There once was a family friend of ours who made no bones about it: her hair was her ‘Crowning Glory’ and she spent no end of time, money and energy lavishing rich attention on it. Never mind that she had approximately 5 strands left on her head at the time- it was her Glory and Bygod whenever she looked at herself in the mirror, she saw a redheaded Lady Godiva. In her mind, men still lined up around the block for a chance to feel its soft, fragrant luxuriousness brush their cheek. You gotta love that kind of chutzpah…
She had special haircolor preparations – and all manner of deep conditioners and hot oil treatments, and whenever it was Hair Color Day she would call and I would drive over, glove up and perform the task with due diligence and reverent care. She never once asked me about what she could do to combat the hair loss she was experiencing and because she acted like it didn’t exist, I felt it was not my place to point it out.
She finally moved away and our little Haircoloring ritual went belly up. I still marvel however. And I often wonder what happened to those persevering little sprouts.
‘Crowning Glory’… throughout the centuries, a woman’s head of hair has been romanticized the world over – and for good reason.
Not only does a woman’s hair represent sexuality, passion, beauty and lust- total unadulterated Femaleness; it also provides an accurate and very public picture of her innermost health, and a glimpse into her personality as well.
On a sad note, it’s now estimated that 1 in 5 Menopausal women experience significant hair loss.
It’s well documented that Menopause dramatically alters the texture of hair follicles, at times completely altering the wave patterns and structure of the hair, aside from the usual color changes so often associated with the passage of time and the onset of the Menopause process.
While yes, it’s correct that some of these changes can be genetic and perfectly normal- many of these Menopause-related hair changes take place because of ever-increasing hormone imbalances; chiefly the loss of estrogen and the imbalance of testosterone and/or androgen -and- underlying health issues that either accompany the Menopause process or are unrelated but serve to greatly exacerbate and complicate the process.
To better understand, let’s take a closer look at just how Menopause affects hair.
Menopause often triggers dramatic changes in the skin and its appendages, said appendages being the hair and nails.
With Menopause, androgen/estrogen ratios become skewed. Androgen is produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries and also fat cells to help women during Menopause, but can cause problems if not kept in check. Estrogen is required to keep a woman’s hair and skin healthy, radiant, moist and resilient. As estrogen levels decline, membranes and tissues begin to dehydrate, thin and become parched.
With declining hormones, comes declining sebum production. Sebum being the oily, waxy protective substance of the skin. Less sebum production equals more dryness. Not a happy scenario!
When talking Skin Health, one needs to look approximately 28 days in the past to determine what has worked well for the skin- or has damaged it, because the cellular life span of a skin cell is approximately 28-32 days.
What you ate and drank, what medications you took-or didn’t, what skin care products you used- or didn’t, all have bearing on the skin that now resides on the surface of your face and body at this very moment.
When talking HAIR Health however, one needs to look a bit farther into the past. It’s believed that because hair grows at a slower rate, a more accurate assessment is provided by looking as far back as three months into the past to gauge what has negatively -or positively- impacted hair growth/hair loss and hair health in general. Simply put, the hair you have now, you either took care of, properly hydrated and nourished over the past three months – or didn’t.
Aside from the natural hormone decline that occurs during Menopause, there are several other conditions that a woman should seriously consider if she’s experiencing hair loss.
Conditions such as: thyroid problems, anemia, stress, excess insulin production, drug use, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, ovary issues such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), and adrenal issues all contribute to hair loss/female pattern baldness. Collagen loss/breakdown/reduction in Midlife also has bearing on how the skin appendages fare during this time of transition.
Once you’ve gotten your hormones checked and brought into balance, it’s very wise to check into one or more of the above listed medical conditions if hair loss continues, just to be on the safe side.
And as with almost every single health condition on the planet: do everything within your power to get your stress levels under control and minimized. Yes it matters, especially where beauty is concerned!
Now a word about sulfate containing shampoos and conditioners: Sodium Laureth Sulfate and also Sodium Lauryl Sulfate are foaming agents routinely used in grooming products like shampoos.
Both of these ingredients are known to be highly irritating and have been shown to damage and dehydrate hair follicles. If hair loss is a concern, make a switch to more natural hair products.
Using moisturizing, deep conditioners weekly and getting regular trims – approximately every 4-6 weeks- will also help keep your follicles happy. A little bit of Coconut and Olive oils rubbed through the hair and on the scalp and left on for an hour or two once per week can also work wonders. So can that good ol’ fashioned Raw Egg shampoo we all used to use way back when….
If you’ve ruled out underlying health issues like hypothyroidism, anemia and the like, have balanced your hormones and are still struggling with hair loss, take my best advice: eliminate stress as much as possible, nourish yourself well with a diet rich in healthy fats, ample, quality protein sources and lots of fresh, leafy greens and make sure you’re getting the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, stay well hydrated, indulge in scalp massages and occasional hairbrushing sessions- using a quality boar bristle brush so as to keep the scalp relaxed and well-nourished with increased circulation, don’t wear tight hairstyles like buns or ponytails and sleep on a satin pillowcase to minimize hair stress and breakage during sleep. And every few years, if your hair is thinning, consider trading in your long style for a sleek, short cut in order to give your hair a chance to rest. Yes, it makes a difference.
With just a bit of attention and care-inside and out-your strands will not only stick around longer – but will be healthier and more luxurious in the process. What’s not to love about that!?
Copyright 2018 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years.
Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist.
She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.
Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author and Co Host of a nationally syndicated radio show.
Together with Life Coach Kris Cavanaugh Castro, Carrie has co created a coaching program created especially for Midlife women- and the men who love them. Called ‘Making Peace With Menopause’ this program covers the myriad health, beauty, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the Menopause journey.
It’s Carrie’s mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife!