One in three women will notice hair thinning or hair loss after age 30, and it can start as early as the 20s. Hair loss is progressive and every woman will experience hair loss if they live long enough.
Normal hair loss is between 50-100 hairs a day. Anyone who consistently experience loss or shedding of 150 or more hairs a day may be experiencing significant loss.
Hair grows and shed in cycles. During the “anagen” cycle your hair grows and this can last for 5 or even 7 years for some women. During this time your hair could potential grow up to 30 inches. Your hair then goes into a transitional phase called “catagen” which lasts about 10 days. The third phase is called “telogen” where you hair stops growing for around 3 months and then falls out, or “sheds”. Each hair follicle is at a different stage, which is why you don’t lose all your hair at once. Many causes of hair loss are the result of genetic or external factors slowing down or speeding up each of these stages.
Diagnosing the cause of female pattern hair loss is more difficult than it is in men. Male hair loss is primarily the genetic condition of male pattern baldness that generates hormones in the scalp that miniaturizes the hair follicles to a near “peach fuzz” state. Women also suffer from some Female Pattern Hair Loss but also experience hair loss from many of causes such as hormone changes, lupus, lime disease, pregnancy, shock from coming off steroid treatments, etc.
The good news is that female hair loss doesn't follow the same pattern as it does in men, so you won't look like George Costanza anytime soon.
The hair loss occurs as both increased shedding of hair and miniaturization of the hair (smaller diameter of the hair strand). Female pattern hair loss occurs in a pattern -- it starts in the center of the crown with widening of the part. There is never complete baldness such as the smooth shiny scalp with no hair as seen in male pattern baldness, and there is no recession of the hairline.
If you have concerns about hair loss the best thing to do is see a dermatologist or a hair restoration center. Solutions include hormone treatment, topical solutions, non-surgical semi-permanently attached human hair systems, and surgical transplantation.