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Hair Loss in Women

Understand Causes & Tips for Regrowth

By: illumiflow
Read Time: 20 min


Female Hair Loss

While hair loss in women is often less publicized, about 40% of women will experience hair loss by the time they turn 40. The good news is, despite the high numbers of hair loss in women, there are many modern solutions to restore your hair and hit your #hairgoals in just a few months.

The key is to discover the cause of your hair loss, and then treat it accordingly, while also improving lifestyle habits for long-term success.

Understanding Hair Loss in Women

Whether the problem is due to giving birth, menopause, or natural aging, hair loss is an issue that can affect women of all ages. It occurs when the hair loss growth cycle slows down and when hair follicles shrink, causing thinner and more fragile hair.

To better understand hair loss in general, let’s look at the hair growth cycle:

Graphic of the Anagen Hair Growth Stage

Anagen

The anagen stage is where hair roots begin to divide and form new hairs. With hair loss problems like androgenic alopecia, the anagen phase gets shorter and shorter, causing less hair growth and thinning hair.

Graphic of the Catagen Hair Growth Stage

Catagen

Next, your hair moves into the second phase of the hair growth cycle. The catagen stage is a transitional phase which lasts a little over a week and moves into the telogen phase, where hairs are not growing.

Graphic of the Telogen Hair Growth Stage

Telogen

Last your hair moves into the resting phase. This is where normal hair shedding can occur.

As you can see from the growth cycle above, some hair shedding is normal. It is just important to know how much and if you are teetering on a potential problem.

How Much Daily Hair Loss is Normal For a Woman?

Some hair loss in women is completely normal. On average, you might lose about 50-100 hairs per day. Anything more than that may be a sign of an issue.

Along with excessive female hair loss, hair thinning is also an issue. Female hair thinning is more of a gradual process that takes time to show, to better understand if you may be at risk, it is important to understand how hair thinning can occur.

Causes of Hair Thinning:

  • Hair styling
  • Hormones
  • Aging
  • Stress
  • Genetics

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Signs of Hair Loss in Women

When it comes to consistent hair loss, there are a number of warning signs and things that you may notice including:

  • Increased hair fall in the shower
  • More loose hairs on your pillow
  • Feeling your ponytail getting smaller

Along with these things that you can look for as you go about the day, there are other more concrete signs of hair loss that you can notice, but it is important to know what you need to look for.

What Hair Loss in Women Looks Like

Hair loss will be different for all women, but, generally speaking it will begin at the top of their head at the part in their hair and begin to spread throughout the entire scalp. To better understand how hair loss is affecting you, you can consult the Savin or the Ludwig scales to see how far along in the process you are.

Along with gradual thinning at the part, other things that you should look for include bald spots on the scalp that can be patchy and itchy and sudden hair loss by the handfuls (this is often experienced after emotional or physical trauma).

What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

Hair loss in women can be caused by a number of factors including natural aging, menopause, giving birth, hereditary causes, increased stress, diet, lack of exercise, and more.

Causes of Hair Loss in Women

Female pattern hair loss is also known as androgenetic alopecia, which is similar to hair loss in men, however, women tend to lose their hair in a different pattern. There are many potential causes for female hair loss, including:

 

Dieting

While exercise and a healthy diet are essential to hair health, extreme dieting and too much exercise can have the opposite effect, causing hair loss. Research has found that the average woman spends at least 17 years of her life on a diet. And hey, who hasn’t tossed bread to the curb for low-carb weight loss or cut out entire food groups to hit our weight goals. The problem is, your body needs a certain amount of calories and nutrition to function at its best. If your calories are too low or you lack vital nutrients, hair loss is sure to follow.

 

Stress

Stress-related hair loss happens when hair follicles are pushed into the resting phase of hair growth. This halts new hair growth and causes sudden shedding a few months after levels of high stress.

