First things first, don’t panic.
Thinning hair and hair loss can be particularly distressing for women, and can have a significant impact on emotional wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. But you’re not alone.
There are numerous causes for hair loss in women and understanding the cause of your alopecia is the first step in your restorative hair journey – and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Together let’s take a look at the common causes of hair loss and the treatments available.
On average we shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. If you notice a significant increase in the amount of hair shed or if hair is coming out in large quantities it is important to consider changes in physical or psychological health that may have triggered this.
Hair loss is a common effect of thyroid disease. Women in the advance stages of hyperthyroidism (overactive) or hypothyroidism (underactive) tend to experience hair loss over the entire scalp.
Malnutrition – following extended periods of illness or as a result of an eating disorder – also manifests as hair loss due to deficiencies in essential vitamins and iron. Similarly, those whose immune system has been impaired following physical trauma, an operation or undergoing medical treatment such as chemotherapy are also susceptible to hair loss.
Hormones are the key components in hair growth. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative of the male hormone testosterone and is the main trigger for hair loss, so women experiencing higher than normal levels of testosterone as a result of polycystic ovaries or due to the menopause may notice hair thinning and shedding.
It is also common for women to notice hair loss after giving birth. During pregnancy, women experience a surge in oestrogen, which results in increased hair growth. However, following childbirth, hormone levels return to normal and the effect of testosterone is to diminish your now more-luxurious-than-normal-locks, giving the impression of significant hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia – also known as female pattern hair loss – is the most common form of progressive hair loss. It is caused by genetic and hormonal factors affecting the growth cycle of the hair and the hair follicles. Hair follicles become progressively smaller producing shorter, thinner and lighter in colour hair shaft, until the follicle shrinks altogether and is no longer able to produce hair.
Female pattern hair loss occurs in the midline of the scalp, creating a Christmas tree pattern on the middle parting on the hair. It is dependant an individual’s genetics and therefore can differ in severity from woman to woman.
Stress and anxiety can play havoc with hormone levels and immune health. It is therefore no surprise that elevated levels of stress and anxiety can lead to people literally pulling their hair out. An imbalance in your mental wellbeing can also be reflected in changes to sleep patterns and diet, all of which contribute to impairing the immune system and leading to hair loss.
Crash dieting, use of performance-enhancing steroids, smoking and alcohol can cause an imbalance in health, the result of which is hair loss. Similarly, repeated traction from styling places undue stress on your tresses and on hair follicles, resulting in thinning and hair loss.
Thankfully there are also numerous treatments for hair loss, both surgical and non-surgical:
Non-surgical treatments can be used to treat alopecia as well as prevent further hair loss. For example, topical treatments – such as Regaine – can be applied to the scalp daily to stabilise hair loss.
For underlying health issues such as thyroid disease, iron deficiency and polycystic ovaries medical treatment can help alleviate hair thinning and shedding.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is also a consideration for treating thinning hair or hair loss. It is a non-invasive treatment that uses light technology to stimulate hair follicles and kick-start healthy hair growth.
Finally, it is important to assess and address your diet. Hair is made up of protein so it is essential to fuel your body and your hair with protein-rich foods. In particular, animal proteins are rich in Vitamin B12 essential for red blood cells to be able to carry oxygen around the body and in-turn promote healthy hair. Taken in conjunction with a healthy diet, vitamin and mineral supplements can also support hair growth.
Hair transplant surgery is becoming increasingly common for men, but is also an option for women, and a safe one.
At Malkani Hair Institute we offer Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) transplant – a minimally invasive form of surgery involving the grafting of healthy hair follicles naturally occurring on the head onto the bald or thinning area under local anaesthesia. The procedure takes place in a day and recovery is fast, helping you get back to your normal – and confident – self.
With all treatments – whether surgical or non-surgical, including changes to diet or taking medication and supplements – it is important to undergo a full and thorough consultation with your doctor or a qualified practitioner.
For further information about our treatments for female hair loss or to book a consultation, speak to our team on 020 7580 2205. We’re here to help.