Female Hair Loss
In general, female hair loss is a potentially reversible problem, but in a small population of women, it can proceed to irreversible hair loss, or cicatricial pattern hair loss. Early diagnosis by a dermatologist and treatment are the keys to successful results when dealing with female pattern hair loss.
Hair Loss in Caucasian Women
Different ethnic groups experience different types of hair loss. One of the most common types of hair loss in Caucasian women is telogen effluvium, which is characterised by increased shedding of hair over the entire scalp. Hair is lost when combing, brushing and washing the hair. This type of hair loss may be caused by thyroid, hormonal, nutritional or age-related factors, as well as medications being taken or underlying disease. This also is the type of hair loss that pregnant women experience following the birth of their baby. “The treatment and cure for telogen effluvium is to find the underlying problem which initiated the hair loss.
Another common type of hair loss experienced by Caucasian women is female pattern hair loss. This condition can begin early (teenage years to the early 20s) or late (early 40s to 50s) and is characterized by the loss of hair on the top of the scalp, but not the back of the scalp. The hair becomes finer because the individual hairs are smaller or “miniaturized.” The overall density may decrease so dramatically that women may notice that their ponytail is smaller or that they can now easily see their scalp when they style their hair. Some women with female pattern hair loss also have hirsutism, which is the growth of hair in the beard or moustache area, or persistent acne or irregular menstrual cycles.
Hair Loss in African Women
Female hair loss in african women have a different, but just as common, type of hair loss called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA). This type of hair loss also results in loss on the top of the scalp, while sparing the back of the scalp. It is different than female pattern hair loss as the hair follicles have a tendency to be destroyed, not just miniaturized. Once a hair follicle is destroyed, regrowth is not possible. Thus, women with this type of hair loss are at risk for, and frequently develop, cicatricial or permanent hair loss and should seek evaluation by a dermatologist as soon as possible.