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Age Related Hair Loss

Updated on July 20, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.

Curly Hair

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Hair Loss

As we age there are often changes that are unwelcome to our hair. We typically lose approximately 100 hairs daily, which is not noticeable as thinning hair since new hair is always growing. Hair grows at an approximately one-half inch per month. Hair is actually a protein (keratin) filament.

There are three phases of hair growth:

  1. Anagen (growth phase) when most of the hair is growing, lasting about 2-8 years
  2. Catagen (transitional phase) - hair growth slows and the hair follicle shrinks, lasting for 2-3 weeks
  3. Telogen (resting phase) - over time hair growth stops, the old hair detaches and new hair growth begins, lasting about 3 months

When this cycle is interrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced by scar tissue, hair loss becomes noticeable. Approximately one-third of women experience significant hair loss (alopecia) at some point in their lives.

Common Reasons for Hair Loss

Women’s average age for menopause is 50. Hormones, stress, and aging are the most common causes of hair loss, which may change the texture and quality of the hair. Curly hair may straighten, or straight hair may curl, which depends on the hair follicles. As many as two-thirds of postmenopausal women may experience hair thinning or bald spots. This loss often has a greater impact on women than hair loss does on men. A woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life are greatly affected by alopecia.

Androgenetic alopecia is the same for men and women. A family history of baldness on either side of the family caused by genetic changes is the most common cause of baldness. Androgens are essential for normal male sexual development, and they are also important for sex drive and regulation of hair growth.

Other reasons for hair loss include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Stress
  • Protein or protein calorific malnutrition
  • Too many permanents, hot-oil or chemical hair color treatments
  • Significant hair loss
  • Medications (for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure)
  • Certain medical conditions, such as systemic lupus, thyroid conditions, childbirth or diabetes
  • Radiation to the head
  • Hairstyles that pull the hair too tight on the head

How to Get Your Curls Back!

Three Shapes of Hair Follicles

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Curly Hair vs Straight Hair

My step-daughter is in her late 30s and was born with gorgeous naturally curly hair. She has not reached menopause, but recently her hair started growing in straight. This is not particularly uncommon.

Hair follicles come in three shapes:

  1. Straight follicles produce straight hair
  2. Hook shaped follicles result in curly hair
  3. Oval hair follicle produces wavy or kinky hair

A 2009 study concluded that curly hair has an 85-95% chance of being genetically inherited. The shape of the hair follicle determines the type of hair and texture. Curly hair is an autosomal dominant trait. One reason curly hair straightens is that the hair is shaped by the hair strand next to it. Since curly hair is an autosomal dominant trait, that means one parent has straight hair and one has curly. This impacts the hair follicle and the way the hair grows.

Bald Man

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Balding in Men

A 2011 study found that the root cause of male baldness happens with aging when stem cells in the scalp lose their ability to make hair follicles.

Men tend to lose their hair in a telltale shape. A receding hairline, which results in baldness on the top of the head and leaves a horseshoe hair pattern around the head and spot baldness is also typical for men. Men who have this genetic trait may begin losing some hair even in their teens, and as many as 89% of men will have some hair loss in their lifetime.

Premature baldness occurs more frequently in men that are short, have heart disease or suffer from prostate cancer. While illness and medications may cause premature baldness, genetics is still the main cause.

"I love bald men. Just because you've lost your fuzz don't mean you ain't a peach." ~ Dolly Parton

Preventing Baldness

Preventing baldness or hair from excessive thinning may be delayed or achieved by taking certain steps.

  1. Do not pull your hair into tight hairstyles.
  2. Comb and brush your hair gently.
  3. Do not shampoo too often or rub your hair too vigorously with a towel.
  4. Stop smoking as some studies show as association for men’s hair loss.
  5. Do not compulsively twist, rub or pull on your hair.
  6. Avoid curling irons, hot rollers and harsh hair treatments.
  7. Avoid medications and supplements that cause hair loss.
  8. If you are receiving chemotherapy, ask about a cooling cap.

Receding Hairlines and Balding: How to Detect Balding

Treatments for Hair Loss

Women and men may have less hair loss with a higher protein diet and one rich in complex carbohydrates. Vitamins C, B, D3 and A are important, and minerals influence hair growth. The important minerals include zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, selenium and copper. A healthy diet is very important for women during menopause to prevent hair loss.

