Women refer to their hair as their “crowning glory.” However, not every woman enjoys perfect, voluminous hair as some suffer from hair loss. Unlike men who suffer from baldness, the reasons for hair loss in women are wide and varied. Learn more about these determining factors.
What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss or alopecia is the loss of hair on the parts of the head or the body. This hair condition results in thinning, patching, or baldness. In women, hair loss is the thinning out of the hair but barely leads to baldness.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, normally, we shed between 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. Hair loss is the excessive shedding of hair with less to no regrowth. Female-pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women.
Hair loss in women
According to a study, fewer than 45% of women will live with a full head of hair in their lifetime. Women who suffer from hair loss might show signs of distress and isolate themselves from society.
Hair loss in women may be temporary or permanent, depending on what type of hair loss is occurring.
There are treatments that women can do to promote hair growth. However, it requires time and patience to achieve one’s hair goals
Causes and Treatments
Hereditary or biological inheritance
You can inherit hair loss if this hair condition runs in the family. The genes of your parents’ passed down to you or your siblings may include hair loss genes.
The (male) female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) or androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary type of hair loss. This type of hair loss causes thinning of the hair on the crown of the scalp. FPHL does not result in a receding hairline and rarely leads to baldness.
Traction alopecia occurs when hairstyles pull the hair tightly on the roots causes temporary to permanent hair loss. To prevent traction alopecia from occurring, avoid these hairstyles if you can: tight ponytail or braids, cornrows, and hair bun.
Changing your hairstyle to something more comfortable might result in hair regrowth.
Hair-care products, tools, and techniques
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia occurs when using harsh hair care products, such as shampoo and conditioner, pomades, gel, and hairspray.
You might also suffer from this type of hair loss when using hair styling tools and techniques. These include curlers, straighteners, blow dryers, hair extensions, hair dyeing, bleaching, and perming.
Excessive hair fall, brittle hair, and bald spots occur due to incorrect and frequent use of these products.
Some illnesses use various medical treatments as a cure or prevention. However, hair loss is one of the most common side effects of some of these treatments.
Anagen effluvium is a type of rapid hair loss resulting from medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
These treatments eradicate cancer cells. However, it also eradicates the hair follicle production in the scalp and several parts of the body.
Stress, vitamin and mineral deficiency, and medications
Telogen effluvium is a temporary hair loss due to stressful events, traumas, certain deficiencies, and medications. Shock and stress push your hair prematurely in the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. Then it will be stagnant and not advance to the next phase.
Stressful events such as childbirth, surgeries, and illnesses may cause hair loss. Deficiency in some minerals and vitamins may also trigger this condition.
Also, taking and stopping medications is a factor in what causes hair loss in women.
Other medical conditions such as:
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues including hair follicles. This condition promotes hair fall and prevents hair regrowth in the scalp and other parts of the body.
This condition might occur unexpectedly in both adults and children. Alopecia areata might result in total hair loss called alopecia totalis.
Trichotillomania or ‘hair-pulling disorder’ is classified as a mental disorder. This medical condition urges an individual to pull their hair repeatedly. People who suffer from trichotillomania pull their hair from the scalp and other hairy parts of the body. This may result in severe hair loss if not managed properly.
Some medications can help treat hair loss in women. These includes:
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved drug that slows down or stops hair loss in women. This medication also promotes growth for thicker and stronger hair. Some shampoos, hair lotions, and other hair products contain minoxidil, which you can use to treat hair loss.
2% minoxidil is the recommended usage for women. This drug works, however, it does not guarantee the same results to every woman.
Hair loss shampoos
Medicated shampoos are available in the market that caters to hair loss. However, these shampoos are just effective for minor hair loss problems.
In the Philippines, organic ‘gugo’ shampoo is one of the most used hair care products in treating hair loss. The saponin compound found in gugo penetrates the follicles, which promote hair growth and regrowth.
A permanent solution to hair loss and baldness is a hair transplant. A hair transplant is a surgical procedure. It is a process where physicians take healthy hair follicles from the scalp or other parts of the body. Then graft them to parts of the scalp where thinning and baldness are present.
Always consult your physician or dermatologist before trying out any of these treatments.
Prevention depends on what causes hair loss in women. If hair loss is genetics, then most probably it will be irreversible and permanent. However, there are types of hair loss that are preventable.
Here are some prevention tips for hair loss:
- Maintain a healthy scalp by washing and styling your hair with gentle hair care products.
- Detangler combs and sprays will help avoid pulling and tugging of hair when brushing.
- Avoid using hot tools frequently. Air dry is the best option for your hair.
- Try not to put harsh chemicals on your hair by avoiding hair dyeing, perming, and permanent hair straightening treatments.
- Avoid trying out hairstyles that cause your hair to break out of the roots.
- Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about treatments and medications to prevent your hair loss from worsening.
- Use products that promote hair growth, such as aloe vera, coconut oil, and castor oil.
- Eat a balanced diet since your hair health depends on the overall health of your body. The essential nutrients you get from healthy foods will go to your hair as well.
Hair loss is a serious condition that men and women experience. Knowing what causes hair loss in women is important. It is the first step you must take to manage and cure your hair problems.
Urgently consult your doctor once you determine what triggers your hair loss. By doing this, you will receive the right treatments and medications that best suit your hair condition.
Learn more about Women’s Health, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.