Skip to main content

Celebrating 22 Years of Transforming Lives

Causes of Hair Loss in Women

14 December 2020

Losing your hair can be difficult for anybody, especially women. Hair loss can affect any female at any age.

According to the NHS, 8 million women in the UK experience hair loss, so you’re not alone. Many reasons can cause hair loss in women, but equally, there are many prevention tips and treatments that can help you cope.

What is Hair Loss?

Hair loss is also referred to as alopecia or baldness, it refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body. It can affect just your scalp or your entire body, it can also be temporary or permanent.

What are the symptoms of hair loss in women?

Depending on what is causing it, hair loss can appear in different ways. These signs might come on gradually or suddenly and might include:

  • Seeing an increase of hair fall out on your brush, floor, shower or on your pillow.
  • Seeing noticeable patches of thinner or missing hair, typically on the top of your head.
  • Noticing you have a smaller ponytail.
  • Noticing hair breaks off more often and easily.

What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day, this can increase to 250 strands on days the hair is washed. This isn’t usually noticeable as new hair replaces this at the same time. However, hair loss occurs when new hair doesn’t replace the hair that has fallen out.

Hair Loss Risk Factors

Family History

Hereditary hair loss is caused by genetics along with hormonal changes. This can be passed from either side of your family. Usually, it is diagnosed by both its pattern and a history of a similar type of hair loss affecting family members.


The ageing process may mean that some women experience female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), which is common and often gets worse when estrogen is lost during menopause. FPHL affects approximately 40% of women by age 50.

Significant Stress or Shock to the Body

Significant stress or shock can impact the body in events such as losing a lot of weight quickly, undergoing surgeries, illness and having a baby. All of these can contribute to hair loss.


Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems and high blood pressure.

Poor Nutrition

Nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth. Vitamin deficiency in important vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron can lead to hair loss. This is because they affect the growth cycle and prematurely shift hairs into the shedding stage.


Excessive hairstyling and hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as cornrows, ponytails and extensions, can cause damage to the hair and cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.

So You’ve Noticed That You’re Losing More Hair Than Usual, What Can You Do About It?

Losing your hair can be a stressful situation but it is important to remember that female hair loss is common and you aren’t alone. It is estimated that over 50% of women will experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime. Losing hair can often go hand in hand with other changes occurring in your body, below are some tips and tricks to combat hair loss.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

We all know that eating healthily is important for us but what we eat can also have a huge impact on our hair. Hair is made of protein so making sure that you are eating the recommended daily intake of protein-rich foods is essential in maintaining healthy hair. Eating complex carbohydrates is also important as they give our hair the energy that is required for growth. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are:

  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweetcorn
  • Whole grains such as barley, oats and brown rice
  • Grains, beans and pulses

Scalp Massage

Implementing a scalp massage into your hair care routine is another way to encourage growth. Starting with dry hair and using hair oil to massage the scalp stimulates blood flow to the area, resulting in a healthy scalp. Using an oil prior to washing your hair also allows the oil to soak into your hair shaft, this means that it will be less susceptible to breakage when the hair gets wet.

Hairstyles and Treatments

Avoiding certain hairstyles such as the ones mentioned above can mean less strain on the hair. Opting for a more natural style can mean less damage. Wearing your hair loose and down and trying to limit the use of heat tools on the hair can make a real difference. Also staying away from bleach or other hair products that contain strong chemicals is recommended to give the hair the best possible chance of regrowth.

When to Consult a Specialist?

Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, it can take at least six weeks to notice any improvement, there is no miracle product that will make your hair return overnight so don’t be disheartened when you don’t see an immediate change. However, if your hair loss continues for over three months with no signs of improvement it may be time to consult a specialist. With any type of hair loss, it’s better to address it sooner rather than later. Losing your hair could also be a sign of an underlying condition such as trichotillomania.

Here at Optima, we are experts in all things hair. Our resident hair specialists are here to help you to obtain a diagnosis for your hair loss. Over the last 18 years we have seen a huge range of conditions such as trichotillomania, alopecia and scalp folliculitis, meaning that we are able to recommend the best course of treatment for you.

We offer a range of treatments and support for women experiencing hair loss. From laser regrowth therapy to hairpieces and wigs, finding the solution that is right for you is important to us. Why not book a free consultation with us and start your journey to falling back in love with your hair today.

Latest Articles