According to a recent study by trichologist Philip Kingsley
, around 1 in 5 UK women aged 25 and over are currently suffering from hair loss. Many potential reasons have been cited for this problem, including the rise in crash diets, certain processed foodstuffs, the stress of a hectic modern lifestyle and even the contraceptive pill.
Age and hair loss
A woman's age does seem to play a part in hair loss, as over half of the women who reported suffering from the problem (51%) were aged 45-64, but an eighth had experienced hair loss aged below 35, showing that hair thinning in women can occur even in youth.
Conditions such as alopecia areata
can begin at any age, with some very young children suffering from the condition. Female-pattern baldness, like its cousin male-pattern baldness, tends to occur any time from late twenties onwards, although it can happen as early as late teens.
Hormones can play a major factor in female hair thinning, and could perhaps provide a reason for the number of 45 – 64-year-old women suffering from hair loss, as these tend to be the peri-menopausal years, when hormonal surges are rife.
Another potential factor cited was the contraceptive pill, which can cause huge hormonal changes. If you are taking birth control pills, it is worth looking out for the ingredient progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, which can cause hair loss in women, particularly if it has a high androgen index. Androgen is a male hormone, which acts like testosterone in the body – causing hair follicles to shrink, resulting in thinning hair.
Diet and lifestyle
One important step you can take to avoid hair loss is to look at your diet and lifestyle. Nutrition plays a huge part in the hair growth cycle, so fad diets and junk food can cause hair thinning. Try to ensure that you eat a healthy diet, rich in zinc and iron, and that you avoid extreme stress as far as possible, as stress can also result in hair loss.
If you really can't avoid stress all together, try to find ways of coping with it – take frequent breaks at work, exercise regularly and do your best to get a good night's sleep, as these will all help to reduce your stress levels and hopefully keep your hair on – literally.