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Hair Loss and Menopause: Response From an Expert

Anissa Buckley, expert on menopause, offers advice on caring for thinning, brittle hair during menopause, from vitamins to shampoo.

We received an email from Jane D. asking about menopause and hair loss. We contacted Anissa Buckley, President and Founder of B-Untethered and an expert on menopause, for her thoughts.

Jane D: Could you do an article about women in menopause and hair loss? I am 52 years old and have worn my hair in a ponytail/up for most of my life. In the last year or so, since hitting menopause, I’ve experienced a lot of thinning/hair loss and my scalp feels sensitive and irritated. My hair is now very brittle at the ends and breaks easily. Could you go over supplements and ways to combat this? I no longer wear my hair up, am trying to lower stress and use vitamins, but I would love more advice/info.

Anissa’s Response

Hair loss can be really frustrating and is many times related to the hormone shifts that take place during menopause.

While I am not an expert in hair health, I can provide some suggestions to consider that have helped other women with similar experiences.

  1. Reduce stress. 
    • Anxiety and stress in general are heightened during menopause. There are several ways to reduce stress including exercise, yoga/relaxation techniques, and meditation.
    • Additionally, you might consider taking an adaptogen. In case you are not familiar, adaptogens are almost as they sound: they aid the body in “adapting” to stressors in the environment. The two that have been proven effective for menopause anxiety relief are 1) Ashwagandha and 2) Rhodiola Rosea. Please always check with your physician to ensure there is no reason for you to avoid taking adaptogens. Then, if you decide, start with the lowest dosage to determine how the supplement will affect you. For Ashwagandha, that would be 300mg per day. For Rhodiola Rosea, the minimum effective dosage is 100mg per day with a maximum of 600mg per day.
  2. Consider hair-health-specific supplements. 
    • The first is Biotin (vitamin B7), “the” known vitamin to help with hair loss. Dosage recommendations are between 2-5mg per day. One caveat with Biotin is that it can take up to 6 months to begin to see results in your hair.
    • Another effective supplement is Nutrafol. They have a specific formulation for women that has been effective for many women. Again, however, results are not apparent for 3-6 months.
  3. Consider your shampoo. There are thickening shampoos on the market and also those for damaged hair. One shampoo that I personally have seen great results with is Redken’s Extreme Bleach Recovery shampoo. Although it is intended for bleached hair, it is also known for helping repair fragile and brittle hair. This brand also offers a partner conditioner named Extreme Bleach Recovery lamellar water treatment. The conditioner appears as water, and is best used when put into a spray bottle and sprayed on hair in the shower, after shampooing. It has brought strength and health back to my hair which was very damaged and brittle.

My empathy is with you, as this is a difficult challenge and I would offer that I have not seen a “one size fits all” treatment. This information is drawn from hearing others’ experiences with vitamins and supplements plus my own personal experience with a wide range of shampoo brands over years of experimenting.

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