Hair Loss Isn’t Just a Guy Thing
Whether it’s short- or long-term, women lose hair the same way men do. It might thin all over, or your center part could get wider and wider. You might even get a bald spot at the crown of your head. One thing women rarely have: a receding front hairline.
Understanding Hair Loss
The best way to think of the way hair grows is to picture a garden. How well it grows is completely a result of what is happening “underground.” Like a garden, a normal hair cycle should lead to hair growth.
Growth cycles are important because when they go awry, that is one of the reasons we have hair loss. Things that interfere with the growth cycle -- like medication, illness, infection, or chemicals -- have the potential to stop hair from being formed properly. Hair grows in three different cycles: anagen, catagen, and telogen. About 90% of the hair on the head is in the anagen, or growth phase, which lasts anywhere from two to eight years. The catagen, or transition phase, typically lasts 2-3 weeks, during which the hair follicle shrinks. During the telogen cycle, which lasts around two to four months, the hair rests. An overwhelming majority of the time the hair is on the scalp, it is growing. Only about 10% of the strands are in transition or resting at any one time. Hair grows about 6 inches a year for most people.
Most people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. On the days when hair is washed, people can lose up to 250 strands. But don’t avoid washing in an attempt to keep the hair, as it will fall out eventually, anyway. Typically, each time a normal hair follicle is shed, it is replaced by hair that is equal in size. But for men & women with male/female-pattern hair loss, the new hair is finer and thinner. The hair follicles are shrinking and eventually they quit growing altogether.
If your hair loss is sudden or extreme, a visit to your doctor should be your first step. If you've addressed the medical concerns for hair loss, then there are products that can help you to re-grow hair or minimize the impact and look of thinning hair.
Below are some things you can do right away to help retain your hair:
- Eat the right nutrients. Hair thrives on protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Get them from lean meats, leafy greens, nuts, beans, fish, and these 13 other delicious iron rich foods. Supplements containing a combination of fish protein, vitamin C, zinc, biotin, and niacin can also help.
- Massage your scalp. You're halfway there every time you shampoo: massaging your head in the shower improves blood flow to the scalp. This means a better environment for hair growth, but it also aids the penetration of any treatment shampoos you use.
- Let your hair air-dry. It's the easiest fix you never considered. Hair dryers and irons, especially if you already color, can cause breakage and thinning, so reduce your use however you can.
- De-stress. Just breathe—seriously, it could help! Both sudden and chronic stress can halt hair growth. If you've been through a challenging experience (divorce, job change), hair should grow back. If you're under constant pressure, master meditation—easier said than done, but your hair will thank you.
- Talk to your stylist. They might suggest a short cut, a different part, maybe a gentle body wave. Try a styling product for thin hair to hide bare spots. Apply it to the root area then gently blow dry to build volume. Let your hair air dry for a while before you use the dryer.
- Help Disguise the loss with Keratin fibers. Special cosmetics can disguise parts of your scalp that show. Think about keratin fiber hair cosmetics. Sprinkle them over the thinning patch. Their static charge makes hair look thicker.