Full Frontal – the truth about women’s receding hairlines

receding hairlineAngelina Jolie

Depending on your point of view it could be either depressing or reassuring to know that even female stars aren’t immune to hair loss.

Naomi Campbell has been photographed with a good three inch receding hairline (unless that was owing to temporary damage following years of hair weaves and extension pull) and Angelina Jolie (above) is now said to have an expanding forehead.

While this type of hair loss (Frontal Fibrosing alopecia) is less common in women than the thinning all over type (Telogen Effluvium or diffuse), and used to be rare it seems to be on the rise. Why?

Frontal Fibrosing alopecia is different to the receding temples of men in that it is not genetic, although it may have genetic influences. It is usually seen in post-menopausal women over 50 and is characterised by an often symmetrical ‘band’ of hair loss on the front and temples from one to eight inches wide, occasionally accompanied by eyebrow and eyelash loss.  It can appear raggedly with single ‘widow’ hairs clinging on in the bald areas. Affected skin can appear normal but can also be pale, shiny or mildly scarred without visible follicular pores. At the margins of the bald areas, examination shows redness and scaling around hair follicles. It can exist in isolation from, or, in conjunction with diffuse (female pattern baldness) hair loss.

So what causes it? Well the simple and somewhat unhelpful answer is that nobody knows, though there is a theory it is a disrupted immune response in which the body mistakenly attacks hair follicles, mistaking them for rogue cells. Aside from that most of the usual suspects are there such as: stress, hormonal imbalance, vitamin deficiency, dermatological conditions, hair pull from weaves, extreme styles or heavy extensions and all these need to be explored as options.

As with most hair loss however, there is no proven effective treatment. An appointment with a dermatologist is probably the most important first step to identify and treat any skin conditions underlying the hair loss. Following which, a short course of oral steroids or anti-inflammatory antibiotics such as astetracyclines can help or, if the hair loss has been particularly rapid, anti-malarial tablets can benefit. the 5-alpha reductase inhibitors Finisteride and Dutasteride have been reported as helpful in preventing further hair loss in such cases.

But if all else fails, don’t despair, let Aspiration be your inspiration for hair!