One of the worst hair care-related feelings is blow drying or brushing out your hair and seeing it begin to shed either all over the brush or all over the floor (I’ve definitely been there). Age-related hair loss is ubiquitous among men, but women can also experience hair loss and slow hair growth for a variety of reasons: some of them related to age, and others related to hormonal changes.
Beyond hormonal hair changes, stress can be a factor in hair loss, as can the hairstyle you wear. The good news is, if you’re dealing with hair loss, no matter the cause, you’re not alone (celebrities including Tyra Banks and Kristin Davis have even opened up about their hair loss and alopecia). There is also hope in some dermatologist-recommended treatments that you can turn to for hair loss.
Before we get to hair growth products, it’s important to understand the various factors behind hair loss and the types of hair loss remedies you can try.
Why does hair loss happen?
Hair loss happens naturally to women at a certain age, just as it happens to men. “Roughly 55% of women experience some form of hair loss by the time they reach the age of 70,” explains Dr. Libby Rhee, DO, FAAD, dermatology advisor for Ro. Most commonly, women over 40 begin what’s called female pattern hair loss, which may look like gradual thinning at the top of the scalp or around the temples.
Some of that age-related hair loss could also be provoked by menopause. “With a decrease of estrogen and progesterone in menopause, there is often a slowing of the hair growth rate and a decrease in time spent in the growth phase,” Dr. Christine Shaver, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist at Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York City, tells SheKnows. “This causes hair to grow slower and shorter before falling out.”
Hormones also affect your hair during and after pregnancy. During those nine months, spikes in estrogen promote hair growth and thickening, according to Shaver. After birth, when estrogen levels start to decrease, hair growth pauses and then begins a natural process of shedding postpartum. “The hair shedding following delivery will slow after a few months, and then volume will slowly begin to return after about one year without any treatment,” Shaver assures.
There are other biological reasons for slow hair growth or hair loss, including female pattern hair loss in your genetics, or certain nutritional deficiencies (more on that below). If you often style your hair in a way that might weaken hair follicles and lead to hair falling out, you may need more support with hair growth, says Rhee. Some examples of hairstyles that can cause some fallout are a super tight ponytail, cornrows, extensions, or box braids.
What are your options for hair growth remedies?
Hair growth solutions can look like topical solutions such as sprays, serums, and foams. The key ingredient to look for in hair growth topicals is minoxidil, which is a hair growth-inducing and follicle-supportive active ingredient, according to Rhee. There are also oral minoxidil treatments you can take as well.
Since slow hair growth can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies such as anemia, low iron (which may occur because of low consumption in the diet or heavy periods) or vitamin D, deficiencies should be addressed individually with an appropriate supplement, says Shaver. Many people take biotin, or vitamin B7, for hair or nail growth. This may be helpful if you have a diagnosed vitamin B deficiency, but you may not notice a huge improvement in your hair growth from taking biotin alone, Shaver explains.
Rhee recommends meeting with a medical professional about your hair loss before trying any treatment or supplement intended for hair growth. All that said, once you’ve had that conversation, these are the best hair growth products to keep in mind.
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Nutrafol Women Hair Growth Nutraceutical
Your diet can make a difference in your hair growth patterns. “Since nutrients like vitamin B, C, and E can all foster healthy hair growth, it is possible that a deficiency in some nutrients, or too much of things like fish high in mercury, fried food and supplements or food high in vitamin A can all inhibit hair growth,” Rhee says.
An ingestible supplement like Nutrafol Women Hair Growth Neutraceutical can be helpful in that it contains well over your daily recommended value of vitamins B7, C and D, as well as a significant amount of vitamin E and zinc. Marine collagen protein in the formula can assist in strengthening your strands, too. You can subscribe to the supplement on a monthly basis for $79.
Ro Oral Minoxidil for Women
“Oral minoxidil is a daily tablet for those averse to any potential mess from applying a topical,” Rhee says. “Minoxidil can help to increase blood flow, and, as a result, the growth phase of hair follicles, leading to better hair growth in some women.”
Prescription minoxidil pills are actually prescribed for high blood pressure but are often prescribed at a low dose for supporting hair growth. Note that it might take up to 6 months of taking the prescription before you notice a significant difference in hair growth.
Musely FaceRx The Hair Topical Solution is formulated specifically for female pattern hair loss and menopause-related hair loss. Its active ingredient is minoxidil, but it also contains tretinoin, a retinoid often found in skincare products. Tretinoin helps increase the body’s absorption of minoxidil, according to Rhee, thanks to its ability to expedite skin cell turnover and unclog hair follicles so that minoxidil can be absorbed. You can get this prescription with a quick $20 doctor’s visit and a fee starting at $30 a month.
Keranique Damage Control Complete Hair Regrowth System
Looking for the hair growth starter pack? We shopped it for you. For just $58, you get the full Keranique Damage Control Complete Hair Regrowth System. The Follicle Strengthening Shampoo, Follicle Strengthening Conditioner, and Lift & Repair Treatment Spray all contain biotin and a keratin amino acid complex, the building blocks of the protein keratin, which makes up the hair, nails, and skin. Those are intended to strengthen and nourish the follicles and strands. The system also includes a 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution for hair growth to get the job done.
Hers Hair Regrowth Foam Treatment
If you want to support hair growth with just one easy product, try this Hair Regrowth Treatment from hers. It’s made of 5% minoxidil and is designed to apply directly to the hair by working it through the scalp. You don’t need to wash it out or worry about greasiness or any unpleasant scent — basically, no one will know it’s there but you, since it absorbs right into the hair.
Before you go, check out some of our go-to menopause beauty products: