Hair loss is, indeed, one of the hallmarks of getting older, but when can the average man or woman expect to experience the beginning signs of thinning hair? Before hair loss and thinning, you may not realize how much hair is tied into a youthful appearance but men and women finding themselves affected by this condition are usually shocked that they are experiencing it so early in life.
While age-related hair loss is often associated with men, women, too, can certainly be affected by it. So, let’s take a look at the issues of hair loss and thinning for both men and women so that we can better understand why this happens.
Hair Loss and Thinning in Women
Every woman notices the myriad of changes that her body undergoes as she grows older, and hair is no exception. Hair color will most likely change; Hair textures often changes as well – leaving thin, fine, grey hair in place of the healthy head of hair you were once accustomed to. But what about hair loss and thinning? At what age can that be expected?
Women can normally expect hair loss as they enter their 40s and 50s. Approximately 40% of women have noticeable hair loss by the time they are 50. It has been reported that less than 50% of women retain their hair throughout their lives.
With respect to women, there are a couple of factors that are important to note regarding hair loss. First, some hair loss and thinning may be due to heredity (family history) – so the genes you have inherited from your parents and grandparents are going to play a big role in hair loss. In fact, heredity is the most common cause of hair loss. This condition, which also effects men, is referred to as androgenic alopecia, often called female- or male-pattern baldness.
Designed For Women's Hair Loss
Second, some hair loss and thinning may be due to hormonal fluctuations that occur as a woman ages. As you may guess, menopause, and the stage before it known as perimenopause, play a huge factor in hair loss and thinning for women.
This is due to the fact that hormones that aid in the stimulation of follicle fibers are lessened, and there is often an increase in the body’s testosterone levels. As the aging process continues, hair fibers begin to thin and fall out more easily.
The average age for women to enter menopause is around 51. One simple way to determine when you might enter menopause is to find out at what age your mother, as well as any female siblings, entered menopause, as this will likely be about the same age you can expect.
Women may notice thinning particularly on top of their heads – with a widening part or receding hairline being most common. Women who have worn braids or weaves throughout their lives can also suffer from hair loss and thinning as they grow older.
While your doctor may run tests to make sure the hair loss is not due to a medical condition, this type of hair loss is considered a normal part of aging. For women, though, hair thinning and loss can have a catastrophic effect on their socializing and quality of life.
Hair Loss and Thinning in Men
As mentioned previously, men also experience hair loss and thinning from androgenic alopecia (or male-pattern baldness.) In fact, male pattern-baldness accounts for approximately 95% of male hair loss and thinning.
Shockingly, men can experience male-patterned baldness as early as 16 years of age, starting off with a gradual thinning of hair. Although it’s fairly uncommon to suffer hair loss and thinning at this age, it can understandably be emotionally devastating.
Most men who suffer from male-pattern baldness begin to notice visible hair loss and thinning in their 20s. The hairline may begin to recede, and the hair on top of the head may begin to appear thinner. It can be extremely uncomfortable to notice hair loss at a time when men are most likely to have a vibrant social life and are building their adult lives.
As men hit their thirties, about 25% are going to notice hair loss. When men reach their fifties, about 50% are going to suffer from noticeable hair loss. By the age of 60, a staggering 66% of men may either be bald or will exhibit a balding pattern on their scalp.
Treatments for Male- and Female-Pattern Baldness
There are treatments available both for men and women suffering from male- or female-pattern baldness. For men, one treatment can include the use of the drug Finasteride, a drug that was initially developed to treat enlarged prostate glands. Finasteride cannot be used by women, regardless of age.
A treatment for both men and women includes the use of minoxidil which may slow the progression of hair loss and may aid in the growth of new hair. It’s important to note that Minoxidil has no effect on hormones, so for women who are experiencing hair loss or thinning due to fluctuating hormones, the positive results of Minoxidil will most likely be temporary.
Women may also use Spironolactone, a diuretic, to treat their hair loss and thinning. This medication is thought to block the body’s production of androgens. Androgens are male hormones which are present in the female body, such as testosterone. When hormones are out of balance, they may cause a variety of issues, including hair loss and thinning.
Both men and women may choose to combat hair loss and thinning with hairpieces or procedures such as hair transplantation.
Whatever the age that thinning hair and hair loss enters your life, it can have a massive impact both emotionally and socially. While we often think of hair loss and thinning in men, it can also occur in women to a devastating effect.
Before you experience hair loss and thinning, you may not realize what a negative impact it can have on your life. If you haven’t had experience with these issues, you may not realize how much they are associated with feelings such as a loss of vitality or youth.