Male pattern baldness and men going bald has been the norm and often the butt of many jokes between blokes but baldness and hair loss is not isolated to just men, more and more women are seeing hair loss.
Female hair loss
Female hair loss is an upsetting subject, whereas in history we have seen many powerful and successful men with male pattern baldness, the female psyche and self esteem is much more closely linked to looks and aesthetics than men and can therefore have a much more devastating effect on confidence. If a bad hair day can make you feel low then hair loss can be even more upsetting.
Nearly 8 million women in the UK are reported to be suffering from some sort of baldness, hair loss in women can be anything from thinning hair or patchy hair usually starting at the crown, unlike male pattern baldness it is unusual for women to experience a receding hairline, however it can occur.
Hair loss in women could have one of up to 30 different causes from genetics, hormones or lifestyle, if the cause is unknown or hormonal then quite often the hair will grow back later. This is common if the woman has a thyroid issue and quite often pre and post pregnancy.
What is the Purpose of the Savin Scale?
This chart has two major uses:
Medical evaluation – these charts allow doctors and patients to identify how far the FPH has progressed, and also clearly illustrates the different levels of severity that are possible in the future. Doctors can essentially use this chart as a reference guide when determining ways to treat FPH.
Research evaluation – these charts provide a clear set of alpha-numeric terms for research experts to use when discussing their findings. In other words, the researchers will be able to share their findings by using a uniform set of agreed upon terms. Using a predetermined set of definitions helps avoids confusion and uncertainty.
Measuring Women’s Hair Loss
To measure the amount of hair a woman is losing we use the Savin Scale, this gives us a comparison to measure how extreme the hair loss is.
The Savin Scale provides alpha-numerically coded pictures that depict different types of FPH, and at different stages.
In the first image (labelled I-1) the central parting of a woman with no hair loss is shown.
The images 2 to 4 (labelled I-2, I-3, I-4) the width of the parting gets progressively wider indicating thinner hair along the centre of the scalp.
The images labelled II-1 and II-2 show diffuse thinning of the hair over the top of the scalp.
The image labelled III represents a woman with extensive diffuse hair loss on top of the scalp, but some hair does survive.
The image labelled “advanced” represents a woman with extensive hair loss and little to no surviving hair in the alopecia affected area. Very few women ever reach this stage and if they do it is usually because they have a condition that causes significant, abnormally excessive androgen hormone production.
The last image in the Savin scale is somewhat different, it shows a woman with a pattern of hair loss that is described as “frontally accentuated”. That means there is more hair loss at the front and centre of the hair parting instead of just in the top middle of the scalp.
It is very rare to see a naturally bald woman, without any medical treatment where hair loss is a side effect, experts think that genetics may play an important part, therefore if your father and brothers have lost their hair this may be the cause for female hair loss, also a hormonal imbalance such as pregnancy and menopause can attribute to hair loss.