Information and Solutions for Men and Women

What Effects Do Gender and Race Have on Hair Loss?

Does gender or race affect hair loss?

As men and women of all ethnicities age, both genders have increased hair loss on the scalp. Reports vary widely on the percentage of hair loss in women, with some suggesting 30-40% age 65 and over while others suggest 50 to 75% of women age 70 and older, as compared to 70-80% of men by age 70. Recent studies suggest that 16% of women and 50% or more men have hair loss under the age of 50. 17-19

However, there are some general ethnic and gender differences in hair density and rates and patterns of certain types of hair loss:

Ethnic Hair Differences

ETHNIC HAIR DENSITY AND LOSS DIFFERENCES

HAIR CHARACTERISTICS

HAIR LOSS

Caucasians typically have 20-30% more scalp hair per square centimeter than Asians and 30-40% more than African and African-American people. 2

 

Generally speaking, Caucasians and Asians have the fastest growing hair. 6

Asians have the thickest hair, measured by diameter, with more and denser cuticle outer layers on each hair shaft (making it less susceptible to everyday damage). 6

Caucasian men have more hair loss above the forehead than other races. Asians, Native Americans, and men of African descent usually have less hair loss than Caucasians. 19

The incidence of female androgenetic hair loss is less in Oriental women than in Caucasians. 20

The rate of alopecia areata is higher than typical amongst the Japanese living in Hawaii. 21

Among the types of cicatricial, or permanent scarring hair loss, whites are more likely to acquire folliculitis decalvans, lichen planopilaris, keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans, and discoid lupus erythematosus, while the most common type amongst blacks is central centrifugal alopecia. However, chronic cutaneous (discoid) lupus may be more common in African American women then Caucasian females. 22-24


Hair Loss Differences Between Men and Women

GENDER-BASED HAIR LOSS DIFFERENCES

MALE

FEMALE

More susceptible than women to androgenetic (patterned) alopecia, affecting 70% of all men vs. 30% of all women. 3

Common male balding can begin as early as the teenage years. 3

Typical male pattern baldness features a receding hairline up to complete hair loss across top and crown of scalp. 3

Studies indicate that men have slightly less scalp hair than women. 6

Primary sufferers of episodes of temporary hair loss (chronic telogen effluvium) throughout their lives. 22

Typically begin losing hair at a later age, with female pattern baldness usually starting in the late 30s. 3

Women usually retain hairline, regardless of type of balding, and experience diffuse hair loss around the hair part and down to the ears, resulting in a Christmas tree-like pattern3

Certain types of permanent hair loss (cicatricial alopecias) are more common in women than in men, including chronic cutaneous (discoid) lupus erythematosus, frontal fibrosing alopecia, Graham Little syndrome, and classic lichen planopilaris24

Although there are gender differences, there are equivalencies as well. For example, while polycystic ovary syndrome is recognized as an inherited condition in women that can cause female androgenetic hair loss, it has been suggested that androgenetic alopecia in men is a symptom of the male equivalent of PCOS. A recent study showed that male subjects presenting with premature hair loss and similar changes in hormone levels as women with PCOS also experienced insulin resistance to a greater degree than those balding men without hormone changes. 25

Alopecia areata, which can progress to total loss of scalp hair and/or total loss of body hair, is much rarer than other types of hair loss. Affecting 1-2% of humans, alopecia areata does not appear to occur more frequently in one gender over the other. Although there doesn’t seem to be any ethnic or racial differences in prevalence, researchers have uncovered that the genetic markers for the disease show some differences across ethnic lines. 26

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Alopecia totalis.
Alopecia universalis.
Medical term for hair loss.
Medical term for hair loss.