Signs Of Female Hair Loss (And How To Reverse It)
If you start noticing more hair on your brush than normal, resist the urge to panic. Hair loss is more common than you think, regardless of age or sex. But how do you know if there is a bigger concern behind your hair loss? And what can you do to stop it--or at the very least--slow it down?
Losing your hair is not the end of the world, even though it might feel like it. In fact, female pattern hair loss is quite normal as we age. Nevertheless, there are many ways you can slow down the process and even help your hair regrow. In this article, we will talk about the causes of hair loss in women along with the signs that you should look out for. Then, we'll explain how you can start preventing female hair loss today.
What Causes Female Hair Loss?
In order to help prevent hair loss, you need to know what's causing it first. There are many possible causes of female hair loss, including:
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair to fall out, usually in quarter-sized clumps. Doctors don't know the exact cause of alopecia areata, but they believe certain risk factors increase your likelihood of developing it.
For one, they know that genes play a role. After all, hair growth is genetic. You have an increased risk of developing alopecia areata if you have a family member who has it. If there are men or women in your family that have this disorder, it's best to start looking at preventative measures as soon as possible, even if they are distant family members. You are also more likely to have alopecia areata if you have vitiligo, asthma, pernicious anemia, seasonal allergies, thyroid disease, or Down syndrome.
As we age, hair growth slows down. This is why many women experience receding hairlines and thinning hair at an older age. It is a very normal process but slowing it down is possible. Keep reading till the end to learn how.
A common hormone-related cause of female pattern hair loss is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition wherein the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male sex hormones (androgens). PCOS causes cysts in a woman's ovaries and can lead to a host of symptoms, such as acne, weight gain, and hair loss.
Pregnancy, childbirth, illness, and other major stressors can cause hair to fall out. High emotional stress may be linked to telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss in which stress pushes the hair roots into the resting state before they are mature enough.
The scalp becomes infected when fungus or bacteria enter through hair follicles or broken skin. If you have a scalp infection, you may see scaly and inflamed spots on your scalp.
People with plaque psoriasis may develop psoriasis on their scalp. When this happens, scaly patches can form on the scalp and cause hair to fall out. Hair usually regrows upon treatment of psoriasis.
Friction and pulling
Hair that is constantly under stress through friction and pulling is more likely to fall out. For example, if you wear tight ponytails all the time or constantly wear hats, it may lead to permanent hair loss.
Radiation therapy for cancer usually causes sudden hair loss. However, hair can grow back within a few months of finishing treatment.
Not getting enough biotin, iron, protein, and/or zinc can cause significant hair loss. These nutrients are essential for the growth of healthy and strong hair. That said, people who don't eat meat must ensure that they are getting these nutrients elsewhere to prevent hair loss.
Heat and dyes
If you dye or heat your hair frequently, you may be more likely to experience female pattern hair loss at some point. Why? Because excessive heat strips moisture from the hair follicles and makes them more susceptible to dryness and split ends, which can eventually lead to hair loss. The same is true of the chemicals in hair dyes.
What Are The Signs of Hair Loss in Women?
Hair loss can occur suddenly or gradually. You may not even notice it at first. That is why it's important to inspect your hair and scalp regularly, especially if you have any of the risk factors listed above.
Here are several signs that you should look out for:
Gradual thinning of hair
Thinning hair is a common sign of hair loss, but it does not necessarily cause baldness. If your hair is thinning, you might see sparser patches of hair on your head rather than total baldness. Nevertheless, you must act quickly if you want your hair to regrow as soon as possible.
Your hair might be thinning if:
- You start to see more of your scalp and forehead
- You find more hair on your pillow and brush
- Your hair starts to feel lighter
- You can't style your hair like you used to
Conditions like alopecia areata usually manifest through a receding hairline. If you start to see more of your forehead as time goes by, you may be suffering from a medical condition that causes hair loss or are going through female pattern baldness.
Hair loss in women often starts at the natural part of your hair. Take a look at your part and check if it seems wider than before. It may be hard to tell at first, but when you have hair loss for months or years, the change can be more noticeable.
If you are experiencing hair loss, your ponytail may feel thinner than before. Similarly, your hair might not have as much volume when you try to style it in other ways.
