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How common is hair loss in women?

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Hair is a big part of a person’s identity, so losing it can be a blow to a person’s self-esteem.

"Hair loss is very common. I see on average four patients everyday with hair loss in my clinic,” Dr. Rita Pichardo-Geisinger, assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, said.

Dr. Pichardo-Geisinger says generally women are affected with hair loss between their 30s and 60s.

The causes can run the gamut from genetic disorders to hormonal disturbances and even stress.

"50 percent of Caucasian women present with female patterned alopecia,” Pichardo-Geisinger said.

She added, “This is a progressive hair loss and women say they can see through their hair."

Along with genetics and environmental factors, hair styles in African-American women can cause problems. The most common cause of hair loss is a type of scarring alopecia from the misuse of perms, relaxers, braids or extensions.

"I have patients with inflammatory conditions that are controlled completely. Some of them don't regrow the hair, but they preserve the hair that they have,” Pichardo-Geisinger said.

After getting a formal diagnosis, a dermatologist can provide topical or oral medications.

There are also shampoos and conditioners at beauty supply stores that can help the hair look visibly thicker. There are also products that can help mask areas where hair may be thin.