Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 8/7/2021
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: According to research less than 45 percent of women make it through life without losing at least some of their hair. That’s right: Female hair loss is a thing.
From thinning strands to noticeable bald spots, hair loss in women can present itself in a variety of ways, and with all kinds of hair types. It can also be caused by a number of things (more on that soon!).
Are you ready for the good news? There are lots of products on the market that can slow down and potentially even reverse hair loss in women.
And in the process, they can even help promote healthier hair.
Find out more about some of the best hair loss products for women, along with a bit more information on why hair thinning and loss happens in the first place.
If you have this form of hair loss, it's often called female pattern hair loss and it means you have genes that cause your hair follicles to shrink and stop growing hair.
This type of hair loss can start at any age, too. In fact, some women notice it in their teens — but it’s way more common later in life.
So, what exactly causes androgenic alopecia? Genetic hair loss occurs when your body has an excessive response to androgens.
Andro-what? These are the hormones that contribute to hair growth and reproductive abilities.
If you think you might have this form of hair loss, take a look at your hair density. Most women who deal with genetic hair loss first notice overall thinning, or a widening part.
Yup, hormone levels can cause hair loss. Fun, right? Insert sarcasm here.
Testosterone may be commonly associated with men, but it’s present in women, too. This hormone encourages reproductive and non-reproductive functions in females.
Testosterone can attach to androgen receptors in the hair bulb and the dermal papilla which regulates hair growth. And this process can shrink your hair follicles.
Sometimes that testosterone will also be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can also attach to androgen receptors and cause hair loss.
With less estrogen and progesterone in your system, there’s more room for testosterone to roam free and, as you now know, that affects hair health as well.
Did you know that your thyroid gland plays a role in the health of your hair follicles? Well, it does.
Hypothyroidism (when your body produces too little of the thyroid hormone) along with hyperthyroidism (when you produce too much of the thyroid hormone) can affect hair growth.
The former can cause delays in hair growth. This means you could lose hair without more hair growing in to replace itself.
The latter can cause finer hair to grow, which is more likely to break.
Some hair habits can cause hair to fall out — like constantly using hot tools without giving your hair strands a break, to wearing certain styles.
Other things that cause damage: coloring, perming or relaxing your hair — especially doing any of these things frequently. Lots of damage can lead to hair loss.
Tight hairstyles like a ponytail or bun may also cause hair loss. When this happens, it’s called traction alopecia. It’s the constant pulling that causes permanent hair loss.
From medications to hair care treatments and strategies, there are options available to help you manage your hair loss. Here are some of the best:
That’s because it is FDA-approved for androgenetic alopecia. Minoxidil is sold under the brand name Rogaine® and comes in a 2% solution or 5% foam.
Wondering how topical minoxidil works? When applied, it sends a signal to your blood vessels to open so that more nutrients and oxygen can get to the hair.
It also stretches out the growth period for hair, which means more follicles are created to replace lost hair.
A healthcare provider may prescribe you the acne drug spironolactone if testosterone is what’s behind your hair loss.
It may sound odd that an acne medication would be used for hair loss, but it is fairly common.
Spironolactone prevents testosterone from turning into DHT and slows the production of androgens, which will prevent or slow hair loss.
Dry, brittle hair is prone to breakage.
Habits that can cause dryness include:
Using hot tools to frequently style your hair
Dying or relaxing your hair
Living in a dry climate
Regularly pampering your strands with a hydrating hair mask can also lead to stronger hair.
Additionally, keep your hair tools on the lowest setting and try to have days where you skip the styling all together.
When it comes to dying or relaxing your hair, add more time between touch-ups. And if you do multiple services, don’t do them all at once — rather, wait two weeks between services.
You may have seen hair gummies all over social media. Well, they’re often made of biotin, a B vitamin known for promoting healthy hair and growth.
A study found that taking biotin produces faster hair growth in people experiencing thinning hair.
Biotin is also one of the natural ingredients in certain foods — like eggs, milk and bananas. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough in your diet, a biotin supplement could help lead to thicker hair.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a product — but it’s not bad to have it on your radar.
In extreme cases of hair loss, a healthcare provider may recommend a hair transplant as a permanent solution. This procedure typically takes between four and eight hours to complete.
During a hair transplant, the healthcare provider removes hair from one area of your body (usually the back of your scalp) and transplants it to the area where your hair is missing.
People who have a hair transplant should see results within 6 to 9 months.
You don’t have to just accept female pattern hair loss or any other type of hair loss. If you want to treat it, you'll want to figure out what's causing your hair loss — whether it's androgenetic alopecia or lifestyle factors.
There's a good chance that a medication like minoxidil or spironolactone will likely be the most effective remedy.
Combining one of these medications with some of the other solutions and hair loss treatments — like a great shampoo and conditioner and hair transplantation — can enhance your results and improve healthy hair growth.
If you’re ready for a healthier head of hair, talk to a healthcare provider to figure out the best game plan for you.