“Like a garden,a normal hair cycle should lead to a product, which is the hair,” says Wendy Roberts, MD, a dermatologist at a private practice in Rancho Mirage, Calif. “Growth cycles are important because when they go awry, that is one of the reasons we have hair loss.”
Extreme physical or emotional stress may trigger female pattern hair loss. Hair loss due to physical or emotional stress is called telogen effluvium. Things that may precipitate this pattern of hair loss include serious illness or injury, surgery, severe emotional upset, blood loss, and weight loss. Sometimes a reaction to medication may trigger this kind of hair loss. Telogen effluvium may last for 6 to 8 months before resolving.
There’s been a revolution in biology. Armed with powerful new tools, scientists are learning how to read the complex chemical languages of the body, including how to coin new treatments for hair loss.
Although hair loss may seem like a more prominent problem in men, women are nearly as likely to lose, or have thinning, hair. Most women notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.
Hair loss can occur after a significant physiological strain, such as a prolonged illness or crash dieting, which may leave you deficient in iron, B12, or protein—all vital to healthy hair growth. An emotionally trying event, like a divorce, can also lead to allover thinning three to four months later, when the hairs that were forming under the scalp at the time finally make (or don’t make) their appearance. Usually the hair will grow back in a few months. If a nutrient deficiency is the cause, your doctor can help you supplement your diet.
There are several options when it comes to conventional treatment of hair loss, all of which come with significant side effects unless you opt for a wig or hair piece. The most common conventional hair loss remedies include topical minoxidil, oral finasteride, topical or oral hormones and steroids, hair transplants, and hair restoration surgery. (13)
Heat is always hard on hair. It causes bonds within the hair strands to fracture, causing brittle hair that breaks and falls out. If you decide to use a hair straightener or curling iron, make sure not to leave it on one area of your hair for too long and move it every ten seconds or so. Also keep in mind that if you hear sizzling or burn your fingers, the heat setting is too high and you are also burning your hair. Try to let your hair dry naturally as often as possible and when you do use styling tools, make sure to use a heat-protecting spray that will lessen the damage the tools are inflicting on your hair.
Anxiety, emotional stress, and fatigue are common culprits of sudden hair loss in young women. If these factors remain uncontrolled, they can lead to emotional distress and cause imbalances in the body that result in hair loss. However, some cases of hair loss are triggered by psychological factors are temporary and pass once emotional stability has been restored.
As mentioned above, iron can be a dangerous element to lacking in your body if you are suffering from hair loss. However, an even more important element in hair health is actually vitamin B. A specific form of vitamin B, called biotin, is extremely important in the growth and health of the hair. This is why there should always be appropriate amounts of biotin in your body. Most women find this to be the most successful remedy for hair loss, often seeing an increase in hair growth and a clear stop to hair loss.
“The technology of Bosley to get my hair back was completely off the charts. Because of how much hair loss I had, and to be able to replace that much hair to get this type of result—I would have never believed it going into this.”
Spikenard oil is known for promoting the growth of hair and slowing down the graying process of graying. A 2011 animal study found that spikenard oil showed positive effects on hair growth activity. When using spikenard extract, there was a 30 percent reduction in the time it look for the hair to grow back on the tested rats, which makes it promising for human use. (5)
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Other reasons for hair loss include extreme stress; physical trauma like surgery or intense illness; dramatic weight loss over a short period of time; and taking too much Vitamin A, Roberts says. And hair loss can occur a couple of weeks to six months after any of these experiences.
As the only FDA-approved proven ingredient, the drug has years of research to back it up—and about 50% of women using it see improvement. Minoxidil can enhance the size of the follicle so that it produces a bigger strand of hair, says Wilma Bergfeld, a Cleveland Clinic dermatologist. Try Women’s Rogaine Treatment for Hair Loss & Hair Thinning Once-A-Day Minoxidil Foam ($36 for a 4-month supply, amazon.com).
Hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) may cause inexplicable weight loss, heart palpitations, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, moist skin, muscle weakness, and a startled appearance of the eyes. You may also experience hair loss as metabolism speeds up. Hyperthyroidism is much less common than hypothyroidism and affects about 1 percent of the US population.