Tips on How to Handle Menopause and Hair Loss | Stella
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How to handle your hair during menopause and fix changes

byLucia Ferrari

The moment when you first notice your hair doesn’t feel or look like it used to can be quite traumatic – you may notice your ponytail isn’t quite as full as it once was or you see there is more hair left in your hairbrush after brushing. You may be left wondering, “Does menopause cause hair loss?” It may also feel like menopause hair has changed texture and is wirier and frizzier than it used to be. The good news is that there are some things you can do to combat these changes. And the sooner you act, the faster you will see results. Don’t just ignore it!

Our top fixes

  • Itchy and sensitive scalps – Scalp scrubs, serums and toners with aloe vera
  • Hair loss – Vitamin D supplements 
  • Hair breakage – Silk pillowcases and wraps, sulphate and silicone-free shampoos and conditioners
  • Fine and delicate hair – Soft, gentle hairbrushes designed to minimise hair breakage
  • Texture changes – Hair masks

Menopause and hair loss

Trichologist Anabel Kingsley of the Philip Kingsley Trichology Clinic explains, “There are two types of hair loss. All over shedding, which is traumatic but, thankfully, menopause hair loss is usually temporary, caused by hormonal changes, namely when oestrogen levels drop. The second is genetic, whereby some people become more sensitive to testosterone and you notice hair shedding more around the hairline and parting.”

What can we do?

If you are experiencing either, a visit to a dermatologist who specializes in menopause hair loss or a trichologist is the best idea. “Blood tests will establish if you have any underlying issues or whether it’s hormonal,” suggests Anabel Kingsley, “And we can then discuss a course of action. Plus anything that affects the hormones such as stress or insomnia or even some HRT can be a trigger for hair loss.

“If you have found a difference in the thickness of your hair while on HRT you could ask your doctor for an alternative that has low androgenic or male hormone action. But of course, this is a delicate balancing act and must be done with your doctor. We will also check nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin D for example is necessary for good hair growth and it’s often necessary to ask clients to start taking a Vitamin D supplement if their levels aren’t sufficient.”

Read the latest on the HRT debate.

How to help afro hair

Hairstylist Errol Douglas MBE explains, “Afro hair tends to be even more fragile during menopause and hair loss can be more extreme. I always advise clients to see a trichologist if they start to experience any hair thinning.”

What can we do?

Errol says: “Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or even wearing a silk headscarf to bed can also help make a difference as silk is less abrasive than cotton and kinder to delicate hair.”

Soothing itchy or sensitive scalps

Anabel Kingsley says: “A healthy scalp is key for healthy hair growth as that is where the hair follicles are and where hair starts growing. Your oil glands can also become less active as oestrogen levels drop, which can sometimes result in a dry or itchy scalp. Look for ingredients in scalp products like aloe vera which is both soothing and hydrating.”

What can we do?

“Help to keep a scalp functioning well by stopping products blocking the hair follicles which can become smaller as oestrogen levels drop,” Anabel Kingsley explains. 

How to prevent menopause hair breaking

Swapping shampoos and conditioners for products that don’t contain sulphates and silicones can have a huge impact on the overall quality of hair, prevent thinning hair in menopause. Michael Shaun Corby, Creative Director of Living Proof Haircare explains “Hair becomes thinner and more fragile during menopause so it needs extra support to keep it healthy and strong.” 

Hairstylist and founder of Centred Haircare, Kieran Tudor, says he’s seen the damaging effects of sulphates and silicones on his clients’ hair time and time again, which is one of the reasons behind setting up his line of products.

He says: “Sulphates are used in products to make them lather but they can be harsh and abrasive and can strip away natural moisture from the hair and scalp, not to mention stripping the colour if you dye your hair. This can cause already weakened hair to become even more dry and brittle and so snap off. 

“Silicones are often marketed as frizz controllers but they are a temporary fix – as over time silicone will build up on the hair shafts, causing a cling-filmed effect blocking any moisture or nourishment from penetrating. Choosing sulphate and silicone-free shampoos and conditioners will doubtlessly strengthen the hair over time and can help prevent the hair breaking and snapping off.” 

What can we do?

It may take some time for your hair to ‘adjust’ to the feel of going sulphate and silicone-free as you may miss the foam and also the silky feel of silicones but I noticed huge benefits after a couple of months after swapping to sulphate and silicone-free shampoos and conditioners.

When menopause hair changes texture

Josh Wood, one of the world’s leading hair colourists explains, “As the hair goes grey it can become more wiry or frizzy, which isn’t always the kindest thing to the complexion. It’s the reason why so many people end up colouring their hair. This of course can weaken the hair even more.

What can we do?

Josh Wood says: “Try and invest in a good hair mask at least once a week.” His Miracle Mask has been specifically created for greying, coloured hair.

Protecting fine, delicate hair

Multi-award-winning hairdresser Zoe Irwin and Creative Director of John Frieda Salons explains, “As you get older, hair can become considerably finer and therefore more susceptible to breaking. Treat it as gently as possible is key. Blowdry as much as you can with the hairdryer on the cool setting (not the hot) and using a gentle hairbrush can be a game-changer. 

What can we do?

Look for a gentle hairbrush that is kinder to hair. For example, Zoe Irwin says: “The Manta is ideal as each bristle can have complete 360-degree motion, so gently freeing knots and reducing any tension. It’s also created from a soft-touch material which glides through the hair and there are no rough edges to tear the hair shafts which is incredibly important to anyone suffering from hair thinning or hair loss.”

Next time you’re looking for haircare products, remember the advice from the experts!

Read more about how to manage changes to your skin or facial hair, plus other menopause symptoms on our blog and in our symptoms library.