Male pattern hair loss is something most of us are familiar with. Female pattern hair loss gets less attention. Part of this is because it’s less common, and part of it is because there are a number of other potential causes for hair loss in women. Another part of it, though, is that many women simply aren’t comfortable talking about hair loss. Crucially, though, knowing the signs of female pattern hair loss can help you identify if—and seek treatment early, greatly increasing the efficacy of that treatment.
What Causes Female Pattern Hair Loss?
The specific causes of female pattern hair loss remain somewhat foggy. Aging is thought to be a factor, as this condition is more common among older women. Changing levels of male hormones can also play a role—and specifically, the hormonal changes that take place during menopause. Family history may also have something to do with it; if you have a male or female pattern hair loss in your family line, that could increase your own risk.
To be a little more technical about how female pattern hair loss works, remember that each strand of hair is generated by a follicle. It is normal for each follicle to go through a cycle of growing, followed by a cycle of rest; at the end of the rest cycle, old hair is shed to make room for new growth. Baldness isn’t actually caused by hair being shed; rather, it’s caused by the follicle losing its ability to regrow hair, which is usually the result of hormonal activity.
Recognizing Female Pattern Hair Loss
Much like male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss does indeed follow a pattern—but the pattern for men and women is different. For women, it begins with hair thinning on the top of the head, leading to a bald spot that gradually widens through the center hair part. The front hairline will generally remain unaffected by this. Total hair loss is very uncommon—unlike with men—and itching or skin sores aren’t really part of the normal progression.
If you notice hair loss progressing in this way, that’s a pretty good indicator that you are in fact dealing with female pattern hair loss—and the time to have it evaluated and treated is now.
Diagnosing Female Pattern Hair Loss
The best way to have female pattern hair loss diagnosed is to come to Hair Professionals to meet with our trichologists. First, we’ll simply evaluate your symptoms and help you rule out other potential causes/factors. We’ll ask about your medical history, and then we’ll perform some painless, non-invasive testing, basically just looking at your hair and scalp to determine what’s really going on.
From there, we should be able to arrive at an accurate diagnosis—and with it, a recommended path of treatment.
What Not to Look For
Before we get into the topic of treatment, let us first mention a few things that are not associated with female pattern hair loss. We’ve already mentioned skin bumps and itching; if you have these symptoms, then you’re probably dealing with something other than female pattern hair loss. Only a trichological evaluation will confirm this for sure.
A common myth is that, if you wake up in the morning and have hair all over your pillow, that’s a sign of female pattern hair loss. We have also heard it said that finding more than 20 hairs left on your hairbrush is a sign of female pattern baldness. Both of these ideas miss the point of hair loss, though: It’s not really a problem with shedding, it’s a failure to regrow. Shedding alone isn’t necessarily the sign of female pattern hair loss.
Treatment for Female Pattern Hair Loss
The bottom line: If you believe you have female pattern hair loss, come get an evaluation. The sooner you start treatment—which may include laser hair therapy, topical treatments, or something else altogether—the more likely it is to be effective. Get the diagnosis and the treatment you need today: Join our team of experts in the Hair Professionals studio.