guideguide to female hair loss

It's normal to lose some hair. We can lose between 50-100 hairs a day, often without noticing.

Hair loss is not usually anything to be worried about, but occasionally it can be a sign of a medical condition. It’s important to emphasise that hair loss in women is very common, more common than most people realise. 

Some types of hair loss are permanent, like male and female pattern baldness. This type of hair loss usually runs in the family.

There are lots of different types of hair loss. It can take the form of 'thinning' or involve a total loss of hair. It can be gradual or sudden and can affect women of all ages.

Hair loss can be genetic, or as a result of extreme stress, a medical condition or treatment. Hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy. It's also common for women to lose more hair than usual up to 3 months after they've given birth.

To understand more about female hair loss, let's look at the hair growth cycle. The lifecycle of each hair is divided up into three phases of growth, shedding and resting.


The Hair Growth Cycle


The Hair Growth Cycle

During this time, the hair shaft is growing within the hair follicle. The anagen phase lasts an average of 3-5 years before the follicle becomes dormant, but varies from person to person as it's dependent on your genetics, age and health. Normally, 80-95% of your hair would be in its anagen phase.⁠

This is a period of transition where growth of the specific hair shaft comes to a halt and the hair follicle shrinks. Around 1-3% of our hair would be in this phase at any one time. This phase takes approximately one to four weeks.

In the telogen phase, the hair follicle rests and doesn't grow. This phase takes approximately two to four months. At the end of the phase, the hair shaft is expelled from the hair follicle (i.e. the hair falls out) and this cycle starts again.⁠

All of the hairs on your head are cycling independently of each other, so people usually don’t notice it happening, apart from occasional hair fall. So how do you know if some hair shedding is more serious?

“Hair loss can vary tremendously from person to person,” notes MONPURE’s Resident General Practitioner Dr Simmy Kaur. “As a general rule of thumb - if you notice thin or bald patches, a visible scalp, a sudden increase in hair fall, or a gradual decline in the thickness of the hair, seek help from your doctor.”