Factors affecting woman’s hair loss from younger to middle aged
There is no question that, at least for women, hair is often a defining point in personal style. That's one reason why so many women panic at even the thought of losing a few hairs down the drain with each shampoo. Most women want their hair silky and shiny. No matter what the type of hair they have, be it straight, curly, long, short, oily, dry, thin or thick all want their hair to look good and manageable. Not all hairs respond in the same way or at the same time. So the graying process usually is gradual.
Those fears are not unfounded, as each year more women are forced to come to grips with the possibility of serious hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it's a growing problem, affecting some 30 million women in the United States -- with some forms of loss occurring at earlier ages, and being seen in increasing numbers. You can't prevent graying. Some people start graying in their 30s, and some not until their 60s. Genetics likely play a strong role in graying. Hair loss or thinning on your head sometimes happen after menopause.
For most people, and especially women, hair is their crowning glory that defines a significant part of their appearance and personal style. Yet, despite its delicate composition, hair is routinely subjected to significant damage from styling products, hair dyes, straightening or waving procedures and even sun exposure. Over time, hair that was once radiant can look brittle, frizzy and lackluster.
Some people aren't aware that they're plucking out their own hair. They may visit their dermatologist because they believe there's something wrong with their hair. Others know they pull but try to hide their behavior from their doctor out of shame. Telogen is the name for the resting stage of the hair growth cycle. This sudden increase in hair loss, usually described as the hair coming out in handfuls.
According to American Academy of Dermatology’s SKIN academy; "when someone is under stress, hair can go into the telogen (fall-out) phase. Telogen effluvium is a very common hair loss problem that can occur up to three months after a stressful event. After the initial hair loss, hair usually grows back in six to nine months".
No treatment is needed for most cases of telogen effluvium. Remember that the hairs fall out when a new hair growing beneath it pushes it out. Thus with this type of hair loss, hair falling out is a sign of hair regrowth. As the new hair first comes up through the scalp and pushes out the dead hair a fine fringe of new hair is often evident along the forehead hairline. Some men and women live with a much worse condition where their hair falls out in clumps at unpredictable times.
Researchers investigated the pigment cell substances because there were several hints that these cells were involved. For instance, white hairs tend to fall out less often in many patients, suggesting that hair follicles lacking in pigment-making cells might not be as vulnerable to the attack. They shown that proteins produced by melanocytes, or hair pigment-producing cells, trigger the assault when the body mistakes molecules within the cells for foreign substances.
Some more factors affecting woman’s hair loss from younger to middle aged:
- Hair loss may be a side effect of medicines, steroids or chemotherapy. For women who do lose their hair during treatment, the loss usually begins about three weeks after chemotherapy has begun. The hair will regrow after chemotherapy has ended. Hair loss can be caused by SEBORRHEA, LICHEN PLANUS or RINGWORM. Sometimes it is due to occupational or environmental lead (Pb) contamination. So it is advisable to take shower and wash hair right after finishing work to prevent spreading lead dust.
- Some women also develop a particular pattern of hair loss due to genetics, age, and male hormones that tend to increase in women after menopause. The pattern is different from that of men. Female pattern baldness involves a thinning throughout the scalp while the frontal hairline generally remains intact. Hair may fall out because of low protein, vitamins, and minerals intake to sustain hair growth. This is why some people with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia lose their hair.
- While everyone knows that stress can take a toll on a person physically and psychologically, it also can lead to dermatologic problems, such as acne, brittle nails or even hair loss. In order to determine stress as the primary cause, you have to make sure there are no other underlying conditions that can be triggering the hair loss.
- Hair loss is a normal response to stress, but patients should see a dermatologist for a proper evaluation to rule out other medical causes. Life-changing events such as childbirth or surgery also can cause hair loss. They explained that during these times, the body takes a “time-out” from growing hair to concentrate on recovery and healing. As such, hair does not grow as much and some could shed and not grow back right away.
