Sure, you’re far more likely to see a bald man than you are a bald woman, but that doesn’t mean that us women are immune to hair loss. In fact, hair loss in women is more common than you think, only we tend to see the signs as thinning hair and moulting more than all-over balding. If you’ve ever wondered ‘why is my hair falling out’ as well as how to stop hair loss, you are not alone.
How much hair loss is normal?
Ok, first things first, what’s an *acceptable* amount of hair fallout? The normal hair loss rate in women is between 50 to 100 hairs a day. These hairs are typically replaced with new regrowth. It’s when you start noticing clump falling out at once or bald spots and patchiness that there’s cause for concern.
Is hair loss in women common?
“Sadly, yes,” says Carolyn Evans-Frost, trichologist at Absolique Hair Health Clinic in Brisbane. “It has been on the increase over the past 20 years and now I help far (five times) more women than men with hair loss and hair thinning.”
According to the Australian Journal of General Practice, approximately 49 per cent of women will be affected by hair loss throughout their lives, and the likelihood increases with age in all ethnicities.
What is the difference between hair loss in men and hair loss in women?
“Causes of hair loss and hair thinning can be much the same for both men and women with hereditary factors, hormonal influences, environmental exposure and the ever-increasing free radical effect,” says Evans-Frost. However, she notes, “With women, it is just much more complex due to the use of birth control, the female cycle, pregnancy and then menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). These days we also have a lot of autoimmune problems and conditions contributing to the situation.”
Unlike men, women won’t experience complete baldness or a receding hairline. Instead, thinner hair, a wider part and the scalp becoming more visible are the top signs of female hair loss.
What are the main causes of hair loss in women?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that could be causing your hair loss, and it can be tricky to identify your underlying cause. However, there are a couple of common hair loss causes for women.
“The most common cause of hair loss in women is iron, or more specifically, ferritin deficiency. Ferritin is the storage of iron in the body and because of all the other things women deal with, their ferritin tank gets low and causes diffuse hair loss,” says Evans-Frost.
“And as mentioned earlier, autoimmune conditions such as thyroid problems can cause fluctuating diffuse hair loss.”
Other top hair loss causes include:
- A genetic predisposition to hair thinning
- Dramatic weight loss (a nutrient deficiency can impact hair growth)
- Alopecia (a medical condition that causes hair to fall out)
- Stress (due to an increase in androgen - male hormone - levels, which hinders the hair growth cycle)
- A vitamin deficiency (vitamins and minerals are essential in the hair cycle for normal cell growth and function)
- Age (hair naturally thins with age, plus, hair loss becomes more common leading up to and after menopause)
How to prevent hair loss
“Practise good health, watch your iron studies, vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels, avoid unnecessary synthetic hormones, and listen to your body,” suggests Evans-Frost. “Hair loss is just one of the signs things are not quite right. By the time women experience hair loss they have missed many more of the other signs.”
How to treat hair loss
The best thing you can do if you’re experiencing hair loss is to talk to your GP or a trichologist to get to the bottom of the issue. They can also talk you through treatment options based on your symptoms.
To help treat hair loss at home, try these three steps:
#1 / Improve your diet
Poor hair, it comes in at the bottom of the pecking order when nutrients are being shared around the body. As a non-essential tissue, when your body is lacking in vital nutrients, your hair is the first to miss out, which can contribute to hair loss. Load up on protein - it’s essential for healthy hair growth as hair is made up of protein, and make sure you eat a well-balanced diet so no hair has to go hungry. Like your body, your hair also needs energy to grow (hair cells are the second fastest growing cells in the body); carbohydrates are key.
#2 / Add targeted products to your haircare routine
You may not be able to make your hair grow any faster, but with the help of the right haircare products you can ensure strands grow strong and your scalp is healthy (psst, this is why scalp health is important for healthy hair growth). In addition to regular hair masks to repair and strengthen hair and always using a heat protectant when heat styling, try these three targeted hair loss treatments:
Hairprint Botanical Hair Elixir - No.3 Energizer - Enriched with turmeric oil, which is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment for regenerating the scalp and hair, as well as rosemary oil, which unclogs hair follicles, this hair oil can be used as a daily or weekly treatment to help reduce the effects of stress-induced hair thinning and hair loss.
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density - to enhance the thickness, density, fullness and health of your hair, apply a couple of drops of this hair serum to a dry scalp every night before bed.
Evolis Hair Growth Tonic for Women - this natural hair growth tonic works by inhibiting the protein in hair that shortens your hair growth cycle, and has been clinically tested to help reduce hair loss and increase the number of growing hair follicles.
#3 / Look to supplements
Back to your diet: Supplements can help top up those nutrient levels that you may be struggling to get into your daily diet. Iron, zinc and biotin deficiencies are most commonly associated with hair loss, so focus your supplement intake on boosting your intake of these. Collagen has also been found to help promote healthy hair, from providing hair with amino acids to build keratin so it can grow strong, to strengthening the skin on your scalp and preventing hair thinning.
Three supplements to try: Bondi Boost Anti Hair Loss Support; JS Health Hair + Energy Supplements; Earth & Sea Beauty Silica + Iodine & Iron Capsules
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.