Women and Hair Loss:
Losing hair can be a traumatic experience for most women. Although it is a common condition, hair loss is not something that anyone would want to deal with and it can make you feel like you have lost control. If you’re looking for ways to prevent or treat a mild case of hair loss, then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I’m covering what causes female hair loss, how you can prevent it and minimize it with your home care routine, dietary supports and supplements and what treatments are available.
What Causes Female Hair Loss:
Women are complicated and so is our hair loss. Hair loss in women can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions and external factors such as styling, chemicals, pollutants and stress. Typically hair loss is caused or triggered by two or more of these factors. Rarely is there just one cause. Genetic hair loss is also known as androgenetic alopecia, which is the most common cause of hair loss in women. Genetic hair loss is unfortunately a tough one to reverse, and the density of your hair is limited to how much hair your parents and grandparents have to some degree. Hormonal changes such as menopause, pregnancy or thyroid disorders can also trigger hair loss. Medical conditions like lupus, anemia or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also cause hair loss. External factors such as styling products, chemicals, frequent hair coloring and heat styling and stress also damage hair, causing it to fall out.
Prevention is Key for Hair Loss:
Preventing hair loss in women is possible if you understand the factors that are triggering hair loss. I recommend incorporating some of these practices, tips and remedies if not all of them into your routine by the age of 30. Definitely by 40 you should be doing all of these. Just like our skin, what we do now for our hair will help it as we age.
Diet & Supplements that Support Hair Growth:
If you’re going through hormonal changes or your diet is less than perfect, consider taking supplements or consulting your doctor. Adding a hair vitamin will help prevent and treat most types of hair loss. Ensure that you maintain a healthy diet with enough vitamins and minerals, especially iron, B vitamins, folic acid, Zinc, biotin and vitamin D. Also eating a diet rich in these nutrients will help prevent hair loss. (See our previous blog on foods that are amazing for hair, skin and nails). Iron and Biotin are not going to grow your hair, so eating meat and taking Biotin alone will not prevent hair loss. Iron and Biotin are amazing for improving the health and condition of the hair you have, causing it to be stronger and break less- these help you hold onto the hair you have. B vitamins, folic acid and Zinc all support growth and strengthen follicles so hair grows out thicker. Vitamin D helps regulate cell turnover to ensure continuous hair growth cycling. Inadequate vitamin D levels can slow down the development of follicles, which can lead to sparse regrowth and cause existing hair strands to fall out. Also, don’t forget to manage your stress levels as cortisol (the hormone produced when you’re stressed) can lead to hair loss. Look for a hair vitamin that has adaptogens which manage cortisol naturally, that’s why I love Super Hair from Moon Juice. It has it all. If your hair Vitamin doesn’t have adaptogens, you can always add a Rainbo 11:11 tincture to your life or two caps of Moon Juice Super You. The past few months have been more challenging than expected, so I have personally been doubling down on all of these in my routine.
Styling and Care for Fine, Thinning Hair:
For years I have been telling clients that want to grow their natural hair, cool it on the hot tools. You can only use one. What I mean by this is the day you wash your hair, either air dry it and touch it up with an iron if needed or blow dry it and skip the iron. Maybe on day two you can touch up with an iron if you didn’t already. But don’t do both every time at home! When I style your hair, I have just done a couple of treatments and we don’t do this every few days like you do at home. Less is more. Your hair will get used to it. Really, it will! And not all styling products are equal. You want products that have moisture, maybe a bit of protein and heat protection up to at least 400 degrees.
Hair loss can also be prevented by making small changes with how you wear your hair up. For example, avoid pulling your hair back too tightly or using tight hairstyles as they can lead to traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by constant tension on the scalp. Traction alopecia can be reversed if you catch it in time. Otherwise Traction Alopecia will lead to Cicatricial Alopecia which is permanent scarring. Also, be gentle when brushing and detangling your hair, on dry hair consider a spritz of Magic Mist or a couple of drops of VIRTUE Healing Oil if your hair is super tangly to prevent breakage. Always brush from the mids to ends and do the roots last once the tangles are loosened in the ends.
The Importance of Scalp Care:
Scalp care is vital for healthy and luscious hair. A clean and healthy scalp is the conduit for your hair follicles to absorb the nutrients required for healthy hair growth. Scalp massages, which promote blood circulation to the scalp can also help stimulate hair growth. Using a sulfate-free and pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t strip the hair and scalp of natural oils and one that stimulates scalp health is essential. Flourish shampoo and conditioner from Virtue is my most recommended shampoo conditioner combo for thinning hair. It’s also super important to use a scalp exfoliator to remove gunk and build up from the scalp caused by pollution and products. This stimulates growth and feels amazing. Typically I avoid products on the scalp unless they are for hair growth or beneficial for the scalp, this prevents build up. If you have seen the scalp spa on Tik Tok that was put on the map by the Kardashians and you were curious to try a scalp treatment, this is your sign to splurge and go do this. It’s basically a facial for your scalp, your head will be so happy and you will be so relaxed!
Lastly with scalp care, I want to address something that I see (and smell) often. Dirty hair that is long overdue for a wash. Years ago, we all told you that you shouldn’t wash your hair more than once a week. 9/10 times, this is not OK. If you work out, sweat or your scalp starts hurting or itching you NEED to wash it, babe. You wouldn’t let sweat sit on your face for days, don’t do your scalp dirty- it’s an extension of your face. If you are itchy or it feels tender, your scalp is trying to tell you something, listen! These are signs of irritation, build up and even an overgrowth of yeast!
Dry shampoo can no longer be your go-to product for extending the life of your hair without washing it. Not washing your hair is not only gross, but overusing it might lead to hair loss. Dry shampoo contains alcohol and other solvents that can dry out the scalp, leading to hair loss. Avoid using it every day and choose a more gentle, natural dry shampoo brand that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals. Also, the more you pack the follicles full of dry shampoo,
Treating Female Hair Loss:
There are various treatments available for hair loss in women, depending on the cause. For a professional diagnosis of the cause of your hair loss, I always recommend consulting with a dermatologist or trichologist (the study of diseases or problems related to the hair and scalp, as well as their treatments). They are qualified to determine the factors contributing to your hair loss.
For topical treatments, one of the most common and effective are ones that are Minoxidil based. Minoxidil is an FDA approved topical treatment used on the scalp to regrow hair. It is safe and effective, but keep in mind it usually will take 3-6 months to see results. You can also take hair supplements that contain Biotin, Iron, Zinc, Folic Acid and Vitamin D to help improve hair growth.
PRP, red light therapy and other medical grade treatments work, however they require commitment and consistency. You have to stick with it once you start and be prepared for the expense. You can opt for hair transplant surgery in severe cases, surgeries have come along way since hair plugs and are super effective.
Finally, you can try hair replacement and augmentation options such as wigs, toppers and my favorite, hair extensions, which are non-surgical, less expensive and immediately give you desirable results. Many of my clients wear extensions for hair loss, especially genetic related hair loss and some continue to wear extensions after treating their hair loss because they love the way they look, protect and enhance their biological hair.
Female hair loss can be a daunting experience, but it is treatable. It’s essential to understand the causes and take proper measures to prevent and treat hair loss. If you’re experiencing severe hair loss, as I mentioned it’s best to consult a doctor, dermatologist and/or trichologist to determine the cause and the best treatment option for you. Remember taking care of your scalp plays a vital role in hair health. Try not to stress out if you are experiencing hair loss, it may feel like this is out of your control but I promise you there is help. With the right treatment and care, you WILL regain your luscious locks and most importantly your confidence!