Is your hair falling out? Our expert clarifies what can really cause hair loss in women

Samantha | 05 April 2018

Why is my hair falling out? Get clued up on the main causes of thinning hair in women.

Hair falling out? We’re here for you. If you’re experiencing an excessive amount of shedding, it’s important to understand the main reasons for hair loss and how you can tackle the appearance of thinning tresses.

To help clear up any confusion around the topic, we consulted Unilever’s Peter Bailey, Global Technical Manager, Hair Care.

Delving into what causes hair loss in women and how your age and genetics factor into excessive shedding, Peter lends his expert knowledge (and advice) on the subject.



What causes hair loss in women?



 

Blonde woman hair falling out
My hair is falling out! Don’t panic, ATH is here to help. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Why is my hair falling out?

Firstly, it’s important to note that your hair will shed regularly everyday. According to Peter, “Hair grows in cycles. Approximately 50 to 150 hairs can fall out daily, this is considered to be normal hair shedding.”

But to understand the main causes of hair loss, you first need to know what causes your tresses to grow (or not) in the first place.

The hair cycle:

Anagen (the growing phase) lasts two to seven years and determines the length of our hair.

Catagen (the transition phase) is the transitional stage and lasts about ten days.

Telogen (AKA the resting phase) which lasts around three months.

Exogen (also known as the shedding phase) of the hair cycle, this is part of the resting phase where the hair will fall out.

After Exogen the follicle goes back into Anagen and the new hair then starts to grow, completing the cycle. However, due to age or genetics, the number of hairs in Telogen phase can increase whilst the number of hairs in Anagen can decrease which leads to perceptibly thinner hair.

Short brunette pixie cut hair falling out
Hair loss in women Credit: indigitalimages.com

Reasons for hair loss in women: what you need to know about baldness

So, why is your hair falling out? Two of the main reasons for hair loss in women: age and genetics.

“Due to age or genetics, the number of hairs in the Telogen (resting) phase can increase while the number of hairs in Anagen (growing) phase can decrease which leads to perceptibly thinner hair.”

And it’s this thinning that could lead to bald spots in women, says Peter. “As more follicles move out of Anagen the person will experience increasing baldness. Once all of the follicles switch out of Anagen and into Telogen/Exogen then no more new hairs are growing at which point the person will be bald.”

Is this the same process when men go bald? The answer is a resounding yes. “The basic process of the evolution of the hair growth cycle above is the same for men and women.  However, baldness is much more common in men than women which is primarily due to the difference in genetic coding.”

To this end, significant hair loss in women is usually a very extreme case. “It’s much more common is that the Anagen phase decreases in length over time and so the hair may become weaker and thinner after each cycle.”

Many women start to grow their hair shorter as they get older for this reason.

Sound familiar? Check out these hairstyles for short thin hair if you’re looking for a little inspo or long thin hair if you’re not quite ready to go for the chop.

Blonde Asian woman standing outside hair falling out
Hair falling out? We reveal the causes of hair loss in women. Credit: indigitalimages.com

How to treat hair loss: Can it be reversed?

Unfortunately, in a word: no. “This process of switching off the hair follicle is done by your individual genetic programming (or can be driven by illness or certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy) and cannot be prevented as of today,” explains Peter.

Fret not though, from our top styling tricks for thin hair to your ultimate cheat sheet for faking fullness, there’s always a styling solution (and product) to help your locks appear more voluminous.

Dove Nourishing Secrets Thickening Ritual Shampoo

Editor’s tip: Start your hair routine with a shampoo that is designed to give you fuller-looking hair like the Dove Nourishing Secrets Thickening Ritual Shampoo. Next, add products like the Tigi Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray to your grooming routine to help give your strands the appearance of more body and lift.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more permanent overhaul, try adopting one of these celeb-approved hairstyles that will help create the appearance of faux thickness – even if you’re experiencing a high level of shedding.

Whatever stage your hair loss is in, if you have any concerns about your scalp health or feel that your shedding is excessive, we recommend consulting a medical professional for further advice.