Hair loss in women can lead to emotional distress. Understand the reasons for female hair loss and learn how to prevent hair loss in women.
Why is hair so important to humans, more so women? Is it just for display or it carries deeper meaning? We can all agree that hair is much more than display. It symbolises femininity, expresses freedom, beauty, and liberation.
One of the most noticeable parts of any woman’s body is her hair. It enhances our natural beauty, boosting our confidence and self-esteem.
Besides, people tend to judge your attractiveness based on how healthy your hair is. Thus, we invest a lot of time and money in hair care, to keep the crown on our heads full and healthy.
Historically, hair has been a symbol of women’s femininity since the era of civil wars where women shaved their heads to mimic men on the battlefield.
In the modern-day, hair and beauty have significantly contributed to the economy as it is a multi-billion dollar industry, not forgetting the investment in hair maintenance products and apparatus such as hair dryers, clippers and bikini trimmers.
Studies show that an average woman will spend $50,000 through her life on her hair and almost two hours in a week committing care to her hair.
That explains why hair loss in women can be so frustrating and disappointing, and that is why you will need all the knowledge you can get on why you are experiencing hair loss and how to take the edge off.
Hair loss is perfectly reasonable, there shouldn’t be a cause for alarm if you have about 100 strands left on your comb after doing your hair in the morning.
Your body generates new cells, and the old ones need to be replaced. However, you should get a little worried if your ponytail is getting thinner by day or more of your scalp is revealing.
There are many challenges that women have to deal with to keep their hair looking great at all times. Of them all, nothing can be more alarming than noticing an uninspiring sparser hairline or hair that seems to be losing its volume.
Hair loss is common for everyone and it is part of a natural process when you lose some hairs while others grow to replace them. According to online sources like Hairclippersclub.com, on average we lose between 50 to 100 strands daily and that is normal.
However, if you are losing more than this or you notice is not growing back, it is no longer the normal shedding but a hair loss problem called alopecia.
This can be a sign of a serious health condition. Thinning hair in women can lead to emotional distress. It is therefore important to understand the reason behind your hair loss and to find hair loss remedies and solutions.
Types of Hair Loss In Women
In women, hair loss can be generally be classified into four general categories:
1. Genetic or Hereditary Hair Loss
Also known as Androgenetic Alopecia or female pattern baldness this type of hair loss causes some hair follicles to gradually shrink, producing shorter and weaker hair with every cycle of hair growth.
If you come from a family with a history of hair loss, you are more prone to this kind of hair loss mostly between the age of 12 and 40 years.
2. Cicatricial Alopecia
This is an irreversible type of hair loss where hair follicles are replaced by scar tissue. It can result from several triggers including physical injury.
3. Alopecia Areata
This type of hair loss manifests as a sudden patchy hair loss that can start with single or multiple round patches that may overlap.
This cause of hair loss in women can result from many triggers ranging from emotional stress, a nutritional imbalance to medical conditions or treatments.
4. Traumatic Alopecia
A type of hair loss mainly caused by poor hair grooming practices such as chemical products and extreme hairstyles.
Hair Loss Prevalence in Women
Any woman or girl can experience hair loss at some point in life. However, hair loss is more evident in:
- Women above the age of 40 years.
- Women under chemotherapy of other treatments.
- Women in their post-pregnancy condition (just after giving birth).
- Women who use harsh chemical hair products or go for hairstyles that pull on the hair such as tight braids.
The Common Causes of Hair Loss in Women
It is also important to note that there are different types of hair loss: some like androgenetic genetic alopecia are permanent, whereas telogen effluvium is temporary and common, it is caused by hormonal and health alterations.
The following are the most likely causes of slow hair loss in women:
1. Genetic Conditions That Cause Hair Loss In Women
Genetic hair loss is also known as androgenetic or androgenic alopecia and is the most common cause of hair loss in women. A female can inherit the genes from either parent’s side, but it is more likely two occur if both parents experienced hair loss.
Mostly this involves gradual thinning at the hairline or across the entire scalp (diffuse thinning) and can start as early as the age of 12 years.
Diagnosis: To diagnose hereditary hair loss you can establish whether other women in your lineage (mother, grandmother, aunts and so on) had the same condition. However, your dermatologist can examine the condition through a blood test to exclude other causes or perform a biopsy of the scalp.
2. Health Conditions That Cause Hair Loss In Women
There is a range of medical conditions that can cause hair loss in women, by disrupting hormonal balance, scarring the scalp or autoimmune disorders which attacks the hair follicles.
Some common conditions that result in direct hair loss include:
Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism
Millions of women suffer from thyroid disease in which case the body under (hypo-) or over (hyper-) produces thyroid hormone. Both conditions affect several body functions including hair growth.
Other symptoms include; fatigue, sudden weight gain and depression for hypothyroidism. For hyperthyroidism, you may experience sudden weight loss, moist skin, muscle weakening and diarrhoea among others.
An unhealthy scalp may cause inflammation, inhibiting hair growth. Such conditions include; fungal infections like ringworm, dandruff and psoriasis.
This is an iron deficiency condition, mostly affects women who experience heavy periods and do not take iron-rich diets. The blood lacks enough RBCs, which are responsible for transporting oxygen to the hair follicles.
This is a condition where the immune system attacks healthy body tissues including hair follicles, stopping hair growth.
Other Health Conditions
Medical conditions such as celiac disease, trichorrhexis invaginata and hypopituitarism are some reasons for hair loss.
