Androgenetic hair loss in women

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Things to remember

In women, 90% of the hair loss are due to androgen hormones.

There are four criteria that will tell you whether you are suffering from this type of "androgenetic" or "androgenic" hair loss:

  • Hair loss is always accompanied by thinning.
  • Baldness is always progressive, and the absence of regrowth is often insidious.
  • It is always confined to specific areas of the scalp: the top or sides or, more rarely, the forehead.
  • This type of baldness is progressive and irreversible if left untreated. During the Clauderer diagnosis, we will suggest the right treatment to neutralise your hair loss and encourage new hair growth.
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What does "androgenetic hair loss" mean?

First of all, you need to know that our hair develops and lives under hormonal dependence, whether we are a woman or a man.

An "androgenetic" predisposition means that your scalp is particularly sensitive to androgens. Male hormones, also secreted by women in very small quantities, androgens circulate naturally in the blood. On scalps receptive to their action, they act on the hair follicles and gradually reduce their activity, causing :

  • thinning,
  • slower regrowth
  • loss of hair density.

This is known as androgenetic hair loss.

Testimony of Sonia

Read Sonia's account of how Centre Clauderer advised her after she suffered severe hair loss.

Your symptoms

Four typical scenarios can be identified, from the most severe to the most benign. You will no doubt recognise yourself in one of them:

ON THE TOP OF THE HEAD: THIS IS THE MOST COMMON FORM

The disappearance of regrowth begins with a simple widening of the central line
Baldness gradually spreads to the top of the head
It is often also located at the back (vertex).
However, it spares the hair on the front and sides of the head.
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3

OR ON THE SIDES

Hair thinning and hair loss can occur on the sides, i.e. on the temples and above the ears.
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3

OR ON THE FRONT OF THE HEAD

More rarely in women, hair loss occurs in the frontal region, in the gulfs and/or on the forehead. The median parting and the sides are rarely affected.
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3

THE CAUSES OF YOUR HAIR LOSS

Trigger factor: Androgens

Understanding the mechanism of your androgen-induced hair loss will help you to better neutralise it and calm the stress it generates. The female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone are the main causes of hair growth. But in cases of predisposition, it is the small quantity of androgens, secreted by the adrenal glands (at 60 %) and by the ovaries (at 40 %), which can exert a negative influence on normal hair renewal. The negative action of androgens accelerates the hair life cycle. This acceleration forces hair follicles  into a hellish rate of production, forcing them to produce increasingly fine, short hair. Eventually, exhausted, the follicles shrink and end up producing nothing but down, and then nothing at all. To ensure maximum regrowth before it's too late, we recommend carrying out a diagnosis to set up a treatment that will encourage new hair growth.

Attention

Androgenetic alopecia is not a disease or a general hormonal disturbance. It is simply the way in which the hair follicles capture and transform these hormones that is at issue.

The existence of a family history - mother, grandmothers, aunts, etc., but also father, grandfathers, etc. (this can come from both sides) - is a factor to be considered when making a diagnosis of female androgenetic alopecia. Nevertheless, more than 20 % of women suffering from this condition have no family history of it, yet present the clinical signs of female alopecia.

In addition, over the last forty years or so, it appears that a growing number of women have been suffering from androgenetic hair loss. Our often processed diets and ever-increasing medicalisation could partly explain the phenomenon of increased hair loss.

Please note

Androgens may not be the only hormones involved in this type of hair loss. Scientists are still investigating the possible role of other hormones in the destruction of hair follicle. In fact, the causes of hair loss, in both women and men, are still largely unexplored and are certainly multi-factorial: scientists are only at the beginning of their discoveries!

Aggravating factors

Stress increases androgen secretion and is the most common aggravating factor. Androgenetic hair loss in women can be aggravated by stress It is not only stress in general, but also the stress caused by the hair fall itself. The escalation is then endless: stress increases the hair fall, which increases the stress, which increases the hair fall... Stress certainly contributes, along with diet and medicalisation factors, to the increasing number and severity of female alopecia.

After pregnancy, most women experience hair loss. This hair loss is also known as post-partum. With normal hair, this loss has no consequences and everything returns to normal within 6 months after giving birth. But with an androgenetic scalp, new growth is often thinner and less dense.

Another aggravating factor may be the use of contraceptives or HRT (hormone replacement therapy) whose progestogens are metabolised into androgens. This can be dangerous for the hair. Read our files on : hair and contraception and hair loss during the menopause. They include a non-exhaustive list of contraceptives and HRT available on the market, with a positive or negative rating for hair.

Seasonal factors, mainly in autumn, but also in spring. Still poorly explained, androgen secretion is a physiological phenomenon which can be significantly increased at the start of the season. While this phenomenon has no effect on non-androgenetic hair, it can worsen the loss of density in predisposed hair a little more each year. Sometimes, a one-off treatment in the form of a vitamin supplement can help to reduce seasonal hair loss more quickly (see Racines Plus treatment). As well as providing minerals and other nutrients essential for healthy hair, a well thought-out supplement can help strengthen the body's defences in general. This is never a negligible factor before winter, for example.

MPSO (micropolycystic ovary syndrome). A benign endocrine disease, MPSO induces hyperinsulimia, which leads to excessive secretion of ovarian androgens (ovarian hyperandrogenism). Excess androgens cause, among other symptoms, irregular or absent periods, frequent obesity, etc. Skin problems can also occur: acne, hyperseborrhoea, hyperpilosity and, in women with an androgenetic background, hair loss.

