Women's Hair Loss

Up to 30 million females suffer from women's hair loss. Photo: Getty Images

Some 30 million women and 40 million men in the United States contend with it, yet it's not often discussed.

No, we're not talking about psoriasis, dandruff or wrinkles -- but hair loss. Women especially suffer in silence due to the popular myth that balding should only happen to men, yet 40% of the fairer sex experience visible hair loss by the age of 40, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Thinning hair is also rife with misconceptions, the biggest of which is that you're the cause of your thinning hair.

"People mistakenly think there are mechanical causes to hair loss, like shampooing and styling too often, and wearing hats and scarves," says Angela Polsinelli, director of education for Joico, a hair brand that is launching the Clinicure line formulated for thinning hair. "It's actually the opposite that's true -- the more you stimulate your scalp with touch and keep it cleansed and healthy, the better your defense," adds Polsinelli.

The real cause of thinning hair has to do with your genetic predisposition to turn testosterone hormones into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which clogs and blocks the hair follicle both under and on top of the scalp. The hair growth cycle also shortens with age, so already blocked follicles don't have the chance to sprout fully developed strands like they once did, which collectively causes hair loss.

A slew of other factors can set the issue off or exacerbate thinning hair. Stress, poor diet, rapid weight loss, pregnancy, illnesses and environmental factors like pollution and chlorinated water can cause your body to starve the hair follicles of essential nutrients needed to grow thick, healthy hair. Medications like birth control, steroids, blood pressure, diabetic, acne and heart disease treatments have also been shown to do the same.

"Even though so many different things can factor into hair loss, the number one cause is genetics. You want to get the blood flowing in your scalp so that nutrients can get delivered," advises Polsinelli.

Salon hair brand Joico is stepping into the hair loss niche market with the launch of Clinicure, an entire system of products that is designed to clarify the scalp of excess DHT and clogging sebum, neutralize environmental pollutants, deliver nutrients to the follicles, increase microcirculation in the scalp, and fortify existing hair strands. "You have to treat the issue from a variety of ways to get the best results," says Polsinelli.


Joico's new hair loss treatment line, Clinicure. Photo courtesy of Joico

Joico's line of shampoos, conditioners, styling aids and supplements contain star ingredients like gingko and nettle to increase circulation, ginseng for its natural use as a hair loss preventative, licorice as an anti-inflammatory that quells inflamed hair follicles, vitamin B6 to balance hormones and prevent dandruff and yi yi ren, which the Chinese have used for centuries to treat eczema and scalp irritation.

The Purifying Scalp Cleanse and Balancing Scalp Nourish come in formulations safe for natural and chemically-treated hair, with the Stimulating Scalp Treatment or Advanced Thinning Rescue recommended as a third leave-in step, to be applied once hair is dry so that your scalp continues the therapy when you're out of the shower too.

Our experience with the purifying shampoo was both invigorating and minty, thanks to peppermint leaf oil and a slew of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, copper and vitamins A, C and B2 that left our scalp the freshest and most deeply cleansed it has felt in ages. Voluminous roots were an exciting side effect for our usually fine and limp locks -- we're hooked.

Texturizing thickener, volumizing foam and a dry-finish hair spray will also launch in lightweight formulas that don't add weight to strands, which can exacerbate the look of thinning hair. Products range in price from $13.95 to $29.95 for larger value sizes, and are currently rolling out to hair salons that you can look up on the salon locater page.

Want to sound off about your thinning hair woes? Joico just also launched ThinningHairCommunity.com, where you can anonymously chat about the super common beauty issue.

And if you've been considering Rogaine, check out what Consumer Reports surprisingly says about the popular hair loss drug.

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