World Menopause Day 2023
Leading trichologist, Eva Proudman FIT IAT encourages women to take time out today to think about the potential impact of menopause on their hair health…with some top tips on how to stay a-head of the game.
Eva says; “Today (18 October) is World Menopause Day, a really important, global campaign which year on year gains greater prominence and momentum, raising awareness of the Menopause as well as shining a light on the range of options available to help improve health and wellbeing during this time of change, which can affect woman in so many different ways, whether emotionally or physically.
“But, there’s always more that can be done to reassure and support women, especially as we understand more about menopause, become better informed about its impact and feel enabled to educate our partners, colleagues, family and friends about how menopause is affecting us individually – in the workplace, in relationships, or just when we look in the mirror.
“As a trichologist, I’m acutely aware of the deep connection between emotional and physical wellbeing – and every day in my clinic see the impact of hair loss on self-esteem, self-identity and self-confidence. I’m therefore passionate about breaking down the stigma that surrounds hair loss and hair shedding during menopause, encouraging women to believe there is no reason why these changes are permanent and emphasising that there is so much that can be done to maintain optimal hair health.
“World Menopause Day presents an ideal opportunity to revisit some of my key top tips and professional advice on how to cope with the impact of the Menopause on your hair. And, do hold the thought that Menopause does not mean you have to put up with thinning hair or that hair growth will never be restored. There are many ways to help you to take back some control over your hair health, such as diet, lifestyle and mindful haircare, which we’ll explore together here…
The first signs that the Menopause is affecting your hair
The average age for Menopause is 50, but changes to your hair can start to occur long before this in the peri-menopausal phase. This is when your body begins to change in preparation for the full onset of the Menopause. During this stage, hormone levels can begin to fluctuate causing changes to the menstrual cycle. Many women begin to experience heavier, more frequent periods which lead to a depletion in Serum Ferritin, our stored iron. We know that low ferritin levels can lead to excessive hair shedding (telogen effluvium), so it’s important to keep your ferritin levels up throughout this time in order to keep your hair glowing and healthy. Good food sources for this include: red meat, beans, nuts, brown rice and fortified breakfast cereals.
Menopause and hormones
As the Menopause commences, many women begin to notice a reduction in hair length and volume. This is because the Menopause causes the hormones oestrogen and progesterone to decrease; oestrogen in particular is beneficial for the hair – it helps to keep it in the ‘growing phase’ (the anagen) for longer.
Some women are sensitive to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), meaning that for them, hair thinning can be more pronounced. The drop in oestrogen levels causes a higher ratio of testosterone to be present in the body, allowing for a stronger negative effect on your hair follicles. If there is a history of male or female pattern hair loss in your family, you may be more sensitive to this.
The DHT causes oxidative stress and free radical damage deep within the hair follicle. Our brand new treatment shampoo and conditioner, Tricotain, is the only shampoo that works deep in the follicle to stop this to ensure that you maintain optimum hair health (https://tricotain.com/shop-tricotain/).
Menopause and greys
Some women will find their hair greying more fervently during the Menopause. There are lifestyle changes you can adopt to help prevent this from happening – namely, no smoking and a balanced diet containing lots of iron, vitamin D and the B vitamins. Foods that have strong antioxidant properties can also be beneficial such as dark chocolate, pecan nuts, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kale, red cabbage, spinach and beetroot.
To keep your grey hair looking and feeling healthy, try a purple shampoo to give it a nice bright tone. Adding layers and washing your hair every other day will also help keep your hair looking bouncy and full.
It’s never too soon to seek the advice of a trichologist so here are some early signs to look out for:
- You may notice that when you tie your long hair back it is thinner and that the tie wraps around it more times.
- Your hair appears to have stopped growing.
- Your centre parting is getting wider and your scalp is more visible on the top of your head.
- A recession of hair around the temples and front hairline.
- A reduction in the thickness and length of each strand.
Simple steps and self-care to help with menopausal hair problems
- Up your protein intake to encourage hair growth
- Start taking hair specific vitamins, mineral and protein supplements to help you achieve the correct balance for healthy hair growth. I always recommend Tricoextra (www.tricoextra.com) in my clinics, which consistently shows hugely positive results in women of menopausal age.
- Get active! Exercise and physical activity helps us to manage stress, and stress can have a really negative effect on your hair because it raises the androgen levels in your body. Yoga is great for helping with relaxation and reducing stress. Walking, attending an exercise class, going for a bike ride, whatever your favourite activity is will have a positive effect not just on your hair but also on the other side effects that come with the Menopause such as mood swings, weight gain and insomnia. All of these are really important in maintaining a good hormonal balance which ultimately promotes healthy hair growth.
- Eating a balanced diet is your best defence against hair loss; you are what you eat couldn’t truer when it comes to your hair. Make sure your diet includes a balance of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables at every meal. It is important to ensure that you have some mono-unsaturated oils such as olive oil as well as essential fatty acids too.
- Use a good shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair and scalp clean, balanced and moisturised. When using heated styling tools, dial down the heat and use heat protection products to support your hair’s overall health.
Talk to Your GP
If you’re finding your Menopause really difficult to cope with, do talk to your GP about hormone replacement therapy, (HRT). HRT can return oestrogen levels to an average pre-menopausal level, while also helping with hot flashes, mood swings and osteoporosis and not least your hair thinning.
However, if you do decide to go ahead with HRT, do tell your doctor about your hair concerns as some HRT treatments are hair-friendly whilst others are not and can exacerbate your hair thinning. Trichologists are aware of which HRT treatments are good for the hair and together with your GP could help determine the best treatment for you.