Hair coming out in unusually large clumps in (or out of) the shower is typically not a good sign for hair health. If your mane is getting more sparse, you could have female hair loss.

Remember when Lisa Vanderpump’s pomeranian shared his struggle with hair loss (RIP Giggy)? Maybe not, but it’s not just a problem for (Pomeranian and human) men. In fact, about 6–38% of women experience hair loss (aka alopecia) during their lifetime.

Female hair loss can include:

  • thinning all over
  • bald spots
  • losing handfuls of hair (not the usual amount you see in the shower)
  • full hair loss

Ladies, if you’re losing your locks there’s usually a reason. But here are treatments out there for you, too.

There are different reasons you could be losing your hair. If your hair loss is sudden, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.

  • Genetics: Hereditary hair loss is usually gradual and worsens as you age (thanks, parents).
  • Hormones: Telium effluvium (TE) and androgenic alopecia are two types of hair loss thought to be caused (at least in part) by an increase in male hormones called androgens. This increase can be triggered by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, ovarian cysts, or taking androgen-heavy birth control pills.
  • Vitamin deficiencies: Some dermatologists believe vitamins B6 and B12, amino acid L-lysine, and zinc can also lead to TE.
  • Autoimmune reactions: Autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata, Celiac disease, and lupus can lead to hair loss.
  • Thyroid problems: Thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can cause hair loss.
  • Medication: Certain medications and supplements can have the unwanted side effect of thinning hair. Chat with your doctor if you suspect your medications are causing hair loss.
  • Stress: Traumatic events or extreme stress can cause sudden hair loss, which is usually temporary.
  • Girl, you’re doing it to yourself: Excessive bleaching, perming, flat ironing, and blow drying can cause hair to break and fall out.

Depending on what’s causing your lady locks to thin or fall out, there are a variety of options to help women with hair loss. Some of these remedies are economical, natural, and DIY. Others require prescriptions or special procedures and can be scandalously expensive.

Be wary of “miracle cures”

Many unsavory companies capitalize on the emotions of women desperate to save their locks. Research and read the reviews before you fork over your hard-earned cash for a hair loss miracle product.

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1. Feast on these foods

What you’re eating has the potential to improve hair growth. Go for foods with biotin (eggs, fish, meat, and nuts), omega-3 fatty acids, (salmon, tuna, walnuts, and chia seeds), and vitamin D-rich foods (orange juice and yogurt).

2. Supplements for supple hair

You can make sure you’re getting your nutrients in with a whole-food diet of colorful fruits and veggies (eat the rainbow, folks). But, you can also consider taking a multivitamin specially designed for hair, skin, and nail health.

Getting your vitamins and minerals is crucial for healthy hair. The most important nutrients for hair growth include:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B-complex
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • zinc
  • iron

3. Goodbye bleach, hello natural beauty

Giving up your treasured hairstyles that require bleach, heat, and other harsh chemicals could be the key to ending your styling-induced hair loss. This might be hard at first, but letting go of perfectly quaffed hair could keep it on your head.

4. Root spray

One of the easiest and quickest solutions to thinning hair is using a root spray to thicken or tint your locks.

Consider it mascara for your crown of glory. It won’t grow your hair out, but it can act as a Band-Aid while you seek other treatments or embrace your thinner hair.

5. DHT shampoo

When searching for a good over-the-counter (OTC) shampoo for hair loss, look for a product that contains ingredients that block DHT. DHT is an androgen hormone linked to hair loss that attaches to your hair follicle.

Some of the best DHT blocking shampoos are those that include ingredients like saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, ketoconazole, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil, iron, biotin, and vitamins B12 and B6.

6. Rogaine (Minoxidil)

Minoxidil was originally created for other health issues, but patients in clinical trials noticed thicker hair. So they bottled it up and the brand Rogaine was born.

Over the years, clinical trials have found Minoxidil applied topically to the scalp does help regrow hairs.

