Female hair loss is both common and affects women of all ages. Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. There are many health causes for it, ranging from anaemia through to vitamin deficiencies and the simple, unavoidable aging process.
Twice in my life, I’ve lost considerable amounts of hair. The first was due to stress: I was working crazy hours in a full-on job for a media giant and was stupidly neglecting both my physical and emotional health. My fine, shoulder-length, blonde hair started to thin out to the point that it resembled fairy floss, as my husband unhelpfully (but not unkindly) pointed out when we met during that time. Boy, has he lived to regret those tactless words! It didn’t help too that my hairdresser at the time was obsessed with giving me platinum locks, making my naturally-fair hair even weaker from all the vigorous bleaching and overstyling.
It was only after I left my full-time media job while on maternity leave when my hair began to thicken and grow like wildflowers. This was partly due to the wonder of pregnancy hormones, whereby increased levels of estrogen prolong the growing stage, there are fewer hairs in the resting stage and fewer falling out each day, so you naturally have thicker, more luxuriant tresses. However, I firmly believe my rapid hair growth was also largely as a result of my great personal joy and immense relief – mind/body and spirit – at no longer having to work under such stressful conditions.
Of course, my hair fell out again somewhat, as is natural and normal, following my having two babies very close together. Postpartum hair-loss is common due to a massive dip in estrogen levels and, rest assured, it does grow back again soon! It’s a tad confronting at the time though, granted. My postpartum hair loss during breastfeeding both children was quite dramatic; so much so, I remember asking my new, fabulous hairdresser – a few months after giving birth to my second child – if I was in fact going bald!
Today, my hair is super-healthy, strong, thick and mid-way down my back. It’s the best condition it’s ever been in, but I do take great care of it, spending a small fortune on it every six-eight weeks with a regular trim and colour, if needed. Here, senior Queensland hairdresser Elyse Louise, 22, answers all my questions on hair loss, from her expert point of view. Of course, you may also want to see your GP if hair loss is a problem for you.
Why is female hair loss so common?
I think in this day and age our lifestyles are changing; there are always new and improved diets – which aren’t always so good for us – and we’re under more stress and taking more medications than ever before. There are so many reasons why your hair might start to thin or fall out. The real issue is figuring out what reason it is for you. Even if it’s none of the above, there is still something we [hairdressers] can do to slow it down or even stop it.
Whom does hair loss most affect?
A lot of people don’t realise it, but hair loss affects women just as much as it does men. Both genders struggle with it – the only difference being is that a lot of women like to keep their hair to look feminine and feel good about themselves, so you do start to see a little bit of thinning and patchiness unfortunately, whereas the vast majority of men decide to go really short to disguise the start of hair loss.
What products can you use to combat female hair loss?
I’m a Kerastase-trained hairdresser. So, first of all we need to look at what has caused a client’s hair loss. I always like to tell my clients to talk to their doctor and to see if it could have anything to do with medication they’re taking. Next up, I recommend Kerastase Aminexil – an intensive hair protection treatment which reduces the rate of hair loss. It goes into your scalp and helps sort out the problem from the source: your hair’s bulb. This is where you hair grows out of and it’s vital to your hair’s growth and strength.
When this bulb hardens due to health conditions and/or medication, it strangles your hair to a point it gets thinner and eventually may not even be strong enough to grow anymore. Therefore, you feel your hair thinning and losing density. This great product contains a series of vials with a weightless serum in them which you apply morning and night to help reenergise and strengthen your hair. Then, in three month’s time, clients should be able to see brand, new hairs growing through. I recommend my clients apply the treatment twice a year, leaving about three months in between to give their hair a break, and see if thick and healthy hair has been restored.
Images via becomehealthier.net, ritualshairsalon.com