start, firstly run your fingers through a small area of dry, clean hair. Secondly, once you get the end of the hair shafts gently tug at the hair. If more than 2 or 3 hairs fall out, you know that you’re experiencing telogen or anagen effluvium.
On the whole, this is a normal amount of hair shedding. But if you see more than 10 hairs fall out into your hands then you should speak to your doctor for an analysis. Excessive female hair loss is caused by:
- Hormonal changes
- Thyroid conditions
- Radiation therapy
- Severe shock or trauma
- Tight hairstyles
At what age does women’s hair start to thin?
For centuries women have been made to believe that long, thick hair is a sign of beauty. Therefore many women strive to reach unrealistic hair goals. But growing hair like this is mainly down to genetics, and you either have it or you don’t. Either way, experiencing female hair loss can be soul-crushing.
Female hair thinning can start when you’re in your 20’s and worsen in your 30’s. In reality, 1 in 3 women will notice hair loss during this time. The cause determines whether it will be sudden or gradual hair loss.
What is the best treatment for female hair loss?
Firstly, the thing to do is to determine the cause of the alopecia by getting a diagnosis from a specialist. Once you know the cause, several treatments are possible:
Medication: Minoxidil is the most common treatment. Also sold under the name Rogaine, it is known to have mild side effects. The major issue with Minoxidil is that once you stop the treatment, hair starts falling again after a few months.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: this treatment is recommended by a doctor sometimes to help with menopause. Here increased levels of estrogen are used to balance hormones which also prevents female hair loss. Unfortunately, they are known to cause side effects and should always be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
Hair loss shampoos: clogged pores on the scalp are known to cause hair loss issues. When pores are clogged, hairs cannot grow out of the follicles properly which prevents the hairs from growing long. Therefore, it’s important to choose a good shampoo that cleanses the scalp of these pore-clogging impurities. Shampoos that are purposely designed to repair and restore the hair shaft are most recommended to treat hair loss concerns.
Healthy diet: nutrition is a key element in supporting good hair growth. In order to provide your hair with the nutrients it needs, you need to consume sufficient nutrients. This comes from ensuring a balanced diet including fatty acids, protein, and vitamin D and E.
Hair transplant: this is the only permanent treatment available today. Modern hair surgery techniques such as the FUE procedure are considered safe and your hair starts growing again after a few months.
Is female hair loss reversible?
Female pattern baldness is only reversible with treatment, and the only long-term cure is a hair transplant. Topical treatments are also available that regrow hair in areas of bald patches. But they need to be applied on a daily basis.
A hair transplant on the other hand only needs to be performed once. And after a few months, you will see your hairs growing longer and thicker.
Can I reverse PCOS hair loss?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder that affects thousands of women. Even though symptoms can include excess facial and body hair, females can also see hair thinning and hair loss.
PCOS causes hair loss because it triggers excess androgen production, therefore testosterone levels in women are increased. The hair on the front of your hair will start thinning, which is commonly referred to as a female pattern hair loss (FPHL).
Hair loss from PCOS won’t grow back on its own but you can reverse hair loss with a hair transplant. A hair transplant surgery implants hair follicles into the scalp where the hair is thinning (in this case the front hairline).
After a few months, new hairs grow back, resulting in a full head of hair grown back after experiencing baldness.
Why does female hair thin at the front?
Female pattern hair loss, similar to male pattern baldness, causes a receding hairline. However, in men, the receding hairline is more prominent and creates an M-shaped line at the front. Whereas in women, the hair thins.
Androgenic alopecia is the main cause of this frontal hair thinning. Female genetic hair loss makes hair thin on the top and frontal areas. The hairs at the back and sides of the head aren’t affected by the DHT hormone, whereas the hairs at the top are more sensitive.
Tight hairstyles, like high ponytails and tight braids, also make hair fall out at the frontal area. This is referred to as traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is reversed by changing the way you style your hair. Thus removing the tension on the hair follicles and allowing the hairs to regrow.
Female hair loss is unfortunately an issue that concerns many women. Fortunately, recent advancements in hair transplant surgery make it now possible to tailor this hair loss treatment for women in order to permanently recover their lost hair.
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