Menopause & Hair Changes

What happens to our hair as we age?

One of the most common ailments for Women as we age is that of hair loss.  Some of us may also see a reduction in length and/or volume or increased breakage in our hair. This is something we see in the salon all of the time.  If this sounds like you, be assured you are not alone!

As Women, one of the main reasons for this is due to the continually changing hormone levels in our bodies.  As we age we produce less Oestrogen and Progesterone and, unfortunately, Oestrogen is one of the key benefactors to our hair as it continually keeps it in the growing stage. 

Research has shown that HRT can slow down hair loss for some women but it is hard to predict who will benefit and, for some women, HRT is not an option they can chose.

Something we can all do for ourselves is manage our diet.  A balanced diet can be a huge help.  The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ has never been so true when it comes to our hair.

We also know that low levels of Ferritin can lead to hair loss.  Ferritin is a protein that stores Iron inside your cells and is responsible for releasing it in a controlled fashion.  In order to keep your hair growing and healthy it is really important to ensure our Ferritin levels are maintained during this time.  Good food sources to include in your diet to aid with this are red meats, beans, nuts, brown rice and fortified cereals. 

Things to look out for…

Some of the symptoms you (or your stylist) may notice and to look out for are as follows:

  • Your hair looks thinner when you tie is back
  • Slower growth than usual
  • A recession around the hair line
  • A reduction of thickness of each strand.

There are many reasons for hair loss and changes to your hair, not all relating to Menopause.  These include:

  • Age related hair loss
  • Hormonal changes in the body including Menopause, pregnancy, post pregnancy
  • Diet
  • Hydration levels
  • Alcohol and stress
  • Excessive styling and treatments
  • Medical causes.

What we can do at home to help our hair…

Nutrients and Diet.  There are many ways in which we can help ourselves if we experience any of these problems.  As well as managing a balanced diet, optimising our nutrient intake is vital for our bodies in promoting general health and wellbeing.  Vitamins B, C, D and the Minerals Zinc and Iron should always be a consideration when it comes to hair health whether it be through what we eat and drink or through supplements.

Get Active!  Being active is proven to help manage and reduce stress, making us feel better.  In terms of how this can help us keep our hair healthy, regular healthy exercise helps promote hair growth due to the increased circulation and oxygen levels in our blood cells which, in turn, benefits our hair follicles.  Stress is also believed to have a negative effect by affecting the overall thickness (or thinning of) hair.

Hair and Scalp Care.  Everyone’s hair is individual and close consideration should be made regarding our choice of shampoos and conditioners.  With so many on the supermarket shelves and the salons we would recommend discussing this with your stylist to know what to look out for.  In terms of shampoos specifically for problems like thinning, there are some proven products but again discuss them with your stylist before investing.  Exfoliation of the scalp promotes growth and should be undertaken regularly to give yourselves the best possible opportunity for results.

Don’t be afraid of changing it up.  When things are in a state of change sometimes it is a good opportunity to try something new, like that style that you may have been considering forever or a change of colour.  As we age our skin changes too so it is quite feasible that our usual style or colour may no longer suit us and a change could work better. 

Remember, your stylist or trichologist is experienced and there to advise you so, if you feel you need more emotional support, talk to them.  They have probably seen and heard it all before.

Author

Claire Parr

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