Hair loss in women is just as common as it is in men. The bad news is that heredity, hairstyles and some products can contribute to female hair loss. The good news is that, in many cases, a board certified dermatologist can identify the type of hair loss then develop an effective treatment plan to combat the loss.

The most critical component of treatment is making sure the physician is trained in treating hair loss and makes a proper diagnosis based on pattern and location.

Female pattern hair loss (hereditary thinning) is also known as androgenetic alopecia and results in more visible thinning on top. Marginal alopecia is hair loss along the edges of the face at the hairline.

Genetics, age, menopause and certain hormones are the primary causes of female pattern hair loss. Treatment options may include topicals or oral medications.

There are 2 main types of marginal alopecia, traction and frontal. These 2 types look similar; however, a dermatologist will ask questions about family history and lifestyle to distinguish which is the correct diagnosis and how to best treat it.

Traction alopecia is caused by hairstyles that pull the hair tightly, such as cornrows, weaves and ponytails or buns. Medications such as minoxidil, in conjunction with gentler hairstyles, can often help the hair to grow back.


Using too much heat or too many chemicals on your hair over a long period of time can also contribute to hair loss.


Frontal fibrosing alopecia is also becoming more common and can cause permanent damage to the hair follicle. If it is left untreated it can cause hair loss in the eyebrows and eyelashes.

The best solution for all female pattern hair loss is early diagnosis and intervention.