Let’s discuss hair loss. At some point in our lives there is a high chance we will experience it. I will be discussing postpartum hair loss and hair loss resulting from stress, as these are the two I discuss most in the salon with clients. I will also talk about my own experience with stress and hair loss and what worked for me and people that I know. Hopefully this can provide some more information and possibly a treatment that will work for you.
I’ll start with the most common hair loss occurrence I see. Hair loss after childbirth – and it is absolutely normal! Most women tend to find that throughout their pregnancy they don’t lose as much hair, as hormones change dramatically during and after a pregnancy. On average, a person will lose between 70-100 hairs per day. Oestrogen is a hormone that spikes throughout pregnancy and as a result of this, each individual hair strand stays longer in the growing phase of it’s cycle. Post birth and throughout breastfeeding, many women experience an increase in hair loss and significantly around their hairline. Hair loss during this period can be up around 150-200 hairs a day. This is due to a decrease in oestrogen as well as other hormones returning back to normal post pregnancy. Normal hair patterns should return 12 months from childbirth.
During this period I would recommend being very gentle with your hair. For example, using less heat to minimise damage from styling, not over processing the hair with harsh colour, such as heavy bleaching around the hairline and using loose hair ties to minimise stress on the hair from the scalp. Let the hair be and let it grow out. It's one of the best things you can do. It’s easy to be tempted to use heat around the hairline as a lot of people will get those annoying little curls, but these hairs are the most fragile, they are the thinnest hairs on our head and will be the ones most susceptible to damage. Let them grow out as healthy as possible and ride it out. It is usually only a temporary issue and resolves itself in time.
Hair loss as a result of stress is also extremely common. Telogen effluvium is a stress related disorder. Which is caused when said stress forces a large number of hair follicles into what is called a “resting phase”; which in turn causes the hair to fall out in the following months. Triggers to this disorder can include a chronic illness, a recent surgical procedure, physiological stress, weight loss, medications and excessive sun exposure. People generally notice that their hair is falling out a lot more with shampooing, brushing and styling. It is paramount that you start looking after yourself when this becomes noticeable. If possible, remove yourself from the stressful situation and ensure you are getting enough sleep and all the nutrients your body needs. Self-care is very important; your hair will let you know!
Alopecia is a condition that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles. In most cases, hair loss will be more prominent in one particular area and can create a circle shaped spot of hair loss. For most people, the hair will re-grow within 12 months. Treatment for alopecia is a little more difficult and I would recommend seeing a Dermatologist if hair doesn’t appear to be growing back within six months. From here, steroids seem to be the best treatment with good results.
I’d love to share a bit of information that helped me when I suffered from hair loss. The first time I noticed I had a significant amount of hair loss was at age 16 when I was studying year 12. I had decided I wanted to try a vegan diet and consequently I wasn’t getting all the nutrients my body needed. That and the added stress of study affected me and my body in all different ways, one being hair loss around my hairline. Being blonde, my hair had always looked thinner but after a month or two of shocking my body into a whole new diet and focus on study, it had become noticeable. I covered it up as best I could and before long I found myself transitioning back to a vegetarian diet and made the conscious effort to study as best I could without overdoing it. Within four months my hair density was fuller at the roots and new hairs had begun to grow.
More recently I suffered hair loss due to the end of a long term relationship. Although I felt I was okay at the time, the body can react to change differently and I began to notice hair loss around my hairline again. It was worse than the previous time and I thought I had better take action as soon as I could. I started using Nak ‘Scalp to Hair’ shampoo and conditioner and was thrilled with the results. I used the Revitalise Thinning range, as well as the mineral defence spray and the follicle energiser. These products were all giving my scalp the best possible base for new hair to grow from, as well as strengthening the hair from the roots as it grows. From here, I tried Nioxin shampoo and conditioner and absolutely loved it! I loved the feeling it would give the scalp, just a little tingle and I felt that my hair was growing faster than it ever had. I also recommended this for friends who were trying to grow their hair longer and they all had great results. It did take around two to three months for me to notice any new hair but by the time I did, I felt like it was growing out faster than ever before. It was a bit of a commitment, washing my hair if not daily, every second day but the time put in was worth it. There is also a huge range of vitamins available for hair loss. Bondi Boost has had great reviews recently with their Anti Hair loss and Hair Growth Support multivitamins and I have seen great results with clients after using them.
While I have had great results and have seen others have great results, unfortunately there is no one size fits all approach but getting the conversation started is the first and most important step. From here you can identify what could be causing hair loss and take a proactive step in reducing it. If hair loss is something that concerns you, please start by making sure you are looking after yourself. This includes, eating well, drinking enough water, removing yourself from any negative environments, managing stress as well as possible, looking after your hair as best you can (staying away from heat without protective products and harsh chemical procedures) and lastly using the right products. Never hesitate to ask your hairdresser their opinion or visit your doctor who can always refer you to a dermatologist. If hair loss is something that is causing you stress, there are steps you can take to give your scalp the best possible chance of better growth!