For decades, stand-up comedians have made jokes about the differences between men and women. While losing hair is no laughing matter, and men and women’s hair loss share commonalities, there are a few important distinctions between the causes, manifestations, and treatment depending on sex.
We’ll start with what men and women’s hair loss has in common. The reasons behind pattern baldness in both sexes largely come down to something we all share: genetics. Over 95 percent of hair loss cases in men and women are caused by androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary hair loss condition that affects over 3 million Americans annually.
As the name implies, androgenic alopecia involves hormones called androgens. These hormones, which include testosterone, play an important part in male sexual development. They also play a central role in hair growth for both sexes. Testosterone produces a by-product known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Men and women who suffer from pattern baldness have a genetic sensitivity to DHT that results in shrinking hair follicles, which ultimately stop producing viable hair to replace the hair that we all lose on a regular basis.
Additional factors distinct to women can also lead to hair loss, such as hormonal and other changes caused by menopause.
Androgenetic alopecia may share a common origin in men and women, but the distinct ways in which androgenetic alopecia typically manifests itself – and how that impacts when hair loss is first noticed – is perhaps the biggest difference between the sexes when it comes to hair loss.
Men are more likely to notice and experience pattern baldness earlier than women. A quarter of American men see symptoms of male pattern baldness before the age of 21, approximately 66 percent of men experience some degree of loss by the age of 35, and 85 percent of men see significant thinning related to androgenetic alopecia by age 50. Most women, however, do not notice any signs of thinning or balding hair until the age of 50 or 60, long after the condition has already begun.
This gap between when men and women typically notice they have a problem with hair loss is due to the different ways men and women typically lose hair as a result of androgenetic alopecia. In men, androgenetic alopecia follows a relatively predictable and familiar pattern that starts with shedding in the frontal hairline. This leads to more pronounced hair loss across the top of the head, and finally toward the crown. Since this hair loss in men occurs in distinct areas of the scalp, it is relatively easy to see it happening while it is happening
In women, however, androgenetic alopecia progresses differently. Instead of losing hair in isolated areas, women’s hair loss tends to occur throughout the scalp, resulting in thinning hair that can be more difficult to detect than a receding hairline or bald spot on the top of the head. Fortunately. there are warning signs of hair loss in women that facilitate faster action. Early detection is critical, as all medical therapies are most effective if initiated in the earlier stages of hair loss.
A wide range of treatments can be used to address both men and women’s hair loss. The nature and degree of hair loss in the individual patient help determine the most effective treatment. At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, we have developed a comprehensive, holistic approach to evaluating and treating patients with hair loss, and leverage the very latest scientific advancements at our state-of-the art facility.
For men and women alike, the first step towards addressing hair loss is arranging for an evaluation as soon as possible. Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment provide the best chance of restoring your hair — and regaining your confidence. Let us help you reclaim a healthy, vibrant, and full head of hair. Schedule an appointment with the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami today by calling 305.925.0222. We look forward to assisting you.