Reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but research shows that less than 45 percent of women make it through life without losing at least some of their hair.
Whether you’re dealing with thinning strands, a receding hairline or actual bald spots, hair loss can be upsetting — and may shake your confidence.
If you are experiencing this unfortunate issue, chances are you want to stop hair loss in its tracks — as soon as humanly possible.
We’ve got some scientifically-proven treatment solutions for you to try for whatever your type of hair loss — but first, learn more about why you may start losing hair in the first place.
Female hair loss happens to everyone, every day. In fact, the average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs per day. However, if you are shedding much more than that, you could be dealing with female hair loss.
There are a number of types of hair loss and reasons it occurs. The most common causes are:
Genetics is perhaps the most common reason for hair loss. It’s medically referred to as androgenic alopecia but is also called female pattern hair loss. This basically means that you have certain genes that make your hair follicles shrink, halting growing hair.
Most women notice androgenetic alopecia later in life, but it can happen at any age (including during the teenage years).
When you think of testosterone, you probably instantly associate it with being a male hormone. But women have some of it too.
When testosterone attaches to androgen receptors in your hair bulbs and the dermal papilla (which regulates hair growth), it can shrink hair follicles and lead to hair loss.
This testosterone can also be turned into something called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which may also attach to androgen receptors and lead to hair loss.
When there is less estrogen and progesterone in your system, testosterone is more easily able to roam free and cause hair loss.
Your thyroid gland (and how it functions) can affect how healthy your hair follicles are and whether you experience loss of hair.
One thyroid condition is called hypothyroidism: This is when your body produces too little of the thyroid hormone. This may lead to delays in the hair growth phase, so you might lose hair without growing more to replace it.
Conversely, there is hyperthyroidism, which means you produce an excess of the thyroid hormone. With this, finer hair may be encouraged to grow, which in turn breaks more easily.
Constantly using hot tools, certain styles and chemically-based treatments can all lead to hair loss.
Coloring, perming or relaxing your hair can be especially harsh on your tresses and it’s even worse if you do any of these things frequently. When your hair is damaged, it can lead to hair loss.
Check out some Top Hairstyles For Women With Hair Loss in our other guide.
Once you’ve noticed that you are losing hair, you’ll want to halt that hair loss as soon as possible. That way, you can save whatever hair you still have.
Speaking to a healthcare professional will be the best way to determine the optimal solution to your hair issues. These are some of the treatments that may be presented to you.
To deal with genetic hair loss you may want to try topical minoxidil. It is FDA-approved as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia and is often sold under the brand name Rogaine®. Topical minoxidil can be found in a 2% solution or 5% foam.
How it works: Topical minoxidil signals your blood vessels to open so that more nutrients and oxygen can get to your hair. Plus, it elongates the growth period of your hair, which means more follicles are created to replace the hair you lose.
If testosterone is causing your hair to fall out, the prescription acne medication spironolactone could help.
When you take spironolactone, it stops testosterone from turning into DHT, while also slowing the production of androgens. This process either stops or slows hair loss from occurring.
As we mentioned, damaged hair (specifically dry, brittle strands) is more likely to break. So, infusing hydration back into your tresses should be one of your hair goals.
Applying a hair loss conditioner after using a hair loss shampoo can help. Using a hydrating hair mask every week or so can help protect against hair loss, too. And, no, there has not been any evidence that conditioner causes hair loss.
Other ways to prevent damage include allowing your hair to air dry or limiting hot tool use, not to mention stretching out time between coloring or relaxing your hair.
Curious if those biotin hair gummies that are suddenly so popular actually work? The answer is that they may. Biotin is a B vitamin known for encouraging healthy hair and growth.
One study found that taking biotin produces faster hair growth in people experiencing thinning hair. More research needs to be done, however, before it can be said that biotin can definitely help with hair loss.
You can also get biotin through a healthy diet. Foods like eggs, milk and bananas contain it.
As a woman, hair loss can be devastating. It can cause anxiety, stress and really affect your self-esteem.
Common causes of hair loss in women include genetic predisposition (which leads to female pattern hair loss, sometimes called female pattern baldness), hormone changes, age and hair habits. These things can lead to noticeable hair loss or patches of hair loss.
Whatever your signs of hair loss may be, you’ll want to address your symptoms with an effective treatment for hair loss. You can consider topical or oral medication, along with adding some healthy hair habits into your routine.
Not sure where to start? Consider speaking to a healthcare professional to guide you. They can identify your type of hair loss (like androgenetic alopecia or traction alopecia), take into account any other medical conditions you may have and set you up with a hair loss treatment.
Dr. Jill Johnson is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and board-certified in Aesthetic Medicine. She has clinical and leadership experience in emergency services, Family Practice, and Aesthetics.
Jill graduated with honors from Frontier Nursing University School of Midwifery and Family Practice, where she received a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in Family Nursing. She completed her doctoral degree at Case Western Reserve University.
Jill is a national speaker on various topics involving critical care, emergency and air medical topics. She has authored and reviewed for numerous publications. You can find Jill on Linkedin for more information.
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