I remember my mother telling me how on my father’s side of the family hair loss in women was prevalent. As I looked at her head full of hair I cringed and thought “Oh God, please let this cup pass from me.” But that was about the extent of our conversation. In keeping with the theme of changes women experience as they grow older and the things our Mommas didn’t tell us about, I thought we’d talk about the unfortunate possibility of hair loss that sometimes comes with aging.
Female pattern hair loss (or androgenetic alopecia) is a type of hair loss that may occur and get worse due to hormonal changes. For example, during or after menopause, a woman’s hair may become finer or thinner because the hair follicles shrink. As if we don’t have enough to go through already! Menopause isn’t the only culprit. Women can experience hair loss due to hypothyroidism, a lousy diet, and even pollution.
Where to Look
The average person has about 100,000 hairs on their head. That’s a lot! However, when hair loss occurs, there’s usually a noticeable difference. The very first place you should check to see if there is any hair loss arising is your hairline. You can also pay special attention to how much hair you notice in your brush, on your floors, pillows, etc.
Wherever you usually see your hair shedding, that’s where you can look to see if there is an increase. Please note that hair loss/thinning is completely different from hair breakage. When the hair breaks, the ends are brittle and wispy, and you can usually tell the contrast from the rest of the hair. Hair breakage can occur at any age and is usually caused by all of the harsh chemicals that we sometimes expose to our hair.
Hair loss can occur over time and can be a daily shedding. This is called telogen effluvium, a type of alopecia that occurs due to an internal imbalance like nutritional deficiencies, severe stress, or even an illness. Sometimes this happens with vegetarians and vegans because they may not supplement their diets with sufficient B12. Iron deficiency is another cause for hair loss outside of hormonal changes because it is essential for producing hair cell protein. Without that adequate protein, our hair can suffer.
What You Can Do
My mother only told me that it happened, but not why, or even what if anything I could do about it. Perhaps it was because she didn’t know. While hair thinning due to hormonal changes may seem impossible to control, it’s not. There are several options like hair transplant surgery, injections of protein-rich plasma, and FDA approved medications, to name a few. However, you know here at CGE we prefer to take the natural route if possible…and possible it is.
Here are a few things you can do at home to minimize your hair loss:
1. Improve your eating style – We need proper nutrients to create and maintain healthy strands of hair. A nutritious lifestyle of eating with the proper vitamins can prevent brittle hair, dull hair, dandruff, and dryness. Some hair healthy foods include; fatty fish, Brazil nuts, and eggs to name a few.
2. Reduce the stress – Telogen effluvium that I mentioned above, is mainly brought on by long periods of stress. However, doing things to reduce stress levels like therapy (although overlooked, is quite necessary, as we age), exercise, meditation, etc., can help reduce this.
3. Try essential oils – Some studies have suggested that certain oils, like rosemary, can increase blood flow and improve scalp health, which is vital for hair growth. Other oils like peppermint, jojoba, and thyme oil also stimulate hair growth.
Aging doesn’t have to be a death sentence for our hair follicles. Staying on top of your health and nutrition can significantly decrease the chances of experiencing this unfortunate side effect of growing older. So while it is possible, there’s still hope for us, ladies!