There are many misconceptions about hair loss, but perhaps the most pervasive is that it only affects older men. While this belief can be problematic, since it can often prevent patients from seeking the help they need, it is hardly surprising. After all, data compiled by the American Hair Loss Association reports that approximately 85% of men will have significantly thinning hair by the time that they reach the age of fifty. Unfortunately, this number only represents the tip of the iceberg. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we have been treating hair loss patients for more than forty years, and we are well aware that those patients can potentially be of any age or gender.
Most people naturally associate hair loss with getting older, but approximately 25% of men who suffer from genetic pattern baldness (the most common form of hair loss) actually begin losing hair before the age of twenty-one. This form of hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia, occurs when the patient’s hair follicles have inherited a sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (or DHT), a natural by-product of the breakdown of testosterone in the body. The levels of both testosterone and DHT increase significantly during puberty in both men and women, so hair loss can conceivably begin at any point thereafter, depending on the specific level of sensitivity in the patient. There are even forms of hair loss that can affect much younger patients. Like tinea capitis (commonly known as ringworm of the scalp) which is one of the most common causes of hair loss in children worldwide. Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune type of hair loss, is also common in children.
Even more prevalent than the belief that hair loss only affects older patients is the idea that it only affects men. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Research has found that as many as one out of every four women can expect to experience some degree of hair loss over the course of their lives. Not only can common genetic pattern hair loss affect women just as readily as it can men, but several other medical conditions or environmental factors can cause hair loss in women as well. Women’s hair loss can be the result of hormonal changes caused by thyroid abnormalities, menopause, or birth control pills. It can be caused by physical stress from surgery, illness, anemia, or rapid weight loss. Women can even experience postpartum hair loss, which occurs when the body sheds the extra hair it accumulates over the course of a pregnancy.
Hair loss can be much more complicated, and much more common, than most people think. In fact, the difficulty in diagnosing and treating women’s hair loss is one of the many reasons why Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis have founded The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, the first center in Georgia exclusively devoted to addressing the unique issues associated with women’s hair restoration. There, women can get detailed diagnostic screening to determine the underlying causes of their hair loss and a blend of surgical and non-surgical hair restoration options customized to their particular hair loss needs. If you fear that you may be starting to experience hair loss, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research or the Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on the Griffin Center Facebook page, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.