Female hair loss is rather taboo in American culture. Indeed, with the constant stream of photos of Hollywood stars and Instagram influencers with thick, luscious locks, one would think women do not have hair loss. Yet, this is far from the truth: 40% of women will struggle with some type of hair loss, and many will start to notice hair thinning even in their thirties. So putting celebrity wigs and extensions aside, the reality is that many women struggle with hair loss, and most will have episodes of hair thinning at some point in their lives.
When Do Women Generally Begin to Experience Hair Loss?
The majority of women will experience some degree of hair thinning and hair loss around the time of menopause. The hormonal changes that accompany this phase of a woman’s life are among the leading reasons why hair loss can begin. The average age women reach menopause is 51, but this is, of course, just an average. Women can enter it in their 40s to even their late 50s. It is also common to notice hair loss in the perimenopause phase, which is the 5-8 years preceding menopause, where hormonal fluctuations are common.
Women also have hair loss associated with aging. In fact, we see that both men and women start to lose more hair in their 50s. Therefore, it is sometimes challenging to separate menopause from natural age-related changes when it comes to hair loss.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women
There are other causes of hair loss aside from aging and menopause. The cause of hair loss can determine when a woman will start to notice hair loss. Thus, while the 40s and 50s are an expected time to see hair loss in women, it can happen really anytime.
Female Pattern Hair Loss - Also called androgenic alopecia, this form of hair loss is one of the most common in women. Likely, it is driven by your genetics, but we still don’t exactly know what causes female pattern hair loss. Telltale signs of female pattern hair loss include a widening part line over time and general thinning that you can feel or see.
Telogen effluvium - Most women will experience telogen effluvium at some point in their lives. Unlike other causes of hair loss, telogen effluvium is not permanent. Instead, it is a side effect of a situation related to severe stress or big hormonal shifts like childbirth. Indeed, telogen effluvium is the official term used when referring to postpartum hair loss. Telogen effluvium is usually easy to diagnose because the hair loss occurs 120 days or 3 months following a stressful event.
Alopecia areata - This hair loss condition is due to an autoimmune process in the body. In alopecia areata, your own immune system attacks healthy hair follicles, causing chronic inflammation and eventual hair loss. Bald patches are a telltale sign of alopecia areata, and it is tough to reverse the effects of this condition.
Autoimmune disorders - Having any type of autoimmune condition puts you at greater risk for hair loss. Alongside fatigue, hair loss is one of the most common signs of an autoimmune disorder. There is still speculation as to why hair loss is a symptom of autoimmune disease, but it likely is due to an increase in inflammatory markers all over your body, which causes chronic stress and inflammation in various body tissues. Examples of autoimmune conditions that can lead to hair loss (aside from alopecia areata) include:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Graves’ disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Type 1 diabetes
Other health conditions - Having any other health condition can increase your risk for hair loss. When you think about it, hair is not necessary for our survival anymore. Therefore, when resources are scarce and your body is trying to combat another issue, such as infection or blood sugar imbalance, your body will direct nutrient and oxygen-rich blood toward more vital organs. Hair loss is also seen in:
- Heart conditions
- Type 2 diabetes
- Thyroid diseases
- Bacterial and viral infections
Sometimes, the disease itself does not cause hair loss, but rather the treatment does. Some medications have side effects of hair loss, including medications that treat cancer, cholesterol-lowering medications, birth control pills, and immunosuppressants.
How to Look for Hair Loss
No matter your age, you should always keep an eye out for hair loss, as it can affect you at any age. However, it is imperative to watch for signs when you near expected times of hair loss, like menopause.
To check for hair loss, you want to look for any signs of hair thinning in general. Most women will see a change in their part line. To keep an eye on changes over time, it is helpful to take photos every other month of your part line to monitor for thinning and widening. If you see more hair collecting in places like your bedding, clothes, and shower drain, it may also be a sign of thinning. It is normal for people to shed between 50-100 hairs per day. If you feel you are shedding more, something is likely disrupting your normal hair growth cycle.
Another great way to assess for thinning is just to feel your hair. If you gather all your hair into a ponytail and feel a change in thickness, it is time to take action.
When to Treat Female Hair Loss
Right away! The sooner you treat any type of hair loss, the better. The longer you wait to make changes, the harder it will be to reverse the changes in your hair. That is why keeping an eye out for thinning is so important.
The first thing you should do if you have thinning is to figure out what is causing it. Sometimes, the answer may be straightforward, such as if you recently gave birth. Other times, it may require a visit to your dermatologist to figure out what is causing the problem.
Once you have figured out what is causing hair loss, you need to start taking steps to replace your losses and maintain your existing strands:
- Use a topical hair loss solution that has Nanoxidil 5%. Nanoxidil is a powerful alternative to minoxidil, and it helps you regrow your hair without unwanted side effects like greasiness and itching.
- Use a shampoo and conditioner system that helps with hair regrowth. The REVITA High Performance Hair Stimulating Shampoo and Conditioner is a go-to option for women looking to boost their volume, combat hair loss, and hydrate their hair.
- Take a hair support supplement like the REVITA Nutraceutical Tablets for Hair Growth Support. These supplements can ensure you are getting the right nutrients to keep your hair healthy and support new growth.