- Allergic reactions to hair dye are increasing as more and younger people dye their hair, warn researchers in this week's British Medical Journal. This can lead to dermatitis on the face and, in severe cases, facial swelling may occur. More than two thirds of hair dyes currently contain para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and other related agents. Severe hair dye reactions among children have also recently been reported. Dermatologists report anecdotally that the frequency of positive reactions to PPD on patch testing is increasing.
- The most common causes of spilt ends are; use of heated appliances (Hair dryers) and chemical processing (like using dies), using the wrong type of brush and comb and general neglect. In healthy hair, the cuticle lies flat and reflects the light. Harsh chemicals and environment assaults can cause healthy hair to become rough and damaged, spoiling the reflective surface. The cause of dull hair is a build-up left by styling products or the conditioning agent that two-in-one products contain. In certain internal diseases hair might gray early. This is especially true of diseases of the thyroid gland and certain types of anemias. Localized patches of gray hair can appear in certain areas.
- In women with female-pattern hair loss and other conditions suggesting androgen excess (e.g., hirsutism, acne, or irregular menses), assessment of free testosterone is recommended; the yield of testing is expected to be low in the absence of other features suggesting androgen excess. A Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test is recommended if the patient has any risk factors for syphilis. If tinea is suspected, scale from the area of alopecia should be examined by means of a potassium hydroxide scraping for hyphae and sent for culture.
- One to five months after your baby is born, you may lose more hair from your scalp than usual. This loss of hair happens because during pregnancy more hairs go into the resting phase that is part of the normal growth and loss cycle of scalp hair. Six to twelve months after delivery your hair will become thicker again. This condition does not cause permanent hair loss or obvious bald patches.
- Excessive levels of androgens hormones, a condition called "hyperandrogenism" in women, can lead to some of the most common symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); a most common endocrine disorder in reproductive age women may lead to Scalp hair loss and balding. Patchy hair loss also may be a symptom of syphilis [a sexually transmitted disease (STD)] and Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
In recognition of National Healthy Skin Month, dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD, from High Point, N.C., spoke recently at the American Academy of Dermatology’s (Academy) SKIN Academy on the most common causes of hair damage, including how to prevent it and ways to maintain healthy hair as we age.
“It’s important to understand that hair is nonliving and cannot be repaired once it is injured,” said Dr. Draelos. “As we get older, hair growth slows down and the cosmetic beauty of our hair decreases. Hair loss that occurs from continual hair breakage over the years is a serious cosmetic concern for many women, so the key is to prevent this damage by stopping the cycle of over-processing and over-grooming our hair and selecting hair care products with proven hair-health benefits.”
In Our 20s:
While age-wise our hair should be at its healthiest in our 20s, Dr. Draelos noted that some young women fall prey to yo-yo dieting or fad diets at this age – which can wreak havoc on hair. For hair to be healthy, it needs nourishment in the form of protein, vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat.
“Hair is a sign of our general overall health,” said Dr. Draelos. “When a person has an eating disorder or is omitting certain foods from her diet – such as meat – this can adversely affect the health and appearance of the hair. Hair that is not getting enough nutrition from the foods we eat doesn’t grow well and it won’t have that radiant, healthy glow.”
Since meat is an excellent source of protein, which is important for hair health, vegetarians need to be sure to supplement their diet with other complete, or whole, sources of protein. Complete proteins are those that contain all of the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans. Dr. Draelos advised vegetarians to consume milk products, such as cheese, milk or yogurt, for complete proteins. She also cautioned that some proteins in vegetables are not complete sources of protein and taking multivitamins will not help make up for a lack of dietary protein, as they do not contain protein.
Another hair concern for women in their 20s, and 30s, is what happens to their hair when they stop taking birth control pills. Dr. Draelos explained that when estrogen levels fall during this process, hair will fall out.
“Sometimes when a woman notices her hair is falling out, she might not link it to a certain event, such as stopping oral contraceptives, since hair typically doesn’t shed for about three months after an occurrence that is happening inside the body,” added Dr. Draelos. “I tell my patients that our hair is like looking at tree rings – it’s an indication of what’s happened in the past.”