 

Illness or Surgery

If you have had major surgery or suffered from an illness, you might experience hair loss a few months after the incident. The stress of the illness or surgery can cause sudden hair loss, but this hair loss is not permanent. Telogen Effluvium is another form of sudden hair loss that can occur, it is characterized by hair thinning and advanced shedding.

 

Hormones

Hair loss can be driven by hormonal changes in the body, from thyroid issues to medication use and even pregnancy. Women's hormones also shift once they have entered menopause, which is also a cause of hair loss.

 

PCOS

PCOS hair loss is common, due to the increase of androgens (male hormones). The increase in androgens causes hair thinning and hair loss, so it requires treatment to restore your hair.

 

Medications

Some medications disrupt the hair cycle, causing telogen effluvium or anagen effluvium. As mentioned earlier, telogen effluvium causes hair to move to the telogen phase (causing extreme hair shedding). With anagen effluvium, hair loss occurs during the hair cycle's growth stage, the anagen phase. This condition is mainly from the effects of chemotherapy.

 

Genetics

Hormonal or hereditary influences can cause genetic hair loss in females. Your possibility of experiencing hereditary hair loss increases if your relatives also experienced hair loss. This genetic component will influence the rate at which you lose your hair, hair loss pattern, and age when hair loss starts. There is no cure for genetic hair loss, however there are treatment options you can use to grow back your hair (more on that later).

 

The good news is, not all hair loss is permanent, and there are many different hair restoration methods out there to help. But, before you can fix hair loss, it’s essential to know what caused it in the first place. Along with these various causes, the reasons for hair loss in women can also change depending on your age and experiences.

Hair Loss in Young Women

While hair loss is a normal part of aging, hair loss in young women is not as common. Typically early hair loss is preventable with the right lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, and working with your doctor to regulate your hormones should prevent further hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss in Young Women?

Hair loss in younger women, while not as common, is still something that can occur. If you experience hair loss before reaching your 40s, then pregnancy, hormones, stress, or extreme dieting might be to blame.

Postpartum Hair Loss

Pregnancy significantly impacts your hormones, causing several to rise like estrogen, oxytocin, and progesterone. After you give birth, you experience a drop in hormones causing hair loss. Typically your hair moves through a cycle, and you lose 50-100 hairs per day. However, when you are pregnant, this shedding stops. Once you give birth, your body kicks back into its cycle, causing an increase in daily shedding – eventually causing noticeable hair loss. While this can be concerning, postpartum hair loss is not permanent, and you should start to see hair growth in a few months.

Hair Loss in Women Over 50

While hair loss at any age sucks, losing your hair in your 50s is considered a normal part of getting older. In fact, less than 45% of women keep their hair for their lifetime.

What Causes Hair Loss in Older Women?

Hair loss in women 50 and over can be caused by a number of different things including natural aging, stress, genetics, hormones, or menopause. While it may seem like

Menopause and Hair Loss

If you are experiencing menopause, then shifting hormones could be the culprit of your hair loss. The lowered estrogen and progesterone during menopause affect hair growth since these hormones help support hair growth.

How to Prevent Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss prevention requires a diligent effort on your part. While you can grab a hair loss vitamin or another hair growth product, it requires some lifestyle changes too. So, before we dive into supplements and other hair restoration methods, let's cover changes you can make to prevent hair loss today.

Get Off That Diet

If you haven't tasted bread in months, it is time to reevaluate your diet. There are a number of vitamins for hair loss in women that you should ensure are a part of your diet, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein

You can get these nutrients from a daily multivitamin or you can focus on adding whole foods to your diet. Some of the best foods for hair growth are:

  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish
  • Spinach
  • Berries
  • Peppers
  • Nuts

When you cut out major food groups or restrict your calories by too much of a deficit, you put your hair at risk. So try to eat a diet that is nourishing for your body.

 

Move Your Body

Exercise is a great way to encourage healthy blood flow and circulation in your body. Your scalp needs proper circulation to get the nutrients and oxygen required for growth, so try to get moving at least 30 minutes per day.