Rogaine is FDA-approved for hair loss and available in 2% or 5% strengths. For women, it’s ideal to treat overall hair thinning at the top of the head. It takes months to see results and should be applied twice a day.

Side effects can include some scalp sensitivity as well as unwanted hair growth on other areas of the face. It also needs to be used regularly and as directed, or the results could reverse.

7. Topical tretinoin

Topical tretinoin, also known as Retin-A, is available without prescription and can be used in conjunction with Minoxidil shampoo for improved effectiveness (some brands have 2 in 1).

A 2019 study found that 43% of people who had no results from Minoxidil had hair growth within 5 days of Tretinoin usage.

8. De-stress your tresses

Studies have found stress can be a major trigger for hair loss. It can make hair loss from another underlying condition worse and start a vicious cycle of more hair loss. People start losing their hair, they stress about it, and they lose more hair. UGH!

It’s tough, but carving out some “me” time to de-stress (even just 15 minutes a day) can significantly lower your stress levels.

Try stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises. If you feel you’re unable to manage your stress, reach out to a therapist.

9. Acupuncture

If you don’t mind needles, this ancient traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) method may work for you. Acupuncture has not yet been proven an effective method for female pattern baldness, but it has shown success for alopecia areata (when your hair falls out in small patches).

Studies have shown that the treatment of acupuncture can lead to hair growth. However, research is limited and the topic needs more study to draw stronger conclusions.

10. Spironolactone

Spironolactone may be prescribed to lower androgen in your body. This anti-androgen medication helps curb excessive androgen (a male hormone), which can lead to hair loss.

A 2023 study found that the rate of improved hair loss using a combined therapy of oral spironolactone and minoxidil overall was 65.80%, and for those treated with just spironolactone, the rate was 43.21%.

11. Corticosteroids

A doctor can also prescribe you corticosteroids to treat hair loss. Research has found corticosteroids may reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system to stop the body from attacking hair follicles.

Corticosteroid options include injections (the most effective method), oral, or topical cream. There are side effects to watch out for, including weight gain and thinning of skin.

12. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy

PRP therapy involves having your blood drawn and put into a centrifuge (a machine that separates the blood contents) to retrieve plasma. This plasma is then injected directly into your dome for 3 months, and then every 3–4 months for 2 years.

A 2022 study found injections of non-activated PRP increased hair count and total hair density in participants.

PRP therapy sounds fancy (and expensive), and that’s because it is. The cost of PRP therapy ranges from $500–$1,000 per session. 😱

13. Low level laser therapy (LLLT)

LLLT treatment can be administered at home or in a hair salon that’s certified for LLLT. This treatment can be done in the form of a comb or a funny-looking hard hat contraption. Basically, the low level laser (bright red) omits waves that are said to stimulate hair growth.

Studies have found that LLLT helps increase hair growth in men and women with androgenetic alopecia.

14. Hair transplant

According to The American Hair Loss Association, only 2–5% of women are candidates for hair transplants. When women lose hair, it’s generally a thinning all over, not like the typical “comb over” that guys experience.

To have a hair transplant, you need a good thick section to harvest. Men commonly have a thick section at the bottom to take from. However, there are some cases where women are candidates.

It’s worth talking with your doctor about your options if you think this might work for you.

It’s important to see your primary health professional or dermatologist to get to the root of your hair loss. There are many causes of female hair loss, and it can require specialized treatment plans.

Diagnosing what’s causing the hair loss can be a journey in itself. With treatment, it may grow back.

As you go through your hair loss journey, don’t compare yourself to women you see on TV or Instagram (most of that’s not real hair, anyway).

If you need more support, try checking out Facebook groups dedicated to supporting women with hair loss. Talking with a therapist may also help.

You can also invest in hair pieces and accessories, a wig, or choose to own your hair loss. If there isn’t an underlying condition you can treat (or needs treatment), you can choose to rock your hair loss!

Hair loss doesn’t have to hold you back. U.S. representative Ayanna Pressley holds her hairless head high, and so can you (bald is beautiful!).