Women are generally more conscious of their hair appearance. Women will notice see-through quality of their thinning hair very quickly and they will conceal their thinning hair with a change of hairstyle. This usually works, especially if the hair loss is still in its early stages.
However, once hair loss becomes more severe, it will be difficult to conceal the scalp by changing hair styles. One of the first few early signs of advance hair loss comes when styling in a certain fashion to conceal becomes an issue.
To recognize signs of hair loss, you must first know the pattern of hair loss. Did you know that the female-pattern hair loss differs from male-pattern hair loss?
Male balding takes place at the crown of the head followed by receding hair lines. On the other hand, female balding, is diffused and the thinning usually starts from the centre region. It is very rare for a female to go completely bald, unlike men.
Very rarely will a woman in her 50s have the same volume of hair as she did when she was in her 20s. However, she should not be losing that much hair until her scalp is on full display for everyone to see.
Hair loss is getting serious when you lose up to 300 or more hairs in a day. Those with healthy hair may lose up to 100 hairs in a day and this is perfectly normal as this is part of the human hair cycle. However, it is impractical to count the amount of hair you drop in a day, so the quickest way to tell is just to comb your hair thoroughly, seeing 5-10 strains of hair on the comb is normal, but if you are seeing way more than that, it is a sign of serious hair loss.
This many hairs on the comb is definitely too much!
Source: Bee Choo Origin
A better and more accurate way to tell if you are having hair loss is to do a hair scan. The hair scan will quickly indicate the severity of hair loss. Most hair treatment clinics or dermatologists are equipped to conduct the hair scan for you.
Healthy hair. Around 3 hairs per pore, no empty pores.
Early signs of hair loss. 1-2 hairs per pore
Severe hair loss, 1 hair per pore and many empty pores
Example of early stage female hair loss pattern
The picture above is a typical example of early stage female hair loss. Her hair loss is almost evenly spread out. The centre of the scalp is the most obvious due to her parting. In addition, her hair is no longer voluminous, causing her hair to look flattish. Nevertheless, the hair loss is not yet in the severe stage as only small parts of the scalp can be seen.
Example of advance stage female hair loss pattern
The lady in the picture above is in the advance stage of the female hair loss pattern. Her entire scalp is visible. But did you notice that there are no bald patches? That’s the key difference between female and male balding pattern. Male-pattern balding occurs at specific places such as the crown of the head coupled with receding hairlines while the female-pattern balding is diffused.
Ladies suffering from diffused hair loss is typically caused by:
Points 1,2 and 3 triggers Telogen Effluvium which causes up to 70% of a person’s hair roots to be pushed into the ‘resting’ stage prematurely. Once the hair root goes into the resting stage, it falls off 2 to 3 months later. Thus, is it common for pregnant ladies to start seeing a loss in hair volume 2-3 months after birth.
Point 4, Genetics and hormonal changes, on the other hand, is when dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attacking the hair follicles and blocks the hair follicle access to the blood supply, causing the hair follicle to reduce in diameter. The hair that grows out of these miniaturized follicles are smaller and have a shorter anagen (growing) phase.
Eventually, these hair follicles shrink to the point that no new hair is able to grow out of the follicle. When this happens, this hair follicle becomes dormant. Too many dormant hair follicles at a certain area will cause a bald, shiny spot on the scalp. This is seldom seen in women and more often in men and especially Caucasian men.
Ladies who are suffering from patchy hair loss is probably due to:
Bacterial infection is rarely seen in women. It is more commonly found in children and especially boys. Hair loss stemming from bacterial infection results in a patchy hair loss pattern. There is a subtle difference between hair loss stemming from alopecia areata. When bacterial infection occurs, the hair in the infected area breaks at the roots, thus, you still can see the roots of the hair. Just look at the photo below, you can clearly see several ‘black dots’, this is actually broken hair!
Example of hair loss due to bacterial infection
On the other hand, hair loss from alopecia areata does not cause the hair to break, on the contrary, the entire hair including the hair roots, falls off. Furthermore, the affected hair follicles reduce in size. The affected area, usually the size of a coin, becomes smooth and shiny. This is clearly shown in the two images below.
Example of hair loss due to alopecia areata
Being able to recognize female-pattern hair loss is important. Identifying the cause of hair loss will enable you to decide the best treatment to undertake for fastest recovery. Do not wait until you’re in the advance stages of hair loss before seeking treatment!