In fact, hair is not only about a bundle of fiber on the scalp – and most women agree with this opinion. It can be an expression of style and even personality. In other words, self-image and hair are often closely intertwined. Therefore the health of your hair is very important. But unfortunately, female hair loss also can affect any women. What can you do to cope with this problem? Are there any natural ways to improve the health of your hair and prevent it from falling out?
There 3 major steps for your hair to keep regenerating – growing, resting, and shedding. Most people can lose their hair every day. In essence, the periodically cycle of losing hair is purposed to replace the old hair with the new one.
Cells of hair ( hair follicles ) can grow and regenerate very rapidly. If they don’t get adequate nutrient that they need, you tend to have more hair loss than new hair growth. As a result, you may notice a thinning hair on the scalp.
For more in-depth information about how much hair you should normally lose every day and when it considered abnormal, visit this previous post!
The amounts of hairs on the scalp are about 100,000 on average. Each follicle can have ability to make a single hair. It can grow for about 0.5 inch /month. Then after the phase of growing for about 2-6 years, it then goes into the phase of resting before falling out.
During the phase of resting and shedding, it then soon will be replaced with a new fresh follicle of hair – and the cycle of these mechanisms begins again! To support this cycle, follicles need plenty of essential nutrients for hair growth such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. In normal scenario, about 15% of hair is resting and the remainder is growing at any given time.
There is opinion that thinning hair is often associated with male problem. There is nothing wrong with this perception, but you need to know that it is also common in women because about 40 percents of this problem occurs in women.
About 40 percents of all cases of long term /temporary hair loss problem are women. Nevertheless, the pattern of female hair loss is slightly different if compared in men. Typically, women are more likely to have thinning hair that starts from the center part of the scalp. On the other hand, men tend to start their pattern hair loss from receding hairline. See the following picture (credit to Susan Gilbert and Peggy Firth)!
The causes of the female hair loss can involve numerous different factors, and about 30 percent of all cases are triggered by different medical problems and factors associated with lifestyle. Even in several cases, there is no any specific trigger factor that can be found.
If you experience hair loss problem without known reason, as a starting point – it’s much better to take a medical test to confirm whether it is related with issues of hormonal imbalances or problems of thyroid.
Furthermore, some experts believe that a genetic trait and factors that comes in line with the aging (such the increased risk of hormonal imbalance during pre-menopause and menopause) play a key role in causing thinning hair in women, particularly for a hair loss condition called androgenic alopecia (it is a kind of inherited hair-loss gene that can affect both women ‘called as female pattern baldness’ and men ‘called as male pattern baldness’).
Other causes and factors that can lead to thinning hair in women may include:
- After giving a birth! During pregnancy, the phase of resting of follicles is paused temporarily. As a result, women tend to have more hair growth during pregnancy. This is triggered by the drastically increased pregnancy hormones. But after giving birth, the pregnancy hormones gone and the phase of resting that was paused reoccur double, and this can lead to more hair loss. See also this section for more detailed information about post pregnancy hair loss!
- Thyroid disease. Thyroid is a kind of gland (butterfly-shaped) located at the front of our neck. It has crucial function to produce some hormones that are very important to support a lot of mechanisms in the body. If it works improperly (either when it produces too over or too low thyroid hormones), there is a chance for this problem to affect the cycle of hair follicles.
- Birth control pills. Some women reports that they experience thinning hair during /after taking birth control pills. However this issue is still not clearly confirmed. While birth control pills can produce hormones to help prevent ovulation, they may also have contribution to cause thinning hair in some women, especially for those who have a family history of thinning hair or abnormal hair loss problem.
- Autoimmune disorder. A kind of hair loss called alopecia areata is often triggered by the wrong respond of the body immune system that attacks its own healthy follicles. It is often characterized by the falling out of hair in startling patches. Fortunately this type is not permanent. Most people with it can get their full hair again within a few years or about 6-12 months.
- Unhealthy extreme diet (crash diet). All women want to keep on their best shape, but sometime they do extreme weight loss diet that skips protein or other essential nutrients that can be found in foods. As well we know, cells of hair follicles need plenty of nutrients to maintain hair growth. In crash diet, you are at high risk of losing a lot of essential nutrients from your diet. Women who lose their weight extremely may notice abnormal hair loss in the next 3-6 months.
- PCOS “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”. This kind of disorder can cause the excessive production of androgens (much higher than expected). It can lead to thinning hair on the scalp of head and hair loss on the other parts of the body.
- Sometime ringworm may occur on the scalp of hair – it also can trigger thinning hair or even create a distinct pattern of thinning hair. For this case, antifungal medication is needed to cure the infection.
- Cancer and its treatments (especially the cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy).
- Poor /improper hairstyles – such as tight hairstyles, combing wet hair, using hairdryer (particularly when you set hairdryer at too high temperature to provide a quickly result in drying your wet hair), using certain chemicals that affect the health of hair, etc.
There are several choices, and again the effectiveness of the following treatment options is also closely dependent on the cause of the problem. Even in the case of the same cause, the successful rate of the treatment may vary from person to person.
If a genetic trait behind the problem of your hair loss, home remedies or natural hair-growth supplements often doesn’t work successful if used alone without any medical intervention. But if the cause is a kind of controllable factor such as lack of specific nutrient (poor diet) and extreme stress, the hair problem typically can improve naturally once these controllable factors are addressed, even without any medical intervention.
Practicing healthy habits as much as possible are also recommended. These can include getting plenty of sleep, stop smoking if you are a smoker, and avoid tight hairstyles.
Rogaine or medically also called Minoxidil is one of hair-growth medication that has been approved by FDA. It can help stop or slow the progress of hair loss. But unfortunately, its effectiveness is not permanent. In other words, the problem of thinning hair may reoccur when you stop taking and using it.
Another option for female hair loss treatment is with a special device that designed to emit laser (in low energy) in order to help stimulate and improve the chance of growing more hair.
Does it work? Yes, it does. But its effectiveness is also closely related with the cause of thinning hair. For the case of hair loss with inherited gene, the use of laser devices alone may be not enough to cope with the problem.