Our Hair Defines Us
Many times, the loss is just a result of some other issue and it grows back in as fast as it falls out. Still, you'd be hard pressed to find a woman who wouldn't freak out a little if her hair started falling out by the handfuls. For a woman, hair is one of the things that truly define you.
Unfortunately, female hair loss is something that occurs quite often and is something that many women are forced to deal with. To a woman, hair is not just the stuff sitting on top of our heads; it's a part of what makes us who we are and truly a defining factor of our self image.
If you suddenly find that your hair is falling out a lot more than you would like, don't panic. The major causes of female hair loss are listed below and you may just be experiencing something short term.
Part of the regular cycle of hair growth involves old hair falling out so that new hair can grow in. If you see hair in your brush or you notice it falling out during your shower, don't panic.
The hair cycle involves hair growing steadily for three years, and then it just sits for three months before it begins falling out. Regular hair loss is about 100 hairs per day, so if you tug on a section of your hair and more than 3 or 4 come out, you may be dealing with something else.
Major changes or shock to your system can cause your hair to fall out. Basically, stressful events cause large portions of hair to go into the dormant phase (called telogen) and then fall out. The shedding can continue for several weeks; sometimes it can last for months. Things such as child birth, birth control (starting or stopping it), surgery, or even high fever can cause this change in your hair.
It may not seem like it at the time, but there is really nothing to worry about in this case. All the hair you are losing is being replaced by new hair just as quickly. To make yourself feel better, you can start watching your hairline for those little baby fine hairs you often notice.
This is a sign that new hair really is growing in. You may want to speak to a dermatologist if you have any kind of scalp condition, though. Certain conditions, such as psoriasis, can significantly slow down the rate at which hair grows back.
There are a few things to look for when you are wondering if your hair loss is due to female pattern hair loss. One of the first signs is noticing that more of your scalp shows when you part your hair. You could also notice that your hair is suddenly thinner on top, or even that your ponytail feels thinner.
As with many of the things women deal with, hormones are often to blame here. The hormonal changes that take place as we age can cause our hair to thin slightly, making the scalp more visible through our hair.
Unfortunately, some women are extremely sensitive to these changes and the thinning is much more intense. This is particularly true if you are already genetically predisposed to hair loss. A good indicator is to look at your mom and older sisters; if they have significant thinning, chances are you will too.
As soon as you notice any thinning, the first thing you can do is meet with a dermatologist. Medical advancements have turned up a few topical products that have been found to slow the thinning process and even aid the re-growth of hair. There are also countless products being prescribed that are absolutely useless, so be sure that the dermatologist you see is board-certified and reputable.
There are also more invasive procedures available, such as hair transplantation. It's a fairly easy out-patient procedure that gives you great results that are perfectly natural, but it costs several thousand dollars. On the other hand, if you are not up for something so costly or extreme, you may just want to begin taking measures to hide the fact that you are experiencing hair loss. It's fairly easy to make it look as though nothing has changed.
If you have a light-colored scalp, consider lightening your hair. This will reduce the drastic contrast in your part, and the fact that it's growing wider won't even be noticed. Highlights, volumizing products, and thickening sprays can also help your hair look thicker. There's also the option of a short haircut; it makes your hair look thicker as well as giving it more volume.
Finally, there's always the option of wigs. Today's wigs are so natural looking that you may even forget it's not your hair. They are made of human hair which means you can style it as you would your own, not to mention that they are very comfortable to wear. Nobody has to know it's a wig except for you; and if it makes you feel better, that's all that matters anyways.
Whatever the cause of your hair loss may be, it's important to remember that there are women everywhere going through the same thing. This does not have to be something you go through alone.
Updated October 26, 2011