There are lots of factors that can affect your hair, from genetics, to diet, to stress. However, one area that is often overlooked is our medications, including birth control. Now before you read further, we are certainly not advocating that you should immediately stop taking your birth control, as there can be lots of health benefits to birth control. Rather, different birth control options can have different effects on the hair and it is important to understand these difference so that you can make an informed decision in partnership with your physician.
So how does birth control affect our hair? While birth control options can work in different ways, many consist of synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and progesterone (known as progestin). Shifts in the level of our hormones can significantly affect our hair, especially in those women with a strong pre-disposition to genetic hair loss.
So how do we know if birth control has the potential to negatively affect our hair? Birth controls that that contain progestin with androgenic effects are much more likely to cause hair loss than those without androgenic effects. According to the American Hair Loss Association, hormonal contraceptives that have a high chance of increasing hair loss include:
- Progestin implants like Norplant
- Hormone injections like Depo-Provera
- The skin patch (Ortho Evra)
The American Hair Loss Association also created a list of birth control pills ranging from the lowest androgen index to the highest:
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen
- Nor-Q D
- Ortho Norvum 7/7/7
- Ortho Novum 10-11
- Norinyl and Ortho 1/35
- Demulen 1/35
- Loestrin 1.5/30
It is important to remember that you should not make any changes to your medications, including birth control, without first consulting with your prescribing physician.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team