Hair Loss Advice


Rapunzel Envy - Hair Loss in Women

Although many balding men are distressed by their hair loss, they don't have to look far to find examples of bald men who are considered successful, youthful and handsome.

Andre Agassi, Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan, Vin Diesel, the list goes on and suggests that baldness can be men. Balding women, however, are hard pressed to find celebrity women who are visibly losing hair.

"It's totally acceptable for a man to be bald," says Brad Limmer, MD, a dermatologist specializing in hair transplantation who has a private practice in San Antonio, Texas. "It's not a socially acceptable thing for a woman. So much emphasis and value is place on a woman's head of hair; it's hard to even compare the impact on men and women."

Rapunzel hairPeople tend not to associate pattern baldness with women, but it is just as common in women as it is in men, though the timing and pattern of hair loss is different.

While men tend to start losing hair in the 30s and 40s, thinning begins in the 40s or 50s in women, though it can occur as early as the 20s.

And while men tend to lose hair in the front and at the top of the head, women's hair thins diffusely throughout the scalp; total baldness is very rare in women.

African-American women may be more likely to experience hair loss, says Robert True, MD, a dermatologist specializing in hair restoration who is in private practice in New York City.

Dr. True attributes the higher rate of hair loss to a combination of genetic and styling issues.

According to Dr. True, hair extensions and tight braiding as well as chemicals used to relax hair can damage hair follicles.

Psychological Impact

Studies have linked pattern baldness in both men and women not only to dissatisfaction with one's appearance, but also to lowered self-esteem and other measures of self-worth.

A 1999 study published in the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine found that hair loss in women was associated with self-consciousness, jealousy and a feeling of powerlessness about hair loss.

The research also indicates that women tend to be more upset than men by their hair loss.

A 1992 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that compared the psychological impact of hair loss on men and women found that women had a more negative body image and were less able to adapt to the loss.


Despite the negative impact of their hair loss on their lives women have been reluctant to seek treatment. But that trend seems to be turning around. "It was always very hush-hush, so women did not talk about it with anyone other than their hairdresser," Dr. Limmer says. "But today, more and more women are seeking treatment. Five years ago, one in 25 to 30 of my patients was a woman, now it's one in every 12 patients."

It's crucial that any woman who notices hair loss visit a hair loss professional in order to determine the reason for the loss. After pattern baldness, telogen effluvium is the most common cause of hair loss in women. It is a temporary hair loss in which a higher than normal percentage of hair shifts into a shedding phase.

Telogen effuvium can occur after pregnancy or when a woman goes on or off birth control pills, or it can follow an emotionally traumatizing event such as the loss of a loved one. Studies have also linked crash dieting to temporary hair loss.

Sometimes, hair loss is due to an underlying medical condition such as lupus, polycystic ovary syndrome, a thyroid problem, anemia or hormonal imbalances. Hair loss can also be a side effect of medication such as ibuprofen, antidepressants, hypertension drugs, anticoagulants and chemotherapy.

Once a doctor establishes that pattern baldness is the cause of the hair loss, women can consider treatment. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the only medical therapy available to women; it's been found to help women maintain the hair they still have.

The 2 percent minoxidil formula is marketed specifically to women, and the 5 percent formula is marketed to men. Most hair loss specialists, however, recommend that women with significant hair loss use the 5 percent formula, though they need to be cautious about keeping the minoxidil off their face in order to avoid unwanted facial hair.

Hair transplantation is also available to many women with pattern baldness. Older transplantation techniques were not appropriate for most women because the transplanted hair damaged hair follicles in the recipient area.

As Dr. Limmer explains, this was a problem in women because, unlike men, they usually have hair in their balding zone. With today's techniques, however, hair transplants surgeons can place grafts around the remaining hair.

So although women today continue to struggle with hair loss, more treatments are available to them.

As with other conditions affecting women, it's time for hair loss to come out of the closet—so women can openly seek a diagnosis and weigh their treatment options.

Further Reading

Rapunzel Envy - Hair Loss in Women

A 1999 study published in the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine found that hair loss in women was associated with self-consciousness, jealousy and a feeling of powerlessness about hair loss.

Womens hair loss

Hair loss for a woman can be devastating. The problems seems to be increasing every year. It is estimated that six out of ten woman will suffer some degree of hair loss.

Womens hair loss - Thyroid

Where hyperthyroid people make too much thyroid hormone, hypothyroid people don’t make enough.

Hair Loss in Women - Why Does It Happen?

Hair Loss takes most women by surprise. For some, the effects can be embarrassing and depressing. Here to explain the causes and warning signs of hair loss are two experts in the field.

Cause of Hair Loss in Women

Though hair loss can be embarrassing and unpleasant for anyone, our society considers hair loss in women a sort of cosmetic disaster.

Women Lose It, Too

One out of every four women in the United States experiences hereditary hair loss, and for that one woman, hair loss can feel like a first class cosmetic disaster.

Womens Best Selling Hair Loss Products

A listing on the sites best selling hair loss products for women

The Heartache of Hair Loss in Women

"For most people, hair is an integral part of themselves, so hair loss really represents losing a part of themselves and their self image," says Jerry Cooley, MD, of the Carolina Dermatology Hair Center in Charlotte, North Carolina

Hair Transplantation for Women - Understanding the Procedure

When we think of hair transplantation, we often think of balding men. But women lose their hair too, and more and more of them are turning to hair transplants.

Medical Treatments for Hair Loss in Women

Although hair loss can seem a permanent condition, and devastating to many women, there is hope, and there are treatments out there for women, even if you never do see the ads.

Eating Well for Hair Health

"What you eat or do not eat can affect your hair and skin," says Doug Kalman, RD, a nutritionist with Miami Research Associates. This is important for dieters to keep in mind, Kalman says, particularly those who choose diets that severely restrict calories or eliminate groups of food.

Rogaine for Women - A Snapshot

For years, only men were acknowledged when it came to hair thinning and hair loss, but now we know that hereditary hair thinning is almost as common for women. In fact, one in four women in the United States experiences hair thinning.