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Hair loss in women is surprisingly common, an estimated one in four UK women experience hair loss. While certain lifestyle factors can have an impact on your hair loss, female pattern is usually the most likely cause. So before you start blaming your diet or blow dryer, get to know the science behind female pattern hair loss.

  1. Hereditary

    Female pattern hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is a genetic condition that shortens the time that hair spends actively growing. AGA causes the hair follicles to become smaller. Gradually, thinner, light-coloured hairs will replace your large, darker hairs. Women with female pattern hair loss experience a general hair loss, with the most extensive hair loss occurring on the top of the head.

  2. Non-hereditary

    Temporary hair loss, known as telogen effluvium, happens when stress, diet, a hormonal imbalance, or a traumatic event causes hair follicles to remain in the resting state; these results in increased hair shedding and a temporary hair loss across the whole scalp. While the amount of time someone stays in telogen effluvium varies, once the root cause has been corrected, hair should return to its previous thickness.

  3. After Pregnancy

    During pregnancy most women find that their hair is thicker and fuller. However, after giving birth it is common for hair to fall out, sometimes in large amounts. As a woman’s whole body returns to its pre-pregnancy state, hair will return to normal.

  4. Alopecia areata,

    an autoimmune disorder, is recognizable by well-defined patches of hair loss that may happen quickly and lead to complete hair loss. If you have no history of hair loss in your family and are experiencing this kind of hair loss, consult your doctor.

Who’s to blame?

It’s a commonly held myth that genetic hair loss is only inherited from one side of the family. In reality, women can inherit the hair loss gene from their mother, their father, or from both parents. That being said, if a number of her close relatives have hair loss, a woman’s chances of experiencing hair loss increases, although it is by no means inevitable that she will experience it.

Not just for men

Incorrectly thought of as only a male concern, both men and women experience hair loss, but in varying patterns and severity. Men’s hair tends to recede at the hairline and/or they experience hair loss around the crown of the head, whereas a woman’s hair loss usually involves a more dispersed hair loss on the top of the head, often noticeable as a widening parting.