Differences Between Male Baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia) and Female P – DrFormulas

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Differences Between Male Baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia) and Female Pattern Hair Loss

Male Pattern Baldness/Hair Loss (Androgenetic Alopecia) PicturesAndrogenetic alopecia


This man is experiencing androgenetic alopecia. It typically affects the front of the hairline as well as the top or vertex of the scalp. It is caused by excessive amounts of DHT which bind to hair follicles and tell them to miniaturize. It is usually treated with topical minoxidil, oral finasteride, or both.

Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) Pictures

Female Pattern Hair Loss


Female pattern hair loss is more complicated than male pattern hair loss and is thought to have a number of causes. It has a characteristic “Christmas Tree” distribution initially that starts at the parted hair line. FPHL affects approximately 19% of the female population[4] and appears to occur less often in Asians than in Caucasians[5].

Another interesting fact about FPHL is that it affects different age groups differently. 3% of women with FPHL are aged 20-29 whereas 29% are between 70 and 89[6] Indeed, the majority of women who get FPHL tend to have it after menopause. Menopause is when females stop producing estrogen and progesterone hormones.

For these reasons, FPHL is thought to be due to hormones. Furthermore, approximately 39% of females with FPHL have hyperandrogenism (too much T and DHT). Having too much DHT is known to cause hair loss in men as well.

What about the other 61%? Some women are genetically predisposed to FPH. However going back to the age distribution of FPHL there appears to be a pattern of hair loss getting worse in older women. One thing to keep in mind in terms of hormones is that women also go through menopause whereby they stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen has many benefits for skin including thickening the skin. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is known to help support hair growth[7]. There are risks and benefits to HRT that you should discuss with your doctor if you are interested in it.

The Role of Estrogen in Hair Loss

It is interesting to note that FPHL occurs less often in Asians than in Caucasians. One of the key differences between Western and Eastern populations is diet. Asian populations tend to eat diets richer in soy and phytoestrogenic ingredients. A comparison between Japanese eating a soy-rich diet compared to Japanese living in Hawaii eating a Westernized non-soy diet found that the incidence of Alopecia Areata (AA) to be higher in the Japanese-Hawaiian population[1].

Furthermore, one study of Taiwanese men found that men who ate more soy products tended to have a lower incidence of androgenetic alopecia[8]. Studies in mice found that mice that consumed more soy displayed resistance to the development of alopecia areata (AA) [2]. 

For menopausal women experiencing hair loss we recommend trying DrFormulas Menopause Support which has a number of phytoestrogenic ingredients like soy that may support hair growth.

Hair Loss Conditions That Affect Both Men and Women

Alopecia totalis is a condition in which a person loses all of their hair. It can be caused by drugs such as chemotherapy drugs that halt hair growth.

Alopecia areata (AA) is a condition in which a person loses patches of hair. The first line medical treatment is a product containing minoxidil. Steroid injections into the area of hair loss is also utilized. 

Telogen effluvium is a condition in which a person undergoes a stressful life event and sheds more hair than they do normally. It is normally self-resolving.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=14943264

[2] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1034/j.1600-0625.2003.120104.x

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=11231244

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=20105167

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=11231244

[7] https://www.everydayhealth.com/hair-loss/hormone-replacement-therapy-as-a-hair-loss-treatment.aspx

[8] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0079789

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