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Women & Hair loss

Did you know ... it is estimated that more than 50% of women will experience hair loss at some point in their life! And, I'm not talking about hair loss due the over processing of chemicals you might have done in the salon; I'm talking about hair loss that's bigger than that! I'm talking about hair loss from hormone imbalances such as menopause, rapid weight loss, vitamin deficiencies, toxic substances, extreme physical or emotional stress, thyroid issues, medications, genes, aging, childbirth and I could keep going but we'll talk more about the why it happens and what causes it later.

I have become so aware over the past few months of the effects that hair loss has on women. I have several clients that suffer from it so I have put some time into the research of who it effects, what causes it, why it happens, where it might show up and how to treat it or lessen the hair loss. Keep reading for the who, what, where, when, how & why and for my professional recommendations if you are suffering from hair loss.

the 411 on hair loss - what's normal & what's not normal

So, what exactly does normal hair loss look like? I'm so glad you asked! I can tend to get a little nerdy when I start talking about hair but I will keep it in laymen's terms for the sake of simplicity. Anything that is going on inside your body will typically be seen in your hair, skin & nails before you even know that something just isn't right with you. But, before we can talk about losing hair we need to understand how in the world you even have hair protruding from your scalp to begin with & what the life of a single strand of hair looks like. There is SO much that happens beneath the surface of your scalp so buckle up and let's get started!

Your Hair goes through 3 cycles/phases:

*Note: Not every strand of hair goes through the same phase at the same time.*

  • The ANAGEN PHASE (AKA The Growing Phase): This phase can last anywhere from 2-8 years & will vary from person to person. This is the active phase (growing) & generally refers to 85%-90% of the the hair on your head at any given time. During this phase, a new hair is formed & pushes hair that is in the Telegon phase out of the follicle and results in shedding.

  • The CATAGEN PHASE (AKA The Transition Phase): During this phase is when the hair follicles shrink & growth stops for about 2-3 weeks. Only about 3% of your hair follicles are in this stage at any given time.

  • The TELEGON PHASE (AKA The Resting/Shedding Phase): This phase lasts for about 3-4 months and is when your follicles are completely at rest. 6%-8% of your hair follicles are in this stage at any given time. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out/sheds and is what NORMAL hair loss looks like. You will lose 75-150 hairs A DAY ... YES I SAID IN ONE DAY! This is normal hair loss. All of those hairs you see in the bottom of the shower (these are the cutest hair traps for your shower that I've ever seen) or in your Wet Brush every day is more than likely normal hair loss.

So, if that's normal hair loss, how can you tell what hair loss is abnormal?

This answer is not as confusing as the 3 phases you just learned about. You are typically aware of how much hair you have on your head and what that feels like. If you ever experience these 2 most common symptoms, you just might be experiencing abnormal hair loss:

1. It becomes very apparent that your hair is thinner or you see an excessive amount of shorter hair (also referred to as baby hair) around your hairline or throughout your hair.

You would think that your hair going through the 3 phases above, that it would be thinner but all 3 phases are happening so simultaneously that, if it's normal growth, transitioning & shedding, you won't even know it's happening. BUT, if one day you look in the mirror & think, "man, my hairline seems to be receding" or "my ponytail just isn't as thick as it used to be" or "I can now see my scalp" ... chances are, you are experiencing abnormal hair loss.

2. You have "bald spots" on your scalp or around your hairline - most commonly referred to as Alopecia (there are different types of Alopecia that would need to be diagnosed by your doctor) or female pattern balding.

Alopecia or Female Pattern Balding would be very obvious as you would usually see bald spots throughout your scalp or it may appear that your hairline is receding & would need to be treated by your doctor. Female Pattern Hair Loss is usually the result of aging and hormone changes as you age or family genes can cause thinning of the hair along the top of your head.

here are the most common causes of hair loss in women & how to promote healthy hair growth

  • Chemotherapy & radiation therapy can both cause sudden hair loss that can occur anywhere on the body. Most of the time the hair does come back but it could be permanent if the hair follicles are damaged. If you are experiencing hair loss because of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, I would recommend Alra Mild Conditioning Shampoo. Alra Mild Conditioning Shampoo is a gentle cleanser + conditioner combo that provides relief from irritated, dry and itching scalp during and after cancer treatment. A compromised immune system due to radiation or chemotherapy may result in hair loss (a