Female alopecia has different causes varying from genetics to medical conditions.
Also known as female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is one of the most frequent causes of hair loss for women.
It affects 12% of women by the age of 30 and up to 40% after menopause.
The mechanisms of hair loss are not completely understood.
However, it is accepted that male hormones play a role.
Androgenetic alopecia presents itself as thinning and sparse hair, resulting in miniaturization.
Miniaturization is a progressive process of thinning and shortening of the hair.
The end stage of miniaturization is permanent hair disappearance.
Besides miniaturization, there is a larger number of hair in the resting phase, which causes more hair to fall out.
Além da miniaturização, também se observa uma maior queda de cabelos.
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Hormonal role in female alopecia
Male hormones, also called androgens, seem to play a role in female pattern hair loss.
Although there is evidence that androgens can contribute to female hair loss, the levels of testosterone, its precursors and metabolites are usually normal.
On the other hand, female hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, seem to act in an opposite way.
The protective effect of female hormones causes a decrease of progress in female hair loss when they take oral contraceptives or during pregnancy.
Signs of female pattern hair loss
Women usually take longer than men to realize that they are experiencing hair loss.
The reason is perhaps the lack of knowledge about female alopecia.
Culturally, baldness is a male characteristic.
Therefore, women are not used to thinking about baldness as a possibility.
Furthermore, it is more difficult to notice female alopecia because the evolution of hair loss of women is more diffused and slower than male alopecia.
So, it is important to distinguish whether hair loss or thin hair may actually be female alopecia.
The first sign is usually a decrease in hair volume.
The decrease in hair can be noticed when women put their in a bun or pony tail.
Sometimes, the reduction of hair volume in women is evident only when compared to their old teenage photos.
A common situation is the enlargement of central hair risk, which appears when women comb their hair.
Wet hair or hairdos such as buns or pony tails also often expose the scalp.
Scalp exposure and thin hair are the main features of advanced female pattern hair loss.
Sometimes, the hair is so thin that it looks like newborn hair.
The lack of hair forces women to look for ways to disguise the hair loss.
Scalp make-up, headbands, sprays and products for thinning hair are frequently used.
Doppio Clinic has an appropriate infrastructure to evaluate and treat your hair loss. Doppio Clinic is headed by a hair loss specialist physician who leads a team of professionals prepared to help you with your hair problems.
Make an appointment today to get the information and advice about your hair loss.
+55 (11) 93801-1653
+55 (11) 3853-9175
Av. Lavandisca, 777, 3º andar
Moema, São Paulo - SP
Female pattern hair loss degree
The Ludwig scale was designed to classify the degree of female pattern hair loss.
The scale is a good visual reference to determine the hair involvement and the chance of recovery after treatment.
Associated medical conditions
Polycystic ovary syndrome or other conditions linked to androgens may be present.
Some examples of androgen signs are acne, menstrual cycle irregularities and hair on unusual body parts.a
Traction alopecia occurs when there is excessive traction on the hair a long period of time.
Tight ponytails and hair extensions are well-known risk factors.
The successive trauma to hair can cause permanent damages to hair roots, which can lead to permanent female alopecia in areas with more tension.
Also known as hair pulling disorder, trichotillomania is the compulsive practice of pulling out hairs.
Trichophagia is when someone ingests hair after pulling it out.
Trauma caused by repetitive acts of pulling out hair can provoke damages to hair roots, which can lead to permanent alopecia.
Inflammatory scalp diseases can also end up as permanent cicatricial alopecia.
Some examples of inflammatory cicatricial alopecia are:
- Lichen Planopilaris and its variant called Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
- Hot Comb Alopecia, Follicular Degeneration Syndrome or Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia
- Folliculitis Decalvans
- Dissecting Folliculitis or Perifolliculitis Capitis Abscedens et Suffodiens
- Acne Keloidalis (nuchae)
There are a lot of causes for women’s hair loss varying from genetics, hormonal disturbances to inflammatory scalp diseases.
Therefore, it is important to look for a hair specialist doctor as soon as you noticed signs of inflammatory scalp, hair loss or thin hair.