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MENOPAUSE: WHAT'S HAPPENING
Perimenopause Hair Loss and Changes: What to Expect
Jan. 26, 2022
Dark hairs are sprouting on your chinny chin chin, but you’re losing the hair you want on your head. What’s up with that?
There are a couple of OMG hair moments in a woman’s life. One is the day you look in the mirror and see a long, black chin hair that’s sprouted up out of nowhere. OMG number two is a more gradual phenomenon, as you notice that the hair on your head is becoming finer, and there’s less of it. Are you slowly going bald and growing a goatee, or is this just menopause?
Does menopause cause facial hair growth?
Let’s start with the hair on your face. Yes, rogue chin hairs are completely normal.
“It’s an annoying and very common concern for women who are perimenopausal,” says Nazanin Saedi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Philadelphia, PA, and associate professor of dermatology at Thomas Jefferson University.
Like so many odd occurrences and symptoms during this time, stray hairs popping up along the jawline are due to a fluctuation in hormones. “The ratio of androgen, or male, hormones is higher than estrogen levels, which are dropping.”
How do you get rid of facial hair during menopause?
“If it’s just a few hairs, then tweezing or waxing is effective, but if you’re bothered by a lot of dark hairs above your lip or along your jawline, then laser hair removal can be an excellent long-term solution,” says Dr. Saedi, who typically recommends four to six treatments to get 70% hair reduction.
If you tweeze a few chin hairs or wax your ’stache, will the hair grow back thicker? “That’s a total myth,” says Dr. Saedi. “The hair will grow back with the same texture.”
Is it normal to lose hair during menopause?
What about the hair on your head? While it’s normal to lose 150 strands per day, shedding more than that could be a sign of telogen effluvium, a temporary condition that can happen due to stress (having a baby, or because of an illness or emotional turmoil). Androgenic alopecia, otherwise known as female pattern baldness, is progressive hair loss due to hormonal changes.
“Menopause can actually trigger both due to the hormonal shock to the system and the lower estrogen/higher androgen ratio. If you seem to be losing a lot of hair, it can be disconcerting to say the least, but it’s perfectly normal during perimenopause.” To be on the safe side, Dr. Saedi recommends seeing your physician for a checkup to rule out other things that can contribute to menopause hair loss, such as thyroid problems, anemia, or a vitamin deficiency.
Why is my hair so thin during perimenopause?
“Androgen hormones actually shrink the hair follicles on the scalp, so individual strands emerge thinner in diameter. This ‘miniaturization’ of the follicles creates an overall diffuse, thinner head of hair,” explains Dr. Saedi.
Can I treat my hair loss at home?
Using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner can add some heft to your hair temporarily. Vitamin supplements can also be helpful, specifically biotin, an essential vitamin that promotes keratin formation for strong hair and nails. For healthier hair overall, Dr. Saedi recommends eating a healthy diet and taking a multivitamin once a day. One to try: Phenology Beautiful Day AM+ Dietary Supplement, not only formulated with a patent-pending combo of saffron and genistein to support a positive mood and reduce the requency and duration of hot flashes, but also boosted with biotin and other crucial vitamins for immune, bone and brain health.
Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine) is a very effective over-the-counter medication that halts menopause hair loss. Dr. Saedi suggests using the five-percent topical solution, which is more effective than the lower strength two-percent formula. “You apply this to your scalp twice a day, every single day to help grow hair locally.” One caveat: Once you stop using the product, your hair will start shedding again.
What can a doctor do for menopause hair loss?
An in-office solution for androgenic alopecia is a procedure called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. “A doctor draws your blood, which is then spun in a centrifuge so the nutrient- and growth-factor-rich platelets are separated from the red blood cells. This concentrated PRP serum is then injected into the scalp to help stimulate hair growth.”
We’re talking tiny pin-prick injections that are half an inch apart, all over the localized area. Optimal results require a series of three to four monthly PRP treatments, which range in price from $750 to $1000 per session.
“Studies have shown that PRP can increase hair count and thickness, and I do think it works for some people,” says Dr. Saedi “But I would try nutritional supplements and minoxidil first.”
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