Thinning hair is common as we age. And while the signs might not be as obvious as in men, about 55% of women experience some hair loss by the time they're 70. Treatments to prevent or stop it can help many women who are losing their hair.
Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, explains in this Mayo Clinic Minute.
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"People think of hair loss or pattern baldness happening only to men," says Dr. Davis.
But several things can cause hair loss in women: pregnancy, menopause, medical issues, medications and even stress. However, the most common cause is female-pattern baldness, a genetic and hormonal hair loss that gradually occurs in many women.
"It starts with thinning of the hair on the crown of the scalp exactly in the center. So women may notice that when they part their hair, the part is a little wider or perhaps it's wispier," says Dr. Davis. "And then what happens is that density just simply decreases over time. And in extreme form, there can be absence of hair on the crown of the scalp."
Time is of the essence.
"As soon as you start to see hair loss — because hair disorders are often time-sensitive — I would encourage you to see a hair specialist, such as a dermatologist," she says.
And Dr. Davis has some words of advice.
"Be gentle to your hair. Wash it less frequently. Don't put it into tight braids or a tight cap. Be careful with the products that you use on your hair so that you don't use harsh chemicals," she says.
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