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How to Prevent Hair Loss in Women

Katelyn Hagerty

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 10/22/2022

A full head of healthy hair can be an important part of a woman’s appearance, and for many, it’s a confidence booster. Whether you’re facing split ends or lackluster locks, it’s normal to be dissatisfied with your mane from time to time. But one issue many women don’t want to deal with is hair loss.

Maybe you’re losing hair from pregnancy, or perhaps you don’t know why you’re shedding more than usual. Whatever the reason, hair loss can be frustrating.

But can women prevent hair loss from happening — or at least prevent more from occurring in the future?

Our guide will cover all the possible reasons you’re losing your hair so you can slow it down or potentially stop it altogether. Let’s get started.

Hair Loss in Women 101

Everyone loses some hair — in fact, we all shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. But if you’re experiencing more fallout than usual, you may have frantically searched “how to prevent hair loss in women.”

Shedding hair is a normal part of your body’s routine. As new hairs grow in, old ones fall out. The hair growth cycle occurs in three phases — the anagen phase, the catagen phase and the telogen phase.

The anagen (growth) phase can occur over several years and is what makes up most of the hair on your head. Following this is the catagen phase when the hair follicles (the primary structures from which hairs grow) shrink.

Lasting anywhere from a few weeks to an entire year, the telogen (resting) phase is when growth stops. The hair falls out at the end of this phase.

Some shedding is usually nothing to worry about. But if you run your fingers through your hair and end up with a concerning number of strands in your hand, you may be experiencing a loss of hair.

Keep reading to learn why you’re losing hair and how to prevent hair loss in women.

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Reasons for Hair Loss

Instead of one single condition known as hair loss, there are many reasons why women lose hair.

Some common types of hair loss in women include:

  • Androgenetic alopecia (female pattern hair loss). Also known as androgenic alopecia, androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss in women. Androgenic alopecia typically occurs in women in their forties, fifties or sixties and is caused by a combination of genetic factors and hormones. If you’re genetically predisposed to this form of hair loss, hormones called androgens may damage your hair follicles and cause them to shrink over time.

  • Telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is due to stress, injury, illness, nutritional deficiencies, certain medications or medical conditions. Telogen effluvium doesn’t cause permanent hair loss, unlike androgenetic alopecia.

  • Anagen effluvium. Often referred to as chemo-induced alopecia, anagen effluvium is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle — such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

  • Alopecia areata.Alopecia areata happens when your immune system harms your hair follicles. This type of hair loss can cause hair to fall out in small, round patches.

Other reasons for hair loss in women can include menopause, thyroid issues, rapid weight loss or even a particular hairstyle. Pinpointing the cause of hair loss is the first step in learning how to prevent more hair loss in women.

You can learn more about hair loss in women in our complete guide.

Now that we’ve covered why you might be experiencing hair loss, we’ll go over how to prevent hair loss in women and how to prevent more hair loss in women.

How to Prevent Hair Loss in Women

If hair loss is already an issue, knowing how to prevent more hair loss in women may be important.

Because female hair loss can occur for many reasons, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for every case of hair loss. And while some types of hair loss aren’t preventable, several therapies can shield your locks from other types and, in some cases, restore your hair after shedding.

Below, is a breakdown of strategies on how to prevent hair loss in women.

Laser Therapy

Low-level laser therapy (also known as red light therapy or cold laser therapy) may help improve hair density for women facing various causes of hair loss, such as chemotherapy.

These low-dose laser treatments are designed to promote blood circulation by stimulating the scalp, ultimately encouraging new hair follicles to grow. But we should note the results are inconsistent, meaning they work for some people and not others.

Still, research has shown some promising results, including a 2014 study that found low-level laser therapy safe and effective for hair growth in both men and women.

Medications

Some medications may help prevent hair loss in women.

Commonly known as Rogaine®, minoxidil is a topical medication available as a liquid or foam.

Though its exact mechanism of action isn’t yet known, minoxidil is thought to stimulate growth by encouraging hairs to enter the anagen stage. It’s currently the only medication approved by the FDA to treat female pattern hair loss.

