Female Hair Loss

Would You Talk to Your Mom About Hair Loss? An Interview with Dr. Christina Han, MD

Mother and daughter sitting next to each other talking about hair loss.

Womanhood can be a lonely and daunting experience and there's no denying that the presence of a mother or mother figure can offer much needed comfort during times of need. For many, she's the source of truth for anything relating to intimacy, pregnancy, motherhood, and aging—a North Star, guiding us through the messiness and complexity of our changing bodies.

But no two mother-daughter relationships are the same and some women will go their entire lives without knowing what it feels like to have mom nearby. How prepared are we (really) for the physical and emotional changes we face as women over a lifetime? And more specifically, would you ever talk to your mom about something like hair loss?

We’re joined by Dr. Christina Han, a board-certified dermatologist and Medical Director at XYON for a heart-to-heart conversation about the role that her mother has played in her life and what advice she would give to her own daughters on navigating the later stages of womanhood.

What are the things that women go through in adulthood that you find are under discussed?

I think all of these are underdiscussed amongst women in general, and probably between mothers and daughters too. This can be even truer in complex mother-daughter relationships. Society in general has expectations that women should be strong and have certain expectations to handle shifts in our bodies as it comes with age, pregnancy, and menopause. I think only in recent years that the dialogue for more open conversations about aging, hormones and the challenges of these, our changing bodies has become more accepted.

Even hair loss can be a difficult subject for my patients to discuss. They often confide in me that it is so hard to even discuss with anyone because they feel so alone. They don’t realize that hair loss in women is as common as it is and this likely stems from lesser societal acceptance that a woman can have thin hair or be bald (unlike in men, where it is more socially acceptable).

What are the things you wished she or someone would have prepared you for?

Ongoing emotional support during postpartum hair loss is critical. It’s already exhausting caring for a new baby and being a full-time parent, but having the emotional support likely supported my physical health too.

I also wish I had the diversity of hair care products then that we have now. Having products that help to support a healthy scalp and hair, targeting those going through hair loss is such an advantage. Using products that are formulated for thinning hair, like XYON’s shampoo and conditioner for women, that is safe to use during the post-partum period is something I wish I had. There are so many more options now for women suffering from thinning hair and I think this is a result of ongoing awareness which is a great thing for women – to have more options.

Would you talk to you mom about things like hair loss?

Absolutely. There is no one better equipped than a woman that has had hopefully an influence in your life to turn to when going through important milestone events in your life. Personally, for me, my mother has been there during all of my pregnancies and parenting moments for my own kids. She has been through what I have, so why not harness as much of their knowledge and wisdom they have learned throughout something so important as entering motherhood.

What are the things that you will make sure to mention to your own daughters when they're older?

I want them to feel that we always have an open line of communication and trust that they would come to me for all that comes with life. That can mean physiologic changes to our bodies with aging, pregnancy, which is beautiful and natural but may also include hair loss as part of those milestones. While understanding the root cause and treating it is important, I would want them to be well-equipped in navigating these sometimes-stressful times in our lives by a strong sense of self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.

Any final thoughts?

Some women don’t have mothers or no longer have mothers or have strained relationships with their mothers so not everyone will have this rosy view of a mother-daughter relationship. Whoever it is that one finds support and trust with, it’s important to know you don’t have to navigate these changes such as hair loss alone.

There are many reasons why women may not want to talk about their hair loss, or don’t feel prepared to navigate it. It’s our hope that in nurturing a community where women can share their stories and perspectives on hair loss and amplifying their voices, that we can enact positive change.

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