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Hair and Scalp Health

Learn from the experts! Taking care of your hair and scalp is easy and rewarding.

Alopecia: Hair Loss in Women

Jo Palmeri

Some amount of hair loss in women is common, especially as we age: It will affect almost 50% of us to some degree. Hair loss can occur anywhere on the body, but hair is most frequently lost on the scalp. The amount of hair loss can range from a small patch or area (more common) to total body hair loss (rare). Is this reassuring, or unsettling? Once hair loss starts happening, how easily and quickly it can affect our self-esteem, our sense of self-worth, our body image and feelings of attractiveness and style! The primary type of hair loss in both women and men is called androgenetic alopecia, and occurs on the scalp. Symptoms include hair loss, skin lesions, and scarring. Although men may experience “male pattern baldness” relatively rapidly, women are a bit more fortunate. The loss is not nearly as dramatic: Instead of losing all the hair, women’s hair slowly thins, and the loss confines itself to a smaller area. Most people have between 100,000-150,000 hairs on their head at any given time, and lose an average of around 100 hairs per day. Hair loss begins between the ages of 12 to 40, and is usually not enough to notice. At about age 50, many women may begin to notice a bit more hair around the drain after washing their hair, or a few more hair stands on the brush. To maintain a normal hair volume, the amount of hair lost must be replaced by new hair—obviously a problem as hair loss gradually increases. Our hair is considered to be such an important and defining characteristic: “fiery redhead,” “mysterious dark-haired stranger,” “blondes have more fun.” This is especially true for women, for whom hair may represent femininity and attractiveness. Women who experience hair loss or hair thinning may suffer from feelings of loss of control, anxiety, depression, and isolation. What causes alopecia and hair loss? It certainly seems like there should be an easy answer and explanation, but the truth is that hair loss results from a number of conditions and for a number of reasons. In future blog posts we’ll explore those causes as well as what both men and women can do to prevent and control hair loss, and even encourage new hair growth. - See more at: