Balding and other forms of hair loss (like shedding or thinning) are often mistakenly thought to only impact males.
The truth is females make up a significant amount of the individuals that suffer from hair loss related diseases. By age 40, nearly 40% of women have noticeable hair loss. That statistic comes from the American Academy of Dermatology.
As you know, female hair loss can have a negative emotional impact on self-esteem. Much more so than when a male goes through hair loss.
It is generally more acceptable in today’s society for men to be bald relative to female pattern baldness.
While it’s true that hair loss isn’t life threatening, there should be reasonable solutions for females who don’t want to suffer through any unnecessary emotional trauma caused by losing their hair.
Psychological damage, even if it’s only the feeling of being unattractive, can be mentally devastating and impact the body like a serious disease due to very intense stress and emotional toll, which can negatively impact a female’s physical health.
Curl Centric understands how seriously life-altering this situation can be and has put together the following overview on female hair loss in hopes of providing some direction for those who are experiencing these circumstances.
In this guide, we’ll cover what causes your hair to fall out and potential treatments options, including natural home remedies.
Table of Contents
- 1 Overview of Female Hair Loss: What Causes Hair to Fall Out?
- 2 When Is There Cause for Concern?
- 3 Common Causes of Hair Shedding and Hair Thinning
- 4 The Diagnoses: How to Stop Your Hair From Falling Out
- 5 Treatment Options: Including Natural Home Remedies
- 6 Can Garlic Help Reverse Alopecia Areata?
- 7 What About Onion Juice?
- 8 Are Growth Supplements or Vitamins Useful or Not?
- 9 Green Tea (Polyphenols) Hair Regrowth
- 10 Using Caffeine Hair Regrowth
- 11 Does the Hair Ever Grow Back?
Overview of Female Hair Loss: What Causes Hair to Fall Out?
Certain medications, illnesses and infections are all potential causes of hair loss in women. Frankly, anything that can interfere with the hair growth cycle could potentially cause female hair loss.
While hereditary male pattern baldness is consider common, female hair loss is also very common. In fact, women and men have very similar probabilities to have some form of thinning hair.
The American Academy of Dermatology considers losing 50 to 100 hair strands each day perfectly normal.
So, obviously seeing some measure of shedding each day isn’t necessarily cause for concern. However, if the hair loss seems excessive or it occurs suddenly, then you may want to dig a little deeper.
When Is There Cause for Concern?
Hair thinning is something that often occurs slowly and you may not immediately recognize that you have a potential problem.
Obviously, if your hair begins to fall out in clumps there is definitely a need to seek medical advice. If your hair loss is specific to one area of your scalp, you likely have a focal hair loss.
However, if your hair loss isn’t isolated to a specific scalp region, then you may have what’s considered to be general hair loss.
If you wake up in the morning and find an unusual amount of hair on your pillow or if there is more hair than normal left over in the comb, there could be cause for concern.
It’s important that you begin to recognize visual cues that may indicate a potential problem.
When it comes to diagnosing the culprit of female hair loss, medical professionals will often perform some preliminary blood work to determine if the thyroid gland or an autoimmune disease is the problem.
Doctors also inquire about family history to determine if a recognizable pattern can be identified. If hair loss runs in your family, then the potential is greater for you to experience hair loss.
Common Causes of Hair Shedding and Hair Thinning
- Hair loss is often inherited – meaning it’s something that is a part of your family tree. This common hair loss is generally referred to as female-pattern hair loss. You may have also heard of male-pattern hair loss or hereditary male-pattern baldness.
- As you age, the growth rate of your hair slows down. The hair also generally becomes thinner, breaks more easily and usually turns gray as you get older.
- Wearing tight hairstyles that pull the hair too aggressively can cause hair shedding or thinning. We often recommend protective styles to mitigate stressing your edges and to protect your ends, which also encourages length retention.
- Unbalanced diets, thyroid diseases, chemotherapy, ringworm of the scalp and physical stress often caused by surgery or illness are also common hair loss causes.
Note that this list of common hair loss causes isn’t all-inclusive. There could very well be something unidentified in the above list that causes hair loss for you.
The Diagnoses: How to Stop Your Hair From Falling Out
Hair loss is typically diagnosed through a series of questions, scalp examinations, hair loss patterns and other hair related tests (including testing hair samples).
