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Why is Hair Loss More Common in Men than Women?

Statistics show that men are much more likely to experience hair loss at some point in their lives than women are. More than 55% of women and 85% of men are likely to experience some kind of hair loss in their lifetime.

Whilst both men and women can experience hair loss, it tends to be more noticeable in men. This is due to the fact that men and women lose their hair in very different ways. Here we’ll examine why hair loss appears to be more common in men than women.

Table of Contents

Is androgenetic alopecia more common in men than in women?

Permanent hair loss known as androgenetic alopecia (often misspelt as androgenic alopecia) affects 70% of men (in the form of male pattern baldness) and 40% of women (in the form of female pattern baldness) in their lifetimes.

That’s quite a difference between the two genders but when you see the reasons behind it, it makes a lot more sense.

Why do men go bald?

Basically, men are more prone to androgenetic alopecia which results in permanent hair loss (i.e. balding).

Male pattern baldness is a genetically inherited condition and occurs when there is increased activity of the androgen receptors in the hair follicles. These receptors respond to androgens like dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a by-product of testosterone that shrinks hair follicles and makes it hard for them to live.

miniaturisation leading to hair loss informational graphic

Since men are constantly producing testosterone throughout their lives, they are also constantly making DHT, and so it makes them more likely to lose their hair than women, who do not have a similar genetic disposition to hair loss.

Hair loss in women

If women start to lose hair due to female pattern baldness, they will start to notice the signs of hair thinning after menopause. Women who lose hair before then are most likely to experience temporary hair loss due to:

Again, many of these hair loss conditions are temporary and can be treated if the cause of hair loss has been determined.

What does androgenetic alopecia look like in women?

Female pattern baldness presents itself with hair thinning on top of the head, particularly around the hair parting which becomes wider. As hair loss continues, the scalp becomes visible through the scalp.

The Ludwig Scale is used to determine which stage of hair loss an individual is at and contains only three stages of hair loss which can be seen below:

Ludwig Scale

What does androgenetic alopecia look like in men?

Due to the pattern of their hair loss and that most men wear their hair short, male pattern baldness is easier to see and occurs in a series of stages. It starts with hair loss starting at the temples and receding into the characteristic “M” shaped hairline. In addition to a receding hairline, hair is also lost at the crown in most cases.

The Norwood Scale contains seven stages and is used to determine which stage of hair loss an individual has progressed to.

Norwood scale

How common is hair loss in young men?

Some men experience male pattern hair loss in their teens and early twenties, which again is usually a result of hormones. Since the hormones are raging in puberty, it makes some men in their teens and early twenties more at risk of losing their hair as testosterone is produced in a higher quantity during puberty than any other time of a man’s life. Even if there is no male pattern baldness gene, this boost in hormones can still cause shrinkage of the hair follicles. Certain hairstyles like man buns can cause hair loss if tied too tightly.

According to the American Hair Loss Association, by the age of thirty-five, approximately two-thirds of men will have lost a little hair. By the age of fifty, 85% will have experienced hair thinning or have lost a significant amount of hair through balding.

How common is hair loss in young women?

Whilst some women do experience female pattern baldness early on in life, it is more common after menopause, not because of an increase in testosterone but rather because they experience a drop in other hormone levels.

Hair loss before menopause is usually caused by a condition known as alopecia which can develop at any time and cause hair loss that may or may not be permanent. Often it is caused by stress and is not a common condition.

Getting to the bottom of female hair loss is difficult without the right diagnostic tools and tests. That’s why it’s important to speak to a professional, so you can get the right female hair loss treatment.

Hair loss in men is more noticeable

Another reason why it appears men lose their hair more often than women is that it is much more obvious when a man begins to lose his hair. As previously mentioned, the characteristic hair loss pattern of male pattern baldness is very obvious but when this process starts it is not usually a gradual process.

Women who suffer from female pattern baldness lose hair differently. Female pattern hair loss presents at a slower rate with hair thinning all over the scalp and therefore gives the appearance of thinning rather than loss. Men, however, tend to lose a lot of hair over a shorter period from the specific areas of the crown and the hairline.

female pattern baldness (left) vs male pattern baldness (right)
female pattern baldness (left) vs male pattern baldness (right)

Why don’t all men experience rapid hair loss?

Going back to the hormones theory, you may be wondering why all men don’t experience hair loss if they all produce testosterone and therefore, create the same testosterone by-product. This is thought to be down to the fact that some men create more than others, and some have more receptors than others.

A man could make a lot of the hormones and still not experience significant hair loss if he only has a few of the receptors in his hair follicles. Also, not all men are prone to male pattern baldness as this condition is usually passed on in the genes.

Therefore, a man whose father suffers hair loss is genetically predisposed to also experience it and is much more likely to lose their hair than a man whose father still has a full head of healthy hair.

Is there a way to prevent male pattern baldness?

Whilst some men are prone to losing more hair than others, there are a few things you can do to slow down further hair loss. One way is to avoid inflaming the hair follicles by over-styling or applying chemicals regularly. This means no hair dye or heat damage to your hair!

You can also help to stimulate hair growth by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Make sure you are getting plenty of hair growth nutrients like iron, zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids from your food as they will aid hair growth and keep the hair follicles healthy.

However, studies have also shown that excessive Vitamin A also be a cause of hair loss.

What treatments are available to slow or manage pattern hair loss?

There are a variety of hair growth options available to help slow or manage pattern hair loss. The right hair loss treatment will depend on your personal needs and hair restoration goals.

Hair loss treatments

There are a variety of non-surgical hair growth treatments which aid in slowing hair loss and promoting hair growth. These include the following:

  • Minoxidil– this topical solution (also known as Rogaine in the U.S. and Regaine in the UK) helps to stimulate hair growth by encouraging blood flow to the hair follicles. The hair loss treatment comes in a variety of topical forms and strengths.
  • Finasteride– this treatment (also known as Propecia) helps to encourage hair growth by blocking DHT production. Finasteride comes in both oral and topical Finasteride forms. It should be noted that women are not advised to use Finasteride.
  • Dutasteride– this oral medication is one of the most effective hair loss treatments out there. It works by inhibiting enzymes that convert testosterone to DHT, the hormone responsible for hair loss.

Alternative therapies

Individuals who are not interested or suitable for hair loss medication might want to consider alternative therapies such as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) which uses low-level lasers to help promote hair growth on the scalp.

Hair transplantation

Of course, if you have already lost your hair, you may be looking for a permanent solution to get it back. Hair transplant surgery is the simple answer.

Hair transplants have come a long way from the days of hair plugs. Thanks to modern techniques such as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), many individuals have successfully had their hair restored. Take a look at our gallery to see what hair transplant surgery can do for you!

Have you been affected by hair loss?

Although pattern hair loss in men is commonplace, it does not make it any less embarrassing or disheartening for the person experiencing it. Losing one’s hair can really knock your confidence and make you feel an array of emotions that can lead you to feel quite depressed about the whole thing.

Many men choose to hide their thinning hair for as long as possible before looking for a male hair loss treatment, such as hair loss surgery. However, hair loss doesn’t need to be a reason to hide away when the solution is a quick and easy procedure that can give you back a full, healthy head of hair.

Wimpole Clinic is one of the best-equipped and most surgically advanced London hair transplant specialists. We can help you achieve fantastic results that help you to get your confidence back and feel good about yourself.

See our hair transplant clinic reviews to hear from our previous patients.

Why is Hair Loss More Common in Men than Women?, Wimpole Clinic

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