Chances are, you’ve probably always associated hair loss with men. Going bald usually seems to be more of a guy thing, right? You don’t generally see women walking around rocking the Jude Law hairline or the full Jason Alexander. But the truth is, hair loss is a condition that knows no gender lines. Hair loss in women is actually much more common than you’d think, especially after menopause.
Believe it or not, about two-thirds of postmenopausal women report some hair loss, thinning hair, or even bald spots. If you’ve noticed your lovely locks starting to get a little thinner, you’re not alone! For women, hair loss typically starts at the temples instead of the top of the head, although everybody’s head is different.
As traumatic as hair loss can be for men, it can be even worse for women. Due to it often being thought of as a guy thing, many women don’t feel comfortable talking openly about their hair loss, instead choosing to suffer in silence.
Having thick, beautiful hair is a pretty important part of the Western beauty standards, and hair loss can result in a major loss of self-confidence, especially for women. This is perfectly understandable! The truth is, hair loss is a common condition for both men and women. Of all the sufferers of hair loss in the world, about 40 percent are women!
Unlike hair loss in men, hair loss in women is rarely discussed in depth. This makes it difficult to find all the relevant information that women might need to prevent hair loss or treat it when it does start happening to them. Many women don’t even know that they’re causing damage to their hair until it starts to fall out.
That’s why it’s important to understand the causes of female hair loss and how it can be treated. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say, so learning what causes female hair loss and how to treat it is one of the most important things you can do to preserve your beautiful locks.
If you feel like you’re lost when it comes to hair loss, have no fear! In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of hair loss in women, how to prevent it, and what to do if you notice your hair starting to thin. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that every person is different, and what causes hair loss in one woman might not be a problem for someone else.
If your hair is thinning or you’re losing your hair, it could be due to an underlying health issue. It is always best to see your doctor to get to the root cause of your health and hair problems. You don’t have to be afraid or embarrassed to speak up if you notice your hair thinning; one of the most important things you can do is get on top of it early.
Female Pattern Baldness
You’ve probably already heard of male pattern baldness. It refers to genetic hair loss in men, caused by hormones in the body. It’s a pretty common condition, with over 50 percent of men suffering significant hair loss after the age of 50. But did you know there’s also female pattern baldness?
It’s essentially the same condition as male pattern baldness, but for women, although the pattern can sometimes be different. While men start to lose their hair above the temples or at the head’s crown, women tend to start losing their hair at the temples or all over the head. If you’re concerned about hair loss, checking your temples is the first thing you should do!
Female pattern baldness is also known as androgenetic alopecia. It’s sort of a broad term for hair loss caused by genetic or hormonal factors, and it’s pretty common. In fact, less than half of all women make it to 65 with a full head of hair. This might sound disheartening, but the truth is that hair loss is perfectly normal, especially as you age. Just because your hair is starting to thin doesn’t mean you should just accept it! You can do plenty of things to both avoid and treat hair loss, so never fear.
Female pattern baldness is hereditary and is caused by hormones in the body. It typically starts after menopause and continues to get worse as you get older. As you approach this stage of your life, it’s a good idea to start checking your hair and taking note of anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you notice that you’re starting to lose hair, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.
They’ll be able to tell if what you’re suffering from is female pattern baldness or not and can get you on the path to treating your hair loss. Remember, the faster you get treated, the earlier you’ll be able to stop the losses – and in some cases, even regrow hair!
Symptoms Of Female Pattern Baldness
Knowing the symptoms of female pattern baldness is one of the best ways to avoid and treat it. Catch it early can make all the difference! If you see a doctor before it gets too bad, you may be able to save the rest of your hair or even regrow some of what you’ve lost. Typically, a woman might lose 50 to 100 individual hairs per day.
If you’re suffering from female pattern baldness, that number can get significantly higher. If you notice more hair than usual in your hairbrush or the shower drain, it can be a sign of hair loss. It can also help to run your hand through your hair and see if any hair comes away with it. It’s normal to see one or two strands of hair caught in your fingers, but if you’re pulling out small clumps, it could be indicative of a problem.
In men, oncoming baldness is often easier to notice. It tends to start at the front of the hairline and work its way back, usually causing a dramatic change in appearance. Male pattern baldness can also create significant bald spots on the crown of the head. If untreated, male pattern baldness can leave the sufferer completely bald. However, female pattern baldness is a little different.
