Some people are scared of clowns or the darkness, but our worst nightmare is a little more personal. It’s touching our hair and coming away with a fistful of hair! And if we had a dollar for every time we found our drain clogged with big bunches of our hair, we would be able to afford the highest quality wigs in the world. On average, we lose about 50 to 100 hairs from our scalp every day. That might sound like a lot, but research shows that 50% of women experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime. So you’re not alone in the good fight. It’s a condition commonly associated with men, but the causes of hair loss in women are totally different — and more serious sometimes. Here are the common, and not so common probable causes!
Hair loss is due to genetics for most women. If hair loss runs in your family — from either paternal or maternal side — you’re more likely to be prone to thinning hair, which leads to a drastic reduction in hair volume.
From acne to weight gain, hormonal imbalances are the root cause of most of the recurrent conditions women go through. When it comes to hair loss, your hormones are one of the main culprits too. Female hormones like oestrogen are considered to be ‘hair friendly’ since they promote healthy hair growth, whereas androgens, the male hormones, negatively affect the hair growth cycle. Higher levels of the latter cause a hormonal imbalance in women and result in hair loss. The extent to which this affects you depends on genetic factors, though.
Underlying Medical Condition
Hair loss for women is often the result of an underlying medical condition. Iron deficiencies are one of the major causes of hair loss in women. Iron is essential for producing hair cell protein and the lack of it causes hair follicles to weaken and fall. Other than that, hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism and PCOS can also affect the health of hair follicles. Getting checked and diagnosed early can save you the heartache of horrible hair fall.
What you eat, or to be more precise, what you don’t eat, greatly contributes to your poor hair growth. Sudden weight loss caused by a crash diet, or a lack of essential nutrients in your diet can damage your hair. It thrives on proteins such as keratin and Vitamin C because they promote collagen growth — a structural fibre that hair follicles require for growth. To combat hair loss, increase your intake of protein rich foods like eggs, fish and lean meat, as well as oranges, mangoes, cauliflower and tomatoes, all of which contain Vitamin C.
Hair fall being caused by stress isn’t a myth like you thought. Extreme stress can cause your androgen levels to spike, which in turn can cause the hair to thin. Along with this, stress also gives birth to scalp problems like dandruff, which in turn also ultimately leads to hair loss. Take a break from the stressful environments surrounding you by prioritising yourself, and indulging in some self care.
Styled hair may look chic on the outside, but excessive poking, prodding, and spraying can make the strands on your head suffer. Colouring your hair regularly can also make them brittle from the harsh chemicals they’re exposed to. Tightly pulled braids, messy top knots, and hairstyles that place stress on the roots can cause traction alopecia — leading to bald spots. Make sure to let your hair down every once in a while, change hairstyles frequently, and protect your locks from chemicals.
When it comes to extreme hair loss, age can’t be ignored. Our bodies’ ability to quickly renew and regenerate cells decreases with age, which is why most women over 40 have hair that lacks volume and thickness. Hair fall is also very prevalent during menopause, as the hormonal changes — a decrease in oestrogen and progesterone — slows down the growth of hair and leads to shedding.