Hair Loss Through The Ages

Hair loss affects both men and women of all ages. In fact, approximately one in four women is affected by hair loss and 95 percent of those affected suffer from androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness. In addition, 40 percent of alopecia patients are female and most women dealing with hair loss are between 25 and 35 years old. On the other hand, 66 percent of men will have experienced noticeable hair loss by the age of 35. By the age of 50, approximately 85 percent of men will have significantly thinner hair and by the age of 60, about two-thirds of men are experiencing some pattern of balding.

Hair loss in men and women can be caused by several factors. The most common cause is hereditary hair loss known as androgenetic alopecia. Other causes of hair loss include alopecia areata, nutritional deficiency, stress, pregnancy, and other medical conditions. Furthermore, recent discoveries have pointed out that hair loss, on a cellular level, has something to do with follicle stem cells. A team of researchers observed that the hair follicles in older women are more shrunken and this is associated with the genetic mutations in follicle stem cells. They also found out that the protein COL17A1 is key to hair thinning. The discovery of how this gene works could be the key to reverse the process of hair loss.

Hair Loss and Self-Esteem 

Although hair loss and thinning are usually associated with older people, they can begin during adolescence or during a person’s early 20s. Others won’t experience any significant thinning or balding until in their 50s or 60s. However, when hair loss begins at an unusually young age, a young person might experience some form of stigma. That’s because adolescence is a time where a person’s social skills, confidence, and friendships are still being developed. It is also a time where youth deal with issues around body image and experiencing hair loss at this age can lead to teasing or bullying. Thinning or balding during puberty can take a serious toll on a teenager’s self-esteem especially at school. Hair loss in teens can be caused for a variety of reasons. This includes hormonal problems, poor nutrition, stress, medication, traction alopecia, and undiagnosed health conditions, to name a few. 

Meanwhile, grown men and women are also emotionally and psychologically affected by hair loss. It can also dampen their self-esteem and even result in a lack of self-worth. Many men and women feel embarrassed about gradually losing their hair. That’s because, in men, thicker and fuller hair is generally viewed as a symbol of masculinity and physical strength. In women, long, healthy hair is a symbol of femininity and attractiveness. Thus, it is no surprise that a decrease in confidence and self-worth associated with hair loss is evident in both sexes. 

Signs of Hair Loss

As mentioned earlier, hair loss or baldness can affect people of all ages. But in general, the signs of balding are more pronounced as people get older. Medical professionals diagnose patterns of balding using different methods. But some methods are more commonly used in classifying hair loss in both sexes which you can also use. In men, the Hamilton-Norwood classification system is used to measure the extent of male pattern baldness. On the other hand, dermatologists use the Ludwig system for women experiencing female pattern baldness. 

Some of the early signs of hair loss in men include the following: 

  • Slight recession of the hairline around the temples
  • Receding hairline (usually makes an M shape as the two sides recede faster than the middle of the scalp)
  • Noticeable thinning of the hair on top of the head

Over time, the hairline recession and hair loss progresses until the band of hair across the top of the head is gone or sparse. In the most severe stage, only a band of hair around the sides of the head remains. 

Meanwhile, some of the early signs of hair loss in women include thinning on top of the head and widening of the part so more scalp is visible. Furthermore, the Ludwig classification system uses 3 Types to diagnose the extent of hair loss in women. 

Type I. This is the mild stage of hair loss. In this stage, hair loss might not be that readily noticeable unless the hair is parted down the center of the scalp. 

Type II. In this stage, hair loss is considered moderate. In this type of hair loss, women may notice a general decrease in hair and thinning. 

Type III. This is the most extreme stage of hair loss in women. In this stage, extensive loss has already occurred and the scalp becomes very visible to others. 

What to Do When You Have Observed Some Signs of Hair Loss

Just like any health condition, it is best to seek the advice of medical professionals when experiencing hair loss. Although it is only natural to lose hair as you get older, hair loss could also mean other things like an undiagnosed medical condition or poor nutrition. A dermatologist can examine your scalp to identify the pattern and extent of your hair loss and recommend some hair loss treatments appropriate for you. The earlier you do this, the more hair you will be able to preserve. This will also give you a better chance of restoring your hair to its healthy and beautiful state. Contact our specialists at Ziering Medical to get the right treatment for your hair loss problems. We serve patients in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, New York, Greenwich, and Las Vegas.