It can often manifest as just a general thinning of the hair all over the head, making it a little more difficult to notice. You also might notice a more specific thinning around the temples. When female pattern baldness advances, it typically starts at the part line on top of your head and gradually makes its way outward from there. It’s sporadic for women to end up going completely bald, but there can be a significant thinning all over the head. Typically, female pattern baldness is sorted into three distinct types, based on how advanced it is:
- Type I, which is a thinning of the hair starting at the part. This is the earliest stage, and catching female pattern baldness in this stage is the best scenario.
- Type II, which involves advancement along with the head, starting at the part. You might notice your part getting wider at this stage, and the hair just outside it is starting to thin as well.
- Type III, where the hair throughout your head starts to thin. At this point, the area of your part is often completely bald, and your hair is continuing to thin across your head. This is the most advanced female pattern baldness stage, so it’s best to try and catch it before you reach type III.
As always, it’s important to try and spot female pattern baldness before it reaches the advanced stages. Keep an eye on your hair, especially as you approach menopause, and don’t be afraid to visit a doctor or dermatologist if you notice any thinning.As always, it’s important to try and spot female pattern baldness before it reaches the advanced stages. Keep an eye on your hair, especially as you approach menopause, and don’t be afraid to visit a doctor or dermatologist if you notice any thinning.
Causes Of Female Pattern Baldness
Like male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness is genetic and is caused by hormonal changes in the body. Many different genes are involved in hair and hair loss, making it hard to predict. However, if one or both of your parents suffer from hair loss, it’s much more likely that you will as well. It can also be caused by some endocrine conditions or a hormone-secreting tumor. If you notice other symptoms and hair loss, including severe acne or irregular periods, make sure to let your doctor know. You may be suffering from something more serious than just female pattern baldness.
Throughout your life, each hair on your head grows in three distinct phases. The first phase is called anagen, and it lasts for two to seven years. During the anagen phase, your hair is growing from a follicle on your head. Hair in the anagen phase is strong and rarely falls out of your head because it’s firmly rooted in your head. After anagen comes catagen, the second phase of hair growth.
Catagen is a transitional phase and lasts for about two weeks. During catagen, the hair shaft base starts to move upward towards the surface of your skin. The last phase is telogen, the resting phase. Telogen lasts for about three months and ends when the hair falls out of your head. Every individual hair on your head goes through these three phases, controlled by hormones like androgens. Female pattern baldness begins when these phases start to be disrupted by hormonal changes.
There are a few changes that occur in your head as you start to get older. The first is that the anagen phase of your hair’s growth begins to shorten. That means that your hair is spending less time growing while rooted firmly in your scalp. Less time in the anagen phase means that each of your individual hairs will reach telogen faster and fall out earlier than they normally would.
Another change is that it starts to take longer for anagen to start again once your hair falls out. That means that once a hair has fallen out of your head, it takes longer and longer for new hair to begin growing. The follicle also starts to change, shrinking, and getting narrower. The result is thinner hairs, and thinner hairs are easier to break. All of these changes together result in female (or male) pattern baldness.
Your hormones can start these changes early in your life, but typically it doesn’t start to happen until your 40s or 50s. Once your hair starts to change, it becomes increasingly difficult to treat the effects, so don’t waste any time if you notice your hair thinning. If you visit your doctor, they can inspect your scalp and check for female pattern bald signs. There’s usually no need to run any tests, but if your doctor suspects something else might be affecting your hair, they might do a blood test to measure your hormone levels.
Treatment For Female Pattern Baldness
So, let’s just rip off the band-aid now – there is no way to reverse female pattern baldness fully. Not yet, anyway. For now, treatment is focused mostly on preventing you from losing any more hair than you already have, although some regrowth is possible.
At first, you should be able to hide your hair loss by changing hairstyles, but eventually, you’re going to want to get on some medication. It’s a little inconvenient, but you’ll have to stick with whatever your doctor prescribes you long-term since stopping can just cause the hair loss to start up again. Here are a few of the most common medications used to treat female pattern baldness.
Minoxidil is the most commonly prescribed drug to treat hair loss in both men and women. It’s often referred to by the brand name Rogaine, although there are other brands available. Minoxidil is currently the only drug approved by the FDA to treat female pattern baldness; this is most likely what your doctor would recommend for you. Interestingly enough, this drug was first developed to treat high blood pressure.
However, people who used it started to notice that they were growing excess hair in places where they had gone bald. A few research trials later, and minoxidil was re-released into the market as a hair loss treatment. Those studies had shown that a 2% concentration of minoxidil applied to the scalp could stimulate hair growth in sufferers of both male and female pattern baldness. Since then, a 5% concentrated solution has also been released, with more dramatic results. If possible, it would be beneficial to go for a stronger concentration.
