Guys aren’t the only ones who worry about going bald. Girls are susceptible to hair loss also, and unfortunately not all of us can pull it off as well as, say, Jason Statham. When women lose their hair, they get even more insecure about it than guys do, because it’s still considered abnormal.
Considering how much value we attach to our hair – let’s be real, a “bad hair day” can easily just become a bad day, and heck, Lady Gaga even wrote a song with a chorus that says, “I am my hair” – this is pretty scary stuff, right? Thing is, it doesn’t need to be too terrifying. Knowledge is power, so arm yourself and your mane with this info.
1. We all lose our hair. Every. Single. Day.
Most of us shed between 50 and 100 strands a day. You may see them in your hairbrush, your shower drain or, if you’re like me, all over your floor after a blow dry. (What a pain in the behind, seriously.) That’s totally normal.
2. About 50 percent of us will lose more than that eventually.
Look around at your mom, grandmas, aunts, female cousins, etc. Do they have hair loss or thinning? If so, you’ll probably get it too. About 50 percent of women will deal with hereditary thinning hair. What happens is that your follicles start to shrink – and therefore so do the hairs that grow out of them. It usually starts behind the bangs. The hair gets thinner, and eventually the follicle shrinks so much that no hair grows anymore. This is the hair loss women deal with most often, and it usually hits when you’re in your 50s or 60s, but a lot of girls deal with it earlier – think teens, 20s and 30s.
3. Stress can make you lose hair.
As if you needed another reason to chill out, amirite?! Stress can make your hair fall out in chunks – docs say that extreme stress or trauma can lead to significant hair loss. Often, these stresses are over things you can’t really control and that are really bad- or can even be related to surgery that you need, even if you feel fine afterward. The good news? This kind of hair loss isn’t permanent.
4. Dramatic weight loss can make you shed more than just pounds.
If you lose a ton of weight, you can lose a ton of hair, too. This typically occurs if you lose a lot of weight really fast, or if you’re malnourished – and is often a secondary symptom of eating disorders like anorexia.
5. Hair loss can be a result of scalp conditions.
If you have psoriasis (hard painful scales), dandruff (more on that here) or a fungal infection like ringworm (which can cause red patches) on your scalp, it can mess with your follicles and make it hard for your hair to grow. You can see a derm to determine which you may have and they can give you a prescription that should clear it up so you can rock long locks again!
6. Hair loss women have is often a sign of other problems, some of which can be serious.
If you’re losing your hair, it can be a reaction to a medication you’re on, an iron deficiency, a thyroid issue or a sign that you’re taking too much vitamin A. A doc may run blood tests to determine the cause and figure out what’s up and how to fix it. However, not everything is that simple. Not to scare you (because we love you), but losing a lot of hair can sometimes be a red flag for a big problem, like lupus. If you notice not only hair loss, but anything else weird going on, tell your doc immediately.
7. Hormones may be to blame for hair loss women face – and the Pill may have something to do with it.
If your hair loss is triggered by a hormonal imbalance like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a doc may prescribe birth control pills, which may curb the problem. However, some birth control pills can actually trigger hair loss depending on what kinds of hormones are in them and your own genetic history of hair loss, and it’s not too uncommon to experience hair loss a few months after starting or stopping taking birth control. If you’re worried about hair loss, it’s generally recommended to go with a birth control pill with a low-androgen index. Make sure to let your gyno know when you’re asking for an Rx! It’s also recommended to avoid progestin implants, vaginal rings, the birth control patch and hormone shots, as all have been linked with exacerbating hair loss in women.
8. Alopecia can happen to anyone – and there’s more than one kind.
You know when you watch talk shows when you’re home sick and they have the somewhat exploitative episodes with sick kids once in a while, and a girl who isn’t dying or a cancer patient will suddenly and dramatically whip off a wig? That’s what most people think of when they hear about alopecia, but there’s more to it than that. There’s alopecia areata, which results in balding throughout the scalp; alopecia universal, which also causes balding of body hair; androgenetic alopecia, which results from a hormonal imbalance and traction alopecia, which is from too tight braids, cornrows, ponytails and pulling styles.
9. You may be causing your own hair loss!
If you’re losing a lot of hair, take a look at it. Is it coming out from the root? Can you see the little bulb-shaped tip? If not, you’re probably suffering from breakage, which can be an effect of heat styling, color treating and generally being a bit too rough with your strands. Try taking a break from your curling or flat irons and your blow dryer and give yourself a deep condition. Your stylist may also be able to trim off the dead ends for you, and chances are you’ll see a difference in how much appears to be falling out immediately – because it’s not really falling out, it’s just breaking off.
10. Hair loss in women is a pain, but it’s treatable.
There are a few different treatments for the hair loss women face. Your doc can help you determine the best one for you depending on what’s causing your hair loss – and the sooner you figure that out and start treatment, the better your results will be.
Have you ever had to deal with hair loss? Does female hair loss run in your family? Do you have any tips for coping with hair loss women face? Tell us in the comments!