The causes of female hair loss are complex and very little understood. Following over a decade of research into this very topic, we have a lot to share with you below.
Thinning hair can be devastating for a woman and, with little support available from medical professionals, it can be an isolating experience. Whether your hair has gradually thinned, or you’ve suddenly discovered a distressing gap, we’re here to help you find the cause of your hair loss.
Here, we will not only help you get to the root cause, we will also help you to nourish, boost, and blend your way to healthier, happier hair and the confidence you deserve.
Hair thins out as we age, but if it’s suddenly noticeable, we need to find out what else is going on.
Boost N Blend founder, Bambi Staveley RN, suffered hair loss herself over a decade ago. Since that time, she has poured her energies into researching the causes of thinning hair in women and writing her in-depth guide to finding the cause. Once you understand the cause you can begin to repair and regrow your hair and your confidence. Her book - Hair Loss In Women is packed full of knowledge and has already sold out. Now it is back in stock, don't wait too long to get your copy.
“Hair loss is more common for women today than ever before. It’s a complex issue, with no simple solution. But there are some key things we can all do to keep our scalp and follicles healthy and give our hair a fighting chance.”
Bambi Staveley, RN
Recent research suggests that hair loss in women is polygenic (influenced by more than one gene), multifactorial (dependent on a number of factors) and can be influenced by the environment. What that means is, female hair loss can happen because of many factors from damage caused by peroxides and other chemicals, to hidden causes such as systemic inflammation and stress. It also means that the hair loss solution that works for one woman might only be half the answer for another.
If you want to understand why you’re suddenly experiencing thinning hair, and discover the best treatments for female hair loss, then you’re in the right place! Through Bambi’s extensive research, she discovered that hair loss doesn’t just have one cause, it can have many causes, as well as a specific trigger. Which means it’s likely you’ve actually been experiencing underlying causes for many years without realising… until the point a final ‘trigger’ initiates hair loss.
These triggers, such as a sudden illness or rapid weight loss, (and many more - mentioned here below) only lead to an onset of hair loss if you’re already susceptible due to other underlying causes.
A common underlying cause of women’s hair loss, and a well-known contributing factor, is stress. Many women take on too much! Full-time work, often in very high-stress professions, plus everything else expected of women – children, ageing parents, household responsibilities and even study.
Combine these factors with the popularity of birth control products and the resulting hormonal effects, excessive demands on our time and, for many, a tendency to rely on a poor quality, fast-food diet, it’s little wonder we find women of all ages, with all kinds of new ailments as manifestations of stress: chronic weight gain, heart disease and, of course, hair loss. More on stress and hair loss below.
CAUSES AND TRIGGERS OF FEMALE HAIR LOSS
So while we have listed some of the most common causes below, the true cause of your hair loss is likely to be a combination of factors that all peaked at the same time. Add in a trigger like Covid-19, another serious illness or surgery, unusual and undue stress, for example a divorce or a death in the family, and hair loss, most likely sudden and fierce, will be a common result.
Menopause is often touted as a cause of hair loss in women. Yet menopause alone is not likely to be the sole cause of hair loss in a woman, it is more likely a combination of menopause and other factor(s). Poor diet or low nutrition which can occur following a crash diet or a ketogenic diet can be a contributing factor or trigger in some women. Many of the most common causes of hair loss in women are covered below. Any of these can combine with menopause to trigger hair loss.
There is unlikely to be any one single cause for hair loss in women, like menopause, especially in women past a certain age, but when combined with other factors and potential triggers, or due to a strong genetic predisposition, it would appear on the surface that menopause is the sole cause of hair loss in women.
A sudden, or even gradual, reduction in a woman’s oestrogen (estrogen) levels can contribute to hair loss.
The drop in oestrogen that naturally occurs following childbirth will right itself over time and so will hair growth. If there are no other underlying causes, then this kind of hair loss will resolve and there should be noticeable regrowth and hair thickening within a year.
Other causes of hair loss might include changes to your contraceptive pill (going on, or off, or changing brand), hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other medications, or by the gradual decline in oestrogen levels caused by ageing.
Hair loss can be sudden and really noticeable, for example excess hair in the drain when washing, noticing it falling out during the day, seeing it on your clothes or around the house. This is called telogen effluvium (TE).
