When we think of hair loss, we don’t often think about it in relation to women. I remember my dad telling me that he started loosing his hair at 16, and I have only ever known him with hair around the sides and back of his head, although he never had a problem growing a massive moustache which I always find interesting. Men lose their hair for a variety of reasons, the most common one being male pattern baldness. This hereditary condition usually starts when a man is in his late twenties or early thirties and results in a permanent form of hair loss.
Male baldness is fairly well accepted by society, understood and expected. Men tend to be better at accepting hair loss because of this. Bald men are often seen as virile or sexy and the number of bald male models, sports stars or celebrities that are bald clearly helps to support that view.
But there are few such role models for women, the only one that springs to mind is Gail Porter. How many bald female role models do you know of? We don’t usually think of women losing their hair but female hair loss is much more common than you think.
So, if you are a woman who is experiencing hair loss, what does this mean for you, and what might be causing it?
No matter the cause, stress is a beast of a burden that can physically manifest itself in a variety of ways, including affecting the state of your hair. This cause for hair loss is also known as telogen alopecia is an overall hair thinning rather than patches.
Making relaxing activities like yoga or meditation a part of your routine, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats can all help. Everyone de-stresses in different ways, so find out what helps you to relax and go with it.
Another treatment option for stress-related hair loss is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, a treatment that’s quickly increasing in popularity in dermatologists’ offices, simulating the hair to grow back.
An Autoimmune Disease
Alopecia areata occurs as a result of an autoimmune disease, where the body immune system decides your healthy cells are foreign, and thus attacks them. This type of alopecia is visible in the form of one or more circular bald patches.
This hair loss cause can stem from a variety of issues including but not limited to thyroid, hormonal, or anemia. When dealing with this hype of hair loss, the longer it’s left untreated the more likely the situation is permanent.
My grandmother used to say that I should never dye my hair because it would all fall out. That stuck with me, and aside from colour mousse my best friend and I experimented with during our school years, my hair has never seen any dye. It’s true, how you style your hair can give you the opposite of your desired effect by causing your hair to fall out. Everything from too-tight ponytails, hair dye, and straightening treatments can lead to traction alopecia. This can happen when you wear hairstyles that place the hair in constant traction too often.
Luckily, the solution for traction alopecia is simple, and fairly obvious: stop wearing your hair in styles that make your scalp sore, and if your hair is over-processed, ease up on the dyes, chemicals, and heat tools. A weekly deep conditioning treatment can really help as well, so don’t panic, this is easily fixed!
Iron is essential for the body to produce hair cell protein. If your diet is lacking iron-rich foods like red meat or dark leafy greens like spinach, or your body isn’t absorbing it properly, hair loss is usually the body’s first sign of the deficiency before anything else. Without proper iron stores, the hair does not have the support it needs to sustain growth.
In addition to upping your intake of iron-packed foods, you could try a daily iron supplement.
I wrote, a while back about postpartum hair loss. Throughout pregnancy, estrogen levels are raised which prolongs the hair’s usual growth phase. Once we give birth or stop breast-feeding, our bodies’ estrogen levels drop back to normal which can cause the extra hair we grew during pregnancy to shed in a short period of time. There isn’t a huge amount that we can do about this, other than eat a high protein and high iron diet, not over brush or over style and also embrace that dry shampoo mummies, because we don’t want to over wash it either.
My hair loss after my forth baby felt very dramatic but in reality it probably looked a lot worse than it actually was. It slowed right down after I stopped breastfeeding and now I would say that the loss is normal, or at least my normal pre-babies.
Coping with hair loss
It is natural to feel upset or angry about hair loss, especially if it has occurred as a result of an illness, or a stressful experience, but the next step is to then address the problem. Once you have come to terms with the fact that you are losing your hair then you start to look at ways of treating it.
There are two forms of hair loss:
If you have been told that your hair loss is permanent then it will no doubt take time to come to terms with. As someone who has always had lots of hair, I know I would find this very difficult. We all deal with things differently, so you will need to work out how you are going cope with this change and try to move forward as best you can. You could consider Advanced Tricho Pigmentation Treatment, a hair transplant, or a wig if you prefer.
Temporary hair loss is easier to deal with as you know that your hair is likely to grow back.
The best form of attack is likely to be defence, begin by learning as much as you can about your hair loss. Go online, speak to your GP and see if he/she can advise you further about your condition. See if there is a local support group as talking to others in the same position can help.
Is this something that concerns you or a family member? What have you/they found useful?