There are some treatments for hair loss that may be effective, including:

Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions) and finasteride (Propecia), which is applied directly to the scalp. It should stimulate fine hair growth in a minimum of 2 months, but it takes up to 6 or 12 months to be effective. Typically, the peak hair growth is in 4 months.

Laser devices emitting a low-energy laser light may stimulate new hair growth for fine hair that is thinning. A hairdresser or therapist is the safest way to use this treatment. Be sure to protect any bald spots from the sun.

Hair transplant is also a surgical treatment that removes an area of the scalp with good hair and transplants it into a bald area. Scalp reduction is another surgical treatment that removes a bald area and the hair-bearing scalp is brought forward.

Beautiful Long Hair

Source

When to Consult a Doctor

It is important to see a doctor for the following hair problems:

  • Losing hair very rapidly or at a very early age
  • Losing hair in an unusual pattern
  • Pain or itching along with hair loss
  • Skin on the scalp is red, scaly or otherwise abnormal
  • Losing hair along with acne, facial hair or an abnormal menstrual cycle

At least some hair thinning with age will occur for most senior citizens, so you either seek treatment or love yourself the way you look.

Hair Loss Questions

Has hair loss been a problem for you?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

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  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 days ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Sara, I appreciate your comments.

  • saraz profile image

    SARA 

    10 days ago from Islamabad

    Very informative article.. thanks for sharing.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Maria, Thank you so much for your kind comments. Yes, this is a peaceful evening, waiting for the hurricane winds. I do not think they will b too severe in Jacksonville as we are fairly far north. Your comments are always appreciated Maria. I wish we could go out together for a meal as I don't think we would ever run out of conversation.

    Love, Pam

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    3 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Informative and comprehensive post, dear Pam - thank you for another interesting subject.

    Hope you are having a peaceful evening. Love, Maria

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy, I am sure heredity is a factor. When you check DNA with Ancestry you can now pay an extra fee and hair is one of the factors they tell you. I have not done that but saw it was available. Thanks for your comments, Peggy.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

    This article of yours is informative, Pamela. Thanks for listing factors that can affect the health of one's hair. Heredity certainly plays an essential element.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Larry, You are not alone as many start losing hair early in life. I appreciate your comments.

  • Larry Slawson profile image

    Larry Slawson 

    7 weeks ago from North Carolina

    Really interesting article Pamela! Even in my late twenties, I was noticing hair loss haha. Thank you for sharing!

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    8 weeks ago

    Thank you.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Robert, I appreciate your comments.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    8 weeks ago

    Another informative medical article. Thank you for posting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ms Dora, I am glad you have not lost much hair, and that you found the article helpful. I like to see hair that is well-styled too. I appreciate your comments.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    2 months ago from The Caribbean

    Pam, thank you for sharing all these important facts about hair loss. Your article is very helpful for those who are concerned. I've had my share, but have not suffered much. I love to see healthy, well-styled hair!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Alyssa, I am glad to hear you have thick, long hair. That is something all women would love. I am also glad you learned some new things about vitamins that help your hair. I appreciate your comments,

  • Alyssa Nichol profile image

    Alyssa 

    2 months ago from Ohio

    Hello Pamela! What an interesting article! I was surprised to learn the different factors concerning hair loss and took particular note on the vitamins needed to keep hair strong and healthy. I have long, thick hair that is cumbersome at times, especially during the hot summer months haha! I don't do anything special to it most days. I wash it a few times a week, air dry, and if it needs to be up, I put it in a side braid. I find that when I pull it up into a ponytail or top knot for a lengthy amount of time, I get headaches. I refuse to cut it short, although I like to look at pictures of cute short hair styles, it took me about six years to get this length and I just can't part it with it at this time... unless I could donate it. I actually have thought about it and would cut it off for that reason, but everywhere I looked says no because I dye it. Thank you for this interesting and informative article! Have a wonderful week!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Pop, You are fortunate to have curly hair that you let air dry. My hair is curly in the back, but wavy on the sides. I let it air dry too, but I have to keep it cut fairly often for it to look good.

