October 03, 2023

What Is Hormonal Hair?

Photography: Nicola Sevitt

The signs to look out for.

We all know that coming off the pill can wreak havoc on our skin. But did you know it can also impact our hair? Hormonal changes arise for a number of reasons and for some, these imbalances can introduce issues you’ve never had before, like hair loss or changes to hair texture and shine. It’s a messy situation to navigate, so we spoke to hair expert and founder of Salon HER, Michael Kelly, to get the lowdown on what’s really going on.

What is hormonal hair?
“Hormonal hair is a change in your hair both on your head and/or on your body that has been caused through a number of factors, including: hormonal imbalance caused by pregnancy or ageing, a result of medical issues like emotional stress and mental health trauma, food and diet, fatigue, Covid-19 and many other related issues. It is not isolated as a gender specific issue as it affects both men, women and non-binary people.”

The pill seems to be a big one, so what really happens to your hair when you stop taking the pill?
“Speaking as an industry expert, I can only talk from my countless experiences with women who stop taking contraceptive control medication and have an adverse reaction to their skin and hair. In my experience, I see changes such as extreme hair loss, higher oil secretion to the scalp, a change in lustre and shine, the density of overall volume of the hair changes and it can often fall out excessively. I am not a medical expert, so I can’t attest to the reasons why this would be the case, but from my own almost two decades worth of industry experience, I have seen the same effects on my clients. Not only does it affect your hair but it also affects the skin and with the increase in oil production you also can see acne-like conditions appear.”

What can we do to combat or soften these changes?
“Integrative doctors and naturopaths are going to be your best friends. They look at a holistic view of your wellness and can run a series of blood tests that are more acutely skewed to assess where your body is at. From a preventative measure, I recommend supplementation to my clients to increase their vitality. My most trusted product is Aedé Wellness, a supplement created by hairdresser Ruth Robolino who experienced hair loss herself.”

What are some of the other life events that can cause hormonal hair? And what are the symptoms?
“Symptoms can vary from person to person and can be triggered by a number of physical, medical and emotional traumas. Heartbreak, poor diet, drug and alcohol abuse, medications, pregnancy or miscarriage, extreme exercise and fatigue, ageing.. the list goes on. But usually the first sign is that your hair starts to look a little lacklustre, the shine is gone and maybe you’ve noticed your blow drys or waves don’t hold as long or your hair doesn’t ever feel clean.”

Regardless of what’s causing changes in our hair, what’s the first step we should take when we notice them?
“I would immediately book an appointment with a medical or health practitioner that feels right for you. You might find comfort in your GP or you might prefer to see an expert in alternate fields such as Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy or Integrative Medicine. Rest assured there is amazing support available and you can change the direction of your hair. I’ve seen it first-hand with my clients, with some amazing outcomes.”


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