By Rachel Lankester, Mutton Club Editor
Adapted from Rachel’s book – Magnificent Midlife: Transform Your Middle Years, Menopause and Beyond.
Hormonal changes can impact our hair as we age. We often start finding it in places we don’t want it—our chins, and don’t find as much of it in the places we want it—our heads. Hair loss in menopause can be caused by multiple factors, but aging and hormonal changes can definitely take their share of the blame, as can stress, again. Getting better hormonal balance overall will help.
Hair loss can be particularly distressing. If there’s no obvious medical reason for your hair loss, and it’s bad, please be sure to get it checked out. Otherwise, there are various approaches that may help with thinning hair.
First, it helps to go as natural as possible with your hair products. These days we can’t be sure what’s in any personal product and the impact it may have long term. It pays to try to move more towards the natural/organic end of the range.
Hair products that contain phthalates or parabens can increase damage to your hair and scalp, so check your ingredients. In addition, we can get more sensitive to these ingredients as we go through menopause. If you can’t identify the ingredients, buy another product.
Hair coloring is usually made of chemicals that damage the scalp and hair unless you’re using all natural products. The same goes with bleaching or perming. If you can avoid these chemicals, give that a try to see if it helps rejuvenate your hair.
Lots of blow drying, curling, or straightening is also not going to help build lustrous locks. Avoid shampooing every day, as it washes out the natural oils in your hair. If you have very dry hair, it might be worth applying coconut or argan oil to bring back lost natural oils. There will be hair thickening products and supplements available in your local pharmacy, although these may not be especially natural—proceed with caution!
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to consider a wig. I once spent a very pleasant afternoon at a wig shop with a friend of mine. She has a healthy head of her own hair, but like many Black women, enjoys experimenting with different hair styles by using wigs. Watching her try all the different ones and admiring her immediate transformation was really enlightening for me.
I think many women feel wearing a wig is something shameful. Many of us could learn a lot from following the example of our Black sisters and experiment a bit. A wig is also better for you than extensions, which can cause untold damage to the health of your own hair.
A quick note on hormone therapy and hair. One of my mentoring clients wanted to come off hormone therapy because she felt it caused her hair to fall out. When she weaned herself off, her hair grew back. Another client wanted to go on hormone therapy because she felt menopause caused her hair to fall out, and she noticed an improvement after starting hormone therapy. So don’t make assumptions about what may be causing hair issues. Stay curious.
Stress is also not good for our hair – it’s thought to possibly be a contributing factor for alopecia. Stress is not good for us full stop. So if you’re particularly stressed, make it a priority to tackle that or manage it better. Your whole body will thank you and you’ll set yourself up for better long-term health.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of finding hair where we don’t want it. Why is hair determined to move from our head to our chin? Certainly, invest in a magnifying mirror, as the combination of chin hair and farsightedness is not a good one (unless it just doesn’t bother you). If unwanted hair is upsetting for you, there are options, such as laser treatment or bleaching. Again, my instinct is to stay as natural as possible, even (and especially) when it comes to facial hair.
I hope these top tips to avoid hair loss in menopause are useful. Stay curious about what may be causing hair loss and open to what may help reverse the trend. Good luck!
Last Updated on January 17, 2023 by Editorial Staff