Genetics Dictate Your Hair Growth
Each hair on your head has stem cells that have specific instructions for how long or short to grow hair. That’s why the hair on top of your head grows longer than, say, your eyebrows — they simply have different growth instructions. That is a genetic program given to you at birth. These stem cells also have a genetically determined number of times that they can make a new hair, growing a certain amount of hairs per month. Then the hair stops growing, falls out, and is typically replaced with a new one. With female pattern baldness, the new hairs that grow in become shorter, miniaturized hairs over time — making hair look thinner overall.
The First Signs Of Female Pattern Baldness Are Different Than Men
Male pattern baldness typically starts with a thinning hairline that recedes like a tide, progressing to an M-shape and then a U-shape. But with female pattern baldness, the hairline is rarely affected. Instead, you may first notice that your part looks wider than before, which is caused by the hair thinning at the top of the scalp. In some cases, thinning can also strike near the temples. It’s rare that the hair loss ever advances to total baldness in women, unlike in men.
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Thinning Hair Has Less Luster
In an unfair triple whammy, thinning hair also becomes dry and less shiny. The outer part of the hair follicle gets thinner and doesn’t keep as much moisture, so the hair dries out. It becomes more brittle and more susceptible to damage from the sun, so it’s easier to break. You also loose the hair follicle’s outer cuticle over time, which leaves hair looking dull.
Menopause Accelerates Hair Loss
During menopause, the delicate balance of male and female hormones is thrown off. Estrogens drop and the adrenal gland pumps out more male hormones. Unchecked, the male hormone androgen, particularly one called dihydrotestosterone, shortens the hair growth cycle, leads to the growth of thinner and shorter hair, and delays the formation of new hair to replace the ones that fall out.
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What You Eat (Or Don’t Eat) Can Speed Hair Loss
Low hormone levels, iron deficiency, poor nutrition, UV damage, and harsh chemicals — from straightening or bleaching your locks — can all accelerate hair loss, making thinning more noticeable.
Treat Your Hair Right To Keep The Locks You Have
We recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet to nourish hair, and protecting your locks from the sun by wearing a sunhat or spraying on hair sunscreen. Avoid harsh chemical treatments that damage already-fragile strands, and using a shampoo and conditioner that put much-needed moisture and shine back into the hair. While these steps can’t reverse thinning hair, they help maintain the strands you already have and can help prevent more loss in the future.