Hair Loss in Women
Dr. Michael Reed, a New York University Medical Center dermatologist who specializes in female pattern hair loss, explains “Hair loss not only robs a woman of her sense of style, but oftentimes her sense of self-esteem and her security — it can be very devastating.”
The National Institutes of Health reference several studies that detail the psychological impact of hair loss in women:
- Around 40% of women with hair loss have had marital problems as a consequence, and about 63% claim to have had problems in their career (Hunt & McHale, 2005).
- There is an important link between hair and identity, especially for women, which leads to stress (Weitz R. Rapunzel’s daughters: what women’s hair tells us about women’s lives. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004).
- Psychiatric disorders are more common in people with hair loss than in the general population, suggesting that those with alopecia may be at higher risk for developing a serious depressive episode, anxiety disorder, social phobia, or paranoid disorder (Koo JY, Shellow WV, Hallman CP, Edwards JE. Alopecia areata and increased prevalence of psychiatric disorders. Int J Dermatol 1994;33: 849-50).
- In another study some alopecia patients experienced an ongoing feeling of loss, showing that for some individuals, coping with alopecia may be equated with grieving after bereavement.
- Most of the research shows that people with alopecia have higher levels of anxiety and depression than controls. They also experience lower self esteem, poorer quality of life, and poorer body image (McGarvey EL, Baum LD, Pinkerton RC, Rogers LM. Psychological sequelae and alopecia among women with cancer. Cancer Practice 2001;9: 283-8).
A 2004 Rogaine survey of more than 500 women showed that 24% of women felt that losing their hair was the same as losing a limb.
Be Proactive About Your Hair Loss
According to David H. Kingsley, Ph.D., a hair and scalp expert of the British Science Corporation in New York, “Hair is a barometer of your overall health.” Because your hair reproduces so quickly, if there’s an imbalance in your body, you may see it first in your hair. Paying attention to your hair is paying attention to your health.
The first step is to find out what’s causing your hair loss. There are many different causes, but 90% of all hair loss in women is due to androgenetic alopecia, a genetic condition that causes diffuse thinning across the scalp.
Other non-genetic causes account for the other 10% of female hair loss, such as traction alopecia (which is caused by hair styles that put excessive stress on your hair follicles, such as corn rows or wearing extensions), thyroid imbalance, etc.
There are some types of hair loss that are more easily diagnosed than others. For example, for those that recently had a baby, or went through chemotherapy, hair loss is common. However, if you have a hard time figuring out what is causing your hair loss, you’ll want to have a doctor or dermatologist to diagnose your hair loss.
But other causes of female hair loss aren’t as easily diagnosed. For example, if you suspect that you have a hormone imbalance, which is extremely common in women (especially thyroid imbalance), you’re going to want to you’ll want to visit a doctor to get your hormones checked. Once you pinpoint the source of your hair loss or hair thinning, then you can start to look at treatment options.
What Not To Do With Hair Loss and Thinning Hair
What you don’t want to do is start guessing. Many women start to get thinning hair, and the first thing they do is buy a new shampoo. They’ll wait a few months for results… and nothing. Next they try a nutritional supplement, hoping for the best. They’ll give it a few months, and usually get no results. The problem here is that the more time that passes without addressing the cause of your female hair loss, the more hair you lose. And besides wasting time and money, it can be frustrating to keep trying different options and hoping for the best. It will make a tough situation even tougher.
Some women have a hard time accepting that their hair is thinning, but the sooner that you do, the sooner you can start looking for solutions.
Make Your Hair Look Thicker And Fuller Immediately
There are a lot of things you can do to make your hair look fuller and thicker, and you don’t have to wait. If you’re suffering from female pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia, the most common form of female hair loss), minoxidil is one of your best options.
Minoxidil usually takes at least four months to start seeing results. And before your hair starts to come back, you’re going to continue to experience hair loss, and you hair loss may even get worse. Your scalp will start shedding hairs that are in the telogen, or resting phase, to make room for hairs in the anagen, or growth phase. In the mean time, while you’re waiting for your treatments to take effect, there are several things you can do to get immediate results.
Everyone assumes that they know how to wash and dry their hair, but there are things you could be doing that will make your hair look thicker and healthier immediately. You also might be damaging your hair in your daily routine of washing, drying, applying products, and styling.
There are also many different types of hair products that will make your hair look fuller and healthier. A good hair stylist can color your hair to reduce the look of thinning hair. One of the most effective things you can do is to start styling your hair in a way that will make your hair look fuller.
Get Educated And Take Action
Don’t silently suffer when you can take steps to get your hair back. Check out our frequently asked questions to start getting educated about female alopecia (hair loss).
Although female pattern baldness and female hair loss don’t get as much attention as men’s hair loss, there are a lot of options available to you. The sooner you get informed, the sooner you can start getting results.
Keep informed as new hair loss treatments become available.
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