ISHRS hair loss

Is Your Hair Trying to Tell You Something

While it’s often said that clothes make the man, it can be argued that good hair makes the woman. A gorgeous, full head of shiny hair can be any woman’s best feature, hands down.

But hair loss experts warn that subtle changes in the hair can signal early signs of hair loss in younger women that should be addressed before hair loss progresses.

Paul C. Cotterill, MD, a hair restoration surgeon based in Toronto and past president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), advised that younger women should pay close attention to these three warnings signs that could indicate the start of hair loss.

Here are 3 warning signs of hair loss for women:

1 – Increase in overall scalp hair shedding: Normal growing scalp hair sheds at a rate up to 100-150 hairs per day. When the body is under stress — both physiologically or psychologically — hair shedding can increase to 200-225 hairs per day.

2 – Decrease in the overall volume of hair: When women are losing their hair or experiencing rapid shedding, they may notice that their ponytail is getting less thick. There is less hair to tie back and more see-through to the scalp.

3 – Change in hair texture: Sometimes when early hair loss occurs, the hair may start to become finer, not grow as fast, and/or break more easily.

“There are many factors that can affect scalp hair growth, and extreme dieting coupled with extreme exercising — both of which can be common in women in their 20s and 30s — are frequent hair loss culprits that women may not suspect,” said Dr. Cotterill. “When there’s extreme weight loss, or rapid weight loss over a short period of time without proper diet, that puts more stress on the entire body, including more hair falling out than normal.”

Dr. Cotterill explained that in addition to extreme dieting and exercise, several other factors can contribute to hair loss or hair damage in women. These triggers include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Iron deficiency
  • Elevated male hormones
  • Thyroid condition
  • Family history of scalp hair loss
  • Harsh styling products
  • Chlorine left on hair after swimming

“It is important for young women experiencing scalp hair loss to not put off seeing a qualified hair restoration physician, as a thorough history and physical should be performed on women to determine the cause of the hair shedding, loss or breakage,” said Dr. Cotterill. “Many questions need to be asked to rule out a medical condition or a lifestyle change that can contribute to hair loss.

A patient’s family history of hair loss also needs to be addressed, as this is the most common cause of hair loss in men and women. Once the proper examination is performed, only then can the physician offer a valid opinion with proven treatment options.”

According to results of a new member survey conducted by the ISHRS, the number of women seeking help for hair loss is on the rise worldwide. The percent of surgical hair restoration patients that were female increased from 13.7 percent in 2012 to 15.3 percent in 2014 (a 12 percent increase).

Similarly, the percent of female non-surgical hair restoration patients also increased over this two-year period — from 33.2 percent to 40.1 percent (a 21 percent increase).

To help patients understand the causes and available treatments for hair loss, the ISHRS has produced a series of videos available on its website ( entitled “Why do women lose their hair?” and “Why do guys lose their hair?”

About the ISHRS

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is a global non-profit medical association and the leading authority on hair loss treatment and restoration with more than 1,200 members throughout 70 countries worldwide.

Above all, the ISHRS is dedicated to achieving excellence in patient outcomes by promoting the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics, and research in the medical hair restoration industry.

The ISHRS also provides continuing medical education to physicians specializing in hair transplant surgery and is committed to delivering the latest information on medical and surgical treatments to consumers suffering from hair loss, and most commonly from androgenetic alopecia – male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss.

It was founded in 1993 as the first international society to promote continuing quality improvement and education for professionals in the field of hair restoration surgery. For more information and to locate a physician, visit

About the Survey

Conducted by Relevant Research, Inc., of Chicago, IL, USA, the ISHRS 2015 Practice Census is a compilation of information provided solely by participating physicians. The information published in this survey was developed from actual historical information and does not include any projected information. The margin of error for the sample is within plus or minus 4.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For a full reprint of the ISHRS 2015 Practice Census Report, visit Hair Restoration Statistics.