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The conversation around hair loss has historically skewed towards men, but female hair loss is more common than you may think. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 40% of women experience hair loss by the time they turn 50. That's almost half! But still, the topic of female hair loss remains taboo and many women are either unaware that treatment exists, or have already tried everything available without success.

We're here to deconstruct the narrative that women should have naturally thick, luscious hair for their entire lives (without treatment) and instead dive into the nitty gritty details of female hair loss and how to stop it in its tracks. Hint: the answer is not over-the-counter volumizing shampoo and conditioner!

Hair Growth Changes As You Age

When you think about anti-aging products, the first that come to mind are probably wrinkle-fighting eye creams and face serums, and we almost never hear "anti-aging" and "hair loss prevention" in the same sentence. The truth is, change is an inevitable part of aging and your hair is no different. First, it's important to understand the four stages of hair growth:

  • Anagen: the growing phase
  • Catagen: the regressing phase
  • Telogen: the resting phase
  • Exogen: the shedding phase

As you age, the anagen phase becomes shorter, while the telogen phase becomes longer, meaning that fewer hairs are growing — and less often. Hair follicles also become smaller with every growth cycle, so your hair will become thinner and more brittle as the years go on. You may even notice that it does not grow to the same length you're used to.

Hair growth changes as you age
Hair growth changes as you age. Musely

Common Types of Hair Loss

Beyond the unavoidable growth cycle changes your hair goes through as you age, both hormones and genetics can also play a huge role in female hair loss. Below you can find an overview of some of the most common types of female hair loss:

  • Menopausal or Postmenopausal Hair Loss

As women transition through menopause, their levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone drop. These hormones typically promote hair growth, so the sudden drop slows down growth and causes hair to appear thinner, otherwise known as menopausal or post-menopausal hair loss.

  • Postpartum Hair Loss

Another type of hormonal hair loss that is common in women is postpartum hair loss. About half of new mothersexperience thinning hair around four to five months postpartum, as estrogen levels fall.

  • Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female pattern baldness, also referred to as androgenetic alopecia, is a genetic condition resulting in hair loss in women. Exacerbated by age, female pattern hair loss, or FPHL, affects nearly one-third of women and is the reason many women are looking for a hair loss cure. In women, hair loss usually presents itself as diffused hair thinning all over the head and may start as early as adolescence, but the risk increases with age.

Whether it's age-related, hormonal hair loss, post-menopausal hair loss, or female pattern hair loss, many women experience noticeable signs of thinning by the time they hit 50. And while it's more widely accepted that men may experience balding or thinning hair, female hair loss is not openly discussed and treatment is not as accessible. Studies show that hair loss can negatively impact the quality of life in both men and women, however, the impact may be more severe and devastating in women. This lack of information surrounding female hair loss can lead to self-esteem issues and depression. Women may even feel the need to wear a wig or adopt a new hairstyle to cover up their thinning hair.

If this sounds familiar, remember that you're not alone! In fact, it is estimated that in the United States alone, more than 30 million women are struggling with hair loss, and treatment does exist. Early diagnosis is crucial so that you can start a treatment plan and potentially minimize future hair loss.

Early diagnosis is crucial
Early diagnosis is crucial. Musely

Hair Loss is Both Preventable and Treatable

Even if you're not yet experiencing thinning hair, dermatologists agree it's never too early to start considering your scalp as part of your head-to-toe anti-aging skincare routine. Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Brandon Kirsch stated, "The earlier hair loss is addressed with medical care, the better the outcome." He continued, "Consistent, ongoing treatment is also necessary, as there is no hair loss cure."

So, how exactly can you prevent hair loss, and what treatments are available? Hair loss prevention measures include maintaining a balanced, healthy diet, with supplemental vitamin D, biotin, zinc, and iron when and if deficiencies are identified. By avoiding certain hairstyles such as tight braids and ponytails, you may be able to reduce damage to your hair. Inflammation of the scalp such as dandruff and residue build-up can increase the likelihood of hair loss, so your scalp health should be closely monitored. Most importantly, at the first sign of thinning hair, you should seek treatment immediately in order to prevent further hair loss.

Consistent, ongoing treatment
Consistent, ongoing treatment is also necessary, as there is no hair loss cure. Musely

Key Ingredients for Treating & Preventing Hair Loss

Unfortunately, it may be harder than you think to find treatments that actually work. When searching online for "how to cure hair loss", you'll likely find a myriad of volume shampoos and over-the-counter products backed by false promises. While the global shampoo and conditioner market is a more than 30 billion dollar industry, many large corporations turn a blind eye to harmful ingredients such as sulfates and formaldehyde, which are actually thought to contribute to hair loss. Many hair products claim to build volume or "thicken" hair, however they often contain paraffin, which builds up and can actually make hair more susceptible to breakage. And while deficiencies in certain vitamins can contribute to hair loss, the gummy vitamins you'll find online are combinations you're likely already getting with a well-balanced diet.

Rather than waste time and money on over-the-counter products that claim to prevent hair loss, the solution can actually be found in a few specific ingredients that are accessible only with a prescription. The FDA-approved ingredients that have been proven effective in hair loss treatments include minoxidil and finasteride, with studies also showing spironolactone as an effective female hair loss treatment. Below you'll find the details on these ingredients:

  • Minoxidil works by increasing the size, weight and density of hair follicles, which promotes a more productive growth phase of your hair cycle.
  • Finasteride prevents hair loss by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, a hormone which causes hair loss. Finasteride is often used in hair loss treatment for men, however, it has also proven to be an effective hair loss treatment for women.
  • Spironolactone is another medication that healthcare providers regularly prescribe to treat female hair loss, as it both decreases testosterone levels in the blood and lessens its effect.

While minoxidil is sold over-the-counter in lower doses, the combination of minoxidil, finasteride and spironolactone is only available with a prescription. Dr. Brandon Kirsch stated, "Minoxidil, finasteride and spironolactone are among the very best agents for treating hair loss in women. As these are prescription medications, they can only be used under the direction of a licensed prescriber. Medical research strongly suggests that patients should combine the use of different therapies for optimal clinical outcomes."

Get Prescription Hair Loss Treatment Online

We know what you're thinking. Obtaining a prescription typically means a long wait at the doctor's office, a trip to the pharmacy, and overall - a headache. The good news? You can easily access prescription hair loss treatments online using just your smartphone or computer!

Musely is a prescription skin, hair, and body care company with a focus on accessible, effective telemedicine. With a quick three-minute medical questionnaire, you can access board-certified dermatologists from the comfort of your own home. Musely's The Hair Solution and The Hair Pill use powerful gold-standard ingredients to effectively block the hormone contributing to hair loss while simultaneously encouraging hair regrowth. After submitting your order for your desired hair loss treatment, one of Musely's doctors will review your online visit and prescribe a customized formula just for you! The treatments get shipped straight to your doorstep, and you can start to see results within 8-12 weeks with consistent use.

Musely's The Hair Solution
Musely's The Hair Solution and The Hair Pill Musely

With thinning hair in women being an inevitable part of aging, don't waste time, money, and energy on over-the-counter products and instead start incorporating The Hair Solution into your anti-aging routine.