We all know that distressing feeling of finding more hair strands than normal on our pillow or while combing our hair! Hair loss is a common problem in both men and women and is known to significantly impact both the genders psychologically. However, women are more psychologically impacted than men because it tends to be less socially acceptable for women to have thinning hair or no hair.
But, accept it or not, most women post 50 experience thinning of hair and hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss in women at this stage is female pattern baldness (similar to male pattern baldness).
However, whilst male pattern baldness, or the ‘M-shape’, begins at the temples and the hairline recedes backwards; in female pattern baldness, there is a gradual thinning of hair starting at the parting and then continues at the top of the head.
Hair loss is associated with ageing, especially after age 50, however, menopause and the associated hormonal changes can mean that hair loss can begin at an earlier age, around 45. Hormonal imbalances or changes for reasons other than menopause, can also lead to hair loss.
Just like male pattern baldness is inherited from your maternal grandfather, women inherit these genes too! So, if a woman has a history of female pattern baldness in her family, she is more likely to lose more hair as she crosses 50!
“We are what we eat.” No matter your age, there is no substitute for eating a nutritious diet. Women who tend to ignore their nutrition and diet, tend to suffer from increased hair loss as they touch their 50s because, after this age, a woman’s body needs more nutrition to keep up with the ageing changes!
Excessive Stress: Mental or Physical
Hair loss due to stress is a common phenomenon and one can see even young girls of school-going age suffering from it during their exams. But, as we grow older, the effect of stress on hair loss increases and so women who are chronically stressed out – either mentally or physically, tend to experience greater hair loss!
What Can You Do About the Hair Loss?
There are some steps that you can follow at home to try to prevent further hair damage and hair loss:
- Avoid plaiting or tying your hair in tight ponytails or buns that put excessive pulling forces on your hair follicles, causing them to fall-out under stress
- Avoid chemicals on your hair but if you must use chemicals, consult with your dermatologist beforehand
- Steer clear of curling irons and straightening rods as heat can damage your hair shaft, and sometimes even the follicles
- Eat a healthy diet and make sure you get good amounts of vitamin B12, folate, zinc and iron, all of which are important for healthy hair
- You can help your scalp and hair follicles de-stress by massaging your hair with essential oils. While massaging increases blood circulation to the scalp, the essential oils improve the strength of the hair follicles.
More invasive options include medications to stop or reduce hair loss and hair transplants. However, these may not be for everyone or even work in every case and medical advice and consultation is vital before taking any of these steps.
Hair loss, as we grow older, is a normal process of the body and it increases in many women post-50. With the right guidance and a healthy lifestyle, you can save your mane! But, just remember to not fret about it! Stressing over hair loss will only increase it!