Androgenic alopecia is a term used to describe hereditary hair loss, and is most commonly associated with male pattern baldness. Most people assume that hair loss is a problem for men, but the truth is that about 50% of all people experience hereditary hair loss, both men and women. Androgenic alopecia affects women too, but in a different way than men.
Who is Affected
Instead of the male pattern of a receding hairline and hair loss at the crown, the female pattern of hereditary hair loss is a thinning of hair, as opposed to a total loss, on the top of the head. This thinning is usually most noticeable around age 50, but can start as early as a woman’s 20s, or even teens. Those who have a history of female hair loss in their family, on either their mother or father’s side, are the most likely to experience it themselves.
Signs of Thinning
Losing some of your hair every day is just part of the hair’s natural cycle. Your hair is on a 5 to 7 year cycle of growth and shedding. When a follicle sheds, a new, shorter hair grows in its place and the cycle starts again. When androgenic alopecia occurs in women, the growth cycle slows down, so hairs that are shed aren’t replaced as quickly, and sometimes not as all. Some early signs that your hair might be thinning include:
Scalp visible on top of the head.
Hair is thicker at the back of your head than it is on top.
Your ponytail is thinner than it use to be.
Treatment for Hair Loss
If you’re experiencing female hair loss, you’re not alone, and there are treatments available to help. Minoxidil, such as that found in Rogaine, is the only FDA approved topical treatment for hair loss. Women usually use a 2% concentration, since anything stronger can increase facial hair growth. Laser treatments for the scalp have been very successful at stimulating an uptake in the growth cycle as well. Hair replacement, which takes healthy follicles from the back of the head and implats them on top in thinning areas, is very successful, and looks totally natural. The younger you are when you begin hair loss treatment, the more effective it is.
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