Why are you losing your hair?

Hair loss in women is more common than people think and can be attributed to many factors. Varying from medical conditions, stress or hormonal changes. It’s not always easy identifying the cause of shedding or loss but here are some that we have identified.

There has been a recent rise in celebrities opening up about conditions they are battling with.  Stars Ricki Lake and Gail Porter have been praised for their honesty when discussing their experience with hair loss and the impact that the condition has had on their life. 

These public figures have been opening the discussion on the various types hair loss, alopecia and the effects that come with the condition. With this came floods of support from viewers who relate to their situation or simply admire their openness.

Signs of hair loss

Hair loss may present in different ways depending on the cause. The effects may be gradual with hair thinning over a period or time or sudden hair loss may occur

Signs can include:

  • Overall thinning. progressive thinning at the top of the head is the most common kind of hair loss. It affects both men and women. However women’s parting widens rather than the receding like mens.
  • Bald spots. Appearing mainly on the scalp, bald spots can vary from round shapes to patches.
  • Clumps of hair. This type of hair loss is very sudden hair shedding, it usually occurs when washing your brushing or washing your hair
  • Full hair loss. In some medical situations, particularly with medical treatments like chemotherapy, you may notice hair loss suddenly and all over your body at once.

Types of hair loss and causes

Alopecia

Alopecia simply means “hair loss.” It’s not contagious or attributed to nerves. There are a variety of types caused by anything from genetics to hair care practices or anything that triggers the immune system to attack hair follicles.

  • Androgenetic alopecia– Female-pattern baldness or hair loss appears more as overall thinning. This type of alopecia is caused by genetics, or family history. It’s the leading cause of hair loss in women and generally begins between the ages of 12 to 40 years old.
  • Alopecia areata – This condition is patchy hair loss that happens suddenly on the head or body. The hair loss can remain as patchy hair loss or can continue until all hair on the scalp is lost.
  • Scarring alopecia – A group of conditions that cause irreversible hair loss through scarring. Hair falls out and the follicle is replaced with scar tissue.
  • Traction alopecia – This condition hair to fall out as a result of over-styling. The hair shaft may break after using heated tools or certain chemicals to dye or straighten hair.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions lead directly to hair loss, whether through disruption to hormones, like with thyroid issues; scarring from skin conditions, like ringworm; or autoimmune disorders, like celiac disease, where the body attacks itself.

Conditions that may lead to hair loss include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Ringworm
  • Celiac disease

and other conditions and diseases. Always contact your GP when concerned about hair loss.

Hormone imbalances

Women may experience hair loss during menopause due to reduced production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These changes also lead to symptoms like menstrual cycle irregularity, dry skin, night sweats, and weight gain,. This added stress on the body may also worsen hair loss. Certain contraceptive pills can also lead to a change in hormones which may lead to hair loss.

Stress

If you’ve been under emotional or physical stress, it may lead to hair loss. Trauma can cause the body to shut down certain processes like hair production.

It takes around 3 months between when a stressful event happens and the possibility of hair loss, so you may not pinpoint the trigger right away. Hair loss due to stress is generally temporary. Hair may begin growing again after the event has passed and the follicle starts producing again

A couple of public figures have begun to open this conversation about their experience with hair-fall and hair-loss. These include:

Gail Porter

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London Town. Pet shop boys on the Bose headphones. Looking forward to bed. #old

A post shared by Gail Porter (@iamgailporter) on

We spoke to TV presenter Gail Porter who lost her hair due to alopecia, nearly 15 years ago. Gail’s hair loss came as a major shock to her after happening almost overnight. We asked her how she felt when she first started losing her locks:

At first I was in shock and I didn’t know what was going on. I thought it would just be a patch, but it just kept coming out. Then I realised this was something I was going to deal with. I kind of thought it was temporary…..15 years later….I guess not!

Gail often goes wig-less and embraces her beautiful baldness. We asked her what advice she would give to people in similar situation to her.

I would advise any woman like me to embrace it. Wear a wig if you want, scarf, hat. Don’t stress as life is too short and just be fabulous!

Ricki Lake

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Liberated and Free, Me. First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.) I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering. Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years. AND I am finally ready to share my secret. Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes….. I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life. It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth. I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in. Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless. 🙁 In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair. I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable. I’ve been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening. To read more: please go to my Facebook page. ❤️

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Another star who has discussed her struggle with hair loss is TV star Ricki Lake. She unveiled her new buzz cut after revealing she has been battling with hair loss for nearly 30 years.

She posted her new do on Instagram describing her experience:

“In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions”

We recommend if you are experiencing any of these symptoms to contact your doctor to identify to root cause and ensure the trigger isn’t related to anything more serious.

Losing your hair can leave you feeling stressed, but it’s incredibly important to realise how common female hair loss is – and that if you are experiencing it, you are not alone and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

The new Kerastase Genesis is designed to battle hair-fall! Read more here

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