Men tend to lose their hair; it’s expected and accepted.
After all, male pattern baldness affects approximately two-thirds of males by age 35 and a whopping 85 percent by the age of 50.
On the other hand, for women, the more infrequent phenomenon of thinning hair can be a more psychologically damaging event.
Hair is often part and parcel to how a woman expresses her femininity and is an integral part of identity for many.
It’s important to note that simple shedding of hair occurs every day for all of us- It plugs up our drains and is a cause of much of our floor sweeping and bathroom countertop wipe-ups.
On average, we shed close to 100 strands of hair daily. However, if a person starts to lose noticeably more hair and if it doesn’t seem to be replacing itself, that’s when it can become problematic…
Contrary to conventional thought, losing hair is a more common challenge for women than many might realize.
Much of the research in this area indicates that a surprising third of women will battle hair loss at various points in their lives.
This indicates that it is mostly a temporary problem and what is being lost will eventually be recovered for most. (In other words, don’t right away freak out if you notice a thinning mane.)
With men, (and sometimes with women as well), there’s a good chance that a genetic disposition is the reason behind thinning hair.
This usually manifests as a gradual loss of volume over time. For example, a woman’s system may be negatively impacted by exposure to male hormones, which can lead to her follicles gradually being reduced in size and thus producing finer and shorter hair with each cycle of hair growth.
In general, hormones play an instrumental part in the regulation of both male and female hair growth.
It probably should come as no surprise that estrogen, which is primarily a female hormone, boosts hair growth on the head and tends to elongate the growth phase as well.
Conversely, the male hormone androgen, the levels of which men inherit within their bloodline, is why male pattern baldness often takes center stage for many, significantly shortening the hair growth cycle and causing it to become increasingly thin.
This, coupled with the downright killing off of follicles on the top of a man’s head, is how males can often feel challenged in regards to their self-esteem.
Hair loss can often be the consequence of an environmental trigger.
It can happen due to bouts with stress, a nutritional deficit, diet, or illness. Stress can be a particularly potent hair loss trigger as it causes a spike in male hormones which, as mentioned, can lead to further hair loss.
Stress also interferes with one’s eating and can disrupt digestion, all potentially having a deleterious effect on an individual.
Another common reason for women’s hair loss is a deficiency of certain vitamins, such as B12, and minerals, with iron being especially an issue.
Iron is quite important for women, especially those who are in their child bearing years.
Much iron can be lost during the menstrual cycle, thus creating a deficit for many females.
Among other detrimental effects, a lack of iron can also lead to lower production of essential hair cell proteins.
And, if a female is going through or about to enter menopause, changes in her body may also have an negative effect on hair, with loss becoming often more noticeable into and after menopause.
Aging in general naturally results in hair becoming finer, for both men and women.
This is something we should perhaps accept as, otherwise, we may become stressed (and we now know what happens to our hair when we’re stressed) …
Finally, women in particular would be well advised to avoid using hair tools that utilize high heat as this can be highly damaging to hair.
Examples that a woman might wish to avoid include hair straighteners and curling irons.
Certainly, one should be careful not to place these tools on one area of the head for too long, not more than ten seconds or so.
Women should also be careful of chemically processing their hair as this too can be the cause of extensive damage.
Assuming two things, the first being that you’re female and, secondly, that your hair loss is not primarily genetic, the following are a few dietary pointers that may help.
It is often suggested that obtaining more protein in what you eat can be very helpful.
Indeed, hair is made up of protein and ensuring a proper intake of protein-rich foods every day can be very helpful.
In addition, consuming complex carbohydrates in your meals can also be helpful.
Healthy carbohydrate intake, namely those derived from certain fresh fruits and vegetables, is proven to provide one’s hair with the requisite energy to optimally grow.
In general, this applies to not just our hair but our general health.
For instance, it is quite important to not wait longer than four hours between eating. Regarding hair, the energy available to ensure healthy growth diminishes after this number of hours.
One’s diet can be greatly assisted by vitamin, mineral and protein supplementation.
This ensures that we boost the important nutrients that our follicles need to grow into thick and lustrous locks.
The following are supplements often targeted by professionals in assuring a healthy head of hair: Vitamins B12, C, D3, the minerals Iron, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and essential amino acids, such as L-Lysine and L-Methionine.
One can also benefit from more exotic supplements to your diet, such as green tea extract, which has been documented to prevent hair loss and boost re-growth; Turmeric, which is backed by research that indicates a simulative effect on the production of hair; Resveratrol, which is an anti-inflammatory that can slow hair loss; and Aloe Vera, which can greatly reduce sebum (oil) on the scalp, which tends to block pores and impede hair growth.
Additionally, stinging nettle, which is a root extract, has been proven to potentially boost hair re-generation by blocking DHT, a byproduct of excess testosterone.
Rosemary has also been shown to boost the circulation of blood to the hair follicles.
When it comes to female-pattern hair loss, it is important to remind readers that this is also due to genetic inheritance from either the mother or father.
This form of hair loss can begin as soon as the latter part of the teen years. Generally speaking, the sooner it begins the more problematic the hair loss will likely become.
Unlike men, women with this kind of hair loss won’t experience a receding hairline or acquire a bald spot on top of the head.
Rather, thinning happens throughout the crown.
Hair strands become miniaturized due to a shortened growth cycle wherein hair remains on the head for shorter durations. These fine hairs end up not reaching their normal length.
Here are two treatments that have been shown to be effective for women:
Minoxidil, the generic name for Rogaine, is the only topical FDA-approved treatment for female-pattern hair loss.
Using this daily has shown regrowth of hair in over 80% of women using it.
This over-the-counter solution works by extending the growth phase of hair, which can lead to hair growing out to full density.
In faithfully using Minoxidil, once a day, one will usually see results in just a few months.
Another potentially powerful treatment to encourage hair retention is a special hair loss shampoo called Keranique, which is a hair regrowth system that is both clinically proven and specifically engineered for women’s unique hair needs.
The ingredients in both the shampoo and its companion conditioner are designed to reactivate those problem hair follicles that have become dormant and shrunken, so as to make them more robust and capable of re-growing healthy hair.