You’re not sure if it’s a bad hair day. But you brush it off and try to forget about it. But, in the next few days, you notice thinning. You start to panic, wondering what could be causing your sudden hair loss.
Not knowing how, why and what types of hair loss you are experiencing can be frustrating and even scary. If you’re experiencing hair loss, you might feel like you’re losing a part of your identity.
You might be afraid you’ll never find the cause, or that your hair loss will be permanent. It can be tough to deal with hair loss, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it.
In my article, ”Top 5 types of women’s hair loss”, I’ll cover common causes, identify types of hair losses and their treatments.
This will give you some peace of mind, and help you find a solution to your hair loss.
What is female pattern hair loss?
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is a type of hair loss that affects women. Furthermore, it is called female pattern baldness.
Scaling and hair thinning on the scalp are hallmarks of FPHL. Still, FPHL is common, affecting millions of women all over the world.
Symptoms of hair loss
As long as you’re worried about hair loss in women, it’s important to identify the symptoms.
By identifying the type of hair loss you’re experiencing, you can get the best treatment.
Diffuse hair shedding
When you find a lot of hair in your brush or on the shower floor, it might be because of tension, nutrition, or hormonal imbalance.
Patchy hair loss
Bald patches are the result of fungal infection, or an autoimmune disease. Also, alopecia areata could be the cause of female baldness.
As you can see, losing your full head of hair has a lot to do with ageing. When this happens, your hairline will begin to recede from your forehead.
Possible causes may be ageing, genes, or a medical problem.
When your hair becomes thinner and more brittle, it can be the result of a medical condition, stress, or over-styling.
In the event you’re experiencing any gradual thinning, see a doctor or dermatologist for diagnosis.
How men’s and women’s hair loss is distinct.
Hair loss is not only a female problem. Since an estimated 25% of men will see hair loss before age 21!
Loss of hair is more common in men, but it can affect women of all ages.
According to the GoodRX Health, 40% of women will experience hair loss by the age of 50.
There are different types of hair loss, and each has its causes and treatment options.
Let’s look at some of the most common types of hair loss in women.
Another common name is club hair, due to the shape of the root. This is the most common type of temporary hair loss in women.
It’s a condition that causes your hair to enter the telogen phase prematurely.
Moreover, this can lead to diffuse hair loss and excessive shedding.
Causes of telogen effluvium hair loss
There are many possible causes, including the following:
Pregnancy is a common cause of club hair. Hence, high levels of hormones during pregnancy can shock the system and cause hair to fall out.
After the baby is born, the hair usually grows back.
Many factors can cause hormonal changes, including:
- Thyroid disease and problems
- Taking or stopping taking birth control pills
- Starting or stopping hormone replacement therapy
This disease is often triggered by a significant life event or stress, such as:
- Death of a loved one
- Job loss
- Moving to a new home
Serious illness or surgery can also lead to hair loss in women. As a result, the body may go into shock and shed hair. Hair usually grows back once the person recovers from physical stress.
Club hair or temporary hair loss can also be a side effect of some medications, such as:
- Blood thinners
- Chemotherapy drugs
Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and Crohn’s disease, can also cause telogen effluvium.
In these disorders, the body attacks healthy cells, including hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
Trichotillomania is a disorder that causes people to pull out their hair.
Which can lead to telogen effluvium if the person pulls out so much hair that it shocks the system.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that can cause club hair.
Since steroids can interfere with the production of hormones in the body.
Anagen effluvium is a hair loss caused by exposure to chemicals or medications.
The word “anagen” refers to the growth phase of the hair cycle. During this phase, the hair follicle is developing.”Effluvium” means outflow or shedding of products from the body.
Anagen effluvium occurs when the hair follicle gets damaged, causing the hair to fall out.
Some common causes of anagen effluvium include:
Chemotherapy for cancer treatment can cause anagen effluvium by damaging the hair follicles.
Nevertheless, this is usually temporary hair loss, and after treatment your hair will grow back.
