In 2011 a ‘Make Friends With Your Hair’ project was carried out by skincare company Dove, that investigated how 1,000 women in the USA felt about their hair.
It discovered that, whilst 45 per cent of the women surveyed considered morning haircare to be more important than eating breakfast, only 7 per cent of those polled actually ‘loved their hair’. Furthermore, 1 in 5 of the women said that they had ‘passed on a social event due to unpredictable hair’.
Now, a 2017 internet poll by the UK’s Express newspaper has shown that of the 200 respondents, almost 80 per cent said that they believed they had hair loss and were worried about it.
Women’s hair loss
Whilst the subject has tended to be more taboo for women than for men, women’s hair loss is now starting to be talked about more openly. This is leading to a heightened awareness of the fact that effective hair loss treatment options exist for many of the conditions that cause thinning hair in women.
Though the 79 per cent of women who claimed in the Express poll that they were losing their hair and were concerned about it did not specify, there are a number of different forms of hair loss that can affect women. Women can even be more susceptible to hair thinning than men due to the number of conditions that can potentially affect them.
The top five conditions women should be aware of, are:
The women’s version of male pattern baldness and the most common form of hair loss. This causes thinning hair around the top of the scalp and hairline, often noticeably affecting the temple areas. It is a permanent genetic condition that occurs in women with an inherited sensitivity to DHT and will cause gradual hair thinning if left untreated. Whilst this may become advanced, unlike with men, it rarely leads to baldness. Female pattern hair loss treatment can help to prevent further shedding and promote hair growth.
What to look out for: a general drop in the hair’s thickness, often noticeable when putting the hair into a ponytail and it feels thinner than normal, also the parting becoming wider than normal
These temporary conditions last for up to six months or at least six months, respectively. They cause diffuse hair thinning from all over the scalp – not just the top, as with Female Pattern Hair Loss. The shedding is often more intense and can occur around three months following a trigger incident. These most commonly include extreme stress, surgery, or underlying health issues from illness to dietary imbalances or extreme weight loss. It can also be caused by hormonal fluctuations caused by, for example, starting contraceptive medication or terminating a pregnancy.
The hair will generally regrow naturally within a few months, though treatment can help to accelerate the hair growth process. However, these conditions can spark the onset of, or speed up existing cases of Female Pattern Hair Loss in women with a genetic predisposition.
What to look out for: unusually excessive hair fall from all over the scalp resulting in a drop in hair density, especially after notable stressful incidents – whether the stress was emotional or physical.
Hair loss after having a baby is a form of Telogen Effluvium, however, in this case it is a result of the body trying to get back to normal following pregnancy and childbirth. A woman’s hair growth cycle is temporarily affected during pregnancy in order to ‘hoard’ hair and shed less than normal. Once she has given birth this extra hair is shed which can result in the appearance of hair thinning but is generally nothing to worry about. The hair should return to normal within 12 months but, if preferred, postpartum alopecia treatment can often help to speed this along.
What to look for: diffuse hair thinning occurring up to three months after giving birth.
The reason this condition is more common in women than in men is due to the fact that it is usually caused by hair styling practices. Frequently wearing tight hairstyles such as braids, high ponytails or buns, or hair extensions can strain the follicles, leading to hair loss both at the site where the hairstyles are fixed and around the hairline. Whilst Afro hair is more susceptible to this type of damage due to its naturally more brittle texture, it can affect women of all hair types. Other causes can include various forms of chemical styling including bleaching, perming or straightening treatments.
Ditching these types of practices in order to allow the follicles to recuperate, and following a custom course of traction alopecia treatment can help to regrow hair in many cases, however if the hair loss is too severe, this condition can be permanent.
What to look for: a receding hairline either all the way around or just at the temples, hair loss or hair breakage where your hairstyles are fastened, also if your hairstyles cause headaches that is a sure sign that they are too tight and could be risky.
For anyone concerned about losing their hair, the not knowing what is happening or what to do about it can be extremely stressful. A consultation with a hair loss specialist who can diagnose any issues, explain the prognosis and recommend a bespoke course of appropriate hair loss treatments, can at the very least create a sense of relief and understanding.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. 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 UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.