How does menopause affect your hair?
As if the mood swings and hot flushes aren’t enough, hair loss during menopause can be a common but troubling symptom to add to the list of changes our bodies are going though. So how does menopause affect your hair?
Hair loss during menopause is a big issue for some women, for others it's dry and damaged-looking hair. Both equally troubling and problematic when you see your luscious locks disappear as if before your eyes.
For me, it is all of the above. My name is Bambi Staveley and I am a nurse (RN), author and female hair loss advocate and the creator of Boost N Blend. But more on that later. First, let's talk female hair loss after 45...
What causes hair loss before, during and following menopause?
There’s not one simple answer as to why hair starts falling or changes condition. We know that a number of factors can contribute and that these can be exacerbated during menopause. Including;
- Nutritional deficiencies – despite a balanced diet, as we age our bodies become less efficient at digesting food which often results in inadequate absorption of vitamins and minerals. Protein is a very important part of a healthy diet and essential for healthy hair, nails and skin. We often fall into the trap of not consuming enough protein and too many carbohydrates, so remember to keep up your protein intake to help keep hair healthy.
- Zinc and Iron are also essential for healthy hair growth. We find that fewer women are iron deficient after menopause as they’re not experiencing monthly depletion though periods but it could be worth getting your levels tested.
- New medications – as we age, we often find ourselves taking more medication for different conditions. Side effects to medication can be quite individual and for some of us, that means hair loss. Be sure to discuss this side effect with your GP as there may be an alternative medication that suits you better.
- Hormones – experts don’t really know why menopausal hair loss is concentrated to the scalp while unwanted hairs often pop up in other places – like those pesky upper lip and chin hairs! There seems to be some link to hormonal changes during menopause, it’s just not clear exactly what! It was thought that women with excess testosterone (hyperandrogenism) are more prone to hair loss but many women with low testosterone also experience the issue. As progesterone levels reduce throughout menopause, androgens have been known to cause changes to the hair follicles and sebaceous glands on the scalp. The result is often a reduction in the number of hair follicles altogether, or decreased size and quality of the follicles, resulting in finer and coarser hair growth. Healthy hair needs good sebum to grow so hair may also become drier as sebum production decreases.
- Thyroid dysfunction – the thyroid is responsible for controlling hormone balance, moods and metabolism. It can also be responsible for significant hair loss if your thyroid function is under or over active. Another good thing to ask your GP to check for you.
What can you do to help hair loss during menopause?
A woman's first experience of hair loss during menopause can be quite daunting. But you’re not alone; it’s a very common symptom of menopause. In fact, up to 80% of women experience some form of hair loss by age 60.
If lack of confidence is a concern or you are feeling less than feminine, the first thing to do is to get yourself a cotton hair fibre concealer. Back in 2010 I suffered a huge amount of hair loss. Not willing to use a men's hair loss product I looked around for a feminine product and discovered there weren't any - everything available was for men! The men's hair fibre products tend to be made from animal products and a myriad of chemicals, and I was looking for something vegan and without a huge number of horrible chemicals. And so I developed Boost N Blend! Boost N Blend is an organic cotton product that comes in many hair colours designed and developed especially for women who colour their hair. It is an instant solution since you simply shake it on and blend it in with your fingers, any signs of visible hair loss disappears instantly.
How do hair fibres affect hair regrowth?
Cotton hair fibres do not have a negative effect on hair regrowth. Due to being made of a natural organic substance and derived from the cotton plant, cotton hair fibres like Boost N Blend do not clog pores and do not prevent hair from growing back.
If you are wondering how a hair fibre product would affect your hair growth long term, read this story written by one of our customers whose hair grew back while using Boost N Blend.
Longer term, there are some things you can do day-to-day to help treat the problem. We know that good scalp care is essential to healthy hair growth and during menopause when your sebum supplies are drying up and follicles becoming smaller, it’s all-the-more important to nourish your scalp as well as hair.
If your hair is becoming drier, resist the temptation to wash it less because it doesn’t feel oily. For women with thinning hair we recommend washing your hair more often than once a week. Every day is ideal. The oils that build up on your scalp clog your follicles and for healthy hair growth, follicles need to be free of build-up. So washing more often is definitely recommended. If you are washing your hair less often to preserve it, then we can assure you that washing your hair doesn't cause it to fall more.
We highly recommend using a good quality mask on your hair and scalp. Either put it in the night before you are planning to wash your hair, or put it in half an hour before you wash your hair. Our scalp is just skin with lots of hair follicles in it, and it needs to be treated like the skin everywhere else. We apply face and body creams, so why not moisturise your scalp? Makes sense, right?
You may find that your conditioner just doesn’t seem hydrating enough anymore. For dry and unmanageable hair, try replacing your conditioner with a hair treatment.
Best of all use a #KindToHair shampoo and conditioner. The Boost & Be range has been developed to be hydrating without weighing your hair down. Developed specially for women with hair loss, this range has had remarkable success with visible hair volume and new growth usually the case.
If you experience sudden or dramatic hair loss during menopause, you may also be suffering from telogen effluvium (TE). You can read more about that here.
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