NORMAL HAIR LOSS CYCLE OR FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS?
The most common reason for hair loss in women is female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA). It’s a condition that causes changes to your hair follicles due to genetics, hormones, and age. There are many potential causes of hair loss in women , but heredity is usually the main culprit.
If you have hereditary hair loss, it will cause your hair follicles to shrink over time. So while your hair may still be growing, the quality of that hair will change — getting smaller, finer, and less visible — until new hair is no longer produced.
How female pattern hair loss happens
Every woman will experience a degree of hair loss, due to the hair loss cycle. If you experience female pattern hair loss, changes in your follicles interrupt this cycle, leading to thinning hair and hair loss.
The hair growth cycle has three phases. Once you understand the natural process occurring in your follicles during these three phases you can start taking steps to help your hair.
Growth (or anagen) phase
For every hair on your head, the cycle begins with the growth phase, which lasts from 3 to 5 years. The hair grows at 1cm a month and usually about 85% of your hair is in anagen phase. Women with androgenetic alopecia, whose hair follicles are still active, will experience growth, but the growth phase may be shortened.
If you are experiencing this female pattern hair loss, you may still notice your hair growing. However, your follicles will continue to shrink, producing finer, shorter, and harder-to-see hair with each cycle until they are no longer able to make new hair.
Transitional (or catagen) phase
Next, the hair enters a transitional phase which lasts around two weeks. This is when the cells at the base of the hair stop growing, just as they would in a healthy follicle.
Resting (or telogen) phase
After the transitional phase, the hair follicles enter a 3 month resting phase. At the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.
Who’s to blame?
It’s a commonly held myth that genetic hair loss is only inherited from one side of the family or the other. In reality, you can inherit the hair loss gene from your mother, your father, or from both of your parents. That being said, if a number of close relatives have hair loss, your chances of experiencing it increase, though it is by no means inevitable.
Can I prevent female pattern hair loss?
While you can’t take the genetics out of androgenetic alopecia, it doesn’t mean you are powerless against hair loss.
Minoxidil, the active ingredient in REGAINE® for Women, works by increasing the supply of blood and nutrients to your hair follicles helping to strengthen the existing hairs and encouraging them to grow. Read more about Minoxidil’s role in battling female pattern hair loss.