Menopause & Hair Extensions

We are often asked here at Racoon International about the effects of Menopause on hair and whether it causes hair loss, thinning, breakage or generally slowing down of hair growth, so here we have put together a great guide to #Menopause and Your Hair with our Trichologist Iain Sallis with whom we developed the Hair in Recovery programme. Our system that allows women experiencing new hair growth post-chemotherapy or medical hair loss – including thinning – to have hair extensions added in a very specific way that does not damage the hair fibres it is attached to, giving the client hair that moves and behaves like their own hair, whilst allowing your own hair to grow and recover safely in its own time safely.

Why does hair loss occur in menopause?

Menopause can lead to the thinning, and general loss of hair for a lot of women. This is due to the lowered levels of oestrogen which up to this point had buffered the effect of testosterone, which can negatively affect women in the same way as it can in men. These hormonal changes lead to the hair thinning to the top of the scalp and increase if facial hair.

There are many other factors that may contribute to issues with hair growth including thyroid dysfunction, nutrient deficiencies in diet, new medications, stress nor anxiety and genetic influences. It can be difficult to always find one definitive cause for hair loss and quite frequently, there is more than one factor playing a role, at any given time.

Hair loss in Menopause can tend to affect the central portion of the scalp, sparing the front hairline and is characterised by a wider midline part on the crown than on the side of the scalp. Other symptoms of female hair loss include a general reduction in hair diameter, speed of growth and the length it can grow to.

How do I know? What are the signs and symptoms?

Hair thinning is always gradual, no matter what the cause. Fifty-one is the average age for menopause in the UK, but changes to your hair can begin long before during perimenopause. Around menopause, you may notice the following:

  • Your hair doesn’t seem to grow as long as before.
  • Your parting appears to be wider.
  • You can see your scalp more around the crown of your head.
  • Your hairline is receding around your temple area.
  • A loss of density at your front hairline
  • The thickness (volume) and length of each hair strand is reduced.
  • You find that your hair breaks more easily.
  • You might notice when you put your hair in a ponytail or up in a bun that it feels thinner / less in volume.

How can I help my hair during menopause?

  1. Eat plenty of good foods
    A balanced diet fill of vitamins and minerals and is low in saturated fat.
  2. Add Supplements
    A daily multivitamin or mineral supplement to get the nutrients you may have missed in your diet and help to replenish key nutrients.
  3. Exercise Regularly
    Exercise can help in keeping your mood swings in check, maintaining your weight, and helping you sleep, all of which help to contribute to hormonal balance and promote healthy hair growth.
  4. Stay Hydrated
    Staying hydrated can keep your skin and hair healthy and also improve blood circulation, which keeps your follicles nourished.
  5. Look after your hair
    Use a gentle, moisturising shampoo and conditioner when you wash your hair. Don’t use excessive heat often (heated tools) and always use a heat protector when doing so.

Are there any Treatments for menopause related hair loss?

Medical treatments come in two forms for menopausal hair loss; firstly, HRT can be of great benefit adding artificially the oestrogen, which is depleted, this does not directly affect hair growth but can help the skin and so prevent a rapid decline in hair thinning.

Minoxidil; this is a stimulant that is usually applied topically and is excellent for female hair growth, however, there is a catch, you need to use it daily for at least 6-9 months to see a difference and if you do see benefits you have to carry on using it.

Should I still colour my Hair if I am experiencing thinner hair in Menopause?

Yes, colouring your hair has no effect on hair loss, I would advise to do what you can to the hair cosmetically to assist in making you feel better about it.

Avoid bleach and perms though as these can affect the quality of the hair significantly

Can I still have hair extensions if I am experiencing thinner hair in Menopause?

Yes! you can, so long as your hair is not excessively shedding, and the scalp is healthy there is no reason not to seek professional help from an extensionist who is trained in the applying extensions in thinning hair and hair loss sufferers. Especially those certified in the Racoon Hair in Recovery Programme.

Iain Sallis, Hair Medic @hairmedic