Some medications, used to treat arthritis and gout, can cause anagen effluvium. Such hair loss is usually temporary, and your hair will grow back once you stop taking the medication.
Radiation therapy can sometimes cause temporary hair loss.
When this happens, the therapy damages the hair follicles.
Your hair will usually grow back after completion of treatment.
Anagen effluvium may have caused your hair to thin out, making it seem thinner and more delicate.
Anagen effluvium can cause your hair to easily break, resulting in shorter strands.
You shed large amounts of hair, caused by anagen effluvium. The first sign of anagen effluvium is usually shedding.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek early treatment.
It is a form of hair loss caused by tight styles or accessories like hair extensions.
The word “traction” refers to the pulling force exerted on the hair. “Alopecia” means hair loss.
How to Identify Traction alopecia
Traction alopecia may cause bald spots on the scalp. These spots are small and round, and are in areas where the hair is tightly pulled.
Traction alopecia may cause your hair to become thinner and more delicate.
Traction alopecia may cause your hairline to recede. Especially if you wear your hair in a tight ponytail or bun.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek early treatment. As traction alopecia is usually treatable.
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by stress on the hair follicles.
It’s often the result of hairstyles that pull on the hair too tightly.
Moreover, you find in most women who wear their hair in tight ponytails, buns, or braids.
Also you find in men who have their hair tightly pinned, such as cornrows braids.
Other causes include:
· Wearing tight headgear or headbands
· Pulling your hair back into a tight ponytail or bun
· Braiding your hair and pulling it tight.
· Use a hot hair iron on your hair.
· Chemical straightening or relaxing treatments
If you think you have traction alopecia, the first thing you should do is change your hairstyle. Avoid any hairstyles that pull on your hair or put stress on your follicles.
When you can’t change your hairstyle, try to take breaks from wearing it in a tight style every few days.
Also, washing your hair with a gentle shampoo and allowing it to air dry can also help.
Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss
Androgenetic Alopecia is the most prevalent form of hair loss in women. Otherwise known as female pattern hair loss, and it affects around 70% of all women at some stage in their life.
It occurs when the body produces too much male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Besides, it also causes the hair follicles to shrink and stop producing hair.
How to identify androgenetic alopecia
The most common symptom of baldness is thinning hair.
Your hairline may be retreating, or your hair may be getting shorter and finer. Also, you may find hair more brittle and breaks off easily.
Several factors can increase your risk of androgenetic alopecia, including:
· Family history:
If you have a close relative with this disease, you’re likely to develop it yourself.
Female pattern baldness is most common in women over 40 years old.
· Hormone levels:
Women with high levels of androgens in their bodies can develop female pattern hair loss.
· Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):
This is a condition that causes the body to produce too much of the hormone testosterone.
During menopause, the levels of hormones in the body change. This can cause female pattern alopecia to develop or worsen.
Scarring alopecia or cicatricial alopecia is a form of hair loss. Moreover, this loss causes damage or inflammation to the hair follicles.
Signs and symptoms
The main sign of cicatricial alopecia is hair loss. This may happen slowly and cause complete baldness. Other signs and symptoms may include:
- crusted lesions
- bumps on the scalp
- shortening of the hair shaft
The precise reason for cicatricial alopecia is unknown. It’s the result of an autoimmune response. As a consequence, the body’s immunological system assaults hair follicles.
Cicatricial alopecia is more common in women than men. Other risk factors include:
- family history of the condition
- chronic inflammation or infection of the scalp
- history of certain skin conditions, such as lichen planus, lupus erythematosus, or sarcoidosis
Cicatricial alopecia can occur at any age, but it is most common in adults.
Cicatricial alopecia can lead to permanent hair loss. As well as associating with other conditions, such as:
- eye inflammation
- scarring of the eyelids (cicatricial ectropion)
- dry eyes
- ulceration of the cornea
- vision loss
There is no known way to prevent this disease.
Yet, early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing permanent hair loss.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history or request a physical examination. Because this is often all that’s needed to diagnose cicatricial alopecia.
