Hair Loss Conditions – Female Pattern Baldness
Most people are familiar with the concept of male-pattern baldness – when a man’s crown thins, his hairline recedes until the two meet to form a typical balding scalp. But did you know that there’s a female equivalent?
Known as female-pattern baldness, this condition causes women to start experiencing hair thinning and shedding, predominantly at the crown and on the top of the head. Women probably won’t see the textbook bald crown like men – it’s more likely that they’ll experience diffuse thinning, causing sparser and less voluminous hair over time. Female-pattern baldness is most commonly found in women who have already been through menopause, but it can also strike earlier, with some women in their twenties notice an increase in shedding and a decrease in overall hair volume.
Hair loss caused by your genes – also known as hereditary hair loss – is the most common cause of shedding or thinning hair. Caused by the unique interplay between genetics, hormones and the natural ageing process, genetic hair loss can be very distressing for women who have grown accustomed to long, flowing locks or a voluminous mane, no matter what age they might start experiencing symptoms.
What are the symptoms of female-pattern hair loss?
Female-pattern hair loss has two main symptoms – increased shedding and gradual thinning. Many women find it harder to spot female-pattern hair loss until they’ve already lost a substantial amount of hair. The average person loses between 50-1001 hairs every day, so a small increase in hair shedding can go under the radar, unless the rate of shedding is quite extreme. Thinning is also tricky to spot, with each follicle gradually producing thinner and thinner hair over a period of months, or even years. Many women don’t realise their hair is thinning until they’ve already lost a large volume of hair.
Female-pattern hair loss is not necessarily a constant condition – it can sometimes occur in bursts of 3-6 months2, before stabilising for another year or two. Without appropriate treatment, the severity of the condition will continue over time.
Are there any other side-effects to female-pattern hair loss?
For many women, it’s not just the cosmetic side of things that’s cause for concern; the psychological effect of losing hair can have a negative impact on self-confidence. Women suffering from hair loss can develop a more negative body image and low self-esteem as a result. In a society where youth and attractiveness are highly promoted, many women experiencing female-pattern hair loss can retreat into a life of introversion, not wanting to socialise or spend as much time in public.
How can I treat female-pattern hair loss?
It’s thought that female-pattern hair loss has its roots (no pun intended!) in genetics3. If you’ve watching either of your parents struggle with genetic hair loss, or if there’s baldness or thinning hair anywhere within your family, it’s likely that you’ll experience it too. There’s an old wives’ tale which states hereditary hair loss is passed down through the maternal genes – in fact, hair loss anywhere in the family tree can play a part in dictating the fate of your follicles.
Luckily, for those who are suffering from hereditary hair loss, there are solutions available to treat hereditary hair loss which can halt the shedding, boost volume and help healthy, strong hairs to grow in.