Will Estrogen Help Hair Growth?
During our reproductive years, estrogen exists in our bodies at much higher levels. Our estrogen levels taper off throughout perimenopause and into menopause, causing dry skin, shrunken follicles, and tresses that seem to stop growing no matter what we do.
Research has shown that estrogen can significantly impact skin physiology, including the sebaceous gland and hair follicle. Notably, aging effects can be delayed considerably by administering estrogen. This seems to indicate that estrogen helps hair growth. However, too much estrogen may hinder hair growth. Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a female regulatory substance that directs reproductive and sexual development. It controls or is involved with a wide range of biological systems, including:
Because of this, estrogen is blamed for conditions and diseases including:
- Various cancers
- Menopausal side effects
The Estrogen/Hair Growth Connection
Hair grows in three phases, each lasting a different length of time.
- The growing (anagen) phase — Hair often remains in this phase for two to seven years.
- The transition (catagen) phase — This is a transitionary phase that lasts only a few weeks. Your hair bulb is pushed up toward the scalp and detaches from its blood source.
- The resting (telogen) phase — During the resting phase, no cell division happens. Your hair’s length remains stagnant. Eventually, the old hair is shed, and new hair emerges from the follicle.
Research indicates that estrogen slows your hair’s growth rate, extending the anagen phase, so more of your hair is in it than others. This may be why women have more hair than men. Estrogen works in opposition to the testosterone present in your body, stopping the hair loss that testosterone, and its derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT), can cause.
Studies also show that estrogen does not only protect against hair loss but stimulates new growth as well. The estrogen/hair growth connection is especially evident during pregnancy when women experience thicker, healthier hair due to higher estrogen levels in their bodies.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Talk to your doctor, and they will take blood or saliva tests to determine if low estrogen is causing your hair loss. Your doctor may prescribe Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which includes low levels of synthetic estrogen. HRT is taken orally, as a skin patch, or as a cream or gel.
The effectiveness of estrogen supplementation for hair loss is unclear. Some researchers state that no controlled studies exist to support estrogen use, while others claim that it works. Women have reported positive results when their estrogen was supplemented, while it only exacerbates the condition in others.
Certain HRT types that include progesterone may worsen your hair loss condition because it can further disrupt your hormone imbalance. These therapies should be used with caution, according to experts. Discuss your situation with your doctor or endocrinologist.
Foods That Mimic Estrogen
Organic plant compounds that bind to estrogen receptors and mimic estrogen in the body are called phytoestrogens. These are found in some of the foods we eat.
Before menopause, women should limit phytoestrogen intake since their bodies are already producing enough estrogen. After menopause, however, estrogen levels may need a boost. Phytoestrogens can have a positive effect on specific menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and decreased bone density.
Reduced estrogen can also lead to menopausal hair loss, so it is possible that adding these foods to your diet could be a natural alternative to HRT to help hair growth:
- Soy products — Foods made from soybeans, including edamame, tempeh, tofu, soymilk, miso, and many vegetarian meat substitutes
- Seeds — Flaxseed and seeds from pumpkins, poppies, and sesame
- Whole grains — Rye, wheat, barley, and gluten-free options like sorghum, millet, oats, rice, and corn
- Legumes — Lentils, mung beans, black beans, chickpeas, hummus, and some veggie burgers
- Fruit — Berries and dried fruit like prunes, dried apricots, and dates
- Vegetables — Brussels sprouts, garlic, kale, and broccoli
Phytoestrogen benefits are not clear cut — although they might ease menopause symptoms and prevent cancer in some cases, they might feed cancers in others. Your doctor may caution against adding phytoestrogen-rich foods to your diet if you are at risk for breast, endometrial, or bladder cancer.
DHT Shrinks Your Follicles
Menopause affects our bodies and changes our hair. It creates an imbalance between our levels of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. This imbalance can stop growth and trigger two mechanisms that may lead to hair loss:
- In the postmenopausal stage, testosterone increases after estrogen and progesterone are depleted. This testosterone damages your hair follicles and forces them to stop growing hair and go into the resting phase sooner than usual.
- Progesterone is the first hormone in your body to stop being produced while your estrogen levels remain normal. As progesterone levels decrease, estrogen becomes disproportionate. If your body has excessive, even alarming, hormone levels, your body transforms the additional estrogen into testosterone. When testosterone touches enzymes in your skin and scalp, it turns into DHT.
DHT shrinks and damages your hair follicles, causing your scalp to grow thin, wispy strands or shut down completely.
BNY addresses hair thinning and loss with Superpower Fortifying Hair & Scalp Serum, which contains powerful ingredients to rebalance scalp oils, condition skin and hair at the roots and reenergize follicles for thicker, healthier hair.
Better Not Younger Hair Care Products to Help Hair Health
Taking estrogen supplements through HRT and eating phytoestrogen-rich foods may offer some hair growth benefits, though you should be sure to talk to your healthcare provider first.
Better Not Younger’s line of products is designed to work together to boost hair health. This holistic approach ensures your hair and scalp are adequately nourished, hydrated, and conditioned from the inside out.
Visit our Shop page today to view our ever-expanding selection of hair care solutions.