Not All Hair Loss is Equal

How Hair Loss Differs Between Men and Women

Hair loss is generally considered to be a man’s problem, but women actually account for 40% of all hair loss sufferers in the United States. As experts in plastic surgery and hair restoration, we wanted to explain the similarities and differences between male hair loss and female hair loss, as well as options for hair restoration.

What causes hair loss?

The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as male or female pattern baldness. Androgenetic alopecia is believed to be caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which derives from the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone gets converted to DHT within hair follicles, which then binds to and shrinks the follicles and results in hair falling out.

What does male hair loss look like?

The first signs of male pattern baldness are a receding hairline and thinning hair around the crown area. If left untreated, hair loss will progress as the follicles become more shriveled. Eventually, the follicles die which results in baldness. For unknown reasons the follicles at the side and back of the head are less affected by DHT and hair growth often remains intact in these areas.

Because men have higher testosterone levels than women, they are likely to produce higher DHT levels, leading to increased hair loss. That’s why you’ll see complete or partial baldness more commonly in men than women.

What does female hair loss look like?

Female pattern baldness starts with thinning hair across the central area of the scalp. Most women tend to retain their hairline, but the thinning often spreads to the side areas of the scalp around the temples and above the ears. A small number of women will experience total baldness.

Women also may experience another type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This form of hair loss develops when the body is put through extreme stress, such as child birth, malnutrition, or major surgery. The condition is characterized by the woman’s body suddenly shifting from a hair growth phase to a hair shedding phase. This can occur within six weeks to three months after a stressful experience and is much more common in women than men.

Traction alopecia is another form of hair loss that is more likely to occur in women. It’s triggered by trauma to the hair follicles, caused by hair styles that pull the hair tightly, such as braids, ponytails, and hair extensions.

How does hair loss impact men and women?

It goes without saying that hair loss can be devastating to a person’s self-esteem regardless of gender. But experts agree that women are significantly more likely to suffer emotionally as a result of their hair falling out.

In our society, it’s expected that a man loses his hair as he ages. In fact, many men will shave their heads completely at the first signs of hair loss and it’s considered to be a strong, sexy look. But for women, hair is often a source of pride and esteem. Long, beautiful hair is seen as the ultimate feature of feminine beauty. Women who experience hair loss often become depressed and develop low self-esteem. They may avoid social situations, have diminished work performance, or give up healthy habits like exercising regularly and eating well.

How can men and women cope with hair loss?

If you are a man or woman experiencing hair loss, then there are ways to cope.

  • Remind yourself that hair loss is not life-threatening. Hair loss may be unpleasant, but it doesn’t affect your physical health in any way.
  • Work with a professional barber or hair stylist to find a hairstyle that suits you. A professional can bring out your best features and covers up the thinning sections naturally.
  • Consider treatments available for hair loss. One of the most effective treatment options for male hair loss and female hair loss is the NeoGraft Hair Transplant procedure available at Northeastern Plastic Surgery. It is the least invasive hair restoration technique, requires no stitches, and there’s a quick recovery time.

If you’re experiencing hair loss, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Fodero. Dr. Fodero understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. He uses the latest plastic surgery techniques to produce outstanding results. He and his staff are friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact Northeastern Plastic Surgery today.