The first thing you need to know is that hair loss is natural. We all lose hair all the time. Hair loss only becomes a problem when hair that’s falling out is not replaced with new hairs. When that happens your hair starts to thin and becomes progressively thinner.
Hair has a natural life cycle. There are 4 phases in this cycle.
If this cycle is not interrupted you will continue to shed hair and it will continue to grow back again. The ‘volume’ of hair on your head will remain more or less constant. So don’t panic when you see your hairbrush or the bottom of the sink clogged up with what used to be your hair.
The problem comes in if the hair follicles (roots) are damaged in some way and unable to grow new hairs to replace hair that has fallen out. If it happens to many follicles, hair becomes thinner and parts of the scalp lose some or all hair. This is commonly known as baldness or receding hairline.
This problem has many different causes but some are more common than others. Hair thinning and baldness is more common in men than women, but women are affected by it. For cultural and other reasons women are generally more psychologically affected by hair loss than men.
This post will address female hair loss. I’ll talk about the main causes of female hair loss and suggest some safe and natural solutions to help prevent or reduce it.
There are 10 common reasons for hair loss in women. I’ll go through them individually.There are many factors outside these 10 but these are the main ones
1. Extreme stress
A stressful experience can ‘shock’ the body enough to push the hair cycle into an extreme phase of the shedding cycle. This usually happens 3 to 6 months after the shock itself.
The experience is usually physical injury or extreme anxiety.
When it happens much more hair than normal is shed. Hair can come out in what seems like handfuls and fewer follicles are on standby to start new hair growth.
This is not as bad as it sounds even if a lot of hair is lost. As stress levels decrease the hair will grow back in a new growing cycle.
If this has happened to you, regrowth can be accelerated by actively ‘destressing’ yourself. Consider meditation and/or counselling. The faster you destress and relax, the quicker your hair will move back into a growth cycle.
This is easier said than done I know… but comfort yourself with the knowledge that the hair loss will end. You could very well end up with as much hair as you had before. Encourage the regrowth cycle with a correct diet which you’ll find later in this post.
2. Hereditary factors
If hair loss runs in your family, chances you will also be affected by it.
Female-pattern hair loss will thin your hair on all parts of your scalp. The first thing you’ll notice is widening of your parting because thats where your scalp is most visible. It affects the whole scalp and you’ll notice hair shedding and a loss of hair volume. Up to 40% of women suffer from this by age 50.
It is also associated with menopause and pregnancy.
Because it’s hereditary there’s not much you can do about it other than taking good care of your hair and general health. You’ll find good information on how to look after your health and hair in this post.
3. Lack of nutrients
What you eat and what you don’t eat has a lot to do with hair loss.
Healthy hair needs minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. You get these things from your diet. If your diet does not include these things it will affect your whole body including your hair. Dull thinning lifeless hair is a a very good indicator of deficiencies in your diet because it’s caused by those deficiencies.
Let’s have a closer look at diet.
- Vitamin C – low vitamin C intake makes your hair dry and brittle. It causes protein deficiency which means less new hair growth. Low vitamin C also contributes to anemia which can also cause hair loss.
- Zinc – very important for tissue growth and tissue repair. Zinc keeps the oil glands around your hair follicles in good shape. Dandruff and slow hair growth indicate a zinc deficiency.
What to eat for general and hair health
In no particular order… tomatoes, cauliflower, mangoes, oranges, beans, yogurt. meats, fish, eggs, whole grain cereals, and dark green leafy vegetables.
To specifically feed your hair… oranges, mangoes, cauliflower and tomatoes. All contain high levels of Vitamin C .
Get your protein from meats, eggs, fish, yogurt and beans. Whole-grain cereals and dark green leafy vegetables are great for providing iron. You also need zinc-rich foods like nuts, chickpeas and sweet potatoes.
4. Weight loss and crash diets
Sudden or drastic weight loss can cause hair thinning and hair loss. This is a shock to the system and the body reacts to that in different ways. One of these is to divert resources to essential body functions. Your hair is not in that category so it’s deprived of those resources.
This can cause more hair loss than normal. But don’t panic unless your hair thinning and shedding is excessive. You will often find hair quality restores itself after you have lost the weight and stabilized.
