senescent alopecia

Female hair loss survey claims 82% of women suffer from senescent alopecia

A recent study carried out by NetDoctor, has claimed that 82% of women suffer from Senescent Alopecia.

Causing thinning of the hair across the entire scalp, it explains that the condition is thought to be age-related. London dermatologist Dr David Fenton explains that it is important to realise that Senescent Alopecia isn’t a recognised medical condition. However, it is true that many women of a certain age will start to experience diffuse hair thinning across the scalp and the first step is to seek medical intervention to assess whether there is an underlying condition that’s causing the problem.

So, what do they claim that Senescent Alopecia is and its symptoms?

What is Senescent Alopecia?

There are a lot of types of alopecia, and Senescent Alopecia describes age-related hair loss which affects a staggering number of women. It typically occurs in women who have no history of hereditary hair loss.

It’s different to Androgenetic Alopecia (female pattern hair loss), in the fact it doesn’t usually present as hair loss. Instead, the hair across the entire scalp starts to thin. Another difference between Senescent and Androgenetic hair loss is that the latter is caused by DHT, while Senescent Alopecia isn’t.

Many experts argue that Senescent Alopecia doesn’t actually exist. For many women, the actual hair loss condition they are suffering from is Chronic Telogen Effluvium, or diffuse hair loss, which also causes hair thinning across the entire scalp. Whatever name is given to the condition, it can have a significant impact on mental health and understandably cause a lot of distress for sufferers.

What symptoms does it present?

The main symptoms you’ll experience if you’re suffering from Senescent Alopecia, include hair thinning, and a slower hair growth rate. The scalp will be easily visible, but these are the only real physical symptoms it presents.

It tends to be the psychological symptoms which make Senescent Alopecia difficult to live with. It can have a dramatic impact on confidence and self-esteem. In the NetDoctor survey, 70% of respondents claim the condition stops them from having their photo taken, while a staggering 94% said it had knocked their confidence.

Despite how common hair thinning is in women, 27% of sufferers don’t feel comfortable speaking up about their struggle. Hair loss and thinning is still something many women view as embarrassing and awkward to talk about. Suffering in silence only exasperates the psychological symptoms, which is why raising awareness of how prevalent the condition is, is so important.

Is it treatable?

While any form of age-related hair loss and thinning can’t be cured, it is certainly possible to treat Senescent Alopecia. However, the first step for patients should be to seek a proper diagnosis. Hair loss can be triggered by a lot of different things, so determining the root cause is crucial.

Minoxidil is typically one of the most effective, temporary treatments that can be used to slow down the hair thinning. Available over the counter or on prescription, it also promotes hair growth, helping patients to regrow thicker, healthier hair. Cover up methods, such as clever styling to make the hair appear more volumised can also be effective. 

If you’re worried you are suffering from Senescent Alopecia, a consultant dermatologist that specialises in hair loss can rule out any other health or hair loss conditions and then advise you on the most appropriate treatment options.