3. Hormone Imbalances
Imbalanced production of estrogen and progesterone interfere with hair lifecycle and can be another cause of hair loss.
Some women may experience this type of hair loss after pregnancy, during and after menopause or after taking birth control pills.
Hormone imbalances may also lead to other symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycle, weight gain and dry skin.
4. Physical and Emotional Stress
The growth of hair takes place at different rates, while some hair is growing, others might have made a halt or are being shed off.
When you are going through a stressful phase, the body allocates a lot of resources to recuperation from the event; this means that resources that would have otherwise been directed to the hair growth cycle are no longer adequate.
Sudden physical changes including sudden and drastic weight loss or gain, fever, serious infections and surgery can also lead to hair loss.
Another common cause of hair loss in women is physical or emotional stress resulting from things like loss of a loved one, divorce and trauma, job change or a big move.
5. Medical Treatments
Hair loss can be a side effect of certain medications like radiation therapy and chemotherapy or any other treatments involving toxic substances. This type of hair loss may be temporary or permanent.
Certain medications may be responsible for your hair loss. Antidepressants, HIV and blood pressure medications are most likely responsible for this. If you notice that you have been losing a lot of hair soon after you started taking new meds, it is advisable that you consult your doctor.
Did you know that starting, discontinuing or even changing your birth control pills can cause hair loss? Contraceptives mostly work in a way that they alter the hormones, well the same contraceptive may lead to hormone-induced shedding.
6. Poor Hair Grooming Practices
Hair loss does not necessarily take place at the root. It also breaks at the shaft. What causes it? Thermal damage is usually responsible.
Heat and chemical treatments can weaken hair, making it break and fall out. Overusing hot tools to style your hair makes it weak, excessive bleaching or use of hair dyes have the same effects.
When you become a regular of the two, a condition known as trichorrhexis nodosa develops, causing the hair to break at the weak points of the shaft. Such practices can even damage the follicles, leading to permanent hair loss.
Another reason for hair loss is extreme hair grooming, such as too much shampooing, dyeing and hairstyles that can pull on the hair root and damage your locks.
Ladies are fond of, if not addicted to, processing their hair. They are very willing to spend huge amounts of money for perming, straightening and relaxing procedures. However, it is essential to know that this could lead to permanent hair loss.
Frequent use of harsh chemicals, which is mostly the case with the procedures, will damage your scalp and hair follicle until it gets to a point where your follicles won’t grow back.
7. Nutrient Deficiency
Healthy hair is always a reflection of a healthy diet. Lack of some nutrients that are vital to hair growth such as B vitamins, proteins among other minerals can lead to or accelerate hair loss.
Protein is responsible for the generation of new cells in our bodies. Hair consists of layers of dead keratin cells, which are protein in nature. It means you should have enough proteins in your body to replace lost cells, which in this case is hair.
How To Stop Hair Loss In Women
Here are some effective hair loss prevention and hair fall treatment tips that you can follow to prevent hair loss in women.
1. Hair Grooming Tips
Stay away from high-heat styling
Get rid of hair styling tools that use excess heat. Too much heat causes thermal damage to your hair, so it is important to avoid styling tools such as curling irons, hot straighteners, hairdryers and so on.
You do not have to use the driers; you can always let your hair dry naturally, additionally use tools that have regulators to help you expose your hair to minimum heat.
Limit the use of chemical treatments
Avoid chemical processing and treatments such as perms, dyes, peroxide treatments and highlights are one of the most common causes of hair loss in women.
In as much as dying your hair and having it straightened all the time may sound tempting, learn to let your hair stay natural especially if you are experiencing loss and thinning.
Stick to natural hair care products
Avoid shampoos, conditioners or any other product with harsh ingredients. Some of the best natural ingredient to prevent hair loss include plant oils, liquorice, aloe vera and safflower among others.
Natural oils have become easily accessible and you can easily purchase them online or at your favourite store. Take advantage of their soothing, regenerative and balancing effects by applying some during scalp massaging.
Prevent physical damage
One simple way to prevent hair loss in women caused by physical damage is to wear a hat to avoid sun damage and comb the hair with a gentle brush.
2. Eat a Healthy And Balanced Diet
Eating healthy is one of the sure ways to promote hair health. Ensure that your diet has ingredients that provide nutrients required for hair growth.
Consume foods with vitamins and minerals to help rejuvenate the thinning strands. Also, do not forget to include protein in your diet.
Remember that it is okay to consult a dietician if you need help with the allocation of nutrients in your food. Some of the recommendations are:
- Potassium – Rich foods like bananas.
- Proteins – Eggs, beans and meat.
- Vitamins – Green vegetables and fruits.
- Water – Taking clean water promotes hair growth.
3. Medical Treatments
Depending on the cause and the extent of hair loss, there is a variety of medical hair loss treatments for women including:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Ultra Violet Light Treatment
- Hair Transplantation
- Nutrient supplements
There are many causes of female hair loss ranging from hereditary to bad hairstyling practices. Whatever the cause, hair loss can make you lose your confidence as well as lead to emotional distress.
However, once they learn the reason behind hair loss, most women are able to remedy the situation and get their healthy strands back using simple hair loss prevention tips and products that promote hair regrowth for women.
In case of sudden hair loss in women, it is important to work closely with your dermatologist to diagnose the cause and settle on the best female hair loss treatments.
Moreover, you can use other online resources to learn about top hair grooming tricks and hair growth products for women to learn how to prevent hair fall in the future.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is presented for the purpose of educating people. Nothing contained on this website should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.
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