PCOS Hair Loss and Thinning: Causes, Treatments and Remedies
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a physically and emotionally draining condition that occurs during a woman’s reproductive years, caused by a hormonal imbalance.
One particularly traumatic symptom is PCOS hair loss which can cause significant trauma to those unfortunate enough to suffer from it.
Whether you’ve noticed more strands in your brush or patches along your hairline, we are here to help you understand the causes and provide some remedies for this hair loss.
Does PCOS Cause Hair Loss?
Hair loss is common amongst PCOS sufferers and a study in 2021 proved that there’s a definite link between the condition and thinning locks.
It mainly occurs as a result of the excess androgenic hormones within those who have the condition, and can cause hair loss and thinning, as well as limp, lifeless locks that are brittle, damaged and prone to snapping,
The hair loss caused by PCOS is medically known as female pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. It is identifiable by the following traits:
- Hair fallout around the fronts and sides of the scalp
- Hair within the parting becomes thinner
- A receding hairline above the temples
While the increase in androgens triggers PCOS hair thinning, and you may have noticeable patches along the hairline, it’s unlikely to cause complete baldness.
Symptoms of PCOS-Related Hair Loss
If you’re suffering from PCOS hair loss, it’s likely you’ll have noticed more frequent shedding. For example, you may wake up and notice hair on your pillowcase or find an increased amount of hair on your clothing. It is also common for hair to come out in clumps in the shower.
PCOS hair loss can fall from the root, so the entire strand falls out, or as a breakage further down the strand because of dry, brittle locks. Thin PCOS hair is more fragile and prone to damage and frizz when brushed or exposed to heat.
You may also notice that your scalp feels itchy and dry; it is common for those with PCOS to suffer with build-up and dandruff, which can contribute to further loss and prevent growth. Hair can seem finer in texture and prove difficult to style, requiring products to give a volume boost.
Treatment for PCOS hair loss
The good news is that PCOS hair loss can grow back. If you’re looking at how to stop hair loss from PCOS, you will firstly need to rectify the hormonal imbalance with a visit to your local doctor. They should be able to prescribe medication that will help to rebalance hormone levels and begin to tackle your thin PCOS hair. They may also be able to refer you to a trichologist who can help to reactivate the hair follicles.
Other treatments for hair loss from PCOS include:
A difficult medical condition like PCOS can raise stress levels, but this could also be contributing to hair loss, as significant stress can push large numbers of the hair follicles into a resting phase causing hair strands to fall at a significant pace.
Stress levels can also worsen the PCOS condition itself, so it is important to learn to manage stress and anxiety in a way that works for you. Some approaches that people adopt include exercise, yoga, meditation and journaling.
Taking part in regular exercise can improve your circulation which, in turn, encourages hair growth. This growth occurs when the follicles receive nutrients and oxygen from the blood vessels. Exercising increases blood flow, raising the nutrients and oxygen that reach the scalp. It is also a good way of reducing your stress levels.
A balanced diet is important for all aspects of health but can also help in treating your PCOS hair loss. Hair needs high levels of vitamins and nutrients such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Increase your intake of these nutrients by introducing different foods into your diet. Some good examples include salmon, spinach, eggs, lentils and nuts. Consider also taking a supplement that supports hair health.
Massaging the Scalp
Don’t underestimate the importance of your scalp to help relieve your hair loss symptoms; it’s here that the growth starts! Performing a simple scalp massage every day will help to stimulate blood flow and encourage hair growth.
Massaging the scalp promotes blood circulation and ensures that there’s a consistent supply of blood to the follicles which encourages a longer anagen phase. You could even use a product such as the Black Seed Oil Hair Elixir before a hair wash to carry out a longer massage. Black seed oil is known to be particularly effective against hair loss and stimulating regrowth.
It’s understandable that hair washing may cause distress if you are noticing larger volumes of hair loss in the shower, however, it isn’t because of the hair washing that it falls out, as the strands will already be loose.
It is important to regularly wash hair and establish a good routine as infrequent washing can lead to dirt and oil clogging up the follicles, which can worsen hair loss and cause further scalp damage.
If you’re looking for a shampoo that’s best for PCOS hair, cut out anything sulphate-based that can strip hair of essential moisture. We recommend switching to a naturally-derived formula, instead, like the Baobab Detangler & Cleanser.
What Helps With PCOS Hair Loss? 7 Remedies
Pair more physical treatments with some effective remedies that can help to support your PCOS hair regrowth journey. Whilst there are some medicines available, you can also reverse PCOS hair loss naturally. Using naturally-derived methods can help to keep tresses nourished and leave hair in better health overall. Some remedies for PCOS hair loss include:
1. Onion Juice
Onion juice is an effective, natural home remedy that can be used to treat hair loss. It is known to reduce shedding and improve PCOS thinning hair as it is high in sulphur which increases circulation to the scalp. It is capable of regenerating hair follicles and maintaining scalp health due to its anti-inflammatory properties that can also reduce fallout.
2. Oral Contraceptive Pills
Taking an oral contraceptive tablet can help to lower androgen levels. Rectifying the hormonal balance that caused your PCOS hair loss will work to slow down shedding.
3. Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil has developed quite a reputation in the hair industry for its ability to prevent and treat hair loss. Participants in a recent study noticed a 76% reduction in hair fall when using black seed oil. Thymoquinone is active in this oil which makes it great at stimulating growth. This wonder product is also a powerful antioxidant that relieves scalp conditions, as well as working to naturally hydrate the hair for optimal hair and scalp health.
Apply this oil directly to the scalp, as well as the lengths and ends, for a nourishing treatment that will see quick results.
4. Peppermint Oil
Using peppermint oil within your haircare routine can help to stimulate hair growth in as little as two weeks. Mix 2-3 drops into a carrier oil (such as almond) to apply as a topical treatment twice a week. Alternatively, you could add drops into your shampoo, massaging thoroughly before rinsing.
Used to treat both male and female pattern baldness, minoxidil is medically proven to slow down and stop hair loss. In fact, recent research by a team of dermatologists has shown that it has “remarkable benefits to patients with hair disorders”. It can also start the regrowth process, but the rate of growth can vary.
Apply an egg mask to your locks for a potent infusion of vitamins straight to the hair and scalp. The yolk, in particular, is known to be beneficial as it creates stronger strands that are less prone to breakage, which is particularly important for fine, easily-damaged PCOS hair.
Marula oil is both restorative and nourishing, effective in treating common scalp problems, as well as repairing damage to hair follicles. It is rich in essential fatty acids, as well as antioxidants, that work to hydrate the hair and scalp, preventing breakages and slowing loss.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can an Ovarian Cyst Cause Hair Loss?
PCOS causes small, harmless cysts to develop on the ovaries. This is not the same as an ovarian cyst, although there are some similarities. As both conditions have a direct impact on hormones, ovarian cysts can also cause hair loss.
Can I Take Biotin if I Have PCOS?
Absolutely! Not only is biotin good for hair loss, but it can also relieve PCOS problems such as symptoms from diabetes, that can be brought on by the syndrome. Biotin, or vitamin B7, is especially effective for hair health, increasing shine, thickness and increasing growth in those suffering with loss or thinning.
PCOS hair loss can be hard to deal with, especially when already coping with the effects of a medical condition, but it is treatable. With a good routine of treatments and remedies that are used consistently, you can get results in a relatively short space of time.
If you have particularly bad PCOS hair loss, seek medical advice as they will be able to prescribe specific hair loss treatments that work to regulate any imbalanced hormones.