Menopause: hair loss, thinning and breakage

Written by: Madeleine White

Many women notice changes to their hair during perimenopause and menopause. From hair loss to breakage and lack of volume, hormonal changes can exacerbate many common hair worries.

Just like our skin, our hair ages and so some changes are inevitable. However, there are plenty of steps you can take to help feel as confident as possible and enjoy your hair at every age.

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We recently partnered with Norfolk Menopause to host an intimate Q&A session called 'Let's Talk About Menopause'. The talk was full of valuable information about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and lifestyle factors, as well as practical advice on how to care for your skin and hair during and after perimenopause and menopause.

This article mainly focusses on how hormonal fluctuations can impact the hair. With trusted, expert-led information courtesy of Dr Emily Cary and Dr Susanne Ahlund, and specific product recommendations that are available to shop at JUNI & CO, we hope this is something you can refer back to time and time again.

Part 1, focussing on skin care and health, can be found here.

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Norfolk Menopause is a Norwich-based group of specialist GPs and gynaecologists. They aim to transform your menopause journey and empower you to take control. Committed to providing compassionate and expert care to women during this important stage of life, they understand that menopause can be a challenging time both physically and emotionally.

Understanding your hair and the influence of hormones

Before exploring various products and treatments, it's helpful to understand how 'normal' hair growth and shedding works, and some of the changes that can occur around menopause:

  • Hair follicles are the tiny structures that surround the root of a hair and support the hair as it grows. These start ‘ageing’ after 40. This is felt to be partly due to natural reduced cell renewal and partly due to changes in hormones.

  • There are two main parts of the hair growth cycle. The active anagen growth phase, which usually lasts around 3 years, and the shedding telogen phase which will usually only last around 3 months.

  • Oestrogen promotes hair follicle growth and prolongs the anagen growth phase.

  • Androgens (mainly testosterone) can inhibit scalp hair follicles but encourage thicker, coarser hair growth on the face and other body areas.

  • It's normal to shed 100-150 hairs a day.

  • Stress, including hormonal stress, can lead to increased shedding. This is also known as Telogen Effluvium.
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Changes in hair after menopause


Here are some of the hair changes that occur around menopause;

Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is the commonest hair change seen around the menopause transition. There is a genetic link and women with a family history seem to be most sensitive to hormonal changes affecting their hair. In this condition some of the hair follicles shrink, especially at the front and sides of the scalp, and the hair that is then produced is very fine and does not produce as much coverage. Though the hair may be thin at the front of the scalp the hairline is maintained and does not recede back. There has been very little research into the role of HRT in hair loss, but many women do report that HRT seems to help. Occasionally HRT preparations with synthetic hormones can worsen FPHL and a change to a natural preparation can help.

Telogen Effluvium – as discussed above changes in hormone balance can produce an excess of hairs in the shedding phase which results in thinning of hair all over the scalp and noticeable increased loss of hair when washing and brushing. This can also be triggered by other reversible conditions especially an underactive thyroid and low iron (ferritin) level, so a blood test is often offered to check these. Some medications can also trigger this, including high blood pressure medications and some anti-inflammatories.

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia – this is a rarer cause of hair loss around menopause and should be considered if the frontal hairline starts receding. It is caused by a scarring skin inflammation (though the scalp may not look or feel inflamed or scarred) and often also affects the eyebrows. It is usually confirmed by taking a small skin sample (biopsy) and treatment is available.

Hirsutism – It can be particularly galling if you are worried about your scalp hair thinning to find that hair elsewhere is getting thicker and darker, especially if this is on your face (hirsutism). This is very common around menopause due to a change in the balance of oestrogen and testosterone. As oestrogen fluctuates and reduces, testosterone can become more predominant. HRT to replenish oestrogen levels will usually help. It is especially important if you have any problems with facial hair to make sure you are getting adequate oestrogen in HRT if you are considering testosterone replacement for low libido; even the low doses of testosterone that are given through the skin as part of HRT are more likely to worsen facial hair if oestrogen levels are low.

Steps towards healthy hair

  • Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner designed to treat your specific hair type and concern

  • Avoid pulling hair back tightly when styling as this can lead to stress on hair follicles which may already be fragile

  • Avoid heat treatment where possible, and especially heat in combination with tension – e.g. flat ironing and pulling hair when blow drying

  • Protect the scalp and hair from UV damage by wearing a hat and using protective hair products

  • Avoid dropping weight rapidly as this can stress your system and increase hair shedding

  • Make sure you have plenty of iron in your diet, adding some vitamin C aids iron absorption

Targeting hair loss and thinning

At JUNI & CO, we've personally experienced brilliant results from The Nue Co.'s Supa Thick range, as well as rave reviews from customers. Suzanne recently shared her thoughts on Instagram which can be watched here.

In just a few months, an abundance of new growth can be expected, plus less breakage and a healthier, more balanced scalp.

A supplement may also be helpful to target the root cause of hair loss and thinning. Growth Phase by The Nue Co. is a clinically proven full spectrum supplement designed to support nutrition deficiencies, hormonal fluctuations and stress to reveal thicker, stronger hair full of body.

The formula contains a clinically studied complex that's proven to increase hair growth and decrease breakage. It also delivers essential minerals, adaptogens and micronutrients and vitamins (including Biotin and B12) for a 360 holistic approach to hair health from within.

In a clinical study, Growth Phase was proven to:

• Reduce Hair Shedding by 87%

• Reduce Hair Breakage by 90%

• Improve Hair Growth by 40%

(After 5 months. Healthy female volunteers aged between 25-65 years with self-perceived thinning hair.)

Lack of volume, tangling and difficult to manage hair

If hair loss and thinning isn't so much of a concern, but perhaps hair is generally not looking its best or is difficult to manage, we love Centred for their scalp-first approach.

The Heightened Shampoo and Conditioner are great for giving an airy, lightweight feeling to otherwise limp hair without that bird's nest effect that can sometimes happen. The duo is perfect for those with oily roots or to prolong time between washes.

The Daily Calmer duo, on the other hand, is a great all-rounder to gently remove daily build up without stripping the hair or scalp. 

Formulated with a calming blend of aloe vera, chamomile and orange blossom water, combined with a coconut-derived cleanser Daily Calma Shampoo leaves your feeling fresh and silky without silicone and sulfates.

It's good practise to give your scalp a little TLC once a week - think of it as a facial for your scalp. The En Root Scalp Oil is a pre-wash treatment that stimulates, nourishes and exfoliates the scalp, creating a clean environment for healthy hair growth. Salicylic acid gently removes product build up and dead skin.

A true multitasker - Unwind is ideal to detangle and protect hair from hot tools and sunlight. A lightweight, vitamin-enriched detangling spray that helps hydrate and protect your hair before styling. The ultra-fine hydrating mist is formulated with Vitamin E to help lock in moisture and protect hair from heat, UVA, and mechanical damage.