Telogen Effluvium (TE) usually occurs around three months after the cause which triggered it. This is due to the nature of the hair growth cycle. What is not commonly understood by doctors in general is, that for TE to be triggered, there is something else at play, something else going on, an underlying cause. This is covered extensively in the book Hair Loss in Women as there is a lot to understand in order to firstly, recover from TE but also secondly, to prevent another bout of TE in the future.
LOW IRON, VITAMIN D AND B12.
Low iron, low vitamin D and low vitamin B12 are all known underlying causes of female hair loss.
If you are also feeling tired and rundown, your problem could be that you are low in iron. Do you find your memory is not as sharp as it once was, or your thinking is not as clear as you'd like? A lack of vitamin B12 can be the cause.
But do not just go out and buy these over the counter products and start taking them. For one thing, you need to take them for a long time to replenish your body's stores and turn your body back into a hair growing machine, but more importantly, if you don't need these supplements, then taking them can do you massive harm (even cause hair loss).
So head to your doctor for a blood test first up to see if you are low in any of these vitamins which are known to contribute to hair loss. The good news is that once the proper levels are restored with the help of supplements and/or diet changes, your hair growth should return to normal. But be prepared to take the supplements for a long time. It can take up to 18 months to turn around a severe iron (ferritin) deficiency that is causing hair loss.
It’s probably not much of a surprise that heated styling products like straighteners, curling irons and hair dryers can cause hair loss in women, but did you know that your hair spray, gel or even the type of shampoo you use could also be causing your thinning hair?
Take care not to overuse styling products or opt for natural products. While you’re at it, be careful with your poor head! Simple things like tight ponytails and harsh brushing can also cause hair loss. Ideally, opt for healthy, kind to hair products like the Boost & Be range.
Packed full of essential oils and nutrients to nurture and protect the hair, and style without adding stress, this custom-designed product range for ageing and thinning hair is the loving solution your hair has been waiting for.
DIGESTION AND GUT ISSUES AND HAIR LOSS
Whatever you eat passes through your intestinal system, during which time your gut wall absorbs all the goodness from your food, leaving just the waste. If your gut isn’t healthy and you aren’t able to absorb the nutrients in your food, then your hair follicles aren’t getting fed.
If you have any kind of gut issue like chronic diarrhoea, IBS or if you are taking a medication that is affecting your gut health (some drugs can cause diarrhoea which can lead to malabsorption, and antibiotics can also mess with gut health) then it’s worthwhile seeing your doctor about it.
If your hair loss cause is an unhealthy gut, the good news is that, once fixed, hair loss can be reversed.
UNHEALTHY SCALP AND HAIR LOSS
An unhealthy scalp can cause inflammation, which then makes it difficult for hair to grow. Some of the skin conditions that can lead to hair loss include seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), psoriasis, and fungal infections such as ringworm.
Think of your scalp like soil - great soil = healthy plants. When the soil is dry, parched and lacking in nutrients, then nothing can grow. Our scalp is similar. Be careful with super-hot water, use chemical free shampoos and conditioners like the Boost & Be range and try to avoid getting your scalp sunburnt.
Think your scalp might need some TLC? Boost & Be is all about hair health – products that get on with the business of caring for your hair from the outside, while you take care of the inside.
MEDICATION AND HAIR LOSS
Some medications are known to trigger hair loss, including those for blood pressure management, acne, arthritis, gout, arrhythmias, and psoriasis. This is not a complete list, so check your medication information thoroughly.
It’s also important not to overlook any medications you may have been on long-term, where you have altered your dosage or recently stopped taking them altogether.
BOOST N BLEND FEMALE HAIR FIBRES COVER UP VISIBLE SCALP IN SECONDS. SHAKE IN AND GO.
The hormonal changes in pregnancy are completely normal and required to grow a human being. One of the most profound changes is the increase in oestrogen levels that is sustained throughout pregnancy. One of the side effects of this increase is a cessation or a slowing down of the hair growth/loss cycle. Many pregnant women comment on their luscious, thick hair when pregnant, only to find following birth, when the oestrogen levels drop back to normal levels, that the hair moves into the shedding phase and falls out. This is a very common process and no need for concern.
However, in some women, especially those with naturally fine or thin hair, or for someone who has had a previous bout of telogen effluvium (TE), this type of female hair loss can be quite distressing. When a woman constantly worries about the negative impact of sudden and unexpected hair loss, the hair loss can actually increase! See earlier information on stress and hair loss.