In Our 30s:
For women in their 30s, pregnancy is a common life event that can affect hair health. During pregnancy, all of the hair follicles on the scalp are usually signaled to grow – resulting in luxurious, radiant-looking hair. However, in the six months following delivery, hair sheds.
“Many times, some of the hair that is shed post-pregnancy may eventually re-grow,” said Dr. Draelos. “However, in women who have female-pattern hair loss, the hair may not re-grow. Those women who have an inherited tendency towards female-pattern hair loss should seek dermatologic help at that point.”
In Our 40s:
Although hair dyes are popular for women of all ages, women in their 40s may be more likely to turn to hair color as a way to camouflage gray hair that typically starts to appear at this age. Dr. Draelos explained that gray hair occurs when the pigment cells in the body stop producing pigments, which is a sign that the body’s ability to produce pigment is decreasing.
“Once the hair has been chemically dyed, it strips the protective lipid layer of the hair shaft and opens up holes in the hair shaft, allowing the dye to enter and create a new color,” said Dr. Draelos. “Hair dyeing is damaging no matter what color or what kind of hair dye you use, but lightening your hair color more than three shades requires higher volumes of peroxide – which in turn creates more holes in the hair shaft and causes more damage. So, the best thing a woman can do if she wants to cover her gray hair is to stay ‘on shade’ – or to dye her hair within three color shades of her natural color. Typically, dyeing hair darker is better than dyeing it lighter.”
In addition, women in their 40s usually enter the periomenopause period. As estrogen levels start to fall, women may notice more hair thinning, that their hair doesn’t grow as quickly, and the hair shaft starts to thin slightly in diameter.
Dr. Draelos noted that women who are having trouble with hair growth during periomenoapuse should see their dermatologist for treatment.
In Our 50s and Beyond:
Once a woman reaches her 50s, she will notice that hair growth naturally slows down. Since the diameter of the hair shaft continues to thin, Dr. Draelos advises women to shorten the amount of time they leave on styling products – such as hair dyes or permanent wave solutions – because thinner hair shafts require less time to process.
Dr. Draelos recommended that older women use a good conditioner, as some protein-containing conditioners can replace lost protein and increase hair strength by as much as 10 percent. She also advised women to handle their hair as little as possible, including avoiding over-brushing hair.
“A lot of older women tend to use a lot of hairspray to make their hair appear fuller, and some of the new flexible hairsprays will move with the hair better,” said Dr. Draelos. “So, when you sleep on the hair, you don’t break the hair shaft because the hairspray has made it so brittle.”
Dr. Draelos added that women of all ages can benefit from some of the newer hair care products, as well as following a few basic hair care tips. These include:
- Make sure you wash your scalp, not just your hair. Washing only your hair strips the sebum, or oil, from the hair and creates fly-away hair that is dull and coarse.
- Washing your hair every day is not necessary, particularly as you get older. Dr. Draelos added that how often you shampoo your hair depends on how much sebum your hair makes naturally.
- As you get older, you also can shampoo your hair too infrequently, which can lead to scalp disease or dandruff. Women of color also should avoid shampooing the hair too infrequently, which makes them prone to these conditions.
- “2-in-1” shampoos that remove oil from the scalp, clean the hair, then condition the hair in the rinse phase are good choices for damaged or chemically-treated hair.
- New silicone technology has revolutionized hair conditioning – smoothing the cuticle, temporarily mending split ends, decreasing combing friction, improving the ability of hair to retain color and decreasing hair breakage.
- Some newer hairsprays contain sunscreen, which Dr. Draelos noted prevent protein breakdown due to sun exposure and also prevent hair dye from fading.
- Some of the after-dye conditioners included in hair dye kits now contain sunscreen, which also prevents the hair dye from fading.
- Since hair dyes remove the lipid layer of fat that protects the hair, the newest after-dye conditioners are effectively replacing this protective layer, as are some conditioners specially formulated for color-treated hair.
“Safeguarding your hair from unnecessary chemical damage is a worthwhile investment, as the result will be hair that maintains its texture and radiance over the long term,” said Dr. Draelos. “Any concerns about the health of your hair or unexplained hair loss should be addressed with a dermatologist.”