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by: Better Not Younger
September 02, 2022
While hair loss is one of the 34 common symptoms women confront during menopause, each woman’s menopause journey is unique—and so is the selection of symptoms she experiences. With menopause-related hair loss, genetics and hormonal changes are the defining factors in how much hair, if any, you’ll lose during this life stage.
In most instances of hair loss, there’s nothing medically wrong going on—and it’s also not permanent. Keep reading to understand what triggers hair loss as you enter menopause, how much shedding you can expect, and the different ways you can prevent and even reverse some of this loss.
A decrease in your estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause triggers the shedding you see at this stage in your life. It actually begins in perimenopause but the decline is just more pronounced now, which is why you may experience increased hair loss more suddenly or frequently. Many women will also experience other side effects including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and mood swings—all perfectly normal.
So why does a decrease in estrogen and progesterone trigger hair thinning or loss? These two hormones are two of the main drivers in healthy hair growth, which explains why fluctuations in their levels can be linked to hair loss. Think back to when you (or a friend) were pregnant. During this period, estrogen and progesterone levels were at an all-time high and hair was likely the fullest (and even shiniest) it had ever been. Higher levels of estrogen and progesterone prolonged the anagen (or hair growth) stage, so hair remained intact in the follicles for a longer period of time, and there was less shedding, hence more fullness.
Once hormones returned to normal levels after giving birth, there was likely pronounced shedding known as postpartum hair loss. Can you now see why a decrease in estrogen and progesterone during menopause would trigger an increase in hair loss? Also at play is the role of dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) in your body, which comes from the male hormone testosterone. DHT is responsible for shrinking hair follicles leading to hair loss. When your female hormones decrease, your male hormones become more dominant—and some women simply have a higher sensitivity to DHT and its effects.
Every woman has a genetic predisposition that determines whether she’ll experience menopausal hair loss and what it will look like—and it varies from woman to woman. That being said, it’s typically a lot subtler than the hair loss men experience with age.Also different than men, hair loss for women is typically more diffuse versus showing up as noticeable bald spots. The thinning can occur at the sides, front or top of your head and you may notice more hair fall when showering or after brushing. Rest assured, while it may feel never-ending, it won’t last forever. Once your hormones level out, your hair loss will stop.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to offset menopausal hair loss. Even though your genetic predisposition and hormonal changes are the primary factors driving your hair loss—and they are unfortunately out of your control—you do have the power to counteract other contributors like anxiety, harsh styling and nutritional deficiencies to promote healthier hair growth and even possibly reverse some of the loss.
Stress can show up at any point in your life, but the hormonal shifts happening during menopause can trigger a heightened response to anxiety leading to stress-related hair loss. When we experience extreme stress it pushes our follicles into the resting stage, after which time strands shed a few months later. Luckily stress-related hair loss is almost always reversible.
When your hair gets all gunked up with oil and debris, this leads to clogged follicles, which hinder healthy hair growth. Regular hair washings two to three times a week and a weekly scalp detox with a cleanser like New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser can help pave the way for healthier and thicker hair.
Especially as we age, getting enough nutrients matters more than ever. Deficiencies in minerals like zinc and iron and vitamins A, B, C, D and E can contribute to hair loss, not to mention tresses that look dull and dry. A daily multivitamin like our Significant Other gummies helps ensure your hair and scalp are getting all the nutrients they need.
Harsh styling techniques, aggressive brushing, too-frequent shampooing and hot styling tools do no favors for your delicate, aging tresses. They can lead to breakage, disrupt the balance of your healthy scalp oils and strip hair of moisture leading to frizz. Treating your tresses with kindness goes a long way in offsetting menopause-related hair loss.
Products designed for aging tresses are your hair’s best friend during menopause. These include gentle sulfate-free shampoos and moisture-replenishing conditioners that nourish and strengthen without weighing down fine strands. Styling products designed to add thickness and fullness and protect hair from hot styling tools while smoothing away frizz and flyaways are also terrific additions to your menopause hair-care arsenal.
A daily scalp massage works wonders for boosting circulation and energizing the scalp and follicles. Pair it with our award-winning serum that’s designed to nourish the scalp, reverse follicle fatigue and promote thicker, healthier hair growth for a superpower duo treatment like you’ve never seen!
Once your hormone fluctuations finally mellow out, the new normal for your hair may look a little different than before because your estrogen and progesterone have settled into lower levels. You may even see a change in texture due to a change in follicle shape.
While completely reversing all the hair loss you experienced during menopause may prove challenging, the six steps above can certainly help you regain some of your former fullness and get your hair back into its best shape.