Here's a question from a reader about suddenly thinning hair during midlife:
I'm in my late 40's and I've suddenly started shedding hair. I spoke with my mother and older sister, and they never experienced this. I'm freaked out. I think it's connected to menopause, but I don't know what to do first. Do you have any experience with this? Thank you, SB
Yes, I experienced a sudden increase in hair shedding during the first year or two of perimenopause. Initially, I too was freaked out. Once I created a personal and deliberate self-care regime focused on healing that imbalance, the shedding decreased and healthy hair continued to grow. I've had a good number of clients and friends go through this during perimenopause as well.
It's natural for people to shed an average of up to 100 hair strands a day. However, increased hair loss during perimenopause and menopause is very common and often a result of hormone changes and fluctuations, thyroid imbalances, physical and emotional stress, and other factors. Women may also experience hair loss as a result of androgenic alopecia (a.k.a. hereditary balding or female pattern baldness). Men may experience hair loss in midlife as well, and although hereditary balding is the most common cause for them, other reasons may include hormonal imbalances, stress, and other reactions. If the hair loss is substantial or you continue to have concerns, you should consult a health practitioner. My suggestions here are not meant as medical advice.
I like to do a lot of research when it comes to health, always with the intention of supporting and shoring up my own body's health as naturally as possible. To care for my scalp and hair, I've developed the following, personal treatment plan that is focused on my own internal physical health, external physical health, and mental, emotional and spiritual health.
For internal support, I initially began taking a daily "Hair, Skin and Nail" nutritional supplement. I alternated between two brands -- one from Andrew Lessmen and one from Vitacost. Vitamin B is a key ingredient in these supplements and I have found it to be essential for maintaining my healthy hair. After more research, I've switched to "Hair Essentials" from Naturalwellbeing.com.
I've switched, because in addition to Vitamin B and the other nutritional ingredients included in the above supplements, Hair Essentials also addresses hormone imbalance. Formulated with more than 20 herbs and nutrients, it targets the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) to prevent further hair loss. In excess, the hormone DHT causes hair follicles to shrink, which results in less nutrients for growing hair and can cause the hair shaft to weaken, break and fall out. Their literature states that an excess of DHT is also linked to female and male hereditary balding, so this supplement may be a good remedy for that as well.
Another part of my personal regimen has been toswitch to a shampoo without sulfates. Avalon organics has a very inexpensive one: Biotin B Complex Thickening Shampoo. There's a matching conditioner as well, and both can be purchased online. There are many sulfate-free shampoos that you can research and buy online.
I also support this with intermittent Renee Furterer scalp treatments, specifically the RF80 Hair Strengthening Formula, Complexe 5 Regenerating Extract and the Forticea Stimulating Shampoo. For hereditary balding, I believe that Renee Furterer's Triphasic Revitalizing Formula is recommended instead of the RF80.
Additionally, I receive acupuncture that tones my kidneys and stimulates blood flow to the scalp. And a few times a month, I give my scalp an oil treatment massage with Jojoba Oil mixed with essential oils. I massage and leave this oil mixture on my scalp for one or two hours, then wash my hair as usual.
This is the Jojoba hair tonic (a personal recipe) that I make myself. You may get a few treatments out of one batch:
-4 ounces of Jojoba oil
-10 drops of Rosemary oil
-10 drops of Lavender oil
-5 drops of Basil oil
-2 drops Thyme oil
-2 drops Atlas cedarwood essential oil
Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health
Sit quietly once a day, for a few minutes and imagine a column of divine white light filling, healing and surrounding you. Envision your healthy scalp and healthy thriving thick hair. Also, create a one sentence intention in support of your body's harmony and balance, and post it at your computer or on your mirror and recite it with love daily for at least 32 days. For example: "My body, my hormones, my scalp and my hair are healthy, balanced, harmonious and thriving."
To support all of this, I follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. I care for my body so that it can care for me.
Your Overall Care and Well Being
SB, may you pamper and soothe yourself by following a deliberate and loving self-care regime focused on bringing your body into balance with a scalp that's healthy and thriving with hair. Often, when we care for our bodies, our bodies know it. I'm sure many of my readers will have suggestions for additional ways to support hair health at midlife and I welcome their constructive comments.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2011 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.