We offer minoxidil 2% drops online. You can learn more about using this medication and its potential side effects in our full guide to minoxidil for female hair loss.

Another type of medication that may prevent hair loss is anti-androgens. The drug lowers levels of male sex hormones (androgens) responsible for hair loss, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

One well-known anti-androgen is spironolactone. It’s often prescribed off-label to treat hair loss caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), as well as female-pattern baldness.

Spironolactone can produce side effects, so talk with your healthcare provider about this possible hair loss treatment.

Hair Loss Shampoo

Regularly lathering up with a hair loss shampoo for women can help reduce hair shedding and keep your hair healthy and strong. Many formulas contain active ingredients like biotin that play a key role in the hair growth process.

Protective Hair Care

If you’re experiencing hair loss due to damaging hairstyles or chemical processing (tight updos or frequent coloring, ponytail for example), consider switching to a hair care routine that protects and restores your mane.

Tight ponytails or braids may lead to excessive breakage or shedding by pulling on the root of the hair, so try to avoid these styles as often as you can.

Massaging coconut oil into the scalp may also repair hair damage, promote blood flow to the area and help with regrowth.

The lauric acid found in coconut oil helps bind protein in hair, protecting it from breakage at the root and strand. A 2018 review of studies also found that coconut oil may help prevent hair damage from grooming and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.

Supplements

Certain vitamins and minerals are important for hair growth and may help with hair loss prevention.

Research has found that vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as iron, selenium and zinc, are associated with healthy hair growth. Many of these are available at grocery stores and online, but you can also talk to your healthcare provider about a prescription.

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Is Hair Loss in Women Preventable?

While it’s impossible to avoid all types of hair loss, some hair loss treatments and methods may help prevent it.

We recommend talking to a dermatologist about potential hair loss treatments, as some may be time-consuming, costly, interact with certain medications or have other possible negative effects.

Are you ready to give your hair the TLC it needs? Chat with a licensed medical provider at Hers today to find a personalized treatment plan.

15 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Do you have hair loss or hair shedding? (n.d.). American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding
  2. Hoover E, Alhajj M, Flores JL. Physiology, Hair. Updated 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls Internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499948/
  3. Hughes EC, Saleh D. Telogen Effluvium. Updated 2022 Jun 26. In: StatPearls Internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  4. Saleh D, Nassereddin A, Cook C. Anagen Effluvium. Updated 2021 Aug 12. In: StatPearls Internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482293/
  5. Hair loss types: Alopecia areata overview. (n.d.). American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/types/alopecia
  6. Avci, P., Gupta, G. K., Clark, J., Wikonkal, N., & Hamblin, M. R. (2014). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) for treatment of hair loss. Lasers in surgery and medicine, 46(2), 144–151. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944668/
  7. Badri T, Nessel TA, Kumar D D. Minoxidil. Updated 2021 Dec 19. In: StatPearls Internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  8. Drugs@FDA: FDA-Approved Drugs. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/daf/index.cfm?event=overview.process&ApplNo=021812
  9. Rathnayake, D., & Sinclair, R. (2010). Innovative use of spironolactone as an antiandrogen in the treatment of female pattern hair loss. Dermatologic clinics, 28(3), 611–618. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20510769/
  10. McCoy, J., Goren, A., Kovacevic, M., Situm, M., Stanimirovic, A., Shapiro, J., & Sinclair, R. (2018). Styling without shedding: Novel topical formula reduces hair shedding by contracting the arrector pili muscle. Dermatologic therapy, 31(1), 10.1111/dth.12575. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29193553/
  11. Dias, M., Loures, A. F., & Ekelem, C. (2021). Hair Cosmetics for the Hair Loss Patient. Indian journal of plastic surgery : official publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India, 54(4), 507–513. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8719955/
  12. Wallace TC. (2018). Health effects of coconut oil: A narrative review of current evidence. Retrieved from
  13. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07315724.2018.1497562
  14. Almohanna HM, et al. (2018). The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: A review.
  15. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

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