Causes of Female Hair Loss

In today’s world, hair is increasingly identified with youth, vitality, beauty. For a woman to lose her hair prematurely can be emotionally devastating, affecting her confidence and personal relationships . But you’re not alone. Hair loss in women is common and by the age of 60, as many as 50% of women have suffered to some degree. As with any medical condition, early detection of hair loss is the best first step towards a cure or other alleviating action.

Some hair loss, or ‘alopecia’ is just part of the normal hair-growth cycle. Other forms are down to genetic or other factors. Here’s an overview of the possible causes of hair loss in women:

Physiologic Alopecia

Growth among the different hair follicles is not synchronous, so on any given day we will usually shed 50-100 hairs which are at the end of their growth cycle. This is quite normal and no cause for concern.

Androgenetic Alopecia

This is the most common form of female hair loss, accounting for about 75% of cases. Hair thins in the front, upper and top area of the scalp, while the back and sides retain a good ratio of productive follicles. Hereditary and genetic factors, both detectable through H+ Genetic Testing, along with aging, are the three main causes. For androgenetic alopecia, the most effective solution is hair transplantation, ideally a minimally-invasive technique such as the H+ Procedure.

Alopecia Areata

A rapid form of hair loss, which often affects patches or one side of the scalp more than the other. Often caused by a disorder in the immune system and requiring medical examination.

Anagen Effluvium

A significant and rapid loss of hair shafts during their active growing phase. Causes include chemotherapy drugs and some others, radiotherapy, poor diet, seborrhoeic dermatitis and other localised dermatoses, vitamin A poisoning, iron deficiency and chronic infection. Typically, hair regrows spontaneously once the cause has been removed.

Telogen Effluvium

Hair shafts are shed from follicles which have prematurely entered the resting phase of their growth cycle. Losses can be swift and significant, reducing a full, healthy head of hair to 1-2cm of stubble within weeks. Causes include fever, severe infection (particularly blood poisoning), major surgery, childbirth (rarely) protein deficiencies due to unsupervised crash diets, some drugs including beta blockers and anti-depressants, and severe psychological stress. Usually, hair growth will return to normal in time.

Triangular Alopecia

Loss of hair in the areas above the temples can begin as early as childhood. It may be complete or a few fine hairs may remain. Medical or surgical treatment is possible.

Loose-anagen Syndrome

the hair sits loosely in scalp follicles and is easily shed through combing or pulling. This condition occurs mainly in people with fair hair, especially in childhood, and may ease as the person ages.

Cicatricial Alopecia

This form of hairloss is also known as ‘scarring alopecia’, Cicatricial Alopecia is one of a group of rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle, replace it with scar tissue and cause permanent hair loss. Their effects can be very rapid and accompanied by severe burning and itching, or slow, on-going and otherwise symptom-free. Affected areas of the scalp may show little signs of inflammation, or may display redness, scaling, increased or decreased pigmentation, or other abnormalities. Cicatricial alopecia occurs in otherwise healthy people of all ages, worldwide.

Trichotillomania

This form of self-induced hair loss results from continuously pulling or plucking one’s hair, usually in selected areas of the scalp. Typically due to emotional or psychological causes which need to be addressed as the first step to a cure.

Traction alopecia

this form of hairloss caused by continuous stress on the hair, due to hairstyles such as ponytails, buns, braiding and cornrows. If such pulling occurs long term, the hair loss may become permanent. Usually cured by changing to a more relaxed hairstyle.