Is Your Hair Thinning as You Age? Are you Experiencing Hair Loss (alopecia)? What Could Be Going On?
Have you noticed that the quality of your hair has been changing as you age? Is it thinner than when you were 20? Are you suffering from hair loss or alopecia? Have you put chemical relaxers in the past that have damaged your hair or scalp? Do you still use chemical relaxers? Do you straighten your hair often? Do you braid your hair often? Do you have a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror? I have had the pleasure of meeting many women of all ages through various events. Through heart to heart discussions, I’ve gathered some key areas of concern regarding hair care that I’d like to discuss. The very first pressing one concerns thinning hair, especially for middle aged women and those approaching or past menopause.
In addition, I regularly encounter young women with alopecia that appears to be genetically induced and other forms that are chemically induced or caused by tight hair styles (traction alopecia). I will address these concerns in a series of articles and to begin with, I’ll start with the very first concern mentioned above, thinning hair in middle aged women and older.
What is Alopecia (hair loss)?
Alopecia is a condition where hair stops growing where it normally grows and it can strike at any age. It is characterized by balding or areas where the hair has significantly thinned out. The most common form of alopecia is male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia although it has become commonplace to find widespread alopecia amongst black women.
Image from Donovan Medical
Alopecia in women can be caused by various factors including: genetics, autoimmune disorders and/or a combination of improper diet, stress, frequent heat treatments, traction and chemically induced alopecia to name a few. I’ll generally address these causes in this article and then delve into more detail in future articles.
Hair as we age
As we age, the quality and quantity of our hair appears to change. It might become more brittle, dryer, we may lose pigment and start growing grey more wiry hair, we may suffer from hair thinning or actual hair loss and more. A full head of hair is very important for women. It makes us feel beautiful and we have many styling options with a thicker head of hair. Sometimes we may have damaged our hair before getting to middle age. It might be even worse where we have suffered from scalp burns due to the use of chemical relaxers or hot implements to straighten hair. I believe that if one is suffering from hair thinning or hair loss, it is important to get to the root cause and approach the problem in a holistic way to experience the best outcomes.
So what do you do if you’re already experiencing hair loss and it’s getting worse?
- Check with your dermatologist to ensure that your follicles are still healthy. Discuss the presence or absence of DHT (Dehydrotestosterone) as a contributor to hair thinning especially if you have female relatives who experience or have experienced balding. We will discuss DHT some more in upcoming articles.
Get a hormonal blood panel drawn to evaluate whether your hormones are the culprit.
- Sometimes the thyroid could also be affecting you and this type of panel can be of great help.
- Hormonal changes after having babies can cause hair to fall off and is often recognizable by hair loss along the hair line. The hair comes back after a while.
- . As we approach menopause, hormonal changes also have an effect on hair loss. Discuss these with your gynecologist and dermatologist and explore some options. Always start with natural options and solutions.
- Visit a Naturopathic physician or physician with expertise in alternative medicine to explore some dietary options that can get you on a path to a healthier you and healthier, fuller hair.
- Have a blood panel drawn to evaluate whether you have anemia because the latter can cause hair loss. If you establish that you have anemia, you can take the steps necessary to get your blood levels back to normal so that nutrients can get to your follicle.
- Stress is inevitable yet it affects so many areas of our lives. Regulate stress levels by exercising regularly, engaging in a Yoga practice, having a strong support system through your family, church, girlfriends etc. to help you manage stress.
- If you have a chemical relaxer, decrease the frequency with which you get touch ups and avoid applying direct heat (flat iron) to your hair. This will only dry it out further. Use a highly moisturizing product like the Naturaz Styling Moisturizer to soften new growth so that combing between new growth and processed hair does not induce unnecessary breakage.
- Tight braids can cause hair loss especially around the edges. Revisit your braided hairstyles and make sure that they are not tight.
- If your hair is breaking because of dryness, use highly moisturizing products to keep your hair soft, retain length and significantly reduce breakage.
Here is an amazing story of a woman in her 60s who turned around her hair loss and is now enjoying a beautiful full head of hair: My Hair Journey From Thick To Thinning And Back. As long as your follicles are intact, you can likely get great results. You may wish to try out some of the solutions she recommends in her article.
Was this information helpful? Please let me know by leaving a comment or writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In future articles, I’ll discuss these and other options in detail including diet and foods that are hair healthy and that can get circulation going, including juicing so stay tuned.