Worrying about hair loss while nurturing a totally dependent infant, being sleep deprived and potentially skipping proper meals makes a woman’s body vulnerable to further hair loss and thinning. It is a vicious cycle.
The good news is that most women find that their hair growth returns to normal after the post partum phase - although this can take up to a year. Some women find that they go through this experience with all their pregnancies, while others can be on their third or fourth pregnancy before experiencing it for the first time.
COVID-19 AND HAIR LOSS
Covid-19 has now become one of the leading causes of hair loss in women across the world. However, not everyone who gets Covid-19 will suffer hair loss. The human body’s long-term response to Covid-19 is only just becoming evident and scientists are working over time trying to determine what has been going on at the cellular level in patients who end up with long Covid.
Covid-19 seems to affect people with metabolic syndrome more than the rest of the population. Metabolic syndrome is a catch all phrase that refers to the dysfunction of the major intracellular processes that are required for a healthy body.
Like all the other causes of hair loss in women, getting to the base of your underlying causes and conditions and righting it, is the best gift you can give to your hair and your future self.
Putting yourself on a restrictive diet can mean you miss out on some essential nutrients, which can cause thinning hair in women.
Likewise, gaining a significant amount of weight quickly can also put your body out of whack and mean that you experience hair loss.
If you have been on a ketogenic diet and notice sudden or unusual hair loss, then you need to have a clear understanding of your underlying causes. Not everyone on a keto diet loses their hair so, for those that do, there is something else going on.
Bariatric surgery (stomach stapling, gastric bypass etc) is a common cause of hair loss in women. This is usually due to the extreme weight loss and the resulting stress on your body, but can also be due to a lack of certain nutrients that may have been borderline low prior to the diet. Again, look for more than one cause.
POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS) AND HAIR LOSS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common underlying cause of hair loss in women that is not always otherwise evident or symptomatic. PCOS hair loss is caused by an excess of androgens – the samething that causes men to lose their hair.
Many women with PCOS also have metabolic syndrome (a precursor to type 2 diabetes). Metabolic syndrome is one of the underlying causes identified as having the potential to cause female hair loss on its own, without the added complication of PCOS.
Bambi's book comprehensively covers metabolic syndrome and it would be worthwhile to spend some time looking into it, especially if you have PCOS.
Many illnesses, or just being generally unwell, can cause female hair loss. Because hair is viewed by the body as non-essential, it is often the first thing the body stops assigning resources to, and so it begins to fall. Hair loss is a common symptom of a lot of illnesses e.g. autoimmune diseases, but what you may be surprised to learn is that hair loss in women can even be caused by acute illnesses like gastroenteritis. These short but intense illnesses can put enough temporary stress on the body to lead to hair loss around three months later. The good news is that this type of hair loss can usually right itself without intervention.
STRESS IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN
Stress causes hair loss in a variety of ways. Stress, and in particular chronic stress, leads to a sustained increase in the body's cortisol levels. Long term raised cortisol levels can lead to chronic inflammation. It can also lead to the suppression of the immune system which can also lead to disease (such as cancer and auto-immune for example).
Due to this cortisol effect therefore, it can be said that lifestyle, poor diet and stress, all over time, can lead to systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation hyper-sensitizes the hair follicles to androgens which is why chronic inflammation can cause female pattern hair loss.
There is a viscous cycle between stress > raised cortisol > inflammation > female hair loss.There are other factors at play here such as type 2 diabetes, being over weight and oxidative stress affecting the mitochondria of the hair cell. However, I've tried to keep it simple in order to help you understand and try to identify your triggers and contributing factors.
So while some women maybe in menopause or are taking medications that are known to cause or trigger hair loss, they may not have any form of hair loss if they are otherwise healthy. However if a women has systemic inflammation then the medication may cause hair loss in that woman. This is why when women ask on Facebook groups if others have found hair loss caused by a certain medication or trigger, there will always be a number of women who also have also taken that medication successfully for many years, with no hair loss.
Bambi Staveley, Founder and CEO of Boost N Blend suffered hair loss herself and you can read her story and how she got her hair back, in her latest book HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN. If you have left a doctor’s surgery in tears because he/she wasn’t able to offer anything constructive about your hair loss, then you need to read this book. Bambi's research and advice picks up where most doctors leave off.
If hair loss is a problem for you, it’s a good idea to visit your local GP. In the meantime, use a women’s hair loss concealer like BOOST N BLEND™ to keep your hair loss a secret. It is easy to apply and gives an instant result.
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