85% Of Men Will Experience Thinning In Their Hairline

Luke Fitzpatrick

Male pattern baldness has long been a topic of conversation, but female pattern baldness is just as real and as prevalent. Hair is a significant part of most people's identities. Women's hair is perceived as a sign of their femininity, and society dictates that it is part of a woman's attractiveness.

So, the conversation around women's hair loss is slightly different because it is viewed as a significant issue for women but a natural occurrence for men. Men are encouraged to lean into it and shave their heads, whereas women look for wigs, scarves, and creative hairstyles to cover the problem.

Ultimately, hair is not just cosmetic. It is a major part of your physical identity. And losing your hair can be devastating. Both men and women who suffer from hair loss report loss of self-esteem; it can even contribute to depression and anxiety. But what are the key differences between hair loss in men and women?

The different types of hair loss

By 50, around 85% of men will experience significant thinning in their hairline. By age 40, about 40% of women will be dealing with visible hair loss.

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common hair loss affecting men and women. While it's hereditary, it results from high levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone). For men, thinning hair can start as early as their teens. For women, it's likely to begin later, and menopause can contribute to its worsening. Unfortunately, its impact is indiscriminate; there is nothing you can do to prevent hair loss caused by your genes.

Traction alopecia can also impact both men and women, but it is far more common in women. It's a result of repeated pulling, whether it's from hair extensions, tight braids, or ponytails. This type of repetitive activity damages the hair follicles.

Telogen effluvium results from trauma, and this hair loss is temporary. It's what causes women to lose hair during or just after pregnancy. It can also come from anxiety, stress, surgery, physical or psychological trauma, nutritional deficiencies, or even a long illness.

There are also a variety of medications and conditions that can contribute to hair loss in both men and women. Chemotherapy, for example, causes Anagen effluvium, which is rapid and fractures hair shafts and results in hair loss.

The physical appearance of hair loss

Hair loss looks different for men and women. A receding hairline is a characteristic of male pattern baldness. Hair loss is often in an M-shaped pattern and can eventually lead to near or total baldness.

Women, however, experience a slow, subtle loss of hair. It starts with thinning at the crown rather than the hairline. It does eventually spread over the whole scalp, but women don't typically go fully bald. Instead, there's just a more noticeable amount of scalp exposure.

Hair loss resulting from a traumatic event generally causes hair loss in clumps. The key differences between hair loss in men and women are mostly down to where the hair starts to thin and fall out. For the most part, both men and women are impacted by the varying types of hair loss.

The effects

Hair loss can have profound psychological effects for both women and men. In addition to low self-esteem and depression, hair thinning and loss can result in anxiety and self-consciousness, preventing people from socializing.

For women, it is particularly devastating on an emotional level. Baldness and shaved heads are far more accepted looks for men than women. Long hair is held up as a societal expectation for women, and thinning hair or hair loss can create intense feelings of shame and humiliation for women.

Many women feel like they are losing a part of their identity when they experience hair thinning or loss. They worry about their desirability, their standing at work, with friends, and romantic partners, which can severely impact self-esteem.

There are more effective solutions available than wigs and creative hairstyles. For example, silk pillowcases or hair wraps are an excellent way to prevent further breakage and loss while you sleep, but there are also handy tablets that can help halt your hair loss and stimulate new growth. The most important thing to remember is that you're not alone in hair loss, regardless of gender.

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Academic Speaker | Freelance Journalist | I have contributed to a variety of publications such as Forbes, Tech In Asia, and The Next Web. I cover a variety of topics ranging from fintech, big data, AI, blockchain, to lifestyle and breaking news stories.

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