In a world where 'perfection' is portrayed by images of women with perfectly coiffed hair, it helps to know that you're not alone if you suffer from hair loss. Traditionally, hair thinning or hair loss has been acknowledged as a problem facing men more than women. However, in reality, thinning hair is just as much of a problem for women as it is for men. For example, Sex and the City star Kristin Davis recently opened up about her struggles with hair loss, opening up a bigger conversation – one that many men and women shy away from.
Let's break down the statistics on female hair thinning, the main causes of hair loss and potential treatment options.
Does hair loss affect women as well as men?
They certainly do and it is often not appreciated that women are affected by hair loss and that it can be an emotional experience. For many women, hair often defines identity, femininity and confidence. What's important to note as well, is that one in three women will be prone to develop female pattern hair loss. Luckily, this does not usually progress to complete baldness as it does for men.
Causes of hair falling out
Hair loss can be very distressing, so it is important to understand why it happens to then be able to try hair loss remedies or natural solutions to prevent it from occurring. There are many reasons why you could be losing your hair, but the three most common conditions are:
1. Pattern hair loss
Pattern hair loss is the most easily recognised form of hair loss and affects up to 70% of men and 30% of women. Typically, men notice a receding hairline and thinning around the crown of the head. Women notice a loss in hair volume and thin on top, and detect a noticeably wider parting. This form of hair loss is hereditary – though the genetics are not straight-forward, it does not always affect every generation, run through only the maternal or paternal line, or skip a generation.
2. Telogen effluvium
This form of hair loss can be caused by stress, low iron or low thyroid hormone levels. Instead of shedding up to 100 hairs a day, which is normal, these triggers promote more hair to shed causing thinning overall.
Alopecia areata will affect 2% of the population at some point in their lifetime. Hair loss occurs because the immune system fights the hair follicles. This usually causes circular patches of hair loss.
Natural remedies for hair loss and regrowth
The solution for hair loss depends on the underlying cause. If a low iron level is found, then this should be corrected. A good diet and healthy lifestyle is important, as is reducing stress levels. Rapid weight loss should be avoided as should fad or starvation diets as these can have detrimental effects on hair. Avoiding tight hairstyles such as ponytails and braids, and making sure the hair is not traumatised during chemical or heat treatments is crucial.
More targeted treatment may include prescription lotions or injections depending on the cause. In some instances, hair transplantation can offer a really good solution. Always speak to your medical practitioner before trying out a treatment.
Is hair loss reversible?
This really depends on the cause of hair falling out. For some forms of hair loss, complete hair regrowth can occur. In other instances, this may not be feasible and strategies designed to slow down hair shedding are used. It is best to see a Dermatologist to obtain more information on whether you are suffering from hair loss and practical steps to take to prevent more loss.
Should you wish to know more, contact your GP or Dermatologist to discuss your situation and receive advice on any lifestyle, dietary or medical treatments which are available to you.
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