Hair Loss in Women: What You Should Know


Hair loss isn’t easy for anyone, but for women, it can be downright traumatizing. For years, hair has been called your “crown of beauty”, so it makes sense that women put so much pressure on their hair to define their own beauty and even worthiness. When you start losing your hair, it can be devastating but remember it is common both for aging purposes and with various medical conditions. 

Hair loss doesn’t need to have a negative impact on your life. There are ways to cover the thinning, supplements that can help with certain causes of hair loss, and your dermatologist might also have some solutions. The first step is knowledge, so here are some things to know about hair loss in women.

What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

The causes of hair loss in women are often the same as men, though you do have a few other risks that men don’t have. Here are some of the more common causes of women’s hair loss:

Extreme stress or severe illness – If you have sudden stress or traumatic event in your life, about 3 months later, you might develop a condition called telogen effluvium. This is what causes hair loss in cancer patients, people who undergo traumatic procedures, and people who lose weight at a rapid pace. It is a temporary type of hair loss, that will stop once the stressful event is over. 

Alopecia – Alopecia is part of your family history. If you have older relatives who have any form of female alopecia, there is a chance that you will get it too. Androgenic alopecia is the most common, which is a female version of pattern hair loss.

Tight hairstyle or chemicals in hair coloring – If you have spent many years wearing your hair in tight hairstyles like buns or ponytails, or using a lot of bleach to color your hair, it increases your risk for hair loss.

Signs of Hair Loss in Women

Not sure you are dealing with hair loss, as opposed to normal loss of hair through the telogen phase? If you have a condition or stress causing hair loss, look for signs like:

Random patches of balding – This is a specific type of alopecia called alopecia areata. You start noticing circular bald patches on different areas of your scalp.

Diffuse thinning – Another type of hair loss in women is diffuse thinning, which means the thinning isn’t in one spot, but all over your head. This is more common when you have a temporary type of hair loss, like telogen effluvium. Though women with hair loss related to menopause or PCOS might also notice this pattern.

Thinning at the crown – Thinning that you notice more at the hairline, hair part, or crown of your head is likely from androgenic alopecia, or female pattern hair loss. Your part will start to widen and you may notice more thinning on the crown, as opposed to the sides and back of your head. 

Hair loss is most often spotted when you are showering and notice how much hair comes out while rinsing your hair, when brushing your hair, or when styling it.

Are There Any Treatments?

The possible treatments for hair loss will depend on what is causing it. Unfortunately, genetic alopecia is a permanent condition. You might notice some hair grows back, and some of those follicles miniaturize, meaning no hair can grow back in.

You can try over-the-counter treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine) or switch up your supplement regimen as well. 

With the temporary loss, like telogen effluvium, it is just a matter of being patient until the condition stops and your hair starts growing back in.

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