Did you know that losing more than a hundred hair strands isn’t normal? It might be a daily occurrence for you, especially when you brush your hair or have gotten used to cleaning the shower drain clogged with too many strands. Sure, it’s normal to shed fifty to one hundred strands, but when the count becomes thicker than your crowning glory, it may indicate something else: Female Pattern Hair Loss.
Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is the most common type of hair loss in women and it affects millions each year. It occurs when the hair follicles shrink and produce shorter hair. Unfortunately, many women don’t know that FPHL is an actual medical condition and is much more common than most people think.
There are many myths surrounding female pattern hair loss, making it harder for you to know how to treat your thinning hair. To help clear up the confusion, we’ve made a list of ten facts about female pattern hair loss to shed some light on the causes of your thinning hair and what you can do about it.
By reading this blog, you have a better chance of understanding if you’re suffering from FPHL and plan for your treatment.
1.) Female pattern hair loss is tied to high levels of androgen
People refer to this condition as androgenetic alopecia or hereditary hair loss. It is a genetic condition that either parent can pass down. The disorder can lead to thinning hair on the top of the head and other areas such as eyebrows and eyelashes. It can also be caused by many factors, like ovarian cysts, high androgen index birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause.
2.) Hair loss is less frequent in women than in men
While hair loss is more common in men, women can suffer from hair loss, too! And it can be just as devastating for a woman as it is for a man. Hair loss is less frequent for women than men because they don’t produce testosterone or DHT, the hormones linked to male pattern baldness.
Men are more likely than women to experience hair loss because they have a genetic predisposition for it due to the high levels of DHT in their bodies.
3.) There are various kinds of hair loss with different causes
Hair loss can be caused by several factors, from genetics to certain medical conditions. These are:
- Anagen effluvium is due to medication or radiation therapy. It can happen most commonly in cancer patients treated with systemic chemotherapy that stops their bodies’ ability to grow new cells. It’s completely reversible, though, with hair growing back after three to six months.
- Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder resulting in unpredictable patchy hair loss. It’s more likely to be found among people who suffer from asthma and hay fever and those suffering from atopic dermatitis and thyroid disease.
- Telogen effluvium is a temporary hair loss that occurs when the hair follicles go into a resting phase and stop growing new hair. It is caused by stress, medication, and hormonal changes. The good news is that telogen effluvium is usually temporary, and the hair will eventually grow back.
- Traction alopecia. If you often wear your hair in a tight ponytail, bun or braids and use chemicals, then there’s an increased chance of traction alopecia developing. It can also lead to temporary bald patches due to the constant friction. This condition can be reversed with time but only through self-care measures such as not tying your hair in a tight ponytail, refraining from tugging or pulling, or using certain products.
4.) The symptoms are different from male pattern hair loss
The symptoms of female pattern hair loss differ from those of male pattern baldness. In female pattern hair loss, the hair thins mainly on the top and crown of the scalp, and they rarely get bald. There is also usually less shedding than with men.
Other common symptoms include a receding hairline and widened partings. Some women experience these symptoms in their 20s or 30s, while others notice them during menopause. Female pattern hair loss can also result in patches of baldness on the scalp, unlike men who experience a complete loss of hair.
Doctors have divided the condition of FPHL into three types:
- Type 1 shows hair thinning all over the scalp.
- Type 2 involves a broader part and increased thinning on your scalp.
- Type 3 has a receding hairline and thinning around the crown of the head.
But remember it is best to make an appointment with your dermatologist if you are experiencing such symptoms. Do not try to diagnose your condition based on these alone. A thorough evaluation by a dermatologist may help identify what could be causing the problems.
5.) It affects all ages
Though it is most commonly associated with women in their 40s and 50s, female pattern hair loss can affect women of all ages. It is estimated that women will experience hair loss by the time they are 50 years old. However, some women get diagnosed as early as 20 and others as late as 60. In 2019, hair loss was a top concern for women in Singapore among 44% of respondents aged 25 years and up.
6.) It is permanent and irreversible
There are many types of hair loss, and not all are permanent. But with FPHL, the hair follicles affected by androgenetic alopecia are permanently damaged. However, treatments can help you delay the process before your locks start falling out entirely. Depending on your case, you may experience a slowed or sped-up regrowth of hair.
7.) It can cause significant psychological distress
Losing one’s hair can lead to emotional and psychological distress, including depression and anxiety. Women with female pattern hair loss are also more likely to experience social isolation due to having to wear wigs or scarves and avoiding social events.
Women need to know about this condition so they can take steps to protect themselves from the damaging effects it has on mental health. It can take a toll on one’s self-image and self-esteem. You may feel depressed since you don’t recognise yourself in the mirror anymore, or you may also feel unattractive and less confident due to your thinning hairline or lack of scalp coverage.
8.) You can keep your hair as healthy as possible to prevent damage
Preventing damage to your hair is the best way to keep it healthy and prevent hair loss. Here are some things you can do:
- Avoid heat styling tools as much as possible.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals on your hair.
- Use a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo.
- Don’t over-wash your hair.
- Brush your hair gently with a soft brush.
- Have a healthy diet that’s rich in protein.
9.) There are always possible treatments
While female pattern hair loss is not entirely preventable, it does progress more slowly when treated. You will experience periods of stability followed by faster phases as the disease worsens over time without treatment. Some treatments can help slow hair loss and even encourage new hair growth.
Minoxidil reduces hair loss, promotes regrowth, and prevents further scalp damage. Some people find this method compelling and use it indefinitely, while others discontinue it after a few months or years. The medication is applied directly to the scalp twice a day. Another option would be Finasteride, which helps block the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which can cause hair follicles to shrink. Women who take Finasteride have reported a slower progression of their symptoms.
However, side effects of these medications are not uncommon. For example, Finasteride is not always safe for pregnant women or those trying to conceive due to its impact on male foetus development.
10.) A natural hair replacement system works as a viable solution
A hair replacement system can be an effective, long-term solution for hair loss. If certain medications don’t work, this is one option you can try.
Hair replacement systems are an excellent choice when you want natural-looking locks. Not only will these products give your hair a new look in minutes, but they can also guarantee quick results, unlike surgery, medications, and topical treatments.
Another benefit? Our hairpieces are custom-made to your specifications. You can get the volume and style you want, instead of hoping that your medications are effective or simply working with how much or little hair growth you have. At Aremyhair, we believe in giving our clients all their options.
Do you want to learn more about our hair replacement systems? Schedule a FREE consultation with us today to discuss your options. You may contact us here.