Although thinning hair is often thought of as a male problem, it affects women as well. The underlying causes and mechanisms are unique though – which means the treatment approach is different as well. 

Hair loss in women:

An emotional and physical problem

When women lose their hair, it can be a devastating experience that affects not only their appearance – but also their self-esteem and emotional health. These psychological effects take a heavy toll, and that can impact your physical wellbeing as well. Hair loss among women is a serious condition – and at Hair of Austin at Austin Face & Body, we’re here to help.

Woman looking at her face in a handheld mirror

Why do women lose their hair?

Androgenetic alopecia (also known as female pattern baldness) causes diffuse thinning throughout the scalp for women sufferers. It’s affected by the presence of androgens (male hormones) and thus is linked to a variety of hormonal factors, including ovarian cysts, birth control pills, pregnancy and menopause. 

Telogen effluvium is hair loss after a traumatic event like childbirth, malnutrition, infection, surgery or extreme stress. About six weeks to three months after the stressful event, many of your hair follicles can shift all at once into the shedding phase, causing you to lose hair. For some women, the condition goes into remission once the stressful event has passed (and as long as future ones are avoided.) For others, the disorder can persist for many months or years.

Anagen effluvium is hair loss that occurs after the hair follicle is impaired, for example after chemotherapy. Chemotherapy works by targeting and destroying your body’s rapidly dividing cancer cells. Unfortunately, your body’s other rapidly dividing cells – such as your hair follicles in the growing phase – are also affected. 

Traction alopecia is caused by localized trauma to hair follicles by tight hairstyles that tug at the hair – such as braids, cornrows, extensions, and tightly wound hair ties. The hair will regrow if the condition is detected early and tight hairstyles are ceased. 

Female pattern baldness

Uniform hair loss and thinning

Female pattern baldness is distinctly different than men’s. While hair loss for men begins at the front of the scalp and recedes back, women lose hair all over their heads, beginning at the line that parts their hair. In addition, they may also experience a receding hairline at the temples. Women are less likely to lose all of their hair, but they may experience a significant amount of thinning. 

Here’s a closer look at how we classify the severity of female pattern baldness:

  • Type I: Minor thinning that begins around your part line.
  • Type II: Your hair part becomes wider and the hair around it thins.
  • Type III: Your hair shows signs of thinning throughout, and you can see the top of your scalp through the thinning strands. 

Female Hair Loss Treatment at Austin Face & Body

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Diagnosing hair loss in women

Diagnosing hair loss in women is not a straightforward process. The condition can be triggered by so many combinations of hormonal changes, genetic factors, and external circumstances. Your provider may request a number of tests to identify the underlying cause, including:

  • Blood work to check your iron, ferritin, thyroid, and total iron-binding capacity, as well as your complete blood count (CBC). 
  • Scalp biopsy so that we can examine your scalp under a microscope.
    Hair pull, during which we will extract a small amount of hair to determine if excessive loss is present.
  • Densitometry in which we will evaluate the hair follicle under magnification to determine if the hair shaft is miniaturized. 

From the information gathered during your consultation, your provider will decide what, if any, tests are needed. 

Austin Face & Body

What about post-partum hair loss?

Many new moms experience noticeable hair loss in the first few months after having a baby. This is common and normal – and not considered true hair loss. A better term is hair shedding due to falling estrogen levels. It’s temporary and you don’t need to do anything to “fix” it. In most cases, your hair will return to its normal, pre-pregnancy fullness by your child’s first birthday.

However, it’s important to note that post-partum hair shedding peaks four months after childbirth. If your hair is continuing to fall out in large amounts past that point, or if you’ve not regained your normal fullness by one year post-partum, you may want to schedule a consultation to determine if another underlying factor is behind the hair loss. 

Jessi’s Story About Female Hair Loss

Hair loss is different for everyone. It’s medical. It’s emotional. It’s a tangled web of feelings about attractiveness, health concerns, professional aspirations, and it’s all magnified by our increasingly image-obsessed culture. Follow Jessi's heart-felt journey and get a first-person perspective on how hair loss has impacted her life.

Jessi’s Story About Female Hair Loss

Schedule a consultation

If you’re a woman experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, please don’t suffer in silence. Schedule a consultation at Hair of Austin today, and let us help you treat the underlying cause of your hair loss while restoring full and beautiful re-growth. 

Providers who perform Female Hair Loss Treatment at Hair of Austin

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