Many women spend hundreds – if not thousands – each year to keep their mane looking, smelling and feeling amazing. So it seems especially unfair that, as we get to a certain age, the thing we’ve invested so much in doesn’t pay us back.
Once luscious locks now feel wiry and thin, and by the looks of your hairbrush, anyone would be forgiven for thinking you’d been grooming a long-haired cat.
It’s lower levels of oestrogen that can lead to your hair feeling brittle and your scalp dry. While decreasing levels of progesterone affect hair growth.
As we move through the perimenopause and menopause, not only can the rate of growth slow down, but your hair may also grow thinner.
Most people lose around 100 hairs a day – this is a perfectly normal part of the hair lifecycle. However, these hormonal changes can also lead to some women finding they shed a lot more.
This is because a decrease in our female hormones triggers an increase in the production of a male hormone called androgen. Too many androgens flying about can shrink the hair follicles on your scalp causing bald patches and increase hair growth in places you really don’t want to sprout – like your chin.
TOP TIPS FOR YOU
If you’re wondering what to do for hair loss in the menopause or perimenopause, we have some helping snippets of advice that can help you restore your crown back to its former glory.
SPEAK TO YOUR HAIRDRESSER
If you’ve had the same hairdresser for a while they’ll know your hair really well. They should be able to tell you what condition your hair and scalp is in and give you ideas on how to improve them.
More importantly, a good hairdresser should be able to give you ideas on how to style your barnet so you still feel great.
TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU’VE GOT
Taking care of the hair you do have is really important, and actually finding the right shampoo and conditioner may help improve the look of your hair and the health of your scalp.
Check out our beauty page to find great products specifically designed for perimenopausal and menopausal hair.
A holiday from relaxers can help to – check out Afrotherapy Salon for more advice.
EAT HAIR-FRIENDLY FOODS
Eighty-five percent of your hair is made from a protein called keratin. To top up your stores, eat plenty of foods high in protein, like fish, meat and dairy, and if your veggie or vegan tofu is a good option.
And what vitamins are good for hair loss during menopause? Vitamins A, B and C, are all key to a healthy mane, plus minerals like iron and zinc. Make sure you’re also eating lots of dark, leafy greens like broccoli, spinach and kale.
GET WIGGY WITH IT
Wigs are massively in. They’re up and down the catwalk like nobody’s business. And why wouldn’t they be? There’s no easier way of changing your hairstyle to suit your outfit.
And if your hair’s thinning then all the more reason to give one a go. You can pick up plenty of good quality faux and real hair versions online.
Hair extensions and weaves are an option but these can make the situation worse as they pull on your existing hair. Always speak to a professional practitioner before making a decision.
TRY A SUPPLEMENT
Worried you’re not getting enough nutrients through diet alone? You might want to try a skin, hair and nails supplement. These can be bought at most pharmacies and major supermarkets and may help if you’re also struggling with brittle nails.
There are also tailored supplements for women in the perimenopause and menopause which can target certain symptoms. Check out our nutrition page for more information.
Vitamin D deficiency can sometimes lead to hair loss too, so if you think you may be low on this sunshine nutrient, you may want to request a blood test from your GP.
KEEP IT COOL
Excessive heat can damage your hair and scalp, worsening menopause hair loss issues.
Keep your shower to a just-warm-enough heat and consider blasting yourself with cold at the end of it, as this boosts blood circulation to your scalp and flattens hair cuticles, locking in moisture.
When drying your hair use the coolest setting possible and minimise how often you use straighteners and curling irons.
TAKE SOME ‘ME TIME’
Stress can also be a trigger for hair loss, so before you go around solely blaming your hormones, it may be worth taking a step back to consider how much you’ve got on your plate.
Reducing your obligations might mean some difficult decisions, but ones that ultimately benefit you, your wellbeing and your hairline in the long run.
Make time in your schedule to relax – whether that’s taking a bath, being pampered or something as simple as lazing on the sofa with a good book.
TOP TIPS FOR OTHERS
Hair thinning and hair loss is enough to give anyone’s confidence a kicking. Build her back up with these top tips.
OUR ADVICE TO HER
There are loads of things we’ve recommended she considers, including investing in a specially-designed shampoo and conditioner hair, as well as thickening treatments and wigs.
Minimising the use of heated hair tongs and straighteners as well as scorching showers and stress may help too.
More info on all of these top tips is on the ‘For her’ section of this page. Take a look.
SUGGEST A SUPPLEMENT
Some women find skin, hair and nail supplements particularly useful for managing thinning hair.
Why not gently ask if she’s tried anything like that? Let her know she can find loads of reputable suppliers over on our nutrition page.
GO WITH THE FLOW
You might notice she’s seriously unhappy when you’ve got plans. The truth is going to social events may be more stressful if her self-confidence has taken a hit because of thinning hair. Keeping up appearances (quite literally in this case) when you’re not feeling like yourself is hard work.
Be prepared for plans to change at short notice and try not to put her under any pressure, even if it means you are missing out as well.
The last thing someone needs when they’re dealing with hair loss is for someone to draw attention to it or try to lighten the mood by making a joke about it. She might put on a brave face, but nine times out of 10 it’s not funny for her.
LET HER KNOW YOU CARE
Knowing we’re loved, appreciated and supported is a powerful thing when we’re feeling emotionally and physically a bit wobbly. However, telling a friend or partner without sounding patronising is easier said than done.
Let her know through your actions. If you live with her, that might be making time to eat dinner together, asking how her day has been and really listening, or gestures like prepping her lunch for work and sorting chores without being asked. If you’re a friend, why not send a care package, arrange a coffee or even just drop her a text to let her know you’re thinking of her?