Do you remember your grandmother and great grandmother in their 70s or 80s with warm smile and scalp full of thick and long hair? Do you wonder why you didn’t inherit their hair? The truth is, the change in our lifestyle, pollution, and unhealthy diet, has taken an adverse toll on our body and hair. A majority of women these days complain about severe hair fall and bald spots on their scalp. Actually, hair fall is a problem faced by almost all men and women whereas baldness is more common among men. The hair loss pattern differs from person to person. It has been proven that a major chunk of women population is experiencing female pattern baldness which is also called androgenetic alopecia. With change in lifestyle, unhealthy diet, use of chemical-laden hair products, women suffering from baldness is steadily going up. In this article, we will discuss what causes female pattern baldness, various treatments available, and most importantly, preventive measures to stop bald spots from showing up in the first place. Balding is also called alopecia commonly and it can affect anyone, irrespective of their age or gender.
But first let’s understand the hair growth cycle. The hair growth cycle would give you an idea about the rate of hair growth.
Hair Growth Cycle:
Usually each hair (naturally) grows approximately half inch per month irrespective of how you take care of your hair. Each hair has a growing period of 2-6 years [depending on various factors like age, hormonal changes, etc] after which they tend to fall. After the hair falls from its follicle, a new hair would grow from the same follicle. The hair growth cycle happens in four phases:
1. Anagen: It’s the growth stage. Hair follicle is nourished by blood vessels and that leads to active hair growth in the follicle. Anagen lasts for 2-6 years depending on age, hormonal change, diet, etc.
2. Catagen: Transition phase, the hair follicle begins to shrink and hair detaches from the blood supply source, which is also called the “dermal papilla.” This stage lasts for 1 to 2 weeks or 10 days.
3. Telogen: It’s also called the resting phase. Old hair is in resting phase, it stops growing. Whereas new hair begins to enter the growing phase from the same follicle. The telogen stage lasts for 5 to 6 weeks or four months.
4. Exogen: The old hair starts to shed and new hair continues to grow.
It’s interesting to note that not all hair grow out and fall out together, each follicle is independent and hair grows out and falls independently.
What Causes Baldness in Women?
1. Increased stress levels change the hormones work in our body and increase in hormones like androgen trigger hair loss in women.
2. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, also called as post-partum hair loss.
3. Allergy caused due to certain medicines. For example, medicines prescribed for depression, hormonal changes, blood pressure, etc. Certain antibiotics can also cause hair fall.
4. Allergy caused by products like hair dye, shampoos, etc.
5. Fungal infection in the scalp.
6. Severe dandruff.
7. Pollution that includes both air and water. Be careful when you swim in pools filled with chlorine water. My friend actually said the chlorine in a swimming pool changed the colour of her swimsuit!!!
8. Excessive use of heat, chemical-laden products in the hair.
9. Hormonal changes, thyroid problems would cause extensive hair fall that can result in baldness.
10. Heredity factors. Genetic composition may cause baldness in females.
11. Lack of nutrition, unhealthy diet. This is the most important fact that may lead to bald spots. A diet that lacks nutrition to nourish blood vessels underneath follicles would stunt hair from growing up.
12. Overdose of vitamin A can cause alopecia.
13. Iron deficiency.
14. Anemia, low hemoglobin level.
Symptoms of Alopecia:
1. Thinning of hair.
2. Lot of hair on the comb.
3. Severe hair fall while washing the hair.
4. Receding hairline.
5. Small round patches of skin on the scalp.
How to Prevent Baldness in Women?
1. Best way to prevent baldness is to eat a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and iron. Include including amla (Indian gooseberry), curry leaves and other green leafy vegetables in your diet because they provide nourishment to the hair and helps in growing out strong hair. Here’s a list of 8 Food Items that you should absolutely eat for gorgeous hair.
2. Consult your doctor to rule out any underlying hormonal disorder and other factors.
3. Switch to SLS and paraben-free shampoo and hair products. Surfactant-based products are harsh on your hair and scalp and adversely affect hair follicles.
4. Take good care of your hair and scalp to keep dandruff away. If you have dandruff, use natural ways like a pack of lemon and curd to clear dandruff. It is necessary to keep the hair clean and free of any infection and dandruff.
5. Use rosemary oil on the scalp to activate hair follicles and promote hair growth.
6. Wash hair at least two times a week, not too often because frequent shampooing will dry out your hair and scalp.
7. Massage your scalp with a mix of tea tree oil and coconut oil to stimulate hair growth.
If you are losing large amount of hair suddenly, it is better you consult a doctor immediately to take corrective measures.
Diet For Healthy Hair:
- 8 AM – One glass of almond milk.
- 9 AM – 2 whole boiled eggs with oats porridge/or any other light breakfast
- 11 AM – Healthy snack with a few walnuts, 3 almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
- 1 PM – Lunch with green leafy vegetables, one cup of dal, and cucumber salad.
- 5 PM – One glass of carrot and beetroot juice without any sugar.
- 6 PM – Snack with just a few walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
- 7 PM – Dinner with one cup of dal, soybean curry, and leafy vegetables.
Natural Solutions and Treatments for Baldness:
- Rule out underlying diseases or hormonal disorder by consulting a certified doctor. If you are seeing excessive thinning, only timely intervention by a doctor can help you.
- Switch to a healthy diet. Get rid of all processed and packaged food. Try to include nuts in your diet.
- If you spend 5 mins for your, face spend 10 mins for your hair. You can always imagine a face without make up but not a bald head. Massage your scalp with hot rosemary oil once a week.
- Apply onion juice on the scalp and massage it for 10 minutes. The sulphur content in onion promotes new hair growth. Here’s how you can make homemade hair regrowth oil with onion.
- Drink at a glass of carrot juice daily because carrots are rich in vitamin A, biotin, and beta carotene, which help hair to grow out healthy.
- Increase your intake of vitamin B, inositol, calcium, magnesium, biotin, selenium, and iron through natural sources. Here’s the list of vitamins that you can take to aid hair growth.
- Increase consumption of green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cucumber, tomatoes, etc.
- Eat vitamin E rich foods like avocado, eggs, fish, capsicum, walnuts, kiwi, peanuts, corn, broccoli, etc.
In worse scenario, where the above points don’t help, there are options available like having a wig or doing artificial hair transplantation. However, if you feel this cannot replace your natural hair, then better start pampering your hair now.