What is Female Pattern Hair Loss?
January 29, 2021
Hello to all you Absoluters out there! Following on from my last blog, I have had lots of questions about different types of hair loss, especially about Female Pattern hair loss.
Symptoms of Female Pattern Hair Loss
The clinical term for Female Pattern hair loss is Androgenetic Alopecia, Female Pattern, or FPHL for short.
The symptoms, as you might expect, are the thinning and loss of hair. The pattern of thinning and hair loss usually starts in the centre parting, which becomes wider and thinner, revealing the scalp. There can also be some hair recession at the temples, and you may feel that your hair just isn’t growing as long as it used to.
What Causes Female Pattern Hair Loss?
There are three main causes to FPHL. They are:
- A genetic inheritance. This can be from either the maternal or paternal side of the family, and in some cases from both.
- A sensitivity to androgens (male hormones). Testosterone circulates in our bodies, when it binds with the hair follicle it is converted to something called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause FPHL.
- Age. After the menopause, from the mid 50s to early 60s, the hair begins to thin in the Female Pattern area.
In the UK, over 20% of women under 50 experience hair thinning. We then see a massive leap in this figure after menopause, when the percentage rises to 65%. Many of the women I see at my clinic have thinning hair; some cases are due to FPHL, and some are due to other issues - but all can be treated, so don’t despair!
What Happens to the Hair in Female Pattern Hair Loss?
FPHL causes the hair to miniaturise. This means that each time we naturally shed a hair, the new hair rests inside the hair follicle and thins. This is an ongoing and gradual process, and over time the hair thins so much that it is unable to grow, leaving the scalp more visible. At this stage we see a general diffuse thinning to the top of the head.
How to Treat Female Pattern Hair Loss:
There are several ways we can treat FPHL, so don’t despair!
- Topical hair follicle stimulants such as Minoxidil or Low-Level Laser Light Therapy
- Use of anti-androgenic contraceptive pills such as Dianette and Yasmin.
- Prescribed anti-androgenic medications such as Spironolactone or Finasteride.
- Managing stress and anxiety. Stress can raise the level of DHT, so trying to find ways of managing this can really help your hair.
- Eating well, staying hydrated, having regular exercise and good sleep patterns - these actions don’t treat FPHL, but they do support the maintenance of healthy hair and a healthy scalp.
FPHL can start very gradually and it may take time for you to notice the thinning. My advice is that as soon as you become aware of changes in your hair or scalp, seek the advice of a Trichologist. As a general rule, the earlier we can intervene and treat FPHL, the better the result we can achieve in terms of hair density.
Top Tips for Managing Female Pattern Hair Loss:
- Eat a balanced diet. In particular, protein is essential for good hair growth, so make sure you include it in your diet every day.
- Wash your hair everyday or every other day, which will help to keep the scalp balanced and clean.