Have you been noticing your hair falling out? A lot of women deal with hair loss and are surprised to find out that it’s actually a pretty common issue. If you’ve been experiencing an excessive amount of shedding, it’s important to understand the main reasons for hair loss and how you can tackle the issue. 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 and gives you guidance on what to do if you find your hair falling out.
What Causes Hair Loss in Women?
Why is Your 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
Firstly, let’s dive into the hair growth cycle. These are the difference stages are strands go through on rotation: First comes anagen, the growing phase, which 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 (a.k.a. the resting phase) lasts around three months. And then comes exogen, which is 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 while the number of hairs in anagen can decrease. This can lead to perceptibly thinner hair.
Reasons for Hair Loss in Women
So, why is your hair falling out? Two of the main reasons for hair loss in women are 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.”
You might be wondering: 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 cut their hair shorter as they get older for this exact reason.
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.
The good news is that 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.
Next, add products like 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.
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.