The common mental image of a client of a hair loss clinic is a middle-aged man. However, hair loss is an issue that affects up to 20% of women.
Women do not experience hair loss the same way as men. Men’s hair is in an M-pattern, which leads to receding hairlines, while hair loss in women occurs in clumps. That means that if you notice that your hair is decreasing on certain areas of your head, it means that you may be suffering from hair loss. Hair loss is something ladies can thank their genes for, since it is commonly an inherited trait; however, it can also be caused by changes in hormones and by aging.
Some of the major factors that cause hair loss in women include the following…
Testosterone plays a big role in women’s hair loss. As the body converts the hormone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), it causes damage to hair follicles, meaning if your body works efficiently, it can lead to hair loss. One hair loss prevention tip is to find alternatives to testosterone, such as anti-androgen medication that can block the damage effect that DHT has on your hair. However, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your doctor first.
Birth Control Pills
Androgen is a male hormone and one of the causes of baldness in men. Progesterone, a hormone found in birth control pills, can act like androgens, leading to hair loss in women. But note that this is only the case with older versions of birth control pills; some doctors now even prescribe birth control pills as a hair loss prevention measure. If you’re on the pill and suffering from hair loss, talk to your doctor about changing prescriptions.
The popular phrase or imagery about someone pulling their hair out because they’re feeling stressed isn’t too far off the mark. Stressful experiences, such as a major illness or undergoing surgery, can cause a disruption in the hair growth stage, causing the body to enter the shedding stage early. This is a condition called “telogen effluvium” and it usually subsides once the stressful event passes. One hair loss prevention strategy during stressful times is to take up an activity that is calming or to simply remind yourself that it will pass.
What Doesn’t Cause Hair Loss in Women?
There are steps you can take for hair loss prevention, such as finding alternative treatments if you are taking testosterone, changing your prescription if using contraceptive pills, and cutting down on stress.
But there are also factors that, despite claims to the contrary, will not lead to hair loss in women. For instance, colouring your hair won’t cause it to fall out, but excessive dyeing and using hot irons and blow-dryers too often can weaken your hair.
While exposure without proper protection can lead to sunburn, getting plenty of sun, and in turn vitamin D, is actually highly beneficial for your hair. In fact, vitamin D supplements can aid in hair loss prevention if there is a family history.
Shampooing is beneficial since having a clean scalp is a major step in hair loss prevention. However, there’s currently a move to stop using shampoo because it is believed that it leads to hair loss, despite a lack of evidence. The truth of the matter is that men and women typically shed hair when they are in the shower, so unless it is falling out in clumps, you have nothing to be concerned with.
Many women suffering from hair loss may start to use biotin, and while this can help with hair breakage, there is no evidence that it prevents hair loss.
The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists provides both surgical and non-surgical treatments for women and men suffering from hair loss. Contact us today for more information!