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Female hair loss is somewhat of a taboo subject, but it needn’t be. Here is what you need to know to keep and maintain healthy gorgeous hair.
The average woman sheds 80 strands of hair each day, with many of them coming out when your hair is brushed or washed. However, if you start to feel like you’re losing significantly more strands or that they’re not growing back at their usual rate, you might start to feel concerned about hair loss.
Female hair loss is somewhat of a taboo topic, but it needn’t be. Expert stylists confirm that hair loss is a very common problem for women, with research showing that at least 1 in 3 women will experience hair loss or reduced hair volume at some point in their lifetime. But before you freak out, you might find comfort to know that hair loss and reduced hair volume can often be remedied with dietary and lifestyle changes, and sometimes clinical treatments where required, so you needn’t be sentenced to the bald scalp of your nightmares!
So why does female hair loss or reduced volume happen in the first place? There are loads of potential triggers, which means that it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of your strands jumping ship – but there are some common threads.
Hair loss will generally fall into two categories, genetic and reactive.
You may be genetically predisposed to thinning hair and if this is the case, you may see a gradual and progressive reduction in your hair volume. In cases of genetic hair thinning, certain hair follicles can become sensitive to testosterone, and the sensitivity causes follicles to shrink and gradually produce shorter, finer hairs with each hair growth cycle.
On the other hand, reactive hair loss will be sparked by an external trigger. Some of these triggers might be:
Stress can make you feel like tearing your hair out, and it can also literally make your hair fall out. This is because the excess cortisol production often associated with stress can sometimes raise androgen levels, which can cause hair loss. It can also trigger scalp problems such as dandruff, as well as disrupting your eating habits and digestion – which will also have a negative impact on your scalp and hair’s health.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
A B12 deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic, as well as stunting the hair growth cycle. This is because a B12 deficiency can affect the health of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues. Those following a vegan diet can be susceptible to a B12 deficiency if they’re not careful to supplement their diet with quality nutrients, as most people get their daily B12 from animal proteins.
Supplementation has proven effective in research towards preventing hair loss and preserving the health of the hair, so be sure to fill any nutritional gaps that you might be experiencing with a premium quality multivitamin such as SUPER ELIXIR Greens.
Formulated with hair-loving ingredients including Silica and Horsetail Extract, as well as Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Copper, Zinc, Selenium and essential Amino Acids, 2 teaspoons a day is a great way to help maintain beautiful healthy hair.
For an added boost, add a vial of WelleCo Aquatic Collagen Skin + Hair + Nails SUPER BOOSTER to water or your SUPER ELIXIR. Made with botanical extracts and nutrients including Acerola Cherry, Silicon, Aquatic Collagen and Antioxidants, it supports collagen formation and enhances skin firmness and strength and overall health.
Anaemia, or an iron deficiency, is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women, according to experts. Iron is essential for producing the protein building blocks of hair and without iron, your hair will certainly suffer. If you feel like you’re not getting enough iron, it’s worth having a chat to your GP and getting a simple blood test to determine your iron levels. Zinc deficiencies are also common in parallel to an iron deficiency and can also contribute to hair loss, so it’s worth asking your GP to investigate that, too.
Also make sure that you’re consuming ample protein, since protein is the building block of hair. NOURISHING PROTEIN is an ideal source of protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer and nourish your body at a cellular level, supporting optimum hair health. And be sure to get plenty of complex carbohydrates, too. Complex carbs give our hair energy that is necessary for growth. Energy that is available to hair cells tends to drop if there is longer than 4 hours between each meal, so snack on some healthy options such as fresh fruit or whole wheat crackers.
Our hair growth cycles are hugely influenced by our hormones. Oestrogen helps keep hair in its growth phase for the optimal length of time, and androgens can conversely shorten the hair growth cycle. An excess of androgens can sometimes be caused by an endocrine disorder such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and this can cause hair loss.
If you’re in perimenopause or menopause, changes in your body’s hormone levels can wreak havoc on your hair. It’s also important to remember that as we age, hair naturally becomes finer, which is totally normal and separate from hair loss.
Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
If your thyroid gland is overactive or underactive, your hair can be adversely impacted. The thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s metabolism, including production of protein and tissue use of oxygen – both of which are important for healthy hair growth.
If you’ve lost weight – particularly a dramatic amount in a short period of time – you may experience a sudden bout of hair loss. Experts say that hair can commonly fall out in excess within 6-12 weeks after steep drop in the scales. Yet another reason to avoid crash diets and instead opt for a sustainable lifestyle change to achieve your goals!
If you’re seeing more strands on the shower floor than you’re content with, there are things you can do to reduce the impacts of hair loss and even reverse it.
According to the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation (AAAF), permanent hair conditions are usually scarring conditions and are very rare – up to 75% conditions causing hair loss can be cured, and those that can’t be cured can usually be effectively treated.
Thankfully, almost all excessive hair shedding is self-eliminating, and hair will start to grow back as soon as any internal imbalance is resolved.
As hair loss is usually an indication of another underlying health issue, the treatment will usually involve a combination of lifestyle changes, filling nutritional gaps and topical treatments to help speed up the process – with the ratios of each treatment regimen varying from individual to individual.
The AAAF also advises that patience is key, with many treatments taking a minimum of 3-6 months before your hair starts to return to its former self.
And in the meantime, whilst your hair recovers, many women opt to alter their cut or colour to less visibly show the signs of thinning hair, maximise texture and give volume – so it pays to have an expert hair stylist in your little black book!
It’s also important to remember that female hair loss is typically more complex in both cause and treatment than male hair loss - so if you feel like reaching out for professional help, it’s important to do your research and see a specialist.
As with many things in life, prevention is key and luckily, there’s a whole lot that you can do to protect and preserve the health of your tresses. Ensuring that you’re getting adequate nutrition, cutting out any damaging lifestyle factors such as stress and smoking and generally leading a healthy, active life will do wonders for you – mind, body, soul and hair!