Hair loss – something that affects men and very few women, right?
Noticeably thinning hair or losing it altogether can be a particularly traumatic and depressing experience for women. While it’s true that more men do experience hair loss, especially as they age, the condition is becoming a more common issue among women too – in fact, new research commissioned by Trichologist Philip Kingsley found that 1 in 5 of UK women over 25 currently suffers from hair loss or hair thinning. Noticeably thinning hair or losing it altogether can be a particularly traumatic and depressing experience for women.
He comments: “The percentage of women with hair thinning (reduced volume) is much larger than is commonly thought as many suffer in silence. Sadly, a third of those suffering said that they haven’t done anything to address the problem, perhaps as they feel too embarrassed to seek help.
“These results show that hair loss and thinning in women is a real problem – we are all familiar with male hair loss and thinning as it’s more visible, but the study shows that a significant proportion of women suffer from it too.
“Of course, adverse changes in hormones affect the hair, but crash dieting, processed foods, increased day-to-day stress and certain oral contraceptive pills are also factors that play a role.
“Hair loss is extremely complicated and the unfortunate aspect is that the person is not aware of reduced volume (thinner hair) until they have lost 15% of volume, which means it started long before they noticed it. Some do not seek help early enough or from true hair and scalp experts to solve the problem successfully.”
As the number of women experiencing hair loss continues to rise, more and more hair care research is being dedicated to discovering the factors that can contribute towards it.
Here, we identify some of the key causes of hair loss in women:
A genetic predisposition of hormonal balances and imbalances, along with the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are the lead causes of hair loss. Contrary to popular belief, genetic predisposition to hair loss can be inherited by either your mother or your father’s side of the family.
Stress and trauma
Stress produces increased levels of testosterone, which converts to DHT and interrupts the hair growth cycle. Stress and trauma can also constrict the blood supply to the capillaries, causing a lack of oxygen and nutrient uptake, as well as poor vitamin and nutrient absorption of the hair follicles.
Nutrition and diet
Poor nutrition, rapid weight loss, a high consumption of animal fats and deficiencies in biotin, iron, protein and zinc can reduce vital amino acid and vitamin absorption needed for hair growth.
Thyroid diseases, as well as the side effects of the medications used to treat these diseases, are the most common health-related causes of hair loss.
Everything from birth control to steroids, as well as many blood pressure, diabetic and heart disease and acne medications can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
Environmental pollutants in the air and water, as well as exposure to chlorine, metals and minerals, can lead to hormonal imbalances that can contribute to hair loss. UV exposure and free radicals can also prematurely age the scalp cells and damage the hair shaft.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to temporary hair loss that can last from six months to up to a year after childbirth. Menopausal women can also experience hair loss due to hormonal shifts.
Unfortunately, as we age, our follicles can deteriorate and cause hair loss.