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Hair has always been a huge part of personal style. It’s no secret that women spend countless hours and dollars per year maintaining and styling their hair. While hair trends change from year to year <link to 2017 hair trends>, full and healthy hair has always remained in style and coveted by many.
Unfortunately, female hair loss isn’t widely talked about in mass media. Instead, women face societal pressure to opt for extensions or wigs in order to achieve the appearance of femininity. It’s no surprise then that hair loss is a particularly sensitive and stressful subject for women. Since the topic of female hair loss is seldom discussed, many women don’t seek treatment, which results in a worsened condition and a negative impact to self-esteem.
Confronting hair loss can be a sore subject. However, the first part of moving forward is understanding the root causes. If you are experiencing thinning hair there may be a number of reasons for this. We’ve rounded up 7 health situations associated with hair loss.
7 Reasons for Female Hair Loss
Changes in hormone levels can also cause excessive hair loss. In fact, hormone imbalance is one of the primary reasons for female hair loss. If you have a stable balance of estrogen and testosterone in your body your hair will grow and shed at a normal pace. However, if these two hormones aren’t in balance you will suffer from hair loss regardless of your age. Testosterone is responsible for overproduction of your hair while estrogen controls testosterone levels. If your body produces too much testosterone and too little estrogen, you will experience all kinds of hair and skin problems. Health changes like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), menopause, pregnancy, and labor can cause hormonal imbalance.
Anemia is a one of the most common blood conditions. If your blood doesn’t have adequate amount of healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin, you’re considered anemic. Hair loss is a common symptom of this condition. Experts still debate whether there’s a connection between hair loss and iron deficiency but there are enough studies and experiments that indicate a close link between the two to convince most medical professionals. If you have too little iron in your blood your hair loss problem will likely worsen.
3. Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss due to strict diet can also cause women’s hair loss. Healthy hair requires a certain amount of nutrients; so, if you restrict calories or eliminate foods from your diet you might experience hair loss. If you intend to lose weight, make sure you consult a qualified nutritionist instead of imposing fad diets on your body. A well-balanced meal will help you lose weight, get clear skin, and grow healthy, luminescent hair.
4. Psychological Causes
People often underestimate how much the mind influences the body. If you have psychological problems, it isn’t uncommon for this to manifest physically. Common psychological reasons for female hair loss include:
Stress – There are three types of hair loss commonly associated with stress and these include telogen effluvium, in which stress causes the hair follicles go into the resting phase; trichotillomania, in which people feel the urge to pull their hair; and alopecia areata, in which the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles and causes hair loss. All of these problems are caused by severe stress.
Anxiety – Severe anxiety is another form of stress and can have a physical impact. Most people experience uneven heartbeat, breathlessness, and a number of other symptoms when they suffer from anxiety attacks. Prolonged anxiety can definitely cause other problems like hair loss and hormonal imbalance.
5. Change in Medication
Some medicines have an impact on the body chemistry and balance. They can cause the body to react in unexpected and subtle ways, such as hair fall out. A sudden change in medication can put stress on the body or create hormonal imbalances. This is sometimes seen in women who discontinue the use of their birth control. Your body will take some time to adjust to changes in medication so the hair loss might be temporary.
Genetics pays a very important role in the female pattern of hair loss. If your mother, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, etc. have excessive hair loss, it’s likely that you will have it too. Androgenic or androgenetic alopecia affects around 50% of women and is more apparent in individuals in their 50s and 60s. This is a hereditary condition that causes your hair follicle size to shrink over time. Your hair grows back thinner and finer until the follicle shrinks completely and stops providing hair.
Women are encouraged to experiment and style their hair. It’s an excellent avenue for self-expression. However, excessive styling and coloring can have detrimental effects on hair follicles. There are a number of processes that contribute to hair breakage:
Tight braids, ponytails, cornrows, and hair extensions – Tight hairstyles can cause traction alopecia and add stress to your scalp. Tight ponytails, buns, and braids are having a major style moment right now. Unfortunately, if women do not allow their hair to breath periodically, they may find their hair follicles weaken. Women may feel inclined to experiment with hair extensions when they first experience hair thinning. However, this process puts unnecessary pressure on the scalp and only makes the problem worse.
Heat Styling – We’ve all heard how heat styling damages the hair stands and can cause breakage. Many irons have high temperatures of over 400 degrees. It’s no surprise then, that hair will become frayed and dry if you apply too much heat or style too often.
Dyes and Chemicals – Dyes and chemicals manipulate the hair shafts during the dyeing procedure. Chemicals sink into your hair follicles causing damage. If you’re not careful with the products you use your hair will grow back weaker and thinner, which would eventually lead to hair thinning.
Thankfully, most of the damage caused by over-styling can be reversed but if you go overboard, you can damage your hair follicles permanently. If you’re someone who likes to color or style their hair often, make sure you’re having an informed conversation with your stylist about the dyes and tools they use. Technology is improving around these processes, with heat protectant sprays, ceramic irons, and improved salon quality treatments, including hair stimulating shampoos and topical therapies. Your stylist is likely to have some great recommendations for you.
Dealing with hair loss isn’t easy but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any solutions out there. If you experience excessive hair loss, make sure to consult with your doctor to determine the underlying cause and seek treatment early.