The best foods to help prevent hair loss when dieting are meats, eggs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Also vitamins A and C, and zinc. All essential for hair growth and replacement.
5. Getting older
At around 40 you’ll probably find your hair is not quite as full and resilient as it used to be. This is because your body starts to lose its ability to regenerate and renew cells fast. Hair becomes thinner and hair loss accelerates. The first grey hairs start to appear.
Menopause plays a part in hair loss. Estrogen and progesterone levels start falling off. This slows hair growth and causes increased hair loss. Androgen levels increase and this shrinks hair follicles. The end result is less hair and the hair is thinner and weaker.
Deal with this by making sure your diet is balanced. Vitamins and minerals are important as well as lean proteins. Your hair will be also drier. Moisturize your hair with natural products. Hazelnut oil and Argan oil are great.
Pregnancy has a positive effect on your hair. Higher levels of estrogen in your body keep your hair in a growing phase for longer. Unfortunately the effect stops about 3 months after your baby is born. Hormones return to normal levels and the hair cycle resumes.
In some cases hair can fall out all at once during the post pregnancy phase. Don’t panic, most of it will grow back in around 6 months as your follicles recover.
Reduce post pregnancy hair loss in by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. Vitamins B, C, and E are important. Choose fruit rich in these vitamins while your body is recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.
7. Too much styling
This is a major cause of hair loss. Styling stresses your hair chemically and physically.
Strong chemical hair treatments are universally bad for your hair. If you want a simple rule… here it is.
Exposing your hair to any artificial chemicals will do it harm. Why would you want to do that?
These chemicals include straighteners, relaxers and artificial dies. Anything that your hair would not normally be exposed to in everyday life. You can do irreversible damage to your hair with chemical treatments.
Stay away from chemicals!
You hair can also be badly damaged by styles that pull your hair tight. This type of damage is called traction alopecia. It means gradual hair loss.
These styles include braids, cornrows, weaves and pigtails. Anything that puts the hair under continual strain and applies pulling tension to the roots is bad. You can easily damage the follicles of your hair to the point where the hair never grows back again from those follicles.
Why would you do that?
There are a host of styles and looks that don’t damage your hair follicles. If you want to experiment with your hair there are many safer options. You could even wear it loose, like it was meant to be.
If you have damaged your hair and follicles physically or chemically, try a regular gentle scalp massage. Use a safe natural massage agent like castor oil, olive oil or coconut oil.
Some medications can cause hair loss. Anticoagulants and hypertension medication can cause hair loss. They are toxic to hair follicles and will disrupt your hair cycle. Anticoagulants are the worst offenders.
Other culprits are beta blockers and some gout medications. Vitamin A in large doses can also cause hair loss. This is usually temporary and your hair will grow back. Your doctor should be able to tell you whether any particular medication has implications for hair loss.
They should also be able to advise you if there are safer alternatives. Also ask your doctor about dosage options to minimize the effect on your hair cycle. Note that many drug side effects on your hair are temporary and your hair will recover. Whether it recovers 100% is a different matter.
9. High-energy sport
High energy sport and gym sessions will drain your body of resources. This can lead to insufficient energy for other functions including hair growth. This is an extreme situation and not common. You should notice problems in other areas of your health if its happening to you. Take measures to avoid these extremes.
Everything in moderation is a great life principle.
Remember that your hair is a great indicator of general health. If your hair is in bad shape start looking for problems which might be affecting your general health.
10. Trichotillomania (hair-pulling)
Trichotillomania is a psychological condition. Essentially its compulsive self pulling out of your own hair. Victims will literally pull out their own hair strand by strand till there is none left. It’s not a common disorder and we don’t need to go further other than to mention it here.
So now you have a comprehensive list of the possible factors and reasons behind premature hair loss. If you’re losing your hair faster or earlier in your life than seems normal, go through this list and look for possible reasons.
Take action if you find something obvious and follow the general good health and hair care principles.
Also discover The Miracle Spice
Please also note that this post is in no way suggesting that you should not seek professional or medical advice for any health problem you may have. You should seek professional help for any health concerns you may have.