Women's Hair Loss

One of the most common causes of female loss is androgenetic alopecia which is a form of pattern baldness brought on through the action of hormones (androgens) and a predisposed genetic sensitivity to them.  With the action of androgens and genetics common in both male and female hair loss patterns, the frequently used term ‘male pattern baldness’ is factually inaccurate.

A woman’s pattern of hair loss is typically different to that of males with androgenetic alopecia.  Androgenetic alopecia in males usually manifests itself as a receding hairline, crown loss or both, where as females incur a generalised thinning of scalp hair starting from the centre parting and moving outwards as its severity increases.  

Androgenetic alopecia is more common in males due to the higher presence of Testosterone, however, once a female reaches menopause the hormone level fluctuates which can activate the hair loss gene.  This coupled with an increase in testosterone can onset genetic pattern hair loss in females.

Another common type of hair loss in females is a condition called telogen effluvium.  Telogen effluvium is a diffuse thinning across the scalp resulting in an overall yet even loss in the density of scalp hair. 

Telogen effluvium is a condition concerned with the hairs growth cycles.  Male and Female scalp hair goes through cycles of growth (anagen phase) and dormancy (telogen phase).  The condition telogen effluvium is termed so because a traumatic event (shock, stress, illness) can cause hair growth to go in to the telogen or dormant phase of the cycle.  This results in the appearance of hair loss but is often temporary as it is a cyclical process which is typically self correcting.  Many sufferers will see their hair loss reversed over a period of time

Another important cause of hair loss is the condition alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune condition affecting a small percentage of the population.  An autoimmune disorder can be explained as your body mistakenly identifying your healthy cells as foreign cells and attacking them unnecessarily.  The bodies response to any foreign invader i.e. a virus is to attack the intruder with white blood cells, however, if the body incorrectly identifies your own cells as foreign cells and attacks them, this is known as an autoimmune response.  This condition is not exclusive to hair loss but hair loss is common as the body attacks the hair follicles having wrongly identified them as foreign bodies.

Finally, traction alopecia is another common form of hair loss amongst females.  Traction alopecia is caused by stress enacted upon the hair through force or pulling.  The common style of wearing the hair back tightly against the scalp causes an excessive pulling force upon the follicle which will cause the follicle to fall.  Over time this will be irreparable and the follicle will not be replaced.