Premature hair loss helps no one’s head. Confidence is affected and whether men or women, people feel really embarrassed. While more than 60% of men are affected by premature hair loss (and shaving their heads can give the appearance of increased masculinity), for women it often feels as a loss of their femininity.
But hold on – did you know that up to 50% of women are affected by hereditary hair loss? Women are just better at dealing with it than men!
Female Pattern Balding
By its scientific name, female androgenetic alopecia, affects almost as many women as it does men. According to Harvard Health, “In women, androgenetic alopecia begins with gradual thinning at the part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. A woman’s hairline rarely recedes, and women rarely become bald.”
Because it doesn’t make women go bald most of the time and only really thins out the hair overall, hereditary premature hair loss in women isn’t as obvious as it is in men. Once more, again unlike men, it tends to only appear in the autumnal years of a woman’s life (frequently in their 50s and 60s) – men can start losing their hair in their 20s.
The Harvard article also explained, “hair loss from androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair’s growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase.” Hairs replaced tend to be thinner and finer and often enough lack pigment, replacing the original color with white hairs.
When it becomes obvious that you are losing hair at a greater rate than it is being replaced on your head, you really should get it checked by a dermatologist. There are a number of health conditions and other factors that can lead to hair loss, from relatively minor illnesses to something quite serious.
Did you know that hair loss can be a sign of pregnancy? If you hadn’t noticed the other signs already (some women don’t until very late) then it could be a sign of a mini-you messing with your hormones inside.
Polycystic ovaries are known to cause unwelcome hair growth on women’s faces, but the condition can also lead to hair loss on the scalp. This can be extremely frustrating with hair falling out where it should stay and appearing where you really don’t want it to!
Skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can lead to hair loss too. It really is worth getting to the doctor in these cases as you could well be given a relatively cheap and simple treatment to keep your beautiful locks where they should be.
Doing it to yourself
Another common way women can find themselves losing hair at a faster rate than it is replaced is from abusing their hair in making it suit a certain style. Cornrows and very tight ponytails can cause a form of premature hair loss called ‘traction alopecia’.
The answer to that is to give your head a break and to let your hair flow in the breeze without so much restraint.
In most cases if you are experiencing premature hair loss then you really should get to a doctor. They will conduct a series of tests and can give you advice as to how best to tackle the problem. It isn’t the end of the world and ultimately unlike our beloved brothers, us women can conceal the problem without having to tell the world about it!
(Hairloss can also occur even earlier, in your teenage years. For more information on that, click here.)