What is the pattern of female hair loss? - Female Hair Loss Guide

The process is the same for both men and women but the pattern of hair loss differs between the sexes.

Male hair loss follows a distinctive pattern in which hair is lost from the front (around the temples) and gradually recedes over the top of the scalp, reaching the back of the head. This leaves a band of hair above the ears and round the back of the head.

Whereas female hair loss involves the top of the scalp but women tend to retain their hairline. Their hair loss occurs behind their hairline.

Female hair loss generally starts in their thirties and reaches a peak in their fifties when testosterone levels have started to fall. More than 50% of men experience male pattern baldness compared to 30% of women.

Basically female hair loss is less severe than for men. But it is still a good idea for a woman to check if there is a history of baldness in their family –on both the male and female sides to see how this might affect them. This means trying to find out when they first started losing their hair, how it progressed and the type of hair loss. You need to be certain that if you have inherited this tendency that you will have enough hair for a transplant.

There has been an increase in the number of women taking testosterone to boost confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem. This is done often for reasons of getting to the top in one’s chosen career but bear in mind that there are side effects with this hormone which include male pattern baldness.

So if a woman takes large doses of testosterone then she will experience hair loss in exactly the same way as a man would.

If you are a woman who has noticed some hair loss and is considering surgery then the question is: how bald are you?

To find out take a look at the Ludwig scale below.

The Ludwig Scale

This is the only method of classification for female hair loss. Hair loss in women is characterised by a reduction in density of hair and this is confined to the top (crown) of the scalp rather than from front to back of the scalp as seen in men.

This scale is not used to the same extent as the Hamilton-Norwood Scale in men but nevertheless, it is still an important tool to determine the extent of female hair loss.

Three stages of hair loss

There are fewer stages than with the male classification scale: these consist of just the 3 stages with stage 1 being no or little hair through to stage 3 which is advanced hair loss.

These stages are categorised as ‘grades’.

These three stages are:

  • Stage 1: the start of female pattern baldness. There is some thinning of the hair on the scalp which is evenly distributed. Hair loss is not noticeable at this stage (grade 1).
  • Stage 2: hair loss is becoming more noticeable and the scalp can be seen. Around 50 to 70% of your hair will have become thinner and baldness can be seen (grade 2).
  • Stage 3: the most severe form of hair loss. At this point there is more scalp on display than hair and treatment is now needed (grade 3).

Much more research and attention is devoted to male hair loss than female hair loss which means that it is harder for women to obtain treatment. Female pattern baldness can be overlooked or not given the same level of attention which makes things difficult for women in general.

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