What is female pattern baldness?
Female pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia, is hair loss that affects women. It is similar to male pattern baldness, except that women can lose their hair in a different pattern than men. Hair loss in women is normal, especially as you age. Up to two-thirds of women experience hair loss after menopause. Less than half of women will make it past age 65 with a full head of hair. Female pattern baldness is hereditary. It is more common after menopause, so hormones are likely responsible. If you notice that you are losing hair, see your doctor or a dermatologist. They will be able to determine if you are experiencing female pattern baldness or another type of hair loss.
What does female pattern baldness look like?
In female pattern baldness, the hair’s growing phase slows down. It also takes longer for new hair to begin growing. Hair follicles shrink, leaving the hair that does grow to be thinner and finer. This can result in hair that easily breaks. It is normal for women to lose 50 to 100 hairs each day, but those with female pattern baldness can lose many more. In men, hair loss starts in the front of the head and recedes to the back until they go bald. Women lose hair from all over their head, starting at their part line. Hair at the temples may also recede. Woman are less likely to go completely bald, but you may have a lot of thinning throughout your hair.
How to treat female pattern baldness
• Wash and condition your hair without traumatizing it. Hair that is thinning or falling out is fragile and easily damaged.
• Use a gentle shampoo. Some shampoos can strip moisture from your hair.
• Apply a moisturizing conditioner after every shampoo. Conditioner coats your strands, which reduces breakage and split ends.
• Make use of a leave-in conditioner or detangler. Applying this every time after you wash and condition your hair helps to reduce breakage, split ends, and frizz.
• Wrap your hair in a microfiber towel to help it dry more quickly. This helps reduce the time you spend blow-drying.
• Forgo hot-oil treatments. These heat up the hair, which further damages fragile hair.
• Stop at-home coloring, perming, chemical straightening, and relaxing. If you want to use these, find a salon that specializes in the service you want and has professionals who know how to examine your scalp and hair in order to find the product most suitable for you. Make sure the salon uses a moisturizing conditioner afterward.
• Limit your use of curling irons, flat irons, and hot combs, using one only on a special occasion, such as a wedding or job interview. These heat up your hair, which can weaken it.
• Use the lowest heat setting on your blow-dryer. When possible, let your hair dry naturally rather than using a blow-dryer. To repeat, wrapping wet hair in a microfiber towel can help dry your hair more quickly.
• Stop wearing your hair tightly pulled back in a bun, ponytail, pigtails, cornrows, or braids. Frequently wearing a hairstyle that pulls on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. In time, anything that pulls on your hair can cause permanent hair loss. You will find styling changes that can help you prevent this type of hair loss at Hairstyles that pull can lead to hair loss.
• Brush or comb your hair gently, and only enough to style it. Tugging on your hair while brushing or combing it can lead to hair loss.
• If you smoke, stop. Smoking causes inflammation throughout the body, which can worsen hair loss.
• Eat healthy. If you are not getting enough of some nutrients, such as iron or protein, this can lead to hair loss.
• Eating too few calories every day can also cause significant hair loss.
• Before taking a supplement to grow your hair, find out whether you are getting enough of certain vitamins or minerals. A blood test can tell you whether you are not getting enough of certain nutrients.
• It is important to understand that the supplements you see advertised for hair growth are not regulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are sold. That responsibility lies with the company manufacturing the product.
• If you decide to try supplements, understand that they can do more harm than good. Getting too much of certain nutrients (including selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E) has been linked to hair loss.
Treatment Outcome for Female Pattern Baldness
By seeing a board-certified dermatologist, you can learn inside secrets tailored to your individual needs that can help you with hair loss. The sooner you get treated, the faster you’ll be able to stop the loss — and possibly even regrow hair.Back to Skin Condition Library >