Baldness and Women
Although not a frequently discussed topic among women – baldness and women is a very real issue. Let’s discuss baldness and how it affects women, how it can be treated, how it can be camouflaged, and how it can have a psychological effect on women.
What is baldness?
As outlined by Wikipedia:
‘Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body. Typically at least the head is involved. The severity of hair loss can vary from a small area to the entire body.
SO, in other words, as simple as I can write it – you go bald when you have no more hair in a place where it used to be – namely on the top of your head!
Who does it affect?
The whole idea of baldness, though often associated with the male gender, it affects both males and females. It is more obvious in older people, let’s say around ages 40 – 50 and over. I have also seen baldness in young children with hormonal imbalances as well.
What causes baldness?
Baldness can be caused by a few factors.
In the male gender, it can be caused by:
- male hormones
While in the female gender, it can be caused by:
- the auto-immune system such as is in the case of alopecia areata
- telogen effluvium which is generally very common after pregnancy
And common to both genders:
- harsh hair care practices such as too tight braiding of the hair against the scalp
- unhealthy hair care leading to the inhabitation of fungus resulting in inflammation, and hair loss
Common types of baldness
There are quite a few types of baldness or hair loss:
- male-pattern hair loss
- female-pattern hair loss
- alopecia areata
- telogen effluvium
- medication-induced such as chemotherapy or radiation
- health occurring such as hypothyroidism, and malnutrition including iron deficiency
How to reduce or prevent hair balding – naturally, surgically, temporarily/cosmetically
There are immediate ways to mask the fact of female baldness:
- A wig of choice – a full head wig or a half head one. Technology has made our choices numerous. You can also choose a net-type wig which allows the scalp to breathe or even a lace-front wig which gives the impression of a more natural appearance in the hairline area.
- Hair extensions – preferably the kind that you can weave or braid into your own hair, certainly not the glue-in method. Of course, both methods could also exasperate the baldness if done too tightly against the scalp or if glued-in. Sensible hair care is surely a prerequisite. And there are also clip-on hair extensions.
- Hair accessories like headbands, scarves, and hats. It must also be mentioned that one should avoid using any type of metal on one’s hair.
- Embrace it – yes, I have seen women shave their heads completely and look fabulous as well.
The methods which are more permanent:
- Hair implants – this should only be done with much research and personal consultation. You need to feel comfortable with the procedure, the outcome and possible results, the experience of the doctor performing the implant, and last but by no means least: the cost for the procedure. This can be a full head or partial head hair implant, something you will decide on during the consultation.
- Scalp reduction – this is the process of decreasing the area of bald skin on the head. In time, the skin on the head becomes flexible and stretched enough in order for some of to be surgically removed. After the hairless scalp is removed, the area is closed with hair-covered scalp. This is usually done in combination with hair transplants to provide a natural-looking hairline, especially for those with extensive hair loss.
- Hairline lowering – this is sometimes done to lower a high hairline secondary to hair loss, although there may be a visible scar after further hair loss.
- Continuous use of medication such as steroids, minoxidil, and finasteride to help alleviate the problem. In my opinion, being on medication for too long a time cannot be a good thing.
Natural ways to reduce hair balding, hair shedding, and hair loss
Mother Nature is very resilient in more ways than one. We just need to look to her more in finding solutions to our challenges. There are many herbs, essential oils, teas, power foods which complement each other and help to reduce hair shedding.
These herbs can be used in pastes ( herb is dried and made into a powdered form) and applied to the hair, or in oils ( herbs are extracted in cold press method or distillation method) applied to scalp and hair. The more popular herbs which help with hair shedding are:
- Stinging nettle
- Sweet basil
- Fenugreek, Brahmi, Alma – Indian powders
The essential oils are made from the herbs and tend to be more potent. Please check out the article I wrote on how essential oils are produced, here. The more common essential oils which are known to produce some result in your hair challenge are:
- Cayenne pepper
There are quite a few oils which are also wonderful in aiding hair retention. Just a simple hair massage using the oils or just lightly applying some oil to the scalp, doing a hot oil treatment, can make a world of difference. Here is a list of the more common ones:
Using tea rinses is another great way to combat hair loss. The rinse is not ‘washed away’ but remains on the hair to enhance its work on the follicles. Some people have even used the tea rinse as a daily moisturizing mist alone or with some type of oil added. A few of the popular hair rinses are:
The method is simple: infuse some water with your tea of choice, let it cool, strain, and saturate hair after cleansing. Style as usual.
Next, we have the Power foods which also help to keep the hair strand happy and securely ‘rooted’ in your scalp.
Other things you can do to help baldness and women, or anyone for that matter. You can start regular massages. This is not only beneficial physically, emotionally, but biologically as well.
The psychological effects
Of course, hair loss or hair baldness does not come without its effect on the mental health. Because we live in a very visual world, not to mention the aspect of instant gratification, a man or woman is often very conscious about the frame which holds his/her face – the hair!
When the changes start happening, for women, as well as men, they can find themselves in a state of depression when they spend more time worrying or focussing on the time when they ‘had more hair’. Of course, it does not help, when friends, family, and even total strangers may not say complimentary things about their hair. This hits at the core.
In the case of women, hair usually represents femininity and attractiveness. For men, they typically associate a full head of hair with youth, vigor, and vitality. Most of these mental issues become serious when both genders are not confident enough to realize that there can be solutions and to actively implement them.
I agree that this is indeed a very sensitive issue, however, thankfully, we do have ways around minimizing the result and its effects. The feelings of a loss of control and possible isolation can be replaced with a certain level of assertiveness and awareness.
My final thoughts
Being a woman, I know that this issue might present itself as I mature in age, however, I choose to gather as much information as I can so that this will be my arsenal for change and adaptation if necessary. My heart goes out to the women and the men who are experiencing hair baldness, hair thinning, or hair loss in any way, and I urge them to take heart in knowing that they are not alone; to take heart in knowing that there are ways to minimize the effect.
I welcome your feedback and I thank you for reading.