Hair Loss In Women

Hair is an important aspect of a woman’s identity. Hair loss, even in its most early stages, can cause great emotional distress due in part to the social misconception that not many women lose their hair and that, unlike for men, noticeable hair loss is unacceptable. Both untruths make the subject of female hair loss a very sensitive topic for women to address.

Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Women

  • Genetics and Aging: If your biological relatives have history of hair loss, you are at increased odds, which increase with age. By age 50, 50% of all women are affected.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal imbalances can occur due to menopause, stress, depression, postpartum, chemotherapy, birth control, thyroid disorders or ovarian cysts.
  • Medications: Among others, certain medications for blood pressure, heart conditions, contraception and depression are known to cause hair loss.
  • Disease and Illnesses: Many illnesses cause hair loss. Women are generally more susceptible to a wider variety of medical conditions that can lead to hair loss than men.
  • Chemical Hair Treatments: Some salon and at-home hair treatments like relaxers and dyes can damage the hair and cause hair loss.
  • Hair Styles (Traction Alopecia): Pulling hair too tight in braids, buns and ponytails for long periods of time can damage the hair follicle and prevent hair from growing back.
  • Compulsive Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania): A psychological disorder resulting in bald patches. Only about 2% of the population is affected, but 90% are women.
  • Poor Nutrition: Eating the wrong foods, crash dieting or getting insufficient nutrition can lead to hair loss. Extreme weight loss can also cause hair to fall out.

What Hair Loss In Women Looks Like

Female hair loss usually consists of a more diffuse, overall thinning of the hair, which leads to increased scalp exposure. This is different from men, who most often have a receding hairline at the temples and thinning at the top or crown of the head. Women’s hairlines are usually maintained while the part line and top area behind the bangs experience the most loss.

The Ludwig Scale

Androgenic Alopecia, also known as Female Pattern Baldness, is the most common hair disorder in adult women. The Ludwig Scale is designed to classify this type of hair loss into three stages. Women will move down the scale over time. Thinning on the top of the head is followed by more significant loss (with scalp showing through the hair) until all of the hair on the crown of the head is ultimately lost.

While the Ludwig Scale helps broadly categorize female pattern hair loss, there are many women who do not fall neatly into one of these boxes or have a different hair disorder.

Hair Loss In Women Is Common

  • By age 60, around 80% of all women will experience some thinning or hair loss
  • Women make up 40% of people experiencing hair loss
  • 95% of female hair loss is androgenetic, or associated with hormonal changes, such as menopause or pregnancy

Solutions For Women’s Hair Loss

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