    Thank you for your kind words about my articles.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Flourish, I know some women who have hair loss, and it is very difficult for them One of them wears a wig all the time. I hope you keep your beautiful thick hair. Thank you for your comments.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 

    2 months ago

    You always do such a fabulous job describing medical conditions. My hair is naturally curly so I look like I have plenty of volume. This time of year is great because I shampoo and let my hair air dry!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    2 months ago from USA

    It would be very challenging to face thinning hair for me as my hair has always been one of things I am known for. It’s very thick and strangers often comment on it. I feel great empathy for people, especially women, who experience alopecia. I’ve known several people with the condition and have watched them cope to varying degrees.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda, Thank you so much for your generous comments.Have a good week.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Your article contains a lot of interesting and useful facts about hair and hair loss, Pamela. As always, thank you for sharing them.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Genna, Humidity on hot days will make my hair frizzy also. I like your Mother Nature comment. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you enjoy your Sunday too.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    2 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

    What an interesting hub, Pamela. I've noticed that my hair has begun to rebel during humid days, and becomes quite curly and downright frizzy. But as we age, Mother Nature has this rather strange barter system...she gives us certain things that weren't there before, while taking away others. Enjoy your Sunday. :-)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Eric, I am sorry to hear your long black curls, but to hear your cancer probably won't return is great news. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    This got me giggling. Wonderfully written. Sorry about giggling. In Chemo-therapy I lost it all and they said it would probably not come back. My wife would beam as ladies would come by in restaraunts and comment on my crazy long black curls, sometimes ask to touch. How fun my hair was.

    It came back so thin and gray that a comb could not straighten it. My fellow survivor said "it is the head we must be thankful for" hihihi. (my son now cuts my hair)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Nell, My sister lost a lot of hair due to thyroid disease also, but hair is no longer falling out. That is a bit scary sometimes. I already downloaded your book on my Kindle, but I have to finish what I am reading now first. Thanks for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda, I think your hair will probably be fine as you are living a healthy life overall. Baby fine hair sounds nice and soft. I appreciate your comments.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    2 months ago from England

    Great advice and interesting too. I had a bit of hair loss when I got my graves disease (thyroid) I did try vitamins, and luckily when my thyroid balanced it got much better again.

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 

    2 months ago from Washington State, USA

    Pamela, I've always had baby fine hair. It's getting a bit thin in the front but not at an alarming rate (yet). I don't put my hair through a regime of perms or curling irons, I'm not on any meds, and I don't smoke so hope I'm doing the best I can. What about diet?

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ruby, It sounds like your hair is great. I appreciate your comments. Have a nice weekend.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Vivian, I think what your experiencing is pretty normal, and it is great that you have thick hair. Thank you for commenting. Have a good weekend.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    2 months ago from Southern Illinois

    Interesting article and written well. I have one of the age related problems you listed, my hair is curly, in the past it was straight. I have thick hair, no loss yet. I do stay away from curling irons. I do use a hair dryer but on low heat.

  • Noelle7 profile image

    Vivian Coblentz 

    2 months ago

    Pamela,

    I'm in my late 40's, and I've noticed the hormonal changes for sure! When I was young and washed my hair, very few hairs were lost. Now, when I brush out my hair when it's wet, I have a wad to throw in the trash! Thankfully, I have a ton of hair to spare and my hair is thick, so no worries! Very informative article!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Lorna, I hope you will get your curls back. My hair is curly in the back and wavy on the sides now, which I do not like. I appreciate your kind comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill, Since you are very healthy and have your hair I would surely agree that you have good genes. :) Thanks for your comments.

  • Lorna Lamon profile image

    Lorna Lamon 

    2 months ago

    This is such an interesting and informative article Pamela. I was born with lovely natural curls which disappeared after I had my first child. Perhaps they will come back when I go through the menopause. Great read.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    2 months ago from Olympia, WA

    Your articles are always interesting, Pamela. I've been lucky with my hair...still got most of it...you just can't beat good genes. :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Liz, Thank you so much for your kind comments and praise. It is much appreciated.

  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    2 months ago from UK

    This is a fascinating article. I have noticed what you describe in some cases and have wondered what the reasons are for this hair loss. You give a clear explanation in this well-structured article.

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