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HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN - CAUSES AND REMEDIES

Hair loss in women recently had a big moment: At the 2022 Oscars, comedian Chris Rock made a joke about actress Jada Pinkett Smith's baldness - and received a slap in the face from her husband Will Smith. Suddenly the whole world knew the technical term for hair loss: alopecia or, in German, alopecia.

NOT JUST A MEN'S PROBLEM: HAIR LOSS ALSO AFFECTS WOMEN

Men with thinning hair or baldness are commonplace. The fact that women also suffer from hair loss has so far been taboo. Around 50 percent of all women are affected by hair loss over the course of their lives.

Women with bald heads rarely appear in public - like Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from circular hair loss. Hair is very important to women and the topic of hair loss scares many people. If more hair appears in the brush, on the pillow or in the sink than usual, it can be an important signal.

Up to 100 hairs fall out every day - this is completely normal. After falling out, the hair follicles produce new hair again. However, if more than 100 hairs fall out per day, the hair generally appears thinning or the scalp is visible, there may be something wrong with your health. Then it is advisable to go to the doctor (dermatology). The earlier hair loss is diagnosed and the cause is identified, the sooner treatment will be successful.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN?

The general term for thinning hair with visible scalp or bald spots is called alopecia. Doctors distinguish over ten different types of hair loss. Each type can have different causes.

Hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia or AGA) is the most common form of hair loss and is noticeable in women through thinning of the hair on the head. The cause is a genetic predisposition, so hair loss is hereditary.

Alopecia areata or circular hair loss leads to circular bald patches. Outside of these bald spots, hair grows normally. The cause is an autoimmune reaction (autoimmune disease).

Diffuse hair loss is diagnosed when the hair on the head falls out evenly and the entire head of hair appears thinner. The causes are varied and include stress, hormonal fluctuations (e.g. due to pregnancy or menopause), anemia or deficiency symptoms such as iron deficiency due to an unbalanced diet, medications (e.g. beta-blockers, anticoagulants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, hormonal contraceptives, retinoids and medicines for ADHD, thyroid diseases and narcolepsy ), acute illnesses such as infections, Covid or syphilis as well as chronic illnesses (such as anorexia, bulimia, diabetes mellitus, lupus or Crohn's disease) as well as poisoning (e.g. from ionizing radiation, pesticides or the metal thallium).

A special form is hair loss after pregnancy. A drop in estrogen levels can cause diffuse hair loss around two to four months after birth. The temples and hairline are particularly affected. As a rule, this hair loss is temporary and the hair grows back normally after a while (between six weeks and a maximum of 15 months).

WHICH NUTRIENTS AND VITAMINS ARE LACK IN WOMEN WITH HAIR LOSS?

In order for hair to grow and look healthy and shiny, it needs certain nutrients. If these nutrients are missing or present in insufficient quantities, hair grows finer and can break off more quickly or fall out prematurely. The most important nutrients include vitamin B12, iron, folic acid and zinc. An unbalanced diet with insufficient nutrient intake can therefore lead to hair loss. In addition, stress, certain illnesses and medications can have a negative impact on nutrient absorption, meaning that not enough nutrients and vitamins are absorbed in the intestines despite a balanced diet.

WHICH HORMONES ARE LACK OF HAIR IN WOMEN?

Hair loss can be hormonally related. A lack of hormones is usually not the cause. Rather, it is fluctuations in hormone levels that cause problems for the hair. Oral contraceptives with gestagens, pregnancy with a subsequent drop in estrogen or menopause, during which less and less estrogen is produced, are possible causes. The so-called androgenization (masculinization), which is hereditary and causes the hair follicles to react sensitively to male hormones (androgens such as testosterone and the resulting dehydrotestosterone (DHT)) in the female body, can also lead to hair loss.

HOW TO STOP AND TREAT HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN?

In order to stop hair loss, you must first determine what type of hair loss it is and what causes it. The right person to contact is a dermatologist. In dermatological practice, the scalp is examined using a special device (Trichoscan or trichogram). The condition of the scalp, the condition of the hair follicles and how easily hair can be pulled out (plucking test) are determined. The doctor also asks about your medical history, whether you have chronic or acute illnesses or whether you are taking medication. The family history of hair loss is also discussed. In addition, a blood test can be done to check, for example, thyroid levels, hormones or nutrients. Further tests such as hair analyzes or tissue samples are possible.

A treatment can then be recommended that depends on the specific type of hair loss.

For hormone-related hair loss, anti-androgens are prescribed, which inhibit the effect of male hormones on the hair follicles and also promote blood circulation in the scalp.

The drug Minoxidil is an option for hereditary hair loss. It lowers blood pressure and can lead to stronger hair growth.

The active ingredients dithranol and cortisone, which are applied locally to the bald area, can help with circular hair loss.

Another treatment option is hair transplantation.

WHAT HAIR CARE FOR WOMEN’S HAIR LOSS?

Anyone suffering from hair loss should treat their hair and scalp with care. This includes a mild shampoo, such as the Balance Eco Shampoo for sensitive and dry scalps. It contains no silicones or weighing care additives and is specially designed for hypersensitive scalps. It is important to dry the freshly washed hair slowly, either in the air or with a hairdryer on a mild heat setting. Brushing or combing is only permitted when the hair is two-thirds dry. When wet, the hair is particularly sensitive and can be pulled out when combing or brushing.

When it comes to styling and hairstyles, less is more. It's better to avoid weighing styling products, clips or braids and either wear your hair open or tie it loosely. Anything that pulls or weighs down your hair can promote hair loss.