Female hair loss is one of those beauty topics that’s swept under the carpet more often than not. Why? I’m not so sure, because I have lots of friends, acquaintances and family members that have dealt with it. An old colleague started losing her hair at age 22, only to be half-bald by 27, while another friend started losing big chunks of her locks when a close family member passed away.
While female hair loss is easier to hide than male pattern baldness, it’s still a major problem, especially because most women know nothing about it. There are so many reasons why your hair may be thinning, and the good news is, there are ways to treat it other than gross follicle implants.
Fashionista: What causes female hair to thin?
Candace Hoffmann: There can be a number of reasons women lose hair. Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common. How do you know if this might be the reason for your hair loss? Look around at your family. If you have parents, relatives with thinning hair or who are frankly bald –male or female–there is a good chance you could have the propensity as well. That being said, for women, it’s not so cut and dry. Men can easily discern such a connection, women can have multiple reasons for hair loss–sometimes, it’s temporary hair loss (telogen effluvium). Here are some common reasons for hair loss in women that are not genetic:
- Low iron levels. Women with heavy menses or who are anemic can experience hair loss.
- Starting or stopping birth control pills. For some women BCP help slow hair loss, for others, they make it worse.
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Certain medications
- Wearing hair in tightly braided styles
- Recent child birth
- Thyroid problems, diabetes, other illnesses
Is this a bigger issue for the current generation? (I’m 27, and it feels like so many of my friends suffer from this.) Is it a nutritional thing?
That’s an excellent question and I don’t know the answer. 30 million women suffer from hair loss. That’s 1 in 4 before age 50 and 2 in 4 after age 50. We might be more hyper aware of hair loss at an earlier age now just as we are more hyper aware of a need for a facelift at earlier ages. Thing that we used to take for granted, we do not. Genetic hair loss will manifest itself in the 20s, if not sooner. The good news is that there are more things available to help than before. Will they work for everyone, no. However, topical minoxidil (Rogaine) is good for helping maintain what you have. So at the first sign of thinning hair, it’s not bad to use even if the hair loss is temporary.
Nutrition can play a part. If you’re not eating a well-balanced diet or are severely dieting or anorexic, it will affect your hair. However, if it is nutritional, it will be a temporary hair loss. Return to a well-balanced diet and hair should return in 4 – 6 months. Supplements must be used with caution and women must understand that vitamins in excess, even those purported to help grow hair, can be detrimental and have an adverse affect. In this day and age, people are rarely deficient in the hair loss vitamins folic acid and biotin. There would be other symptoms beyond hair loss. A B-vitamin rich supplement can help grow hair, but it might not make more hair. I advise using any supplement with caution and eating vitamin-rich foods instead. And ALWAYS tell your physician the vitamins, herbs, and medications (over the counter and prescription) you are using.