Minoxidil bought over-the-counter usually come with a dropper or a spray pump. To use it, just apply the solution to any areas on your head where you’re experiencing hair loss. Make sure to massage it into your scalp so it can reach the follicles under your skin. Air-dry your hair, wash your hands, and make sure you wipe off any of the solutions that end up on your forehead or face. You’ll have to do this twice a day, which can be a little inconvenient, but quite effective.
It’s worth noting that minoxidil isn’t a miracle cure by any means. While it can result in some hair regrowth, it won’t replace all of the hair and thickness that you’ve lost. It’s also not exactly a speedy process. You probably won’t see any results at all for the first two months, and effectiveness doesn’t peak until about four months in.
If you’re giving minoxidil a try, it’s recommended that you stick with it for at least a year before deciding if it’s the right solution for you. If it does end up working, you have to keep using it. Stopping the medication will cause you to lose any hair that grew back, unfortunately.
There are also a few side effects to look out for. Sometimes, minoxidil can leave behind a deposit on your scalp that irritates the skin, causing contact dermatitis. It’s not known exactly why this happens, but the belief is that it’s caused by the alcohol used to help the solution dry faster. It’s not dangerous, but it can be kind of uncomfortable, especially since you’re using the solution twice a day.
Minoxidil can also result in hair growth on your cheeks or forehead, which is obviously kind of a problem. If you notice any unwanted hair growing on your face, get in touch with your doctor before continuing to use minoxidil. Finally, the new hair that grows on your head can sometimes come in a slightly different color than the rest of your hair.
Because the hormone androgen causes female pattern baldness, medications that block androgen production can be effective in stopping hair loss. Generally, a doctor will only prescribe these if you’re not responding to minoxidil.
The most common of these drugs is spironolactone, a diuretic medication that removes excess fluid from the body. Because it blocks androgens, spironolactone can help prevent further hair loss in women suffering from female pattern baldness. However, it should be noted that you should never take spironolactone if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as it can cause congenital disabilities. For this reason, it’s often prescribed along with a contraceptive.
Besides medication, there are a few other things that you can do to fight female pattern baldness. One common cause of hair loss is iron deficiency, so your doctor may prescribe iron supplements. However, iron doesn’t do much to regrow your hair if your baldness causes are hormonal. There are also a few other supplements that show promise, although there aren’t any studies that back them up yet.
Some women report thicker hair after taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. You can also try laser combs or helmets, which use light to stimulate hair growth. Although no studies confirm that light can regrow your hair, laser treatments are approved by the FDA. Finally, you can always just go for a hair transplant. This procedure involves removing a small strip of hair from your scalp and grafting it to an area where you’ve experienced hair loss. From there, the graft just regrows like your natural, regular hair.
While female pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in women, there are many other reasons why your hair might be thinning or falling out. Another frequent cause of hair loss, especially in women, is traction alopecia. Simply put, traction alopecia is hair loss caused by repeatedly tugging or pulling on your hair.
It’s most commonly seen in women who wear tight ponytails, buns, or braids, especially if they have chemically treated hair. By keeping your hair pulled tight, you’re actually causing stress to the roots of your hair. Traction alopecia can be reversed by just wearing your hair down more regularly, but it can become permanent if left untreated for too long.
Symptoms Of Traction Alopecia
The earliest signs of traction alopecia are small bumps on your scalp, right by your hairline. They look pretty similar to pimples. As the condition progresses, you might notice the hair by your forehead, starting to break or get thin. Unlike female pattern baldness, traction alopecia mostly affects the hair right along your hairline, by your forehead, or your temples.
However, depending on the hairstyle you’re using, you might notice hair loss on other parts of your head as well. Traction alopecia can also cause other symptoms, including redness on your scalp, bumps, blisters, itching, or soreness on your scalp. If you notice any of these symptoms, you may want to see your doctor. Eventually, if you don’t change your hairstyle, the affected follicles can become too damaged to regrow new hair, leading to a receded hairline.
Causes Of Traction Alopecia
The most common way to develop traction alopecia is wearing certain hairstyles, including tight ponytails or buns, tight braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks. You can also cause stress to your follicles if you use hair extensions, weaves, or if you put your hair up in rollers overnight. It’s important to be kind to your hair! Too much stress can lead to broken or damaged hair. Men can also get traction alopecia, although it’s more common in women. It’s also much more common the older you get, as your hair strands get thinner and weaker.
