Medical Care ,  Health & Wellness ,  Women’s Wellness ,  Dermatology

From Luscious to Limp: The Hormonal Influence on Hair and Scalp Health

November 21, 2023

Hair is often seen as a symbol of beauty and vitality, but it can be disheartening when our once luscious locks lose their lustre and thickness. Although several factors contribute to hair and scalp health, hormonal influences play a significant role in the appearance and condition of our hair. Let's explore the fascinating link between hormones and hair health, shedding light on the impact of hormonal changes and offering insights into maintaining vibrant, resilient hair.


From Luscious to Limp: The Hormonal Influence on Hair and Scalp Health

Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle:

Before delving into the hormonal impact on hair and scalp health, it's important to understand the basics of the hair growth cycle. The cycle consists of three phases: the anagen phase (growth), the catagen phase (transition) and the telogen phase (resting and shedding). Hormones regulate this cycle in a complicated way and ensure the proper growth, duration and shedding of hair.

 

Hormonal Players in Hair Health:

  1. Oestrogen: Often referred to as the "hair-friendly" hormone, it contributes to the overall hair health, thickness and shine. It prolongs the anagen phase, promotes hair growth and reduces hair loss. However, fluctuations in oestrogen levels, e.g. during pregnancy or menopause, can lead to hair thinning or excessive hair loss.

  2. Progesterone: Progesterone is a natural inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase due to its high affinity for the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme compared to testosterone. If progesterone is present, this may decrease 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone synthesis, which is what causes androgen driven miniaturisation of the hair follicle. During menopause, the reduction in progesterone is known to increase the impact of androgens on the hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

  3. Androgens: Androgens, including testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are typically considered male hormones but are also found in women. Although they're necessary for various bodily functions, high androgen levels can affect hair health. Androgens can cause hair follicles to shrink, leading to hair loss, thinning and eventually androgenetic alopecia.

  4. Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) play a crucial role in regulating metabolism in the body, including hair growth. An imbalance of thyroid hormones, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can disrupt the hair growth cycle and lead to hair loss, dryness and brittleness.

 

Hormonal Changes and Hair Loss: