Hair loss – something that affects men and very few women, right?
While it’s true that more men do experience hair loss, especially as they age, the condition is becoming a more common issue among women too - in fact, new research commissioned by Philip Kingsley found that 1 in 5 of UK women over 25 currently suffers from hair loss or hair thinning.
Noticeably thinning hair or losing it altogether can be a particularly traumatic and depressing experience for women.
Loose Women presenter Nadia Swahalia has received huge praise for speaking about her hair loss, caused by the effects of perimenopause.
In an emotional video posted on Facebook, the 52-year-old teared up as she showed the parts of her hair that are thinning.
She said: “I used to have the most amazing hair. It was my crowning glory. It was my favourite thing about myself.
"My hair is not like that anymore, my hair really started to change after I had my kids. I lost a lot like a lot of new mums do but it started to change a lot, the texture…having gone from naturally curly hair. It would go frizzy.
“But when I started going through perimenopause I think I lost a third of my hair.
“People always say my hair is so thick and amazing. This is where it’s balding. I’m losing it all over.
“It sounds awful saying it as people lose all of their hair to alopecia or cancer treatment but it doesn’t make it any easier, the fact that I’m losing my hair.”
She continued: "Sometimes I think I shouldn’t be ungrateful. On Loose Women the make-up artists do all sorts to my hair. It sounds pathetic saying it…It makes me really sad, it just makes me feel old and I know I should feel grateful, I do try to and I do say I’m grateful but it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my hair terrible.”
Here, we identify some of the key causes of hair loss in women:
A genetic predisposition of hormonal balances and imbalances, along with the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are the lead causes of hair loss. Contrary to popular belief, genetic predisposition to hair loss can be inherited by either your mother or your father’s side of the family.
Stress and trauma
Stress produces increased levels of testosterone, which converts to DHT and interrupts the hair growth cycle. Stress and trauma can also constrict the blood supply to the capillaries, causing a lack of oxygen and nutrient uptake, as well as poor vitamin and nutrient absorption of the hair follicles.
Nutrition and diet
Poor nutrition, rapid weight loss, a high consumption of animal fats and deficiencies in biotin, iron, protein and zinc can reduce vital amino acid and vitamin absorption needed for hair growth.
Thyroid diseases, as well as the side effects of the medications used to treat these diseases, are the most common health-related causes of hair loss.
Everything from birth control to steroids, as well as many blood pressure, diabetic and heart disease and acne medications can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
Environmental pollutants in the air and water, as well as exposure to chlorine, metals and minerals, can lead to hormonal imbalances that can contribute to hair loss. UV exposure and free radicals can also prematurely age the scalp cells and damage the hair shaft.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to temporary hair loss that can last from six months to up to a year after childbirth. Menopausal women can also experience hair loss due to hormonal shifts.
Unfortunately, as we age, our follicles can deteriorate and cause hair loss.
If you're worried about hair loss, visit your GP or a trained and certified Trichologist.
Do you suffer from hair loss or have any tips for helping it to grow? Share your stories in the Comments box below.