Well it looks like COVID has a lot to answer for when it comes to our hair – not only has hair loss been demonstrated to be a problem in patients suffering from long-term COVID symptoms, but now it’s being suggested that a lack of sunlight during lockdown could also be playing havoc with our locks as a link between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss is well established.
Why would a lack of sunlight cause hair loss?
Sunlight contains vitamin D, which we need for a whole range of things, but the thing it’s really necessary for is bone, skin and hair health.
In recent years, with increased public awareness around skin cancer, we’ve all started taking a lot more care about our sun exposure, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to our hair.
And months of lockdown have really compounded that issue – with many of us stuck inside for the major part of every day, we have missed out on some of that vital summer sunshine and our hair is suffering for it.
Female pattern hair loss
Female pattern hair loss, as the name suggests, is the female version of male-pattern hair loss. It affects around 40% of women by the age of 50, and presents as a more diffuse thinning of the hair than its male equivalent.
Whilst male-pattern baldness usually shows first at the hair line and the crown, female-pattern hair loss tends to occur all over – although it is probably at the parting that you will first notice it.
The official scientific term for male-pattern hair loss is “androgenic alopecia”, due to the role that androgens (hormones like testosterone) play in its development. When it female-pattern hair loss, however, the root cause has never been determined.
Vitamin D deficiency and hair loss
One of the things vitamin D does in the body is to stimulate the hair follicles to regenerate, so it has long been considered that a lack of vitamin D could slow that process down and lead to hair loss.
Studies have shown a link between low serum levels of vitamin D and female pattern hair loss. One particular report, published in the International Journal of Trichology in 2016, looked at serum levels of vitamin D in 45 women with female-pattern hair loss, compared with a control group, and found that vitamin D levels in the FPHL group were significantly lower.
Interestingly, earlier studies have shown no link between vitamin D levels and male pattern hair loss, so it seems this really is a women’s problem…
What to do if you think low vitamin D could be causing your hair loss
If you’re concerned about female pattern hair loss and think low levels of vitamin D could be behind it, the first thing to do is to book an appointment with your GP or a hair loss expert to check it out.
The good news is that there are ways to increase your vitamin D relatively easily – one option, of course, is to spend more time in the sunshine, but that’s not always possible or indeed advisable. Other possibilities include topical applications of vitamin D-based products, or upping female hair loss vitamins in the form of supplements.
To find out more or to discuss any female hair loss concerns you may have, why not contact us today to book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts.