The Root Cause
Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Hair Loss (and the Top Strategies for Regaining and Maintaining Lush Locks)
Once you've ruled out any medical conditions, there are other reasons that make hair fall out—things like excessive stress, pregnancy or major surgery. If those aren't to blame in your case, styling habits might be—especially if you're in your 20s or 30s. Excessive blow-drying, flat-ironing, straightening and highlighting can affect scalp health and lead to breakage, says New York City dermatologist Neil Sadick, M.D. Another possible culprit? Too-tight ponytails, braids or extensions, which pull on strands, leading to traction hair loss.
For women in their 40s and older, some amount of hair loss may be inevitable. As we age, our hair ages with us, says Ryan Welter, M.D., chief surgeon at New England Center for Hair Restoration. "Age-related hair loss will typically begin in one's 40s and will continue at a greater rate as women enter menopause," he explains.
Aside from improving your diet and switching to gentler styling habits, there are a number of topical treatments available.
New York–based trichologist Melissa Harvey recommends minoxidil, the active ingredient in products such as Rogaine, and the only FDA-approved over-the-counter treatment for women. According to research, minoxidil expands blood vessels, which scientists speculate may increase blood flow to the scalp, thus promoting hair growth.
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