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Female androgenic alopecia in young women

11 January 2022

Alopecia

Female androgenic alopecia in young women | Dr de Freitas

Androgenic alopecia in young women is not as common as it is in young men, but it is still a concern that affects self-esteem. 

This type of alopecia is characterized by a progressive hair loss, in young women it usually occurs gradually and rarely reaches an advanced stage.

What is it and how do I know I have female androgenic alopecia?

Androgenic or androgenic alopecia is the most common form of baldness in women. It particularly affects more men than women, but there is also a high number of young women who suffer from it. 

In women, hair thinning can be diffuse, alopecia manifests itself in a progressive loss of hairs, which are replaced by finer, almost invisible hairs in response to the circulation of androgens. 

In this type of alopecia the hair cycle is affected, reducing the number of hairs in the growth phase and producing a relative increase of those follicles in the resting phase.

The hairline in women begins to become wider and less populated. Sometimes in young women it does not cause total baldness, but it does cause very thin and low quality hair. 

You can say that you have androgenic alopecia if you present:

  • Prolonged hair loss
  • Loss of hair volume or density
  • Thin and brittle hair
  • Appearance of light or bald areas with little hair.

How is alopecia diagnosed in women?

Loss of hair density is the first evidence, followed by hair loss. To make a correct diagnosis it is necessary to go to a hair center, where a specialist will perform an analysis or examination of the scalp. 

To diagnose alopecia in women, the trichologist will perform a hair analysis with a digital microscope, during the examination he will be able to collect all the visual information that is detected, then a report will be made to evaluate the case accurately.

In most cases it can be diagnosed simply by the symptoms it generates, such as a gradual loss of capillary density giving way to the appearance of thinning areas. 

Androgenic alopecia in women can be perceived as follows:

  • Crown: Hair loss is concentrated on the top of the head (crown). This hair loss occurs homogeneously, and begins to be seen when this area becomes lighter and the scalp can be seen.
  • Christmas tree: It starts at the top of the head and becomes visible in the case of parted hairstyles. It appears more pronounced near the forehead, where the scalp is more visible, and continues, from more to less, to the crown of the head. It simulates the shape of a fir tree, whose base is wider than the crown.
    In young women it can appear between the ages of 20 and 30, and if it is not stopped as soon as possible, it will increase over time.
  • Diffuse hair loss: As we can infer, it is characterized by heterogeneous alopecia. It is seen in a generalized form from the beginning, and so continues in more advanced stages, with no areas more particularly affected than others.

Young women in their 20s and 30s are most at risk of developing the hair disease. Fortunately, it can be stopped. Not all women suffering from androgenic alopecia will reach the most advanced stage, but starting treatment as early as possible will help prevent progression, especially if it is diagnosed in the early stages.

Causes of female androgenic alopecia

The causes of androgenic alopecia are genetic and hormonal, which distinguishes it from telogen effluvium, which also progresses faster and can also affect the sides and back of the head.

The main causes of androgenic alopecia are stress, medication intake, dietary deficits and lifestyle.

  1. Stress: Excessive worrying can cause hair loss and has a real basis. Stressful situations can exacerbate an existing alopecia problem or even be its main cause. 
  2. Medications: The use of certain medications and treatments such as the contraceptive pill, antidepressants or anticoagulants can cause hair loss as a side effect.
  3. Dietary deficiencies: A diet deficient in vitamins can affect hair health, leading to hair loss.
  4. Lifestyle: This, along with an improper diet, can create complications that exacerbate our overall health, leading to conditions that also affect hair loss.