A fear for many women, young and old, is excessive hair thinning and balding. For many women, however, this fear is a reality. Visible hair loss affects 40% of American women, a statistic that may startle you. So, what causes female pattern baldness and how can you improve your scalp and hair health if this disease affects you?
Causes of female pattern baldness
From illness to medication to hormonal imbalance, there are many reasons that a woman may be facing hair thinning and baldness.
But the most common cause of female pattern baldness is the condition known as Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). The exact cause of AGA is unknown, though there are a few theories.
The most widely believed theory is that of androgen hormone sensitivity. More specifically, the androgen Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
So, what’s the science behind the theory?
A more recently suggested theory is that of scalp tension. As the theory suggests, scalp tension occurs as a result of “pubertal and post-pubertal skull bone growth and/or the overdevelopment and chronic contraction of muscles connected to the GA.”
The scalp tension theory does answer a lot of questions that the DHT theory seems to ignore. There is still much room for research on the topic, however.
How to combat female pattern baldness
Even if we don’t know the exact cause of female pattern baldness, it’s still possible to treat it. How? Let’s look at some of the proven methods below.
There are plenty of hair loss “cures” on the market that claim to stop hair loss and even reverse balding. But many of these are unproven.
One product on the market that’s been thoroughly researched, though, is Rogaine. A topical FDA-approved medication, Rogaine is often recommended to men and women alike who suffer from hair thinning and balding.
Its mechanism isn’t fully understood, though the drug is believed to increase blood flow to the scalp and make it possible for the hair follicles to thrive in a hostile environment.
This drug differs from the only other FDA-approved hair loss drug on the market, Propecia, in that it is available over-the-counter AND it can be used by women.
Rogaine isn’t an option for everyone, but it might be an option.
Change your diet
What you eat can have a significant impact on overall health and even your hair. That’s why it’s important to re-evaluate your current dietary choices.
What changes should you consider, then?
The most obvious changes to make include reducing sugar intake, lowering carb intake, and increasing your intake of fiber. If you have any known sensitivities, such as to dairy or gluten, then it’s best to remove those from your diet as well.
So, what should you eat?
- Lean meats (e.g. chicken, fish)
- Whole grains (e.g. brown rice, bulgur, quinoa)
- Dark, leafy greens (e.g. spinach, arugula, kale)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g. almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
- Non-meat proteins (e.g. lentils, beans)
A balance of these foods will contribute the necessary vitamins and nutrients to your diet so you can be sure you’re hitting all of your daily needs. This will go a long way in supporting healthy hair growth. In addition, these properly caring for your hair is as important as ever.
Practice scalp massage for hair growth
If you want to continue on the path of natural hair growth techniques, then scalp massage is a consideration. Natural remedies for wellness are growing in popularity for use on the hair, as well as for cosmetics.
Scalp massage is a technique that helps to reduce tension. It also increases blood flow to the immediate area, and it may even break down scalp calcification.
Scalp massage has even been proven to increase hair thickness in men with pattern baldness.
Men aren’t the only ones to benefit from scalp massage for hair growth, though. A more recent study, published in 2019, suggests that women can benefit from the same technique.
How to perform scalp massage
Place your hands on either side of your scalp just above the ears. Using your fingertips, begin to move in slow, circular motions.
Slowly move towards the front of the scalp, first at the temples and then at the forehead. Your hands will meet in the middle, and then you can return to the sides of your scalp all the while continuing your slow, circular movements.
Next move up to the crown. As women tend to experience the most balding here, spend a bit more time here than in other areas, if possible.
Lastly, you’ll move to the base of the scalp. Here you can also massage your neck muscles to reduce any scalp tension that may be a result of physical stress on the back and neck.
Do you want to increase the efficacy of your scalp massage for hair growth?
If so, you can always add in natural scalp treatment, such as those from Hairguard. These provide an extra boost to your routine without taking any additional time.
Conclusions on female pattern baldness
Female hair loss and thinning is a condition that faces millions of women worldwide. And while it may seem that most treatments are geared towards men, there are many options for women as well.
You don’t need to be in the later stages of female pattern baldness to begin treatment, either. In fact, the sooner you can start, the better.
Why is more attention put on male hair loss than women’s? Feel free to share any related experiences in the comments section below.
15 thoughts on “Female pattern baldness: Causes and treatment types”
I have a serious cowlick near the crown of my head. Thanks for these tips. I’ll try the scalp massage. Even if it does not help the bald-looking spot where the cowlick is, it will feel good.
And feeling good is the main thing xxoo
I love that you took such care with this post Christy. Hair loss for women is devastating. It’s not even so much about vanity either. It’s about feeling like a woman. Whether a woman prefers short, medium or long doesn’t really matter. Even if she wants to shave it all off – go for it! The fact is, having that choice makes all the difference. My mother went bald at an early age and it terribly devastated her self-esteem. Though she regained a small part of it, she had to try potions, wigs, etc to feel halfway normal. It was painful to see her so affected.
Hair loss became a real issue for me as well. I didn’t want Rogaine because the withdraw if you ever decide to discontinue use is bad news. Many of the Rx medications have horrendous side effects. Natural supplements help but don’t always seem to get to the root of the problem.
This particular issue in women has a multitude of causes, just like you said. It could be hormones. It could be chronic stress or tension. It could be a predisposition from genetics for hair loss but something is triggering it unnecessarily. Gluten and other dietary issues are a big trigger for many.
Chronic stress, anxiety and worry causes mind to shed unbelievably. As does not loving/accepting myself enough. The fear that creates makes hair loss much more severe. It’s a vicious circle. Scalp massage, learning to ‘let go’ of things I simply can’t control, allowing myself time to de-stress and the proper nutrient supplementation (inositol is wonderful!) have really brought about a big change. But scalp massages are a critical part of this. Investing in an electronic one feels heavenly :)
All my very best to you dearest Christy! Thanks for sharing such a critical message that affects women’s self-esteem everywhere. We are more than our hair though! We must always remember that. ♥
Dear Holly, thank you for sharing your experiences as I know your words will help other women find comfort in knowing they’re not alone. Female pattern baldness is a topic that few people want to talk about but I hope that changes. And sooooo glad that you’re enjoying scalp massages! You deserve to feel as special as you are, dear friend xo
THIS WAS MOST HELPFUL, TY!
Glad to hear it!!
Sometimes nothing works. Especially …. Aging is a problem no one gets around.
At the point of no return consider extensions.
Consider a wig.
Consider living with the beautiful you, that you are.
Living with beautiful you is a wonderful sentiment, Resa xx
# 1 choice!
Lots of love coming your way!
Back at you!
Lovely Post. Will implement the precautions from today, hopes it will work.
Wishing you all the best, Alice!