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Male Pattern Hair Loss Vs Female Pattern Hair Loss: What’s The Difference?

Our hair is often seen as our crowning glory and is one of the first things we notice about someone. According to a recent survey conducted in 2022, approximately 44% of Singaporean respondents cited hair loss as a top hair concern1

But not all hair loss is created equal — men and women experience balding differently, and the occasional hair in the shower sink does not mean you are experiencing hair loss that require medical concern. 

In this article, allow me to explain the difference between male and female pattern hair loss and how treatment options differ. 

How do I know if I have hair loss?

The average adult loses about 50-100 strands a day, and while that sounds like a lot, it is normal especially when compared to the approximately 100,000 strands of hair we have on our head. New hair grows and replaces the hair we lose; however in some individuals, this normal process is disrupted resulting in hair loss or alopecia. 

Hair loss is a common problem that affects mostly older people and can occur in both men and women. Male and female pattern hair loss is the most common type of hair loss, and their symptoms are as follows:

  • Receding hair line
  • Thinning of hair at crown of head
  • Loss of hair at your usual site of hair parting
  • Bald patches
  • Significant increase in hair loss when showering or brushing your hair

If you have any of the symptoms stated above, you may be experiencing hair loss.

How to tell if it is temporary hair loss or pattern hair loss?

Hair loss can either occur suddenly or over a period of time and it may be temporary or permanent.

Temporary hair loss, also known as hair shedding, does not involve any damage to the hair follicles and usually occurs as a result of certain trigger events such as pregnancy and subsequent delivery, stress, medications, infections, illnesses, or treatments for illnesses. 

Temporary hair loss usually occurs a few months after the trigger and once your body readjusts, your hair usually regrows within 6 to 9 months.

Symptoms of temporary hair loss include:

  • Excessive hair shedding: losing more than 100 strands of hair a day. You may even find hair on your bed or pillowcase when you wake up from sleep or in the bathroom while you are showering.
  • Diffuse hair loss: sparse hair all over your scalp which may result in complete baldness. 

Male or female pattern hair loss occurs as a result of a combination of factors such as genetics, autoimmune disorders, medication or treatment for illnesses, tight hairstyles, damaging hair care products, and hormonal imbalance. Such hair loss involves permanent damage to the hair follicles and usually affects the crown of your head or your hairline.

Symptoms of hair loss include:

  • Hair loss at specific areas: receding hair line forming an M-shape at the front of your scalp or thinning of hair at the crown or center of your head
  • No regrow: one of the main symptoms of pattern hair loss is that hair will not regrow unless there is treatment.

What is the difference between male and female pattern hair loss?

There are a few similarities with male and female pattern baldness. They are usually hereditary and can begin early, soon after puberty and the scalp is usually healthy with no sign of infection or other symptoms. However, there are several differences between the two which are outlined in the table below.

Male pattern baldnessFemale pattern baldness
Hair loss affects center of the scalpHair loss affects the whole scalp and rarely affects the hairline
Hair loss affects the hairline giving it an M-shaped patternHair loss occurs in a “Christmas tree” pattern down the middle part of the hair
Men with male pattern baldness tend to become completely bald eventuallyWomen with female pattern baldness do not usually become completely bald

Can males have female pattern hair loss?

Yes, remember, we are referring to a balding pattern so men can display what is conventional described as female pattern hair loss. Although female pattern hair loss typically occurs in females, it can also occur in men, although the rate of incidence is low. 

According to a study conducted in 2020, about 3.7%2 of male hair loss patients had female pattern hair loss2. Males who experience female pattern baldness tend to have the same pattern of hair loss as seen in females such as overall thinning of hair on the whole scalp and no receding hairline.

How do treatment options differ between male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss?

The treatment options for pattern hair loss depends on the cause but in general both male and female pattern hair loss can be treated in the following ways:

  • Minoxidil: also known commercially as Rogaine, it is an over-the-counter topical medical that is applied directly to the scalp twice a day. Results will be visible after consistent use of 6 to 12 months. Hair loss will resume if treatment is discontinued.
  • Supplements: these non medical supplements can help reduce hair loss and encourage hair growth
  • Hair transplant: most invasive and expensive treatment. It involves transplanting hair from parts of the scalp with active hair growth to the balding or thinning areas. 
  • Wigs or hairstyles: wigs and changing your hairstyles can help to hide areas of hair loss.
  • Reduce stress: stress has been known to cause hair loss is some individuals, hence removing the source of stress or controlling your stress levels may reduce hair loss.
  • Laser therapy: low light laser helmets and caps can stimulate hair growth.
  • Platelet rich plasma: involves drawing a sample of your blood and removing the platelets which are then injected into your scalp to prevent hair loss and stimulate regrowth.
  • Lifestyle changes: sometimes a change in diet or stopping certain medications can stop hair loss and promote hair growth.

While there are a number of shared treatment options, there are also some treatments that are gender specific.

Treatment for male pattern hair loss

  • Finasteride: commercially known as Propecia or Proscar, finasteride is an oral medication that helps to reduce hair loss in men. It blocks the hormone (androgen) responsible for hair loss and is more effective than minoxidil. It must be taken daily for 3 months to a year before results are visible and hair loss will resume if treatment is discontinued.

Although finasteride and other anti-androgen medication can be used to treat female pattern hair loss, it is usually not advisable as it can cause potential complications in pregnant women.

Hair loss can be devastating for men and women — but it is a very treatable condition. It is important to see a clinician early to stop further hair loss. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a message


  1. Hirschmann, R. (2022, November 2). Leading hair concerns among people in Singapore as of March 2022. Retrieved from Statista: 
  2. Xi Chen, X. L. (2021). Female Pattern Hair Loss in Female and Male: A Quantitative Trichoscopic Analysis in Chinese Han Patients. Fronteirs in Medicine.

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