1. Take comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
If you think you’re the only 20-something, 30-something, or 40-something woman with thinning hair, you’re wrong. Hereditary hair loss affects 30 million American women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And women make up 40% of all cases of hair loss in the US, says the American Hair Loss Association. Strength in numbers, right?
2. Go see a therapist.
Most female hair loss is evenly distributed, but if your hair is falling out in legitimate clumps, you might be suffering from stress. A death in the family, a car accident —any sort of trauma can trigger temporary hair loss. If you’ve experienced physical or emotional trauma and then started experiencing hair loss, there’s a big chance the two are linked. So get yourself to a therapist and deal with the problem.
3. Check your dandruff situation.
Apparently, severe dandruff can make hair loss worse. Some dandruff shampoos, like Nizoral, can help with balding even if you don’t have flakes, according to Encino, California-based dermatologist Dr. Alex Khadavi. “Dandruff can cause
excessive shedding, irritation and inflammation on the scalp,” he says. “These shampoos — whether you choose TGel, Selsun Blue, Head & Shoulders — can reduce redness.”
4. Get your thyroid tested.
While thyroid disease often comes with a whole host of symptoms — the most prevalent being noticeable weight gain or weight loss — it can also cause significant hair loss. The good news: with proper treatment of the underlying issue, either through medication or natural supplements, thyroid-related hair loss can be reversed, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
5. Try a topical treatment.
If you know that your hair loss is not the result of trauma, thyroid, or undernourishment—in that case, the only advice is to eat something—it’s time to resign yourself to the fact that you’ve got hereditary hair loss, and you’ll probably need to use a topical treatment. Rogaine, whose generic name is minoxidil, is the best known. And it works, but it’s also not recommended for women who are pregnant. Some doctors don’t even think it’s okay for women who are of childbearing age to use it. If you fall into that category, you might want to try another over-the-counter treatment like Revivogen, which was developed by Dr. Khadavi.
“Female pattern hair loss is due to a hormone byproduct called DHT,” he says. “It’s made to reverse that process.”
Another product that does something similar is the prescription drug Propecia (generic name Finasteride), a pill used for male pattern baldness. It’s sometimes prescribed off-label to treat female hair loss, but it has a whole host of side effects, so discuss Propecia at length with your dermatologist before trying it.