For both men and women, thinning hair and hair loss is a major concern as we grow older. However, there are ways to try and prevent this with help and advice from experts and at-home treatments.
It’s normal to lose 100 hairs per day, no matter your age, but this number can significantly increase as time goes on. Hair follicles get smaller with age and many hair follicles stop producing new hair.
What causes hair loss?
Genetic hair loss, or androgenic alopecia can be inherited maternally or paternally and is by far the commonest form of hair loss. It also becomes more common as we age. Both sexes can suffer from genetic hair loss: in men it is called male pattern baldness, while for women the condition is named female pattern hair loss.
The late trichologist Philip Kingsley, who tended to the locks of actress Audrey Hepburn, said that one third of women in the UK are suffer from some form of hair loss or thinning.
Preventing hair loss
Women and hair loss
In a study of over 2,000 women in the UK, it was found that half of sufferers were aged between 45-64 (51%). Hair loss and thinning often prevents women from socialising and can affect self-esteem, with 47% no longer going to social events, 40% feeling less confident and 51% no longer like having their picture taken.
The team at Philip Kingsley commented: “Hair loss is extremely complicated and the unfortunate aspect is that the person is not aware of reduced volume (thinner hair) until they have lost 15% of volume, which means it started long before they noticed it. Some do not seek help early enough or from true hair and scalp experts to solve the problem successfully.”
Their approach to regaining hair volume is an at-home treatment called ‘Trichotherapy by Philip Kingsley’ which combines a protein spray, scalp drops and dietary supplements for a three-pronged approach. You can also visit the experts at the Philip Kingsley clinics for treatments.
One of Philip Kingsley’s previous clients Fiona Campbell, 57, says: “Following an illness last year, my hair felt thin, lacking body and difficult to manage. It also appeared to be receding around the hairline and crown. It affected my self-confidence and made me feel older.” She noticed that after eight weeks of Trichotherapy, her hair was in better condition, growing faster and appeared stronger.
After 12 weeks’ use Fiona reported: “I almost feel I have been able to halt the ageing process on my hair in some way.”
Tips for getting fuller-looking hair
Why does hair fall out?
But if you have noticed that you are losing more hair in autumn than usual, then this is simply down to the time of year. Our hair grows from between two to six years and usually 90% of our hair is growing while the other 10% is ‘resting’ (the Telogen period) before it falls out.
Then the individual hair follicles will rest, before starting this cycle again. On average this takes place in July, so by autumn the hair is in the process of falling out. This is thought to be evolutionary as the scalp holds on to hair in summer to protect it from heat.
Hair care for the over-50s
How can I boost my hair health?
Diet of course plays an important role in hair health too and trichologist Trisha Buller says: “Nutrition, minerals and vitamins (such as supplements, biotin and zinc) play an important role in maintaining healthy hair growth, therefore a balanced diet is essential.
“When we’re under stress or have experienced ill health, it will have an adverse effect on our hair. I am seeing more and more people complaining of fine, weak, limp hair lacking in shine and lustre.”
Nutritionist Angela Dowden agrees and says: “Strong, beautiful hair is not essential to health, so the hair follicle is one of the last tissues to receive nutrients, so deficiencies can affect hair. Because hair is mostly protein, I'd recommend eating at least two portions (75-100g each) of protein-rich foods.
“Other ingredients such as essential fatty acids, iron, silica, biotin and zinc are important for hair growth and preventing brittle, unhealthy looking hair. The perfect diet is difficult to achieve, so supplements are useful.”
*Any type of hair loss can be distressing, so you should see your GP if you're worried about it. Plus a number of charities, such as Alopecia UK, have support groups and online forums where you can talk to others who are experiencing hair loss.
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