We’ve all heard of male-pattern baldness, but hair loss in women is just as common. In fact, about one in three women experience hair loss in their lives. However, it can be socially more difficult for women to cope with hair loss than for men, and it can affect your emotional and mental health in addition to your appearance. If you or a woman you know is experiencing hair loss, know that you are not alone and can find ways to treat it.
There are several types of female hair loss, but one of the most common is androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia is found in both men and women and appears as hair loss above the temples. Luckily, there are treatments and things you can do to prevent androgenetic alopecia. We’ll cover the causes of hair loss and natural options for treating female hair loss including supplements, a change in diet, non-surgical hair replacement or wigs.
What is androgenetic alopecia?
Androgenetic alopecia is a cause of hair loss that typically looks like hair thinning at the crown of the head. The hair loss often occurs at the temples, forming an ‘m’ shape. It can progress to complete baldness if not treated. However, complete baldness is very rare when it comes to hair loss in women, and typically can be treated so that the hairline does not recede too far. The most common sign of androgenetic alopecia in females is hair thinning.
What causes hair thinning in females?
In general, female hair thinning can be caused by changing hormones due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, birth control pills, etc., underlying medical conditions, or genetic reasons. It can also be caused by physical or emotional stress or an iron deficiency, but most women notice it around menopause when female hair loss is accelerated. It can also be caused by an overproduction of androgen hormones or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovaries, pituitary, or adrenal glands.
Hair thinning can often lead to hair loss. Hair loss is caused by losing hair more quickly than your body can reproduce a new anagen phase. That leads to changes in the hair follicle itself and a small, shorter hair shaft. Hairs can become less pigmented and thinner when losing hair.
What triggers androgenetic alopecia?
The specific cause of androgenetic alopecia in females is a genetic variance of the AR gene, which provides instructions for a specific protein needed for hair growth. Certain medical conditions or changes in hormones may affect a woman's underlying androgenetic alopecia, which leads to hair loss. However, androgenetic alopecia is triggered by changing hormones or medical conditions. It can affect women of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.
Female hair loss patterns
There are three types of female hair loss patterns.
Type I – minimum thinning, can hide it with hairstyles
Type II – greater thinning and noticeably wider part
Type III – apparent thinning and hair is see-through on the top of the scalp, very wide part
Whichever hair loss pattern you have, the side effects can be embarrassing. It’s ideal to catch and start treating hair loss in Type I; however, even if you notice Type III hair loss, it’s not too late to treat it.
How to treat or cure androgenetic alopecia
Unfortunately, there is no cure for androgenetic alopecia. However, it does take many years for this genetic variant to cause significant hair loss and in the meantime, you can treat hair loss in women. Additionally, you can grow your hair back if you have androgenetic alopecia and have experienced hair loss.
To treat hair loss in women, you can take supplements, change your diet, undergo non-surgical hair replacement, or use wigs to cover hair loss.
Supplements or Change in Diet
The top vitamins and minerals to treat hair loss in women are:
Biotin – Biotin is known as a key vitamin for hair growth, and it can also help with skin rashes and brittle nails. You can either take biotin supplements or find it in foods like egg yolks, whole grains and meat.
Iron – Women are often at higher risk of iron deficiency, but low iron levels can lead to anemia, fatigue, pale skin and hair loss. You can get more iron in your diet through red meat, leafy greens and legumes. Or, according to Harvard Medical School, an iron supplement can stimulate hair growth in females with hair loss.
Vitamin C – Along with getting more iron, you may also need more vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron. Foods like citrus, leafy greens and bell peppers are good sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is not only good for your bones but also your hair; vitamin D deficiency may be linked to hair loss. You can get vitamin D from sunlight, but you may need to supplement that with foods like fatty fish or vitamin D fortified milk.
Zinc – Zinc is an essential mineral that helps create the proteins in your hair. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or with kidney disease are at higher risks of zinc deficiency. Luckily, you can get zinc through several foods such as shellfish, meat, beans, nuts and seeds.
Non-Surgical Hair Replacement
Non-surgical hair replacement is pain-free, non-invasive, and it is a quick and easy procedure. The way it works is using natural human hairs similar to your hair color and type to make your hair fuller and thicker. The best part is that you get results immediately, and since it’s not painful, it’s an easy option for anyone experiencing hair loss. However, this option is slightly more expensive.
Finally, one solution to deal with the emotional stress of hair loss is to use wigs. Wigs are a quick, easy, and pain-free solution for female hair loss and can be used permanently or temporarily. If your hair loss is temporary, or supplements are not working, then wigs are a great option for you. Additionally, you can find wigs in any style and type to fit your needs.
What is the best treatment for hair loss in females?
The best way to treat female hair loss will depend on what is causing it in the first place and what works best for you. Each treatment will have its drawbacks. However, the best place to start to treat hair loss in females is with supplements and/or a change in diet because it will be the most cost-effective option. If that does not work, then non-surgical hair replacement or wigs is the next best option.
When to see a doctor for hair loss
If you notice any unusual hair loss, you should consult with a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you treat female hair loss, the better and the less likely the hair loss is to progress. They can help get you the appropriate treatment and if hair loss in women is especially emotionally difficult for you, they can also refer you to a support group or therapist.
There is Hope For Those Experiencing Female Hair Loss
If you notice hair thinning or hair loss with changing hormones, understand that it is quite common and can be treated. Women experiencing hair loss can seek medical consultation and seek to regulate stress to help treat their condition. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss and it can affect both men and women. Since a third of women will experience hair loss in their lifetime, there is no shame in seeking treatment for your hair loss.