Did you know that according to Harvard Medical School, nearly one-third of women experience hair loss at some point in their lives? Perimenopause/menopause, pregnancy, stress, dietary changes, hair products, hairstyles that constantly tug at your scalp, and your genetics are all common causes of female hair loss.
Women experience hair loss just as much as men do. But instead of the tell-tale receding hairline that men typically get, women usually have thinning and hair loss around their natural parts, around the crown of the head, or you may experience thinness everywhere. If you are experiencing hair loss, first, know that you’re not alone. And second, know that there are treatments available to help. Let’s discuss the do’s and don’ts of hair loss.
If you are experiencing hair loss, know that you’re not alone. Nearly one-third of women experience hair loss at some point in their lives.
Do Know the Signs
Between all of the hair we lose when we wash, style, blow dry, and flat iron our hair, it’s hard to tell if the hair we’re losing is normal everyday shedding or the signs of something a bit more alarming. So how can you tell the difference? Cleveland Clinic states that people typically lose anywhere between 50 to 100 hairs per day. But if you start seeing clumps of hair fall out in your brush, on the floor, in the shower, or on your pillows, you start noticing a wider gap in your part, or you notice that your ponytail seems thinner, you may be experiencing the symptoms of hair loss.
But not all hair loss looks the same. According to Allure, if you’re experiencing hereditary female-pattern hair loss, you may notice a gradual thinning around the crown and in the middle of your part. If you notice thinning at the temples and hairline, that’s a clue that your actual hair follicle is damaged. This could be due to tight hairstyles like ponytails, braids, and buns, iron deficiency, or hormonal imbalances.
First things first, don’t panic. Stress is one of the causes of hair loss, so why make the problem worse? Anabel Kinglsey, a trichologist (aka hair doctor) tells Cosmopolitan UK, “Very importantly, try not to panic. Telogen effluvium (excessive shedding) is almost always self-eliminating, and hair will start to grow back as usual once any internal imbalance is put right.”
Hair loss is caused by many different factors—age, health (up to 30 different kinds of health problems are associated with hair loss!), diet, excessive stress, or simply genetics. The first course of action is to see a doctor to rule out any hormonal imbalances, iron deficiency, or thyroid problems. Sometimes, a switch in hormonal birth control, a recent pregnancy, or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can be the problem. Addressing the issue head-on is the first step to getting to the root (ha!) of the problem.
The first course of action is to see a doctor to rule out any hormonal imbalances, iron deficiency, or thyroid problems.
Don’t Head to the Store & Buy Every Product Known to Man
Before you grab your car keys to go to the store to stock up on hair growth gummies and thickening shampoo (been there, done that), it’s worth it to take a more holistic, inside-out approach by taking supplements, reducing stress, eating healthy, and exercising.
You may have seen a ton of buzz about biotin, a vitamin touted as a miracle hair growth supplement. But most of the studies have been geared towards nail growth, not hair. Of course, if you do have a biotin deficiency (which is incredibly rare, by the way), one of the symptoms is hair loss and taking biotin will help hair regrowth. But most likely, it’ll better to focus on eating a balanced diet full of fruits and veggies.
For female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), many doctors prescribe minoxidil (commonly known as Rogaine), an FDA-approved chemical that treats hair loss in both men and women. It helps stimulate hair growth by restoring inactive hair follicles. Both 2% and 5% concentrations of minoxidil are available for purchase over the counter, but be aware that it’s a lifetime commitment. Once you start using it, you must keep using it or your hair will start thinning again.
Do Be Patient
If you’re experiencing hair loss and you’ve started to figure out what is causing it and are starting your hair regrowth journey, it’s important to be patient. Despite what all those cartoons told us growing up, hair grows incredibly slowly. It can take anywhere from three to six months to see any sort of progress. In the meantime, continue to monitor your hair’s health. If you start to notice even more hair loss instead of regrowth, it might be time for another trip to your doctor.
Have you ever experienced female hair loss or thinning? If so, what do’s and don’ts would you advise?