Written by Mallory Junggren
Everyone has bad hair days once in a while. But if that bad hair day stretches into a bad hair month or beyond, menopause might be a contributing factor.
How and Why Does Your Hair Change During Menopause?
Like so many other symptoms related to menopause, changes to hair are often related to fluctuating hormone levels. Not every woman will experience noticeable hair changes during this transition phase, but here are some of the more common ones to look out for.
Menopause and Hair Loss
Before perimenopause, your body’s estrogen helps with hair growth, density, and fullness. But as estrogen dips, hair can feel thinner, break more easily, and grow more slowly.1 With your body producing less estrogen, the effects of androgens (male hormones) are also more pronounced.2 Androgen activity shortens the growth phase of hair and lengthens the time between shedding and the start of a new growth phase. In the mirror, that translates to overall thinning or sometimes even bald spots. You’re not alone if you’re dealing with noticeable menopause hair loss—it’s estimated that 50% of women will experience this symptom.3
Menopause and Thinning Hair
During menopause, hair changes texture too thanks to that flurry of androgen activity.4 Not only could you see overall thinning across your scalp, but also, the hair follicle itself shrinks. The result: as new hair grows from that follicle; the hair shaft is thinner than you may be used to.
Menopause and Hair Damage
Blood flow to the hair follicles also decreases with age, cutting down on access to key nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids (which give hair a healthy shine), vitamins A and C (which prevent breakage), protein (which promotes hair growth), and beta carotene (which encourages your scalp to produce sebum, fighting dryness).5 Without enough of these nutrients, your hair also becomes more vulnerable to everyday styling, UV exposure, free radical damage, and oxidative stress.
Here’s What You Can Do About Menopause Hair Changes:
Changes to your hair during menopause can be stressful, but the good news is there’s something you can do about it. Lifestyle changes and products can help you maintain healthier hair and mitigate related symptoms.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet will help you feel better head to toe—and from root to tip. If it’s difficult to get all of your vitamins in from your diet alone, consider looking into vitamins specifically formulated to address menopause, and more specifically, menopause hair changes.
Change Up Your Products
You can look for hair conditioners and serums that go beyond superficial (and temporary) benefits. Specific dietary supplements can also help, such as treatments that target the scalp and hair with proven ingredients like arginine silicate inositol and magnesium biotinate that have been shown to actually promote hair growth and thickness.6
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Lay Off Damaging Styles
Cut down on the risk of drying out or breaking off your hair by reducing the amounts of blow drying, straightening, curling, and salon treatments like straightening, perming, and coloring. Try taking a break from tight ponytails too, which can cause permanent hair loss at your front hairline and throughout your crown.7
Get a New Cut
Of course a haircut can’t make your hair grow in thicker or faster (if only!)—but the right chop can transform how full and healthy your hair looks and even prevent further breakage. If you’re dealing with dry hair, a gloss or deep conditioning treatment can also upgrade your hair’s shine and moisture. Hair stylists are well-versed in hiding hair loss, so be upfront about your goals.