Hair Loss in Women vs. Men: Key Similarities and Differences
In general, we tend to think of balding as a man’s problem. After all, men lose their hair earlier, in greater numbers, and in a more dramatic fashion than women do. But, in fact, hair loss affects both sexes by the millions, and it’s important that we focus on hair loss and thinning solutions for both men and women. As one of the most common age-related concerns among humans as a whole, hair loss needs more attention equally across the two genders.
Prevalence: Both Affect Large Chunks of the Population
One of the biggest similarities between female and male hair loss is prevalence. It may surprise you to know that hair loss is considered very common among both men and women. Studies show that about 40 percent of women have visible hair loss by the time they turn 40, while 53 percent of men in their 40s report moderate to extensive hair loss. Indeed, men experience thinning hair and balding in greater numbers earlier than women, but both sexes are highly likely to experience some form of hair loss as they age. Though men experience it more, it’s important that we include this one as a similarity, as female hair loss often gets overlooked, with many sufferers experiencing it in silence.
Cause: Many of the Same Triggers for Men and Women
Men and women risk some of the same hair loss triggers, as well as some different ones (covered below). All human beings are at risk of losing their hair as a result of androgenetic alopecia, otherwise known as hereditary hair loss. This simply means that your hair is thinning or falling out because it’s in your genetic makeup. Men and women alike experience hair loss due to stress, thyroid disease, alopecia areata (an autoimmune condition), scalp infections, nutritional deficiencies, and taking certain medications.
Pattern: Hair Disappears in a Distinctive Pattern That Differs by Sex
The gender-specific names for androgenetic alopecia are male-pattern hair loss (MPHL) and female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), and for good reason: the hair loss pattern differs significantly by gender. Men typically lose their hair in a distinctive “M” shape, beginning at the temples or the crown of the head, with the hairline receding until it becomes thin, patchy, or gone completely. On the other hand, women tend to lose hair all over the head, usually starting at their part, with the hairline occasionally receding at the temples.
Age: Men Generally Start Losing Their Hair Earlier Than Women
As we’ve already mentioned, men report greater levels of hair loss earlier on than women. While both sexes report higher numbers of hair loss with age, the guys do begin to lose their hair before the ladies. According to the American Hair Loss Association, about a quarter of men have begun losing their hair by the age of 21. Because female-pattern hair loss worsens with menopause, many women don’t experience extensive hair loss until middle age.
Cause: Many Different Triggers for Men and Women
While the impetus for hair loss can be the same between a man and a woman, it can also be completely different. Women are faced with more triggers caused by hormonal imbalances. Specifically, women tend to lose their hair during pregnancy, after childbirth, or after menopause. However, the two most common reasons for hair loss—androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium (hair loss due to stress or a traumatic event)—are shared among the sexes.
One of the most fascinating differences between men and women who are losing their hair is how they respond to the process. According to a study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health, women suffering from FPHL tend to report more feelings and symptoms of depression, while men suffering from MPHL tend to report more feelings of anxiety. Though more research is needed, some experts believe that this disparity in response has to do with the complicated link between female beauty and long hair and other social or cultural factors that contribute to how men and women view hair.
There’s Hope for All Hair Loss Patients
One of the key similarities between men and women suffering from hair loss is that there are cutting-edge hair growth solutions out there for both. If you are one of the millions of men or women suffering from genetic hair loss, you’re a good candidate for low-level laser therapy using at-home devices such as Capillus laser caps. These caps are designed to help sufferers of hair loss get back to a self-confident state with no pain, side effects, or invasive treatments whatsoever.