It’s also not uncommon for medical professionals to conduct blood examinations as they investigate potential problems.
Treatment Options: Including Natural Home Remedies
Ultimately, treatment scenarios presented by a medical professional should be specific to your particular situation.
For some, hair thinning or female-pattern hair loss isn’t a concern. For others, treatment will be highly desired.
There are some medications that may mitigate hair loss and hair transplant surgery is generally an option – if the situation warrants it. Some women choose to wear wigs or change the way they style their hair.
For example, if the hair loss is isolated to a particular area of your scalp, you may decide to style your hair in such a way that it covers the thinning area. Many people refer to this method as a “comb-over” technique.
If the hair loss is caused by something that medical professionals believe can be treated or eliminated like a current medication that you’re taking, you may have additional options. It’s best to discuss the potential options with your doctor.
During the discussion with your doctor, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Do you recommend a particular treatment?
- What is the duration of the treatment?
- Is the solution permanent?
- Are there side effects or risks associated with the treatment?
- Will the recommended treatment be covered by my medical insurance?
1. Mediterranean Diet
In 2018, a study revealed that eating a diet containing fresh herbs and raw vegetables, such as the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of androgenic alopecia ( male or female pattern baldness) or slows down its onset.
Learn more about the Mediterranean diet with this book from Amazon: The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. The book contains more than 500 healthy recipes using a variety of fresh ingredients.
Your hair follicles are made primarily of keratin, which is a type of protein. A 2017 study done on 100 people suffering from hair loss noticed some nutritional deficiencies in the participants, including amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
According to researchers, eating a diet rich in protein can help prevent hair loss. Some of the protein-rich foods include eggs, beans, nuts, fish, peas, and chicken, among others.
3. Vitamin A
Foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, and many others. Our article outlining the best foods for hair growth will help you with any meal planning needs.
According to scientists, Vitamins A, B, C, D, iron, zinc, and selenium are all needed for healthy hair growth and retention processes.
Multivitamins are available in drug stores and most grocery stores. Your doctor can also prescribe a multivitamin based on your individual needs.
5. Vitamin D
A 2017 study revealed that vitamin D supplements could help treat non-scarring alopecia to boost hair regrowth.
Biotin, which is also referred to as vitamin H or B7, is needed for fatty acid synthesis in your body. This process is vital to the hair growth cycle, and if you don’t have enough biotin, you will undoubtedly experience hair loss.
However, biotin deficiencies are very rare. If you think you might have a biotin deficiency, work with your doctor to determine how much biotin you should take.
7. Saw Palmetto
This herb is derived from the American dwarf pine tree fruits, and it can be used to maintain testosterone levels in the body.
A 2004 study on saw palmetto showed that 60% of participants taking 200 milligrams of the herb daily experienced improved hair growth.
Although further study is needed, ginseng has been shown to contain phytochemicals that promote hair growth.
You may take ginseng supplements or use topical solutions that are infused with ginseng. Since more research is needed, we recommend consulting with your doctor before using ginseng.
9. Washing Your Hair Regularly
Making it a habit to wash your hair regularly keeps the scalp clean and healthy, which can reduce hair loss. We also recommend using a gentle shampoo as opposed to a stronger one that may lead to additional hair breakage and dryness.
If you’re wondering how often to wash your hair, read this article to set up a hair washing schedule.
10. Coconut oil
Many studies have shown that coconut oil can help prevent hair damage from UV light exposure and daily styling routines.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which binds protein in the hair, strengthening it and protecting it from breakage.
11. Incorporate Protective Styling
Some hairstyles, such as tight ponytails or braids, can pull your hair at the roots (particularly around the edges) potentially leading to excessive shedding.
12. Avoid (or Limit) Hair Processing
Before using chemical treatments, ask your stylist if there are better alternatives, such as natural hair dyes (like using henna leaves for coloring) or other products that don’t contain nearly as many harmful chemicals.
13. Red Light Laser Therapy
Low-level lasers have been used to help chemotherapy patients and people suffering from genetic hair loss improve hair density (source).
The process is referred to as red light therapy, and it works by stimulating your epidermal stem cells. If you’re interested DIY red light therapy device, they’re available here on Amazon.
14. Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-rich plasmas (PRP) may be injected into the scalp to stimulate hair growth in the areas affected by hair loss. A 2017 study saw a 30% increase in hair growth for 11 participants who had been injected with PRP for four sessions.
These sessions are often not covered by health insurance providers but can be purchased locally in many major cities in the United States. Sessions are often expensive selling for as much as $1000 in some cities.
Also known as Rogaine, minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug that works for around 66% of the women who have tried it, according to Mayo Clinic.
You should apply the minoxidil liquid or foam to the scalp daily. Side effects may include acne, scalp irritation, irregular heartbeat, or blurred vision.
Also known as Propecia, finasteride is a prescription pill that helps slow down hair loss and promotes hair regrowth. We recommend discussing this option with your doctor to determine if it’s the right solution for your specific needs.
17. Essential Oils
According to studies, essential oils can help reduce hair loss. In 1998, a study divided 86 people suffering from hair loss into two groups, one group used cedarwood oil mixed with rosemary and lavender oil on their scalps, and the other group didn’t use any oils.
After a few months, 43% of the group using the essential oil treatment had positive results and significant improvement in their condition.
Other essential oils that can be used include lemongrass, peppermint, and lavender oil. You should mix a few drops of the essential oils with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil before applying to your scalp.
18. Implement Scalp Massages
A scalp massage feels fantastic, and it’s relaxing. On top of that, scalp massages encourage hair growth. A small 2016 study revealed that a four-minute massage every day for 24 weeks helped participants boost their hair growth.
19. Use Yoga as a Stress Reliever
Stress can lead to hair loss, and as we all know, yoga is an excellent way to reduce stress. There are many highly effective yoga poses.
We recommend trying the forward bend, downward facing dog, camel pose, fish pose, shoulder stand, and kneeling pose.
Can Garlic Help Reverse Alopecia Areata?
In a scientific study, it’s been shown that garlic stimulates hair growth for people who have alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss.
In the study, garlic gel was applied to the scalp of the subjects and lead to an overall increase in hair growth relative to the baseline.
There is another study which states that patients using a mixture of garlic gel along with a steroid cream responded better in comparison to those who only used the steroid cream. Steroid creams are a commonly used treatment for alopecia areata.
What About Onion Juice?
Onion juice (that’s right, crushed up onions) was found to enhance hair growth when compared to tap water.
This means, without the use of steroids, it’s possible that crushed onions can stimulate hair growth for alopecia areata treatment.
With alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles. There are certain chemicals in garlic and onion juices that can reduce the speed of this process or completely stop the immune system from attacking the hair follicles altogether.
Are Growth Supplements or Vitamins Useful or Not?
There is evidence of supplements being useful for mitigating the amount of hair shedding experienced.
As an example, both iron and Lysine, an amino acid that the body can’t produce naturally, can help reduce hair shedding. Although, Lysine cannot increase hair growth.
Green Tea (Polyphenols) Hair Regrowth
Currently, green tea is being studied as a potential treatment option for alopecia areata.
The benefits of using green tea are thought to be superior to its counterpart black tea, as the roasting process involved in the preparation of black tea oxidizes the polyphenols.
Existing studies have been conducted on rats and human hair in a petri-dish, but not yet on real people.
Nonetheless, the results of the existing studies have shown encouraging results.
The polyphenols have stimulated the re-growth of hair in existing studies. Therefore, if you are experiencing hair thinning or shedding utilizing a tea rinse for your hair might be worth the experiment.
Using Caffeine Hair Regrowth
Many people do not know this, but your hair follicles can absorb certain drugs. Caffeine is a drug that can be absorb by the hair follicles.
Actually, tests done on human hair in a petri-dish have revealed that the hair follicles rapidly absorbs caffeine, which in turn stimulates hair growth in sections which previously had shown signs of excessive hair shedding or loss.
Does the Hair Ever Grow Back?
It really depends on the cause of your hair loss. For example, if the hair loss is related to chemotherapy, once the treatment ceases it’s not uncommon for the hair to grow back.
However, if the hair loss is hereditary, your hair likely won’t grow back naturally. There are hair loss treatments that you can consider; be sure to discuss your options with a medical professional.