Preventing and Treating Hair Loss in Women

Preventing and Treating Hair Loss in Women

There are few things more distressing to a woman than seeing your hair falling out and thinning, especially if you don’t know the reason why. The best hair loss treatment for female sufferers of balding and thinning hair can be simpler than you think, however, and hair loss can even be reversed in many cases.

Consult this list to see what the cause of your hair loss might be and how it can be treated.

Hair Loss Causes

1. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency

Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins is a top-notch beginning defense against hair loss. Luckily, if a true vitamin deficiency is the cause of your hair loss, it can likely be improved by simply increasing your intake of the vitamin or vitamins you lack. It’s best to get vitamins and minerals through food, but supplements can also be used effectively in many cases.

  • Iron – Women of childbearing age are particularly likely to have an iron deficiency because of blood loss through menstruation and pregnancy-related anemia. Iron is vital to the production of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to the cells of the body when needed for growing and repairing, including those cells that cause hair to grow. Iron can be found naturally in meats, seafood, beans and leafy greens, and there are various iron supplements on the market. An increase in iron in the diet can cause some discomfort of the bowels, so contact your doctor if you have any issues managing your iron intake.
  • Vitamin A – Because vitamin A plays a big part in the growth of cells, getting adequate amounts of vitamin A in your diet is a good way to prevent hair loss. If you do have a deficiency, fill up on dairy products, fish, squash and carrots.
  • B-Vitamins – B-vitamins such as biotin and vitamin B12 have long been touted as important to women’s hair health, and a deficiency in B-vitamins has been linked to hair loss. Keep your hair happy and healthy by getting enough B-vitamins through your diet. Eggs, liver, salmon and leafy greens are good sources of a variety of B-vitamins.
  • Vitamin C – To create the collagen your body needs to build keratin, vitamin C is necessary. It also plays a part in the absorption of iron, so a lack of it can result in damaged hair and hair loss. Get plenty of vitamin C by drinking citrus juices and eating lots of peppers, cherries, and guavas.
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D deficiencies are incredibly common and have been connected to hair loss. Although vitamin D can be taken in through direct sunlight, most people don’t get the amount they need through sunshine alone. It can also be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, and fortified milk.
  • Zinc – Zinc is vital to the production of proteins in hair cells, meaning a lack of it can result in hair loss. It can’t be produced by the body, so it has to be taken in from outside sources. Meats such as poultry and red meat are good sources of zinc, as are beans and nuts.

2. Lack of Protein

Hair is mostly made of protein, so a lack of protein in your diet can have serious repercussions for your hair – and body in general. In order for hair to keep growing, it needs amino acids, some of which your body can’t produce on its own and therefore needs to get through diet or supplements. Because your body’s first priority in using the protein you take in is to build muscle tissue, if you fail to get enough, your hair is the first place to have its supply cut off.

Getting enough protein can be especially difficult for vegans and vegetarians who don’t get the protein found in meat and dairy products. While eggs, chicken, beef and tuna are all great sources of protein, it can also be found in vegan and vegetarian-friendly options such as almonds, tofu, lentils and beans.

3. Overdyeing

Dyeing your hair can be a fun way to try out new colors and an effective way of covering up graying hair. Too much dyeing, though, can be damaging to healthy hair, especially if bleach is used in the process. Excessive dyeing causes hair to become brittle and break easily and in some cases can make it fall out. You can even “burn” some of your hair off if you bleach too much or with too strong of a developer.

Luckily, taking a break from dyeing can help to repair your hair, as can leave-in hair treatments and products designed to treat damaged hair. Schedule plenty of time between bleaching and dyeing sessions in the future to help prevent further damage to your already-processed hair.

4. Incorrect or Aggressive Brushing

Brushing is an important part of keeping hair healthy and growing, as it stimulates the scalp and encourages hair growth. If you’re brushing too harshly, though, you can be doing real damage to your hair, ripping strands out and causing undue stress on others. Gentle brushing with the right brush at the right time can go a long way in helping hair loss and maintaining healthy hair.

There are brushes designed specifically for different types of hair and different situations. When you get out of the shower, for instance, it’s important to use a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush designed specifically for wet hair to make sure you don’t do serious damage to your hair, which is most sensitive when it’s wet.

5. Using Too Many Heat Tools

Women love their heat tools when it comes to styling hair. Blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons give results that a lot of other tools just can’t live up to. Unfortunately, a consequence of excessive use can be dry, damaged, frizzy hair. This often results in women spending even more time using heat tools to try to tame and manage unruly hair, continuing a cycle of damage that can result in hair breakage and loss.

Although it can be difficult to stop using these tools, taking breaks when you can will make a significant difference in the health of your hair. Consider air-drying your hair when the weather is nice and investing in a brush made exclusively for quick drying sessions so that you’re spending less time under the heat of the blow dryer. Try alternative ways of heatless styling, like curlers and braids, to put less stress on the hair.

6. Over-Styling

Just like overdyeing can be hard on hair, too much repetitive styling can also be damaging. Women with Afro-Caribbean hair are particularly at risk for traction alopecia, which is caused by the repeated pulling of hair. Tight ponytails, elaborate braids and cornrows can put too much stress on the hair follicle, as can using hair extensions and weaves. All of these can cause strain on the scalp because of the weight and stress of the hair, which can lead to hair falling out.

Varying hairstyles can help to minimize hair loss so that one area is not getting repeatedly stressed for long periods of time. Using bands that are designed specifically not to pull hair when wearing it up also helps, as does limiting the processing of your hair with dyes and relaxers.

7. Smoking

Smoking has been linked to hair loss because it restricts circulation, which is necessary for healthy hair growth. Giving up smoking will help increase blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth, so consider quitting if you’ve noticed hair loss you believe to be caused by smoking.

8. Stress

Limiting the stress in your life can have countless benefits for your health, one of which is healthy hair growth. When the body is stressed, it can stop producing hair because it’s in panic mode. Working high-stress jobs or being in turbulent relationships can contribute to hair loss. Try to eliminate stressors from your life that may be contributing to hair loss and practice stress-management tools like mindfulness meditation which has been shown to minimize the body’s negative response to stress. In most cases, hair loss due to stress only continues as long as the body is stressed, so if you can limit your stress, your hair may start growing again.

Whatever the reason for your hair loss, there are solutions for most people. Shapiro MD can help. We make some of the most effective and proven hair loss solutions available online, and our professionals can prescribe custom formulations specific to your situation. It’s easy and fast, all done online.

Click here to get started with our free hair growth quiz.

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