Menopause and Hair Loss

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

Read our guide on how menopause can affect your hair and how you can embrace and care for it.

Menopause describes the point in time when the menstrual cycles permanently cease due to the natural depletion of ovarian oocytes from aging.

Now, fifty is agreed to be the average age for menopause, but your hair can begin to change long before menopause starts. One common characteristic of menopause is that women find their hair begins to thin out. Hair is shed at a faster rate, and new hair grows more slowly.

Women who are over 40 will tell you their hair seems to reduce as they age.

Yes! That’s a downside to menopause- the hormonal side effects and fluctuations.

Menopause almost always affects the hair on your scalp, and you will undoubtedly begin to notice signs like dullness, dryness and thinning of your hair. More often than not, you may see a reduction in the thickness of each hair strand (i.e., thinning). And while it may not be immediate, the gradual hair changes may eventually extend into a visible recession at your frontal hairline and temples, moving to the top of the head. For some people, it may manifest as increased hair fall.

Other menopausal symptoms may include: skin thinning, quick loss of temper, mood swings, increased stress levels, decreased sexual desire and increased facial hair.

 

Two essential hormones that play crucial roles in menopause are estrogens and androgens.

Oestrogens: a decrease in this hormone which usually occurs as women age, is the basis for all or most of the changes associated with menopause. This hormone level affects and alters your menstrual cycle, sexual desire, appetite, emotions, skin, and the growth cycle of your hair. The reason why your hair won’t grow as long as it used to is because of depleted estrogen levels. Estrogens keep your hair in the growing phase and the longer that phase is, the longer your hair can grow. Reduced estrogen levels shorten your hair’s growth cycle and cause your hair to shed before it reaches the length that it used to be able to.

Androgens: are ideally male hormones and are present in women but to a lesser degree compared to men. Androgen levels increase in women as menopause sets in, causing thinning of the hair on your scalp as well as increased facial and body hair. While androgens may not necessarily decrease your number of scalp hairs, they reduce the diameter and length of hair strands. The result is a loss of volume or ‘body’ of your hair.

Your hair during menopause may not fall out more, or fail to grow back – but the new growth is usually weaker and more delicate.

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What is the physical impact of menopause on hair?

As hormonal imbalances occur, they cause visible changes that the average woman can’t help but notice. You’ll often find women in this phase talking about how gorgeous they were when they were younger. Some resort to calling themselves old and faded. Just to remind you, you’re absolutely perfect just as you are, no matter what stage in life you are.

The hair is usually one of the most evident sites of menopausal changes (after the face and skin), and it holds deep psychological and sexual meaning. People unconsciously and deliberately interpret menopause and loss of hair as loss of femininity and sexuality. Again, do not let your hair define you. It, and you, are completely perfect as you are.

For the woman who feels that her new identity is that of lost femininity, constant thoughts in line with changes can all feed into each other, creating a vicious and demoralizing cycle.

This cycle is usually stress-inducing and report has it that stress contributes to more hair loss.

 

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So how do you get the best out of your hair during menopause?

Reducing the impact of menopause especially on your hair can be achieved through the following ways detailed below.

Speak to a Trichologist

Don’t self-medicate or jump into therapy by yourself. Consult with a trichologist who will be able to work with your doctor in finding the best solution.

Get and stay positive

Our mind’s disposition to the physiological changes we undergo ultimately affects our general wellbeing positively or negatively. Be positive towards menopause, and it will help you cut out extra stress that leads to more hair loss

Embrace silk

Silk hair wraps will help your hair conserve moisture and mitigate further dryness, breakage and thinning. It will also protect your scalp from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays.

 

Learn the art of a blow-dry

Or, if you have time, treat yourself to one. A professional blow-dry adds back body and volume to your hair. Ask your stylist to show you exactly what tools and hairdryer techniques they are using to get the same look at home. A decent blow out will last about a week.

 

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

This therapy restores post-menopausal estrogen levels to average pre-menopausal levels.

HRT restores the average growth phase of your hair. Your skin, legs, and your whole being benefit from HRT.

However, you should know that women respond differently to the same HRTs. And that studies have shown that HRT can increase your chance of breast cancer, heart problems, uterine cancer, and endometriosis.

Always consult with your doctor before choosing an HRT.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.