STRANDED
Best Health|June/July 2020
It’s not just hair. There, we said it. Our ’dos are deeply entangled with our identities, our self-confidence and even our moods. Since the majority of us will deal with hair loss at some point in our lives, it’s time to get to the root of the problem.
KAREN ROBOCK

WHEN HER THINNING HAIR GOT TO THE point where she was using an eyebrow pencil to colour in her scalp to disguise the bald spots, Laura Brown* knew it was a problem. She stopped wearing ponytails at work because pulling her hair back seemed to accentuate her retreating hairline. “I avoided touching my hair in public because it would just fall out in my hands,” says the 34-year-old. “I was so self-conscious.”

HAIR’S THE THING

We all lose hair every day. Shedding is part of the natural hair cycle of growth, rest, loss and replacement. In fact, it’s perfectly normal to shed as many as 100 strands a day. But when these hairs aren’t replaced right away or more hairs shed at one time than they should, we may notice thinning and even bald patches. This interruption in the natural cycle is more common as we age and can be attributed to physical or emotional shocks to the body, underlying diseases, hormonal imbalances and even nutritional deficiencies.

Many women experience increased hair loss as they age. “About 40 percent of women experience some kind of hair loss before the age of 50,” says Caroline Ruggiero, a certified trichologist with Truly You Hair & Scalp Clinic in Mississauga, Ont., “and that number goes up after menopause.” Sometimes drastic hair loss is temporary, but other times it’s permanent. Either way, women feel that loss.

THE REAL REASON WHY YOUR PONYTAIL IS SHRINKING

At 30, Brown was diagnosed with a range of autoimmune disorders. Five years ago, she was put on an immunosuppressant drug that’s known to cause hair loss. “The hair loss affected me more mentally and emotionally than I thought it would, says Brown, who went off the drug two years ago. Hair thinning is a side effect of a number of medications used for managing everything from high blood pressure to cholesterol levels to mood disorders. Often, the hair will return when the dose is adjusted or the drug is stopped.

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