Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Hey gorgeous! My name is Kia. Welcome to my blog! I'm a natural hair enthusiast turned master cosmetologist. On my site, you can expect business tips, hair tips, product reviews and more! Check back periodically or follow me on IG or Youtube to see what I'm up to.
So since I’m forced to quarantine and chill I decided to do some deeper research on a subject I’m very passionate about, hair loss. There are several reasons men and women experience hair loss. Lately, the biggest culprit for hair loss has been named "protective styles". I want to dive a little deeper and discuss a few you may not know such as hormones, medication, and your thyroid.
Hormones are the most common cause of hair loss for both women and men. In both sexes, the specific hormone responsible for hair loss is the same: dihydrotestosterone (known as “DHT”). DHT is a hormone that your body produces as a byproduct of testosterone produced by an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme is not-so-coincidentally found in the dermal papilla of your hair follicles— an important area teaming with dermal papilla cells that exert huge influence on your hair growth cycle.
DHT can bind to receptors in your hair follicles and cause them to shrink, weaken and eventually die. DHT affects your hairline by miniaturizing hair follicles, causing the hairs to stop growing as they normally would and eventually fall out.
In women, hormonal hair loss produces different results from men. Instead of the horseshoe-like hair pattern or a receding hairline common in men, women with hormonal hair loss usually notice a thinning pattern across the entire scalp.
Menopausal hair loss usually happens between the ages of 50 and 60, with most women first noticing a steady decline in their hair density. It can also occur in your 30s and 40s, depending on the specific age at which you begin to enter menopause. Around 40% of women will experience some degree of hair loss by their 40th birthday.
During menopause, your body’s production of estrogens and progestins can decline. Alongside this decline in female hormone production, your sensitivity to male hormones such as DHT can increase.
If you’ve been working long hours in a stressful environment or spent the last few weeks dealing with a challenging event in your personal life, it’s possible that the stress you’ve felt could take a toll on your hair.
Hair loss caused by stress is called telogen effluvium. Unlike hormonal hair loss, it usually isn’t permanent. Telogen effluvium usually results in sudden thinning of your hair across your entire scalp.
Like other forms of temporary hair loss, telogen effluvium affects your hairline by forcing hairs into the telogen phase, the final phase of your hair’s growth cycle. This can cause your hairs to fall out without replacement hairs growing in to replace them.
You’ll usually notice telogen effluvium hair loss two to three months after the stressful event or lifestyle change that triggered it.
Like other forms of hair loss caused by non-hormonal factors, stress-induced hair loss usually isn’t permanent. Through lifestyle changes and the use of oils and supplements, it’s usually possible to regrow most or all of the hair you’ve lost as a result of stress.
Drugs cause hair loss by interfering with the normal hair growth cycle. During the anagen phase, which lasts for two to six years, the hair grows. During the telogen phase, which lasts about three months, the hair rests. At the end of the telogen phase, the hair falls out and is replaced by new hair starting the cycle all over again. Medications can lead to two types of hair loss: telogen effluvium and anagen effluvium.
Some Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss:
Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids)
Antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs
Birth control pills
Drugs that suppress the immune system
Drugs that treat breast cancer and other cancers
Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
Hormone replacement therapy
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Parkinson's disease drugs
Weight loss drugs
Both hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can trigger hair loss. This is because your thyroid plays a role in the development of new strands of hair at the root, helping your body maintain a consistent supply of new hairs.
If your thyroid isn’t working as it should, the hairs you normally lose each day may not be fully replaced by new hair growth.
Thyroid issues not only cause you to lose hair, they can also cause your hair to become weak, dry and brittle. Most of the time, thyroid issues cause hair loss across your entire scalp, rather than localized hair loss around your hairline, temples or crown.
Unlike hormonal hair loss, hair loss caused by thyroid issues is usually temporary. After you’ve identified and treated the underlying issue, your hair will slowly regrow to its previous thickness and length.
Solutions for hair loss
If you know me you know I do not enjoy dwelling on problems I like to focus on solutions. I recently did a video on 10 oils that promote hair growth many of the oils mentioned in that video are listed below but for your reference I've listed essential oils as well as some other supplements that remedy hair loss and some details about them.
Some of my personal suggestions to grow/regrow your hair would be:
Try taking a DHT Blocker
Use Essential oils that naturally block DHT
Asses your lifestyle and try to manage your stress levels
Consult with your doctor about your medications
Apply Caffeine Topically
Saw palmetto is a topical ingredient that works by stopping the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Like spironolactone, it works on a hormonal level, helping to reduce the amount of DHT that reaches your hair follicles and causes thinning.
Rosemary is one of the most popular plants in the world and has been used in folk medicine across cultures for eons. Its essential oil has been used to improve memory, combat stress, increase blood circulation, and reverse hair loss.
Rosemary oil was put to the test in 2015 when scientists studied its effectivity in reducing DHT compared with Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine). The results astounded pretty much everyone when test subjects treated with rosemary oil grew their hair back faster than those treated with Minoxidil. An earlier 2013 study showed conclusively that Rosemary oil prevents DHT from binding to hair follicles, freeing them up for hair growth.
Menthol, found in the mint family of plants, is able to disrupt testosterone's ability to tell a hair follicle to enter the catagen phase, slowing down the hair growth cycle. Although you can't cheat genetics, menthol can try to keep as many hairs retained in the scalp and growing as possible. This is especially useful during times of stress, which affects hormones, and after pregnancy. During pregnancy the female hormones rise in proportion to testosterone, leading to hair all syncing into the anagen phase. Literally the body is in 'grow mode'. However, after pregnancy, and breast feeding ends, the hormones reset to their previous proportions, so a high amount of hair loss is normal. Menthol can help make the process more manageable.
To maximize the hair growth rate during the anagen phase, warming and stimulating oils such as cinnamon leaf, bay and peppermint oil boost circulation and the delivery of nutrients to the scalp, promoting healthy hair growth.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is found in many hair growth shampoos for good reason. Thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil can eradicate Athlete’s Foot, acne, and even yeast infections.
We have good reason to think it blocks DHT as it has been proven to increase follicle activity. It may not regrow hair like Rosemary does, but there’s no doubt that healthy skin corresponds to healthy hair and tea tree oil will take care of any nasty bacteria, fungus, viruses, or even the dandruff that ails your follicles.
Caffeine combats hair loss by causing hair cells to produce more ‘ATP’, or Adenosine TriPhosphate which is a form of energy that encourages hair to grow. ATP is an active ingredient that is produced naturally by the body, it is an essential source of energy because it is the only fuel that the cells can use directly.
Caffeine is known to help increase blood circulation to the scalp which promotes healthy hair follicles. When you massage hair products directly to the scalp you’re aiding blood circulation to the scalp and stimulating the roots. Stimulated hair follicles will grow faster, healthier and stronger thanks to getting all the right nutrients and minerals from your body through the improved blood supply into the scalp.
In conclusion, there are many more factors that contribute to hair loss other than hairstyle choices. Most of these causes are reversible or preventable if caught early enough. Hopefully, you found this article informative and useful for your own hair journey. Please check out some of the links within the article. If you enjoyed this post you might find the products linked, articles featured, and video mentioned helpful as well.
Talk to you soon!