Hair loss in women is when a person experiences significant loss of hair out of the blue. Every human shed like 50 to 100 hair strands per day. However, this is supposed to be balanced by 90% growth. But this requires active follicles such that others grow when the strands fall out. Hair loss occurs when the opposite happens, i.e., you shed more than is replaced.
Naturally, you should be able to grow hair all over your skin surface, except the lips, hand palms, and feet soles. You may notice these hairs as they are very fine and almost invisible. However, the growth rate depends on your body’s hormonal and chemical profile as you age. Indeed, the main cause of hair loss changes in biochemical makeup.
Types of Hair Loss
- Scarring Alopecia. A condition where hair falls off, leaving permanent scars.
- Involutional Alopecia. A situation where hair follicles enter the resting stage, reducing activities in the growth phase
- Traction Alopecia. Hair loss due to damaged follicles
- Androgenic alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss). This is a condition characterized by hair loss around the crown
- Alopecia Universalis. A condition where all the hair on the body falls off, including eyelashes, eyebrows, and pubic hair too
- Telogen effluvium: A temporary condition caused by lifestyle factors such as stress and hormonal imbalance
What Women Are Likely to Experience Hair Loss?
Hair loss can affect any woman or girl. Indeed, at least one in every two women experiences apparent hair loss, with the most female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) affecting at least 30 million women in the US. Some of the women more susceptible to hair loss include:
- Those above the age of 40
- Menopausal women
- New mothers
- Chemotherapy patients
- Women who’ve had tight hairstyles
- Women who use harsh hair chemicals
Causes of Hair Loss in Women Include
Bad Hair Styling Practices
Bad hair styling practices such as tight hairstyles such as braids, corn rows, or ponytails pull the roots, resulting in damaged follicles and permanent hair loss known as traction alopecia.
Skin Inflammation and Other Conditions
Other causes of hair loss are skin disorders such as lichen planus and lupus and skin inflammations such as cellulitis, folliculitis, and bad acne that leave permanent scars on the skin, resulting in scarring alopecia. Additionally, hot combs and tight weaves result in permanent scars and hair loss.
When hair follicles enter the telogen phase, it can result in hair loss due to decreased growth activity to replace the strands being shed daily. One cause of the onset of the telogen phase is aging, as in the case of involuntary alopecia. It reduces growth activity, and the remaining few hairs wear off gradually.
In other cases, the telogen phase is temporary, a.k.a. telogen effluvium. This may happen in cases of extreme physical and emotional stress caused by events such as mental illness, loss of a loved one, anemia, weight loss, surgery, or pregnancy and delivery.
Other causes of telogen effluvium include high vitamin A intake, birth control pills, menopause, abnormal thyroid, gout medicines, smoking, etc.
During such events, large patches of your hair may enter the resting phase, resulting in fewer growths such that some patches are left without hair following normal shedding. However, the hair follicle isn’t damaged, meaning it’s possible to grow hair back on the spots once you address the hormonal or chemical imbalance.
Genes are also factors in some types of hair loss in women, particularly female pattern baldness, aka androgenic alopecia. Combined with aging and hormonal changes due to menopause, you may experience wispy strands and a fading hairline at 40.
Other causes of hair loss include medications, radiation, and chemotherapy that affect hair all over the body during its growth stage. This is known as anagen effluvium. If the radiation or medication hasn’t damaged the hair follicles, it’s possible to grow the hair back; otherwise, one will experience permanent hair loss.
To summarize, hair loss can affect any woman or girl, but some are more susceptible. However, hair loss shouldn’t be confused with hair shedding, which happens daily and naturally fixes itself with brand-new strands. If you are experiencing bald patches or thinning hair, speak with a qualified dermatologist as soon as possible for help. You should also consider scalp massaging devices to care for your hair yourself.
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