If growing older didn’t take enough of a toll on women with the facial lines, wrinkles, and the gravitational pull of the body, discovering that your hair is thinning — or finding a bald spot — can truly make a woman feel… odd. Dealing with female hair loss can be tough. The best way to handle it is to discover what is causing it. It could be self-induced, from a condition or medication, or it might be in your genes. Knowing what is causing your hair loss can go far in helping you cope.
The causes of hair loss in women
Female hair loss caused by over-processing and styling
As we grow older our hair becomes more fragile. Many women are not aware that over-processing the hair can cause hair loss. Females do a lot to their hair. We wash it, color it, perm it, dry it, iron it, style it, and use a million and one different products on it. When you combine all of these things together, damage is being done. The result can be hair loss even on what was once a healthy head of hair.
If you think that your hair loss is due to over-processing, do something about it. Unless your hair is dirty and oily, don’t wash it. Many women wash their hair every day thinking they are making it healthy when it is actually stripping the hair of its natural oil and making it dry, brittle and easy to break.
Avoid hairstyles that can contribute to hair loss—such as tight pigtails, ponytails, cornrows and other styles that severely pull and stress the scalp. Chemicals can also burn and stress the scalp. When the scalp is under continual stress it can develop scarring. This can lead to permanent hair loss. So, avoid chemicals if at all possible.
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When you can, give your hair a break and let it dry on its own and don’t use a curling or straightening iron on it. The direct application of heat on the hair dries out the hair shaft. This can lead to brittle hair that easily breaks.
Female hair loss caused by hormonal changes
Changes in hormones can cause hair loss in women. Hormone changes may be a result of pregnancy, menopause, problems with the menstrual cycle, and more. Hormones may also change during an extreme illness, under times of intense stress, when undergoing fertility treatments, or when being treated for cancer with radiation and chemotherapy. If hormones are the cause of hair loss, the hair will generally grow back once the hormones are regulated. However, some women may find that their hair is thinner than it was prior to the hormone issues.
Female hair loss caused by medications
Many women are not aware that certain medications can cause hair thinning and hair loss. The most common medications that have these side effects are drugs that treat heart disease, blood thinners, medicines for high blood pressure, and antidepressants. Some women find that birth control pills cause their hair to thin. In addition to prescription medication, vitamins are the culprit. For instance, too much vitamin A can result in hair loss. Take a look at the medications and vitamins you are taking to see if they could be the culprit of your hair loss.
Female hair loss caused by illness
There are some diseases that can lead to hair loss such as lupus, diabetes, as well as conditions of the thyroid and autoimmune system. Illness such as fungal infections or skin disorders can also cause hair loss, as can anemia. Fortunately, in many cases, once the conditions are controlled, the hair loss will stop and hair will re-grow.
Female hair loss caused by heredity
There is a hereditary condition that affects both men and women and causes hair loss. It is called androgenetic alopecia. A good way to know if your hair loss is a result of heredity is to look to your mother, grandmother, and aunts. If they have hair loss, your hair loss is probably a result of heredity.
Doctors can generally tell if a woman has this genetic condition by looking at their scalp under magnification. The doctor will look to see if the hair follicles are different in size. If some are thick and some are thin, this is a sign of the condition. Each time you shed a hair follicle, it is replaced by a hair of the same size. If you have this hereditary condition, the new hair is not as thick. It is thinner. This means your hair follicles are shrinking that you will eventually quit growing new hair.
See a doctor about female hair loss
If you are dealing with thinning hair or balding, you should visit a doctor about the condition. Your doctor can get to the bottom of what is causing your hair to thin or fall out. Based on what is causing the condition, options will be given on what you can do about your hair loss.