If you’re losing hair as a woman, you’re probably blaming the hair loss on scalp conditions, excessive styling and iron deficiency. However, when you start seeing globs of hair in your hairbrush, it can freak you out no matter the cause!
This is because hair is a huge part of your identity as a woman. Furthermore, we’re made to believe that only men should lose hair. Is this true? Well, you might be surprised to know that 40% of those who suffer from hair loss are women. In addition, 50% of all women experience hair loss by the age of 50!
So, now you can see that hair loss is not just a man’s problem. And today, I want to share three causes of hair loss in women that you probably didn’t know about.
Three surprising causes of hair loss in women
1. The birth control pill
According to Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States, “different androgen (male) hormones can interact with the hair follicle to make it thinner and finer.” One hormone that acts like androgens is progesterone, which is a common ingredient in oral contraceptives such as the birth control pill. However, you’ll only experience hair loss from taking the birth control pill if you’re on an older version of the pill. “Newer ones developed have fewer of these side effects and are really more anti-androgen,” Dr Piliang says. You’ll be surprised to know that doctors sometimes prescribe the pill to treat hair loss in women!
2. Colouring your hair
Changing the colour of your hair won’t make you go bald, but weakens your hair, causing strands to break of. In fact, too much of any treatment can cause hair breakage. This includes using chemical straighteners, overusing hair dryers or straightening irons and bleaching or colouring your hair. According to Dr Piliang, putting hair under extreme tension for long periods, weakens it and also damages the growing part of the hair.
3. High testosterone levels
As much as high testosterone levels don’t cause baldness, they play a big role in hair loss. The process that causes damage to your hair follicle is when your body changes testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. This is why when your body converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone efficiently, you’ll lose more hair than other women whose bodies don’t efficiently process this change. Luckily, your doctor can prescribe anti-androgen medication that can help block the effect that hormones have on hair follicles.