Nine months ago, whilst blow drying my hair, I noticed a small circular bald patch on my left temple. I had no idea what it was and instantly called the doctors surgery hoping to book an appointment. I was told over the phone that it sounded like I had something called Alopecia and the doctor couldn't see me for a few weeks, but there's no cure, so I wasn't an urgent case compared to others.
I personally love short hair on women, I cut my own hair very short a couple of times. But it's hard to shake off that feeling that somehow you've failed as a woman, because you don't have luscious flowing locks. The amount of times I've had guys ask me if I was a lesbian when I had short hair just illustrates the fact that we live in a world where people judge even your sexuality by what your hair looks like!
Female-pattern hair loss, called androgenic or androgenetic alopecia, is basically the female version of male pattern baldness. “If you come from a family where women started to have hair loss at a certain age, then you might be more prone to it,” says Dr. Glashofer. Unlike men, women don't tend to have a receding hairline, instead their part may widen and they may have noticeable thinning of hair.
A few years back, your hair was so thick that we could barely see your scalp. But these days, parting your hair leaves a noticeable gap that everyone can see. This is because you’ve lost some of the hair in your crown area, effectively losing some of your hair’s volume. The problem is that you never really know how much thinning is going to happen. For some men, it could just be a little bit of shedding. For others, their hair could continue thinning until there are large bald patches.
This butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck pumps out chemicals that keep your body humming along. If it makes too much or too little thyroid hormone, your hair growth cycle might take a hit. But thinner locks are rarely the only sign of a thyroid problem. You might lose or gain weight, become sensitive to cold or heat, or notice changes in your heart rate.
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The main type of hair loss in women is the same as it is men. It's called androgenetic alopecia, or female (or male) pattern hair loss. In men, hair loss usually begins above the temples, and the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic "M" shape; hair at the top of the head also thins, often progressing to baldness. 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.
The important distinction between male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss is that, whilst men may develop absolute baldness – when the damaged follicles can no longer function so hair growth stops, and the skin takes on a smooth, shiny appearance – this is rare in women. Women’s hair loss may become advanced, but true baldness – as men experience it – is highly unlikely.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.
Devices that emit low-energy laser light may help new hair grow. They're available in some clinics and for home use. Several are approved for both men and women, and studies show they do work. But it might take 2-4 months before you see results. Keep in mind: The FDA doesn’t require the same rigorous testing for devices as for medicines. The long-term safety and effects aren’t known.
Phytoestrogenic herbs, such as ginseng or black cohosh, contain estrogenic components produced by plants. These herbs, at first, do treat the underlying hormonal imbalance by introducing these plant-based estrogens into the body. However, as a result of adding outside hormones, a woman's body may become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This causes a further decrease of the body's own hormone levels.