Men aren’t the only victims of hair thinning with age. Increasingly, more and more women are noticing their hair getting thinner, even before menopause. This can be a distressing event for women who see their locks as their ‘crowning glory’ and a part of their femininity.
What is the cause?
The two most common causes of hair fall in women are genetic hair loss and moult (increased hair shedding). So, how do you know if you have a genetic condition or a temporary one? And can you halt the moult?
In women, hair thins all over the scalp but mostly from the front hairline to the crown (in contrast to men who tend to bald in particular areas like the temples and crown). You’re more likely to have a temporary moult than a genetic condition if:
- ‘Baby’ hair is growing along your hairline and at your temples
- Your hair falls out mostly when washing or brushing
- Your pony-tail is not as thick
- Your hair-parting has not got wider
- Your family / friends have not noticed your thinning mane
Unlike genetic hair loss, a moult is shorter-lived, and will usually cease within 3 months (if you are moulting and your condition lasts for 3 months or more go and see your doctor).
Temporary increased hair shedding can be caused by hormonal ‘events’ such as pregnancy and menopause. They cause a temporary hormonal imbalance, but the hair will re-grow when the imbalance has been corrected. Shockingly a major cause of hair loss in women is STRESS! Yup, stress rears its ugly head yet again. Whether acute emotional stress (e.g. divorce, bereavement) or physical stress (e.g. surgery, accident), or a long-term stressful lifestyle can all take their toll on your tresses.
There are ways to keep your curls thicker for longer though, here are our top 5!
1. Get plenty of sleep and rest
This will massively reduce the stress that your body experiences and therefore will have less impact on your hair.
2. Eat a regular healthy diet
A healthy head of hair needs a good stock of nutrients (especially iron, B12, zinc and lysine) so a healthy balanced diet is essential for thick shiny hair. Crash diets and eating disorders (like anorexia) are known causes of hair loss. You can always take a supplement containing hair loving nutrients too.
3. Stop Smoking
Again, this is to do with nutrition – smoking prevents your body from getting all the nutrients it needs and hence ages your skin prematurely and thins your hair.
4. Hair care
Hair dryers, straighteners, heated rollers, perming, colouring, brushing too much or too hard will break your hair and hence thin it out. Try switching down the temperature on your dryer, or wearing soft rollers overnight as an alternative to heated rollers, get a softer-bristled brush etc. Every little helps. Also, not washing frequently or thoroughly enough can affect hair loss too.
5. Reduce external threats
Central heating and pollution can cause hair loss. Try turning the thermostat down slightly at home and wrap up warmer instead! You’ll save money too!
Note that changes in hair loss take time to be noticed. A stressful event can trigger moulting but you may not notice this for 3 or 4 months – the increased hair shedding may not begin straight away. This is why it’s often very difficult to link cause to effect. Also if you make a positive change to halt shedding you probably won’t see the results for about 4 months since hair grows so slowly (half an inch a month / 6 inches a year on average).
Be patient and be kind to your hair!