Permanent hair loss affects 70% of men and 40% of women in their lifetimes. 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.
Hair Loss in Men
Some men experience 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.
Basically, men are more prone to a condition known as androgenic alopecia. This is a genetically inherited condition, often referred to as male-pattern baldness, and it starts with hair loss starting at the temples and receding back in to the characteristic “M” shape. Hair is also lost at the crown in most cases too. The condition increases 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. Because 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.
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.
Hair Loss in Women
Losing your hair as a woman, especially if you're young or at a vulnerable time in your life, can badly affect your confidence.
For women, there's a social stigma attached to going bald. Hair loss can affect your sensuality and how you perceive yourself. There are usually emotional trials and tribulations when it happens.
Hair loss, known medically as alopecia, is common. It's estimated, for instance, that around 70% of women over the age of 70 experience female-pattern baldness – the most common type of hair loss, which is thought to be inherited.
There are lots of different types of hair loss. It can take the form of "thinning" or involve a total loss of hair. It can be gradual or sudden; it can affect the old and the young.
Hair loss can be genetic, or as a result of extreme stress, a medical condition or treatment.
Hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy. It's also common for women to lose more hair than usual up to 3 months after they've given birth.