Young, female, hair falling out…
Women as young as 30 and 40 years old are increasingly experiencing hair loss. In the West, it is estimated that 37% of women (1 in 3) suffer from hair thinning or balding, many of whom are under the age of 50, the previously expected average age for hair loss in women. Young female hair loss tends to be diffuse initially, often starting gradually with thinning in areas around the crown and temples. Female sufferers might notice more hairs gathering on their hair brush or around the bath plug than usual before they investigate areas of the head.
Young female hair loss brings with it a huge amount of emotional distress. Female pattern balding, although already a genetic probability for some, is still not widely talked about and with the on-going pressure on women to conform to beauty ideals, hair loss can feel like a social condemnation. 96% of women think that men are better able to ‘feel attractive’ despite hair loss compared with women who may go on to suffer depression or social anorexia.
The first port of call for women is often their GP, which although essential for flagging up wider medical concerns, often leaves them without a clear solution. Today we look at both the causes and possible solutions to young women hair loss.
Young female hair loss causes
Young female hair falling out has been mostly blamed on a range of pre-existing medical issues or on the side-effects of medical prescription drugs. Here are some of the medical reasons why hair loss might occur:
Genetic hair loss – female pattern balding may occur due to the condition residing in your family’s history. This kind of hair loss is characterised by shrunken hair follicles which may be indicated through a biopsy as well as a general examination with your GP.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – particularly prevalent in young women, PCOS is a condition whereby abnormal or low hormonal activity occurs in the ovaries. Hair thinning occurs because of heightened levels of androgens or testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Higher levels of these hormones in women, particularly DHT, causes hair loss.
Lifestyle, stress or general health reasons – it’s well known that stress can cause hair loss, and it may not be visible until some weeks after a stressful event or trauma. Trichotillomania is a psychological condition whereby the sufferer compulsively pulls their hair out leading to poor regrowth.
Diet – we are becoming more and more aware of how diet affects each part of our being, not just our weight. And hair growth and condition is a key part of that equation. In terms of the body’s system maintenance priorities, hair is the least important tissue. What this means is that hair only benefits from those nutrients remaining after distribution of them by the digestive system to your vital organs. If there are no additional nutrients, your hair could suffer.
Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) – according to the NHS, IDA can cause hair loss as a general affect of an iron-deficient diet or due to another medical reason affecting iron levels in the body.
Hyper- (high hormone level) or Hypo- (low hormone level) thyroidism
is a treatable medical condition which can cause hair loss. Medication for either facet of the thyroid condition must also be taken with care as the side-effects of too high or low a dose could also affect hair growth. Although thyroid medication is can sometimes be blamed for hair loss, it is often too difficult to tell whether the hair loss was a cause of the thyroid condition or the medication.
5 Remedies for hair loss in young women
- Working with a qualified nutritionist. Whether you take prescription medication or not, consulting with a qualified nutritionist could help you to identify where diet may be affecting your hair and skin and advise you as to how to give hair growth the best chance.
- Stress reduction. Assessing your life balance, down time and self-care practises could do wonders for your locks, not to mention your general health and happiness. If hair loss is occurring due to stress, it’s up to you to make a change. Visit Mind.org.uk for more details.
- Hair styling/hair protection. If you’re already suffering from hair loss, it’s important to be mindful of hair styling routines and products which may cause further damage.
- Hair restoration. There are a number of hair restoration options available to women including FUE hair transplant.
- Hair restoration lotions. Minoxydil 4 and 5% lotions are proven effective to help sustain hair growth and thickeners are also available.