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Hair Thinning in Women

Hair thinning in women is often temporary and reversible, but it can still be a concern. It occurs for lots of different reasons: medical conditions, lifestyle factors, and genetics can all play a part. Due to the varying nature of female hair loss, not all hair thinning solutions may be appropriate to treat hair loss in women.

Dr Jennifer Jones, a dermatologist at London’s Royal Free Hospital, says about 45% of women will have some degree of female pattern hair loss by the time they reach 50.

So what can you do about female hair thinning? In this article, you’ll learn:

  • When hair thinning is a concern
  • The causes of female hair thinning
  • Who’s at risk of hair thinning
  • Effective treatments for hair thinning in women.
Table of Contents

What does hair thinning in women look like?

Hair thinning in women is described by hair loss specialists as diffuse thinning because the pattern or rate of hair loss is entirely individual. While it normally begins around the parting and spreads to the rest of the scalp, there’s no single pattern (unlike, for example, male pattern baldness). 

That means hair thinning can look different for everyone. Some women will see thin ends, while their roots are still thick and intact. Here are some example photos of hair thinning in women:

diffuse thinning around the parting due to female pattern baldness

Diffuse thinning around the parting.

Image courtesy of 

thin ends and broken hair due to harsh styling
Thin ends, possibly due to excessive use of harsh styling treatments.
widespread thinning
More widespread thinning across the scalp

When should I start worrying about thinning hair?

Women with healthy hair lose around 100 hairs every day. This is a normal level of hair shedding, and it’s why hair often comes away when you brush or wash it.

Here’s what 100 hairs looks like in people with long vs short hair:

What 100 lose hair strands looks like in someone with short hair (left) and in someone with long hair (right)
What 100 lose hair strands looks like in someone with short hair (left) and in someone with long hair (right)

If you’re losing substantially more hair than this, or hair loss comes on suddenly, you may have unusual levels of hair loss. Excessive hair loss can be a sign of an underlying health condition, so it’s a good idea to get a checkup with your GP.

What causes hair thinning?

Hair thinning isn’t necessarily the same as hair loss, though it can progress to more permanent hair loss if left untreated. Hair thinning is usually characterised as temporary hair loss from the hair follicle, or breakage along the hair shaft that leads to the appearance of thinner hair.

There are a number of causes of hair thinning in women, including:

There are also several conditions that can cause more permanent or widespread hair thinning in women. These include:

Which women are more likely to experience hair thinning?

Some women are at greater risk of hair thinning than others. This includes women who:

  • Have recently given birthpostpartum hair loss typically occurs 2-4 months after childbirth.
  • Are going through or have been through the menopause — conditions like female pattern hair loss and frontal fibrosing alopecia are more common in women over 50 [3].
  • Have certain autoimmune disorders — hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to hair loss. 
  • Have polycystic ovary syndromePCOS hair loss may be related to female pattern baldness in younger women [4].
  • Use hair relaxers and other chemical treatments — excessive use of chemicals on your hair (including hair dye and bleach) can lead to dry, brittle hair that falls out.
  • Use excessive heat on their hair — daily heat styling can eventually lead to hair that appears thin and dry.

Age and ethnicity can also impact your sensitivity to hair thinning. Women with afro hair types are more likely to use relaxers and hair extensions, which can lead to thinner hair. Older women are more likely to experience hormonal changes that lead to certain hair thinning conditions.

Can hair grow back after thinning?

Temporary hair thinning will always grow back. Sometimes this just requires a bit of patience — for example, if you’ve recently given birth or had chemotherapy treatment.

Other times, you’ll need to take steps to remove the trigger or protect your hair from further damage. 

However, if you have a more permanent hair loss condition, these tips will only help so much. You’ll need to seek a more active hair growth treatment to fully restore your hair.

What can I do if my hair is thinning?

There are lots of lifestyle changes you can make to promote healthy hair growth when you know what’s causing your hair thinning. Here’s what you can do to reduce hair thinning

  • Reduce or eliminate the use of heat, bleach, hair dye, and other chemical treatments.
  • Use mental health management techniques to regain hair loss from stress or a mental health condition.
  • Diagnose and treat any underlying health conditions (visit your GP so they can rule out any health conditions that may contribute to hair loss).
  • Wear your hair in loose styles that don’t create too much tension along the hair shaft.
  • Get your hair cut regularly to get rid of split or straggly ends.
  • Use a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for thinning hair.

If you have female pattern hair loss or a more permanent/persistent type of hair loss, you could also try using Minoxidil. This hair loss treatment is suitable for most women, and works by dilating your scalp blood vessels to stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles.

What can I do to hide thinning hair?

Hair regrowth is a serious waiting game. Even if you’re using treatments like Minoxidil, it will be several months before you see any real visible changes to your hair.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about the condition of your thinning hair, here’s what you can do to hide it while you wait:

  • Restyle your hair with one of these female hairstyles to hide a receding hairline.
  • Consider wearing a wig (especially if you want longer hair or a specific haircut).
  • Try lightweight hair extensions that don’t tug on the hair follicles.

While these methods are useful for hiding thinning hair, it’s important to avoid any styles that could damage your hair further. 

Repair your hair with the Wimpole Clinic

The best way to get your thinning hair back on track is to consult with a hair loss clinic. At the Wimpole Clinic, we’ll examine your hair and perform hair loss blood tests to establish the cause of your hair thinning, so we can create an effective treatment plan for you.

Hair loss treatments we offer include Minoxidil, low level laser therapy, high-frequency scalp treatment, and female hair transplants. Take a look at our hair transplant gallery to see the type of high-quality hair transplants we provide to both our male and female patients.

Book a free consultation with our team today to start your hair repair journey.

Hair Thinning in Women, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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