Female pattern hair loss is a common cause of hair loss in women affecting approximately 40% of women by age 50. Unlike male pattern baldness which usually presents with a receding hairline, sufferers of female pattern hair loss will usually notice generalised thinning affecting mainly affecting the top of the scalp. As hair loss progresses, the scalp begins to show more creating a ‘see-through’ effect.
What causes female pattern hair loss?
As in male pattern baldness, the cause of female pattern hair loss is linked to the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – a derivative of testosterone metabolism. Hair follicles in the scalp contain receptors which bind with DHT molecules. When DHT binds to the receptors of hair follicles of women who are genetically susceptible to female pattern hair loss, it causes the follicles to shrink and produce thinner hairs. The exact role of hormones is less well understood than in male version of the condition, and because of this it tends to be harder to treat.