Burning or stinging on the scalp
Some people who have alopecia areata may experience a burning or stinging sensation in their scalp before hair loss occurs.
If these signs occur, you may have an infection on your scalp. It is important to treat the infection as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading, as well as further hair loss. An untreated infection on the scalp can lead to skin abscesses (boils), pus, extreme pain, and baldness.
Hair loss on other parts of the body
Losing hair on other parts of the body can be more noticeable than hair loss on the scalp. Alopecia areata can cause hair loss on the eyebrows, beard, nose hairs, pubic hair, and eyelashes apart from the head. Some people with alopecia areata may even lose all hair on the body, which is then called alopecia universalis.
Hair Loss Prevention Tips For Black Women
Hair loss doesn't have to be permanent. In most cases of hair loss in women, hair can regrow by treating the underlying cause and making changes to day-to-day habits. Moreover, there are many ways you can slow down natural hair loss.
If you have a medical condition like alopecia areata or scalp psoriasis, the best thing you can do to prevent hair loss is to get proper treatment for the underlying condition. So, if you suspect that you have a condition causing your hair to fall out, see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Whether or not you have an underlying medical condition, making changes to your lifestyle and hair care habits can help prevent hair loss and female pattern baldness. Here are the best ways to prevent female hair loss for black women:
Wash your hair less often
African hair is naturally dry and brittle, which is why it is important to wash your hair less frequently to avoid stripping the minimal moisture that you have. Try to limit your washes to once or twice a week. If you live in a very dry climate, you may have to wash your hair even less frequently than that. Do the opposite if you sweat a lot or live in a humid area.
When you do wash your hair, avoid using hot water. Hot water strips away the moisture and oils from your hair and scalp, which causes hair follicles to break easier. It might be uncomfortable to shower with cold or lukewarm water, but the level of protection it gives your hair is worth it. Learn more about black hair for beginners here.
Minimize the use of heat styling tools
If hot water strips moisture from your hair, imagine what heat styling tools can cause. Avoid using heat on your natural hair as much as possible. If you must use heat tools, use a heat protectant and moisturize your hair thoroughly afterward.
Let your hair rest
Having weaves, cornrows, braids, and other similar hairstyles is common in the black community, which is why it is difficult to avoid them entirely. But when you can, let your natural hair rest from the pulling in between styles. For example, if you have your hair in cornrows most of the time, wear your hair naturally for a few days before braiding them again.
Wear the right size wig
Wearing the right-sized wig helps you keep your hair healthy and as moisturized as possible. A wig that fits too tightly on the scalp can exert excess force on your hair follicles, which can make them break and fall out. Moreover, choose an open cap wig for maximum ventilation and comfort.
It is also important to take off your wig carefully. Otherwise, you may be taking off your natural hair along with it. Use a good wig lace wig remover and be as gentle as possible when pulling off your wig. Better yet, have a hairstylist do it for you.
Moisturize your hair and scalp
Moisturizing is extremely important for African hair, as dry as it naturally is. Use moisturizing products that have ingredients like jojoba oil, castor oil, olive oil, and aloe vera. If you want to go all-natural, you can use these ingredients on their own. Or you can create your own moisturizing product at home by combining the ingredients that work best for your hair type.
If your scalp is exceptionally dry, this article on black hair care for dry scalp can help.
Consider going natural
Wearing your hair in all its natural glory is perhaps the best way to prevent hair loss. You won't have to use as many hair styling products, you won't have to straighten your hair frequently, and there is no longer the constant fear of getting your hair wet. In the absence of heat, hair products, and tight hairstyles, your natural hair will also grow stronger and become healthier over time.
Use a hair growth serum
Female pattern baldness is normal, but it can be disheartening nonetheless. Luckily, you can delay hair loss and promote hair regrowth by using a hair growth serum. If you notice that your hair is starting to thin out, use a growth serum specially designed for African hair.
Let Allurium Beauty Help You Regrow Your Natural Hair
Don't just use any hair growth serum on the market. If you are a black woman, using a serum specifically designed for women of color is the best way to promote new hair growth. Here at Allurium Beauty, our hair growth serum is specially formulated to encourage new hair growth for black women--without any of the dangerous chemicals that big companies use.
So, as soon as you see signs of female pattern baldness, let us help you fight the root causes of hair loss and bring back the vitality of your natural hair.