Female-pattern hair loss is more diffuse than that seen in males. It has the appearance of thinning hair over much of the scalp rather than total hair loss in a defined area of balding. In addition to the standard Ludwig classification, a "Christmas tree" pattern of diffuse hair loss was identified by dermatology specialist Elise Olsen, MD. In this pattern, the broader base of the Christmas tree shape is at the front of the scalp, the narrower top of the Christmas tree shape in the middle of the scalp.
The peak period of onset for female-pattern hair loss tends to occur later in life than in males; onset in the 40-50 age range is not uncommon. As in males, early onset tends to be associated with more severe eventual hair loss. In both males and females, hair follicles at the back of the scalp are not affected by the genetically-driven processes of androgenetic alopecia. The protected follicles at the back of the scalp provide the reservoir for use in hair transplantation or other surgical means of hair restoration.
Hair Loss and Its Causes