Preventing Traction Alopecia
The best way to prevent traction alopecia is to wear your hair down whenever possible. If you have to wear your hair up, only do it as much as you really need to. It’s okay to wear braids or a ponytail sometimes, but try to alternate between wearing your hair up and having it down to prevent too much stress on your follicles.
When you do have your hair up, try to avoid using rubber or elastic bands to hold it in place, as they can pull on your hair. If you use weaves, try not to use chemical treatments on your hair, which will weaken it. When you braid your hair or put it in dreadlocks, try to make each braid as thick as possible to spread out the stress points. If you notice any of the symptoms of traction alopecia, start wearing your hair down as much as possible. The condition is usually reversible.
Other Causes Of Hair Loss
There are also plenty of other reasons why you might notice your hair thinning or starting to fall out. It’s important to know the causes of your hair loss before you can start treating it. If you notice your hair starting to get thinner, on your temples or elsewhere, your doctor should be able to tell what’s wrong and recommend the right treatments. A few of the other most common causes of hair loss in women include:
- Physical or Emotional Stress. Stress can cause many problems for your body, and hair loss is just one of them. If you’re under a lot of stress, it can force your follicles into a long-term rest phase, and the hair stops growing. Stress can be hard to avoid in today’s world, but an important part of taking care of your body is managing your stress levels.
- Pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, her body is flooded with hormones that help grow the baby. Unfortunately, these hormones can lead to some hair loss as well. It might seem scary to be suddenly losing hair when you’re pregnant, but the condition is generally limited to the first trimester and usually resolves itself. If you notice more severe hair loss, you might want to talk to a doctor just to be sure.
- Smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause some shrinkage in your blood vessels, preventing important nutrients from reaching your hair follicles. If your follicles aren’t getting all the nutrients they need, it can disrupt your hair’s growth cycle. Materials in cigarette smoke can also leave deposits on your hair, which damages the shaft. Just another reason to quit!
Hair Regrowth Systems
If you’re not interested in the usual ways of treating hair loss, or you’ve tried them, and you want something better, you might want to look into fuller hair regrowth systems like Keranique. Keranique marries hair loss treatments with hair care beauty products to make your hair look thicker and more lustrous as it helps you fight hair loss.
This means that not only are you regrowing some of your lost hair and preventing the loss of any more, but you’re also making the hair you still have appear thicker and more voluminous. It uses clinically proven ingredients like minoxidil and is specifically designed for women’s unique hair needs. How it works is fairly simple:
- Step 1: Shampoo and Conditioner. As you age, your individual strands of hair start to become thinner due to the narrowing of your follicles. Keranique fights this by offering shampoo and conditioner that specifically targets it, thickening, strengthening, and repairing your hair shafts to make sure they don’t break and fall out. As a little bonus, it also helps fight split ends, frizziness a little bonus, and it and leaves your hair looking softer and shinier.
- Step 2: Regrowth Treatment. In addition to the premium shampoo and conditioner, Keranique kits include regrowth treatments that include minoxidil, the only ingredient approved by the FDA to fight hair loss in women. It also comes with Keranique’s own patented Easy Precision Sprayer, so it’s easier than ever to apply the formula. It’s simple, precise, and leaves behind less mess than other minoxidil treatments.
- Step 3: Lift and Repair Treatment Spray. Finally, Keranique kits also include this combination treatment and beauty spray that lifts and styles your hair while working to repair it. It protects your hair against environmental damage and infuses it with a special Keratin Amino Complex™ that repairs damage and restores the natural shine of your locks.
If you’re looking for an all-around system that fights hair loss while keeping your hair shiny and voluminous, Keranique might be the solution for you. Unlike most treatments like Rogaine, it’s developed specifically for women and their body chemistry, so you know it was created with you in mind.
That’s why women all over the world are raving about Keranique and the results it gives. Not convinced? Give it a try! Keranique offers a full 120-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the results you’re getting with Keranique, just give them a call, send back whatever you haven’t used, and you’ll get a full refund.
Thankfully, we no longer live in a world where women just have to accept hair loss. Whether it’s your temples, your part, or all over your head, there are solutions out there to help you fight back and preserve your beautiful hair. Remember, the most important thing is to catch any problems early so they can be treated quickly! If you notice any thinning of your hair, bring it up with your doctor as soon as possible.