Excess bad cholesterol can also be an aggravating factor in androgenetic hair loss.

Androgenetic hair loss and age

Age is not a reliable distinguishing criterion: androgenetic alopecia can begin at any age, even as early as puberty. Certain periods are more prone to the onset or worsening of this hair loss. These correspond to three key moments in a woman's life that are associated with major hormonal upheavals:

After the puberty

During and after
pregnancy

Comparison
Women - Men

Androgenetic alopecia in women is very different from that in men, and develops more slowly. Women secrete infinitely more female hormones than male hormones: their oestrogens, the female hormones, act as an antidote to limit the harmful effects of androgens and extend the length of their hair cycles.

By what process? Without going into the complex details of inter-hormonal exchanges, let's just say that female hormones "gag" certain receptors on the pituitary hormone, which has the effect of restricting the secretion of androgens. As a result, even in the most severe cases of androgenetic alopecia, the weakened areas can become significantly bald as a result of continuous hair loss, but unlike some men, women never become completely bald. In addition, the areas of baldness differ between men and women: although the causes are unknown, androgenetic alopecia in women is localised either on the top of the head (median parting) or on the sides, or on the frontal area. Areas of baldness in men are located differently.

While androgenetic alopecia cannot, by its very nature, be "cured" (it is not a disease but an innate characteristic, like skin colour or eye colour), the fact remains that it is possible to curb the phenomenon in order to prolong the life of the hair and prevent the onset of baldness, while stimulating hair regrowth in good health.

At the Centre Clauderer, our in-depth knowledge of the life cycle of the hair and its vital functions has enabled us to develop a treatment whose results have been scientifically validated (cf Dr Morot). Combined with a rigorous methodology that takes into account every phase in the life of the hair, the ingredients that make up our treatments are plant-based, with active ingredients used in synergy to combat baldness and weakening of the hair. Female (or male) baldness is not inevitable, and natural, effective solutions do exist.

Your questions about androgenetic hair loss in women

In the street, I notice that more and more women have less hair. Can you confirm this?

Alopecia in women is nothing new, but you're right, it would seem that androgenetic hair loss has been on the increase for the last fifty years or so, although there are no official statistics to confirm this. There are probably several reasons for this: the increase in aggravating factors such as stress, contraceptives that are bad for the hair, and our increasingly vitamin-poor diet. Not to mention the general ageing of the population!

Are all women at risk of developing androgenetic alopecia?

Not all women will develop androgenetic alopecia. Family history, however, can increase the risk. In addition to these genetic predispositions, other factors such as hormonal imbalances, stress or certain medical conditions can influence the onset or progression of this condition. It is therefore important for women to monitor any significant changes in the texture or density of their hair.

Are there any early signs of hair loss to look out for?

Early signs include a widening of the hairline, a general decrease in hair volume and a more visible scalp. The loss is more diffuse, unlike male hair loss. Sometimes an increase in the amount of hair falling out when brushing or washing can also be an indicator. In addition, some women may notice that the texture of their hair changes, becoming thinner or more fragile.

What factors exacerbate hair loss in women?

In addition to genetics, factors such as hormonal imbalances, certain medications, thyroid disorders and unbalanced diets can accelerate hair loss in women.

How can you tell the difference between androgenetic alopecia and other forms of hair loss in women?

Androgenetic alopecia in women manifests itself as progressive thinning at the top of the scalp, preserving the hairline. Hair loss can also be caused by other conditions such as alopecia areata, telogen effluvium or scarring alopecia. Each presents distinct symptoms. To establish a precise diagnosis and identify the best therapeutic approach, it is essential to consult a professional.

Is hair transplantation recommended for women suffering from hair loss?

Although hair transplantation is an option, it is generally considered to be a last resort. Before making a decision, it is essential to weigh up all the other treatment alternatives. Careful assessment is required to determine eligibility for the procedure. The success of the transplant depends largely on the quality of the donor area and the extent of the loss. This is why it is essential to consult a specialist for an informed opinion and to understand the implications, risks and potential benefits of surgery.

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Jean-François Cabos

Jean-François Cabos is the creator of a unique hair care method based on the research he coordinated, which led to the publication of the book "Cheveux, Racines de Vie" with Hélène Clauderer by Robert Laffont (Collection "Réponses/ Santé").

6 Comments
  • Good evening Jean - François Cabos I have had Covid and since then I have noticed hair loss. How can I remedy this problem?

    • Catherine Reiser says:

      Hello and thank you for your message. In our experience, we cannot currently establish a direct link between Covid and hair loss, but it may indicate latent androgenic alopecia. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like an in-depth diagnosis to find out more about your hair problem. The Clauderer Team

  • Thank you for this article. Just a point of clarification: androgenetic hair loss can affect the whole head, and even the nape of the neck before the menopause.

    • Catherine Reiser says:

      Hello and thank you for your message. In our experience, the nape of the neck is often an untouched area. Have a nice day. The Clauderer Team

  • Deprinsac Claudie says:

    Hello to the whole Clauderer team,

    I've been asking myself this question for a long time:
    My hair around my face (temples) has become very fine and remains short. As a result, I'm left with unmanageable spikes.
    I'd like to find a way of making them grow normally.
    Thank you in advance for your advice
    Claudie

    • Catherine Reiser says:

      Hello, Madam. We can certainly help you. Please call us on 01 42 61 28 01. We hope to hear from you soon. The Clauderer Team

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