Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is actually quite common. According to one study, 40% of women over the age of 50 showed signs of hair thinning, and 55% of women in their 80s also show signs of hair loss. As women, we are constantly being defined by our hair. So, how do you know if you have FPHL?
Chances are, you may notice signs associated with premature hair loss. While it’s normal to lose about 50 – 100 strands a day, if you find you’re consistently shedding much more, then it may be time to learn more.
Today we’re going to cover the basics of female pattern hair loss and the hair growth cycle. We’ll wrap up by discussing what you can do right now if you’re noticing thinning hair or bald patches.
Hair Growth Cycle
We’re all born with a fixed amount of hair follicles on our scalp that will produce all our hair over a lifetime. Genetics can play a factor in how much hair we grow over time. Typically, strands grow at an average of one centimeter every month for around three years. We call this phase the growth phase or “anagen” because it’s the only phase where actual growth occurs. The vast majority of all of the hair on our head is in anagen. Cells build up directly under the surface to form a strand of hair, and gradually, they pierce the scalp.
Eventually, hair strands die during the catagen phase, which is where the strand can rest and also transition. It will remain dormant for about three months and then shed during the telogen phase. Our strands continue on that cycle for anywhere between two to six years. As new hair grows, the older hair is pushed out. When women are diagnosed with Female Pattern Hair Loss, they can experience a lot of extra shedding during the telogen phase.
What Causes Female Pattern Hair Loss?
Female Pattern Hair Loss is a genetic condition where women are hypersensitive to the androgen hormone DHT. Even though DHT is a primary male hormone, it also affects a woman’s hair growth.
Essentially, the hair follicle becomes overwhelmed with DHT and begins to become inflamed. In some cases, the inflammation can be chronic and impact the ability to grow hair. Over time, the inflammation can cause the follicles to die due to a lack of blood flow. Researchers are still looking for methods to regrow hair once the follicle dies.
Female Pattern Hair Loss: The Stages
Female Pattern Hair Loss can affect any woman at any age; however, many medical professionals have found it’s more common to develop in their clients after menopause. Hair loss is not a linear process, which can make it tricky to understand. It may start and stop periodically. It’s incredibly common to lose hair for only 3-6 months and then stop shedding for as long as 6-18 months before starting again. Hair loss in women tends to be more subtle than hair loss in men.
The first sign is typically thinning located around the crown or throughout the hair along with increased shedding and a loss in volume. The thinning will eventually spread around the scalp, but the crown will most likely have the most noticeable hair loss.
During the more progressive stages, women will still have hair around the temples and the back of the scalp, but the entire crown will have noticeable thinning.
Since both men and women experience baldness, what makes their cases so different? Researchers believe the answer is largely dependent on follicle sensitivity. Men tend to have more sensitive follicles in the frontal region, while women tend to have more sensitive follicles in the crown.
There are other reasons why women can lose their hair. They could be suffering from a nutrient deficiency or an underlying medical condition. The only way to know for sure is to work with a professional.
Treatment for Female Pattern Baldness
One of the best treatment options available on the market today for female pattern baldness is a laser cap. A laser cap is an FDA-cleared medical device designed with low level light therapy to regrow the hair follicles on the scalps of men and women.
These devices are intended to be used by individuals suffering from forms of hair loss. As mentioned, they are equipped with low level light therapy to stimulate blood flow on the scalp. This therapy is emitted through laser diodes that are present in the cap.
With stimulated blood flow, the proper nutrients and oxygen is able to flow to the scalp tissue. This presents the hair follicles with the essential nutrients needed to support a healthy head of hair.
These devices are pain-free and there are no known side effects from completing treatment. You can use them in the comfort of your own home whenever is convenient for you. They are gaining the respect and recognition from medical professionals and scientists throughout the world.
Hair loss can be devastating, and sometimes it can be unknown what is causing it. However, just know that oftentimes hair loss is temporary if you can catch it in the early stages and take advantage of your treatment options.
Use a laser cap for baldness if you are struggling with female pattern hair loss and give your hair the best chance to thrive!