Self Image

Research indicates hair and self image for most women go hand in hand, it is suggested a women’s hair style whether it be Short long bouncy or straight is more than just hair it is an expression of her own unique style. Looking in to a mirror on a bad hair day can be very upsetting.

 

Hair Loss is common in women 

To think that thinning hair is a problem exclusive to men only is wrong, this condition affects around eight million women in the UK alone. Although women do not develop  a receding hair line like men they do however experience thinning hair evenly distributed throughout the whole of the scalp, some begin losing hair in the parting area which gradually over time appears to widen, others can develop distinct bald patches.

 

Normal Hair Growth Cycle

The cycle for a Natural hair is for it to grow for several years and then fall out and be replaced. The result of this is that hair is always in the process of fall out and re-growth, this is why we notice small degrees of hair loss on a daily basis during the washing-towelling –combing process. Periodically hair loss can sometimes exceed the growth of new hair. The average scalp has around 100,000 hairs and grows at a rate of approximately 1.25cm (half an inch) per month after a growing cycle of 2-6 years the hair rests and then falls out and the cycle is then repeated, at any given time approximately 90% of your hair is growing whilst the remaining 10% is resting. If you are concerned about the change of volume to your hair density, see medical advice.

 

The cause of Hair Loss

There are approximately 30 different types of medical conditions that can trigger the onset of hair loss in women in addition to maybe several lifestyle factors. On occasions a starting factor/point cannot be identified, hair loss experts recommend testing for thyroid problems and hormone imbalances, once caused has been identified and addressed hair will usually grow back.

 

Measuring Hair Loss In Women

The Savin scale is probably the most common method that ranges from normal density to a bald crown; this method enables the documenting of FPB (Female Pattern Baldness) which in men is known as androgenic alopecia. Experts on the whole agree that genetics and the ageing process play a significant role, in addition to the hormonal changes of the menopause. Hair volume may become thin throughout the entire scalp with the greatest loss occurring along the centre scalp area, a receding hairline is almost unheard of in women.

 

Hormonal abnormalities

Several hormonal variations are believed to have a contributing factor to hair loss. Too much or too little thyroid hormone is believed to be a common cause of generalized thinning or loss of scalp hair.  Diagnoses of this can be easily confirmed with a simple blood test. Another cause can be increased levels of   testosterone not only can this cause loss of scalp hair it can also encourage growth of facial and body hair. People who have diabetes and therefore high levels of insulin can also suffer from hair loss. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a chronic hormonal imbalance. There are higher levels of androgens than expected. This often causes extra hair to sprout on the face and body, while the hair on the scalp grows thinner. PCOS can also lead to ovulation problems, acne and weight gain, but sometimes thinning hair is the only obvious sign.

 

Hair Loss triggers

Alopecia areata

Causes the hair to fall out in startling patches. The culprit is the bodies own immune system, which mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. In most cases, the damage is not permanent. The missing patches usually grow back in six months to a year. In rare cases, people may lose all of the hair on their scalp and body.

 

Ringworm

This condition affects the scalp; the fungus triggers a distinct pattern of hair loss - itchy, round bald patches. Bald areas can appear scaly and red.  the scalp is treated with antifungal medication. The fungus is easily spread by direct contact, so family members should also be checked for symptoms.

 

Childbirth

It is often said some women notice their hair appears to be fuller/thicker during pregnancy. This is due to the high levels of hormones produced during pregnancy the increase in these hormones stop the resting hair falling out as they would normally do. Once childbirth has taken place and hormone levels return to their normal state those strands that would have normally fallen out after the resting begin to do so rather quickly. This can result in a surprising amount of hair loss over what appears to be a very a short period of time at one time. Once this hair loss has taken place it can take between 18-24 months the hair volume to return to its normal level.

 

Hormonal contraception

A little known side effect of hormonal contraception is the potential for hair loss. The hormones that suppress ovulation can cause the hair to thin in some women, particularly those with a family history of hair loss. Sometimes hair loss begins when you stop taking the pill. Other drugs linked to hair loss include blood thinners and medicines that treat high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and depression.

 

Crash diets

Women who crash diet may notice the occurrence of hair loss three to six months after losing more than 15 pounds (6.8 kg), but hair should re-grow on its own once a healthy diet has been re-established. Hair loss may be more noticeable if the diet is very low in protein or too high in Vitamin A

 

Tight hairstyles & Extensions

Wearing cornrows or tight ponytails or weaved in hair extensions can cause irritation to the scalp this cause hair to fall out. If you let your hair down, it should grow back normally. Scarring of the scalp and permanent hair loss can occur if long term use of these styles is continued.

 

Cancer treatment

Hair loss is a notorious side effect of two cancer treatments: chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In their pursuit of cancerous cells, both these treatments can harm the hair follicles, resulting in dramatic hair loss. The damage is almost always short-lived. Once the therapy is finished, the hair usually grows back.

 

Extreme stress

Extreme physical or emotional stress can result in a sudden shedding of a large volume hair at a later time, examples include: Serious illness or major surgery Trauma involving blood loss severe emotional trauma, The shedding process once begun may last six to eight months.

 

Treating hair loss with Medicine

The only approved Medicine in the UK to treat female hair loss is Minoxidil scalp solution. It may slow down and is some cases stop hair loss, it is suggested up to 25% of those who use this medicine may experience hair re growth. It is recommended that Minoxidil is used for several months as it can take this long for any effects to be noticed.  If you have an underlying medical problem or a nutritional deficiency always seek doctors advise, hair usually grows back on its own once your condition is under control.