How To Prevent Women’s Hair Loss

Written by Rali Bozhinova, Superintendent Trichologist, The Belgravia Centre

Does your hair seem thinner? Is there hair loss in your family? Have you noticed more hair in the shower? Is your hairline different? Do you feel like you’ve lost the volume? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably wondering what you need to do to prevent hair loss. You are certainly not alone! Anyone at any age can experience changes in their hair and we are here to help. Here are 6 steps to keep you ahead of the game.

Step 1: Your Body Is Your Temple

Your hair grows in a cycle. For several years there is increased activity in the hair follicles where stem cells divide, and keratin fibre is made – this is the protein that makes up the hair. This process allows the hair to grow in length. Each follicle reaches the end of its cycle at some point, loses its hair and shortly after that, it starts the cycle again producing new hair from the same place. It is therefore completely normal to lose approximately 100 hair strands a day but no need to worry as new hair quickly replaces them.

There are many factors that can lead to changes in the hair growth cycle and often hair loss is a combination of various triggers. Your hair follicles require energy to grow hair and they take this energy from the nutrients in your diet. Dietary deficiencies can therefore have a significant impact on your hair growth. For example, iron deficiency and vitamin D deficiency have been observed to trigger increased hair shedding across the scalp. Possible reasons for low iron can include some inherited medical conditions, a diet without rich sources of iron, bleeding problems and pregnancy. Low vitamin D is fairly common in the UK due to reduced sunlight exposure. There are other reasons why one may end up with low vitamins and minerals, such as drastic weight loss, restrictive diets, and digestion problems that may reduce the absorption of certain nutrients.

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Thyroid hormones also play an important role in your metabolism and subsequently, the growth of the hair follicle. For example, underactive thyroid can reduce the energy that is needed in the cells of the hair follicle. This can slow down hair growth and aggravate underlying hair loss conditions, such as female pattern hair loss. On the other hand, an overactive thyroid can increase the rate of hair shedding.

 

The Belgravia Centre asks that all women bring a blood test to their consultation so that we can determine whether there are any nutritional or hormonal factors that could be contributing to their hair loss.

Step 2: Keep A Balanced Diet

This should help you get all the nutrients you need for good health which would be undoubtedly reflected on your hair. This means:

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  • Have your 5-a-day – 5 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Have enough fibre – wholegrain bread, brown rice, potatoes with skins on, nuts in moderation
  • Have dairy or dairy alternatives – yoghurt, cheese, unsweetened dairy-alternatives
  • Have some protein – beans, chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, peas, spirulina, eggs, fish and lean meat
  • Go for unsaturated oils and spreads
  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day

To compliment your balanced diet, you can also consider taking a comprehensive supplement which can help you maintain all needed nutrients for healthy hair on a daily basis. Most of our patients use Hair Vitalics and in a survey, 9 out of 10 regular Hair Vitalics users said that it had benefited their hair and that they would recommend it to a friend.

 

Step 3: Look After Your Mental Health

We all have life stressors and sometimes they can get out of hand. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Although there hasn’t been enough evidence that stress alone is the sole reason for hair loss, many people notice an increased rate of hair loss shortly after a period of stress. This is because a high percentage of actively growing follicles move prematurely to the end of their cycle, losing their hair quicker than normal – this is known as telogen effluvium. A prime example of this is an Italian study published in the summer of 2020, just a few months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper discusses the worsening of telogen effluvium and hair loss, following increased stress associated with the pandemic.

When you are under stress, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol. These stress hormones can inhibit hair growth and keep the hair follicles in their resting phase for longer – this is the phase of the hair cycle where the follicles lose their hair and remain empty, or at rest, until they are ready to start a new cycle again.

In most cases, telogen effluvium is only temporary and recovers spontaneously within 3-6 months. However, it can become chronic if it lasts for over 6 months and at this point, it would be recommended to consider your treatment options.