Your doctor may also recommend a biopsy of the affected skin. This can help rule out other conditions.
Hair loss treatment
There is no cure for cicatricial alopecia. The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of hair loss and prevent complications.
Such treatments may include:
- corticosteroids: to reduce inflammation
- immunosuppressants: to suppress the immune system
- antibiotics: to treat infections
- retinoids: to improve follicle health
- surgery: to remove scar tissue
What is the best way to measure your hair loss?
There are two main ways to measure hair loss:
1. The pull test: Take a small handful of hair, about 50-60 strands, and hold it between your thumb and first two fingers. Gently pull on the hair. If more than six hairs come out, you may be experiencing shedding.
2. The comb-out test: Wet your hair and comb it thoroughly from root to tip. Then, count the number of hairs left on the comb. If you see more than 20 hairs, you may be experiencing shedding
Savin density scale
There’s also the Savin density scale, which goes like this:
Grade 1: Normal. There is no visible hair loss.
Grade 2: Slight hair loss. The hair appears thinner, but there is no balding or receding hairline.
Grade 3: Moderate hair loss. It’s visible thinning of the hair, and the hair may be receding at the temples.
Grade 4: Severe hair loss. Your hair is noticeably thinner all over the scalp, and there is balding at the temples.
Grade 5: Extreme hair loss. Little hair left on the scalp, and the hairline may be completely gone.
Hair loss treatment
There are several treatment choices for women with pattern hair loss, including:
A topical medication that you apply to your scalp. Also, it can help stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss.
You take this pill daily. As it helps prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Hair transplant surgery:
According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, 90k hair transplant surgeries were performed in 2012.
And more than 310 thousand procedures took place worldwide!
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy:
A platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a therapy where they take blood and separate the platelets. They then inject it into your scalp to help hair growth.
A therapy that involves taking estrogen tablets or applying topical estrogen creams. It promotes hair loss prevention.
This medication regulates testosterone activity.
A topical medication sometimes used in combination with minoxidil to treat androgenic alopecia.
This medication is taken orally, injected, or applied tropically. It helps reduce inflammation and promote hair growth.
Another topical medication is safe and effective for female pattern hair loss.
Side-effects of medication
The drugs on this list have possible adverse effects. Before starting any of these medications, seek medical advice about the risks and benefits.
Potential side-effects include:
- Itchy scalp
- Dry scalp
- Scalp irritation or redness
- Oily scalp
- Hair shedding
- Weight gain
- Difficulty breathing
- A change in the menstrual cycle
Non-medical treatments for female pattern hair loss
There are a few non-medical therapies for hair loss in women. They are as follows:
Hair pieces or wigs:
A wig is a good idea to disguise balding areas. As they come in many styles and colors, find one that looks good on you.
Try using a hair extension to add volume to thinning hair. Although they can also be used to conceal bald spots.
There are products available that can camouflage balding areas. Also, they come in different colours to match your hair colour.
There are styling techniques that can help minimize the appearance of thinning hair.
I trust you feel more confident now that you have some idea of the many types of hair loss in women.
This August, join the American Academy of Dermatology to celebrate National Hair Loss Awareness Month. It’s an effort to dispel certain myths about hair loss and increase public knowledge.
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Together, we can help raise awareness about this common issue. And don’t forget to sign up so that you will not miss my next blog post.
- Is it possible to reverse female pattern hair loss?
There is no single answer, as there are many complex causes.
In most cases, female pattern baldness (the most common type of female hair loss) is not reversible. But, there are treatments available which can help slow down or halt the progression of hair loss.
- Which lack of vitamin causes hair fall?
One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is a lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies, which can lead to hair loss.
Other vitamins and minerals needed include zinc, biotin, vitamin C and vitamin D.
- Can home remedies help hair loss in women?
There are a few home treatments that claim to help with female hair loss. However, there is little scientific evidence to support their efficacy. Some people advocate using rosemary or lavender oil to promote hair growth.
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