It’s August, which means it’s National Hair Loss Awareness Month. It’s not the most glamorous topic in the world, but one that we should all be talking about. Female hair loss is an incredibly taboo subject due to the absurd amount of importance society places on women’s hair. We have been trained to believe that our hair is what brings us beauty, femininity, and worthiness, which could not be further from the truth. 0 out of 10 for narrow-minded societal beauty standards. But sadly, because of the perpetuation of these beauty standards, experiencing hair loss as a woman can be an especially devastating experience both mentally and emotionally. And because female hair loss isn’t an openly spoken about topic, it can feel incredibly isolating. It does not, and should not, have to be this way. That’s why we’re here to share the facts and break down the taboo around female hair loss.
Let’s start with some facts about hair loss in women that you might not expect. I’ll start with the most important first: hair loss in women is very common. More than 50% of women will experience hair loss in their lifetime for one reason or another. In fact, almost 40% of patients that seek professional treatment are female. Yup, that many.
So, now let’s break down what female hair loss really is. Women can experience hair loss in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons, some temporary and some more permanent. Below are some of the most common reasons for hair loss and thinning in women:
Stress: Going through a stressful event such as loss of employment, rapid weight loss, surgery, etc. can be incredibly taxing on the body and show up in the form of hair loss. You might notice more strands of hair in your bathtub or in your hair brush about three months after a stressful event due to the body going into a state of shock. Luckily, this form of hair loss is often temporary and will grow back after the stressor has been removed. The most important thing to do is find ways to relax your body and mind. “Science tells us that meditation boosts stem cells in the blood and each hair originates from stem cells,” said Mary Arutyunyan, CEO and Founder of MFLORENS a hair care brand that was specifically created to address hair and scalp issues including hair loss.
Having a baby: Our hormones on a roller coaster during pregnancy and child birth, and are merely along for the ride. Some women experience hair GROWTH during pregnancy only to then experience rapid loss of hair after giving birth. This is because your hormones shift rapidly after giving birth. However, once hormones begin to stabilize, hair will normally grow back to it’d original state.
Medical treatments: Many people experience rapid hair loss when going under intense medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This type of hair loss normally reverses itself once treatments have ended. Some individuals have reported hair growing back a different texture and even a different color.
Menopause: Many women notice that their hair starts to thin out and become less thick as they age. This is especially prominent in post-menopausal women. Once certain hormones in the body shift, hair growth might begin to slow down. This hair loss tends to create thinner hair diffused throughout the scalp as opposed fully bald areas of the scalp.
Excessive hair styling: Constantly wearing tight hair styles such as high ponytails and braids and cause traction alopecia. This means that the hair follicles experience so much strain from the constant pulling and tugging that they stop producing hair all together. This is why it is important to ensure hair styles are creating as little strain on the hair follicle as possible, give your scalp periods of rest between stylings, and use products that nourish the scalp and hair. “The totality of proactive and preventive care results in healthier skin throughout life. The same principles apply with equal and greater force to the scalp and hair,” said Arutyunyan
Alopecia areata: This is a skin condition that causes patchy hair loss throughout the scalp. The hair loss tends to be periodic, meaning hair will fall out and grow back in at different times. Certain triggers (such as stress or poor diet) can exacerbate this condition and cause more bouts of hair loss, but sometimes it will occur even when triggers aren’t present.
Genetics: Hair loss can also just be passed down from your family. You can sometimes tell if you will at some point experience hair loss by simply looking at your parents. This type of hair loss is unfortunately more permanent, but there are still medications and medical procedures that can preserve hair and slow down the thinning process!
No matter the type of hair loss, it is important to spot it early and consult a medical professional ASAP. The faster you determine the root cause of hair loss, the more likely you will be able to find a treatment that will be affective at preserving your hair before permanent loss of follicles. If you notice you’re losing more hair than normal, make an appointment with your dermatologist or doctor. There are so many options both medical and procedural that are available on the market today. And there are ways to take care of your hair every day to help keep it healthy and strong. “Poor or no care may diminish the size of hair follicles, if not make them dormant, leading to significant hair thinning over time, but also may pose challenges when more noticeable hair loss sets in. Hair loss is impacted by the care immediately upon its onset, but also the care well before and after,” says Arutyunyan.
So if you ever experience hair loss, just know that you are far from alone. There is absolutely no shame losing hair because at the end of the day…it’s just hair. It holds as much importance as we decide it does. And no matter what, you’ll always be a Pretty Well Beauty!!
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By: Taylor Maness