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There are many things you can do to help you manage the stress:

 

  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  • Engage in hobbies and interests such as yoga, reading a book or walking your dog
  • Connect with people – chat with your friends and family
  • Keep a gratitude journal – write at least 1 thing a day that went well and you are grateful for
  • Contact your GP or your local IAPT service for further help

Step 4: Be Gentle With Your Hair

Your hair care routine can have a detrimental impact on your hair health. We all like to style our hair occasionally but there are certain habits that can do more damage than good:

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  • Try using a wide tooth comb or a brush that doesn’t tangle in your hair each time you brush it
  • Start brushing from the ends, gently working your way up to the roots
  • Avoid tight hair styles that apply significant tension to the hair roots – these include hair extensions, tight braids, buns and ponytails. If you need your hair to be up or away from your face, why not try a low ponytail, loose plaits or twists
  • Avoid tight rollers and vigorous brushing and pulling during blow drying
  • Avoid strong heat such as regular use of hair straighteners or blow drying your hair on high heat setting
  • Avoid chemical trauma to your hair such as that caused by bleach, perms and relaxers

Embrace your natural locks, they’re beautiful! If you want to change your hair style on occasion, just try to reduce the amount of trauma applied to your hair and don’t make it a habit.

Step 5: Squeaky Clean Scalp

There has been a lot of misconception about shampoo frequency. At the clinic we are often asked if regular shampooing is bad for your hair. The answer is – no, regular shampooing is in fact imperative for a healthy scalp and hair.

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Your hair follicles have sebaceous glands attached to them. The sebaceous glands produce sebum – the oil of our scalp. Sebum has many important roles and some of them include lubricating your hair during growth in the hair follicle, as well as maintaining the healthy pH of your scalp. Everyone produces a different amount of sebum – this can be influenced by factors such as hormone levels. This means there is no universal shampoo frequency that applies to all. Some people shampoo daily, while others do it weekly.

You should adapt your shampoo frequency based on your lifestyle and how quickly your scalp gets oily. There is no benefit in leaving the sebum to build up on the scalp for days – this can actually become irritating, it can trigger itching, dandruff and can aggravate eczema or seborrhoeic dermatitis on the scalp. Although these conditions are skin problems, rather than hair problems, an unhealthy scalp can aggravate hair loss significantly and lead to further complications. It is therefore important to shampoo on a regular basis.

Step 6: First signs of hair loss? Be proactive

What can be the first signs of hair loss?

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  • More hair loss than usual in the shower, brush, or when you run your fingers through your hair
  • Receding hairline or thinner hair strands around your temples
  • Loss of hair volume on top of your scalp, you may see your scalp more easily
  • Thinner hair strands which also don’t seem to grow as fast as before

If you have noticed early signs of hair loss, it is always best to be proactive and contact a qualified hair loss specialist (HLS). Treating the problem early would usually give you higher chances of improvement, better results and easier maintenance of the hair density. An HLS will discuss your medical history and hair care routine, examine your scalp and hair, and discuss suitable treatment plan tailored to your specific case. They will also help you monitor your hair progress by taking high-quality images of your hair in exactly the same setting – this is usually done every 3 months. Alternatively, if you are doing this remotely, an HLS will guide you through the process of taking photos correctly on a regular basis.

Treatments For Hair Loss

You can minimise your chances of experiencing hair loss by following the guidelines above, but sometimes using treatment may be the only option – or something that will help to stabilise or reverse your thinning whilst you are working on improving your lifestyle to improve your hair. There is only one clinically proven treatment for hair loss in womenminoxidil. The Belgravia Centre’s pharmacy prepares special formulations of minoxidil at different strengths and formulations, and with various additives to maximise effectiveness. We also offer other natural and technological solutions that are combined to provide the optimum solution to prevent women’s hair loss, and a level of expertise that you will not find at any other clinic in the world. One of our 20 qualified hair loss specialists will be available to help you any time, at our Central London clinic or through a Zoom consultation if you live outside of London.

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If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. Take a look through our hair regrowth photo gallery – which is the largest gallery of its kind in the world and contains over 1,000 sets of hair growth photos and verified reviews from patients of The Belgravia centre.

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The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.

View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.

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