Of all the challenges aging women face, perhaps the giant elephant in the room is hair loss.
We unashamedly discuss menopause, wrinkles, weight gain, dry skin, saggy breasts and our fight against breast cancer. But for some reason we hardly talk about the strands of hair that are sitting in our hairbrushes and shower drains, instead of on our heads.
It's widely reported that women develop thinner hair as they get older because of a lack of estrogen, which often leads to gradual hair loss. Genetics plays a big role, too.
“A thinning of scalp hair along with a growth of excessive facial hair occurs in about half of all women by age 50, although it may begin anytime after puberty," Dr. Enas Bukhari, a dermatologist at a private practice in Jeddah, told Arab News. "We can always blame postmenopausal hair loss on a lack of estrogen, but research has shown that more than one hormone is involved in this process. The loss of both progesterone and estrogen throughout menopause seems to lead to a new hormonal pattern that leads to hair fall and an increase in facial hair.”
Many scientists are now getting to the root of the problem, and their studies show that some hair loss is preventable. Click through the slideshow below to find out how to avoid female baldness.
According to ABC News, hair extensions that are too heavy or too tight can cause hair loss. Doctors told ABC News that women with already thin or weak hair, or with a pre-existing medical condition, like anemia, are particularly at risk for damage from hair extensions Similarly, tight braids and weaves may increase the risk of scarring hair loss on the crown of the scalp, according to a new study in the Archives of Dermatology.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a happy marriage can prevent hair loss. One study examined 84 female identical twins and found the strongest predictor of female hair loss was marital status. Those who were divorced or widowed exhibited more hair loss than married women.
According to AOL Lifestyle UK, science shows women lose more hair in autumn than in the other seasons. That's because the sun's rays during the summer months increase the secretion of the hormones that regulate hair growth.
The next time you find a wad of hair in your hairbrush, think about your stress level. Dr. Enas Bukhari, a dermatologist at a private practice in Jeddah, explained the correlation between hair loss and stress to ArabNews.com: "A sudden or stressful event can cause the hair follicles to prematurely stop growing and enter into a resting phase. This can last anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks (or much longer if left untreated). If untreated, it can lead to temporary hair loss."
Any burn or local scalp irritation can cause hair loss. Just think of all the toxins your scalp absorbs each year from shampoos, conditions and other hair products! "Women are excessive users of chemicals on their scalps. They use shampoos and conditioners that are based on chemical ingredients, which can weaken the scalp and make it hard to hold on to the hair," Bukhari told ArabNews.com. "They also dye their hair way too much. I could never say that they shouldn't, but they should use less chemical dyes and use more natural resources like Henna for instance."
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, heavy smoking can be a significant contributor to female hair loss in the temple area and heavy alcohol consumption can lead to higher levels of hair loss along the front of the head.
Like everything else in our body, hair needs vitamins and nutrients to stay strong and healthy. If you think an unbalanced diet or vitamin deficiencies may be the cause of your hair-loss sorrows, My Health News Daily recommends adding protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin A to your daily intake.
And if the damage is already done, watch this clip from Good Morning America on how to regrow your hair.Click here to check out Huff/Post50 on Facebook.