Ask the Experts: Understanding Hair Loss in Women: Causes and Effective Treatments March 2, 2023 15:53

More and more we are hearing from salon clients that hair loss or hair density is a growing concern, so we asked Salon Owner Jennifer Morgan to talk about what are the leading causes of thinning hair and what options are available to help minimise it

Hair loss in women is a common issue that can be caused by a variety of factors. From hormonal changes to genetics, there are numerous reasons why hair loss occurs.

However, the good news is that there are several treatments and products available that can help improve hair density and reverse hair loss. In this article, we will discuss the major causes of hair loss in women and the best treatments and products available to combat it.

Major Causes of Hair Loss in Women:

Genetics: Genetics is the most common cause of hair loss in women. Female pattern baldness is a genetic condition that affects women and is caused by a sensitivity to androgens.

Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes can also cause hair loss in women. Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy and menopause can lead to hair thinning and shedding.

Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and scalp infections can cause hair loss in women.

COVID: Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, many people see noticeable hair loss.

While many people think of this as hair loss, it’s actually hair shedding. The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium. It happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding (telogen) phase of the hair growth lifecycle at the same time. A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase.

Most people see noticeable hair shedding two to three months after having a fever or illness. Handfuls of hair can come out when you shower or brush your hair. This hair shedding can last for six to nine months before it stops. Most people then see their hair start to look normal again and stop shedding.

Medications: Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, can cause hair loss in women.

Stress: Chronic stress can cause hair loss due to the disruption of the hair growth cycle. 

While seeing your hair fall out in clumps can add to your stress, it’s important to try to de-stress. Only when the stress ends will the excessive hair shedding stop.

Best Treatments and Products to Improve Hair Density or Reverse Hair Loss:

Topical Medications: Minoxidil is a topical medication that is FDA-approved for the treatment of hair loss in women. It is available over-the-counter and can help improve hair density by promoting hair growth. In New Zealand this is sold as Regaine and available without prescription from most pharmacies 

Prescription Medications: Finasteride is a prescription medication that can help improve hair density in women. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which is a hormone that can cause hair loss. Although Finasteride is not generally indicated for use in women, it is sometimes prescribed off-label for postmenopausal women without problems. Finasteride is contraindicated in women who are or may potentially be pregnant. This is known as Propecia and is available through your doctor

Platelet Rich Plasma: PRP uses tiny injections of your own platelets and plasma isolated from a small sample of blood to ‘tell’ your body to repair whatever tissue you put it into, and rejuvenate it at a cellular level. When used for hair loss, it stops the hair from miniaturising (getting smaller and thinner), and helps to ‘wake up’ existing hair follicles, reversing hair thinning. If the hair follicle has already completely died then you won’t be able to stimulate it to grow hair, so PRP usually works best in people who have started noticing their hair thinning in the last 2-3 years. Available at The Face Place 

Low-Level Laser Therapy: Low-level laser therapy also referred to as red light therapy and cold laser therapy — irradiates photons into scalp tissues. These photons are absorbed by weak cells to encourage hair growth. It's widely accepted that the procedure is safe, tolerable, and less invasive than hair transplant surgery. It can help improve hair density in women with hair loss. Available at Clive Clinic or Advanced Hair Clinic

Hair Transplantation: Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another. This procedure can be effective in improving hair density in women who have significant hair loss.

Nutritional Supplements: Nutritional supplements such as collagen biotin, iron, and zinc can help improve hair density in women. These supplements can help support healthy hair growth.

Hair Growth Products: There are several hair growth ranges available that can help improve hair density and reduce hair loss. These products typically contain ingredients such as peptides, biotin, keratin, and caffeine that help stimulate hair growth. 

Hair Growth Vitamins: Hair growth vitamins contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help support healthy hair growth. They can help improve hair density and reduce hair loss.

Scalp Treatments: Scalp treatments such as scalp massages and scalp exfoliation can help improve blood circulation to the scalp, which can promote hair growth and improve hair density.

In conclusion, hair loss in women can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions, medications, and stress. There are several treatments and products available that can help improve hair density and reverse hair loss.

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.