When a man begins to lose his hair and makes the decision to go bald he is applauded, with connotations of manliness and virility attached to his new appearance. However, hair loss for women is a much more complex matter, as a full head of hair is often seen as a quintessential symbol of femininity and therefore hair loss can make a person feel less of a woman.
Hair loss can occur for many reasons and the actual number of women who suffer from hair loss is higher than you may think. Some of the main causes of female hair loss and possible solutions include:
Female Pattern Baldness
Like its male counterpart, female pattern baldness is hereditary and can cause hair loss from as young as 20. Pattern baldness occurs due to the hormone DHT, which disrupts the body’s natural production of hair. After time the hair follicles produce thinner and thinner hairs until they stop all together. Female pattern baldness tends to affect the sides of the head and the top of the head.
Solutions: There is no cure for female pattern baldness and drugs used to regrow hair such as finasteride are only really suitable for male hair loss.
However, there are a number of ways a woman can hide the extent of her hair loss, including investing in a cute short haircut, which will give the illusion of thicker hair, wearing wigs, especially the lace wig variety, which look completely natural and are worn by many celebrities include Beyonce, Tyra Banks and Katie Perry. Another solution is for the more daring, but, as such beauties as Amber Rose have shown, female baldness can be beautiful.
Pregnancy and hair loss
When a woman is pregnant her body produces a greater level of the hormone oestrogen, which boosts the production of hair and prevents it from shedding as it does during a regular cycle. However, once the baby is born this influx of oestrogen will decrease, as will the production of new hair and the excess hair created during pregnancy will fall out.
Solution: Although it may appear that a large portion of your hair is falling out after pregnancy this is all excess hair and you will still maintain a full head of hair once it has gone. The usual cycle of hair growth and shedding should return to normal 6 months after the birth, but in the meantime you can try and keep some of your luscious pregnancy hair growth by, letting your hair dry naturally and refrain from using heated appliances, leaving your hair down rather than tying it up, eating food rich in iron and zinc, like nuts, liver and green leafy vegetables.
Alopecia areata can strike at any moment, affecting both the young and old, male and female. The condition occurs when the body starts an autoimmune response against the hair follicles, treating them as a threat and sending white blood cells off to deal with the problem. This assault stops the follicles from producing any more hair or holding on to the hair it has and so hair loss occurs. Alopecia can cause partial or full hair loss and it is still not really definite what causes the problem, although it is thought that levels of extreme stress can be responsible.
The hair follicles after alopecia are dormant rather than dead and so do have the possibility of re-growing hair. However, it isn’t certain what can be done to encourage this action and the majority of patients must wait until their hair grows back naturally.
Solutions: Corticosteroids can be used to stop the autoimmune response of the body, but treatment can be a bit hit or miss. For the majority of patients hiding their hair loss with hats, wigs and bandannas is the most effective way of hiding hair loss, but a good number also embrace their new look. A good hair cut is
always beneficial in these circumstances if your hair loss has been partial and numerous wigs are now available that look and feel exactly like natural hair, with some even using suction cups to hold them securely in place. Again there is also the option of embracing your hair loss and celebrity alopecia sufferers such as Gail Porter show off their hair loss with pride.
Becky Mackay is an online writer, with an interest in health, beauty and hair transplants. For more information visit her Twitter Page @FreshHealth11