 

Manage Your Stress

Stress wreaks havoc on your hair and, as mentioned before, can cause sudden hair loss. It is essential to get stress under control if you want to prevent future or further hair loss. Try going for a walk, meditating, asking for help, taking a day off, or treating yourself to a self-care routine.

How Can I Stop My Hair From Falling Out?

There are a number of treatment options and products available to help women who are dealing with hair loss including dermarollers, low-level laser therapy, minoxidil, hormonal solutions, and more. In addition to these products, improving your diet, increasing exercise, taking hair loss supplements, and more will help to improve your hair regrowth efforts.

Best Female Hair Loss Treatments

As you can see, hair loss requires lifestyle changes alongside treatment. Yes, hair supplements and products are great, but for sustainable hair growth, you need to ensure that you live a healthy lifestyle. If you are looking to learn how to treat hair loss in women, you can start by eating the right foods, getting medical support when needed, exercise, and even cutting back on smoking — these small things should be your first steps to preventing hair loss. However, once you find balance in your lifestyle, you can experiment with other hair growth solutions like supplements, LLLT, and even shampoos and conditioners.

Hair Loss Products for Women

Outside of hair loss shampoos and vitamins, a few other products and medications work great for hair loss in women.

Microneedling

Microneedling (not as scary as it sounds) is a skin roller that has tiny needles that cause intentional skin wounds. While this sounds intense, the small needles shouldn't cause much discomfort, and they have been shown to help with alopecia areata.This hair loss product works even better when used to help absorb minoxidil into your scalp.

 

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a hair loss solution that you can use orally or as a foam. Initially, this product was designed to treat high blood pressure, but those who took this medication noticed an increase in hair growth, and it has since then become an FDA-approved approach for hair loss.

 

Hair Loss Shampoo for Women

Hair growth shampoos are a great way to prevent hair loss from the outside. Typically, these formulas help block DHT, increase hair density, make your current strands stronger, and help keep your scalp healthy. It is important to look out for harmful chemicals in your hair products like parabens, sulfates, and fragrances, which can cause the opposite effect.  

 

Estrogen and Progesterone

Women experiencing hair loss due to hormonal shifts like menopause, using a prescribed estrogen or progesterone pill (or cream) can be a reliable treatment for androgenic alopecia. 

 

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low-level laser therapy is a clinically proven hair growth method that you can use discreetly at home. This hair loss product uses painless lasers to stimulate hair growth at a cellular level. Typically you will see results in about 4-6 months. Our illumiflow laser caps are also FDA cleared, affordable, and only require a few times of use per week.

Hair loss, as you can see, is complicated at times but growing back your hair doesn’t have to be. There are many options out there from medications, to diet, and of course, LLLT that will get you on the road with a full head of hair!

 

Supplements for Hair Loss in Females

Hair growth vitamins are a popular method for hair loss prevention. They typically include the vitamins mentioned earlier but also include helpful herbs like horsetail extract and stinging nettle. Hair growth supplements work to support nutrient deficiencies while also delivering other vital nutrients to your scalp.

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Male Vs. Female Hair Loss

While similar, male and females experience and overcome hair loss in slightly different ways. For example, one of the most notable differences is where the hair loss occurs. Men will often deal with a receding hairline that begins at the front of the head whereas hair loss in women begins at the part in their hair at the top of their head which begins to spread and become bigger.

As for treatment options, many products will work for both men and women, such as illumiflow laser caps; however, some solutions don’t work as well for women. For example, finasteride is a product that is used for alopecia in men however it is not recommended for women due to the problems it can cause in terms of reproductive health and fetus growth and development.

Along with finasteride, hair transplant surgery is a common route that men will go to overcome the issue, but is one that doesn’t work great for women. It isn’t as effective on females due to the patterns of hair loss they experience: gradual and dispersed hair loss rather than concentrated bald spots.

Whatever the case may be, there are solutions for everyone who is dealing with hair loss. This doesn’t have to be your reality, illumiflow is here to be your guide and resource as you navigate this moment in your life.

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