Hair Loss and Race
Is there a strong link between women’s hair loss and ethnicity? Caucasian women suffer more from thinning hair than any other ethnicity; Asians suffer the least. Why?
Hair loss statistics by race
First, let’s look at the data. One in four Caucasian women show signs of thinning hair aged between 50-59 and one in three by age 60-69. In Asia, this falls to around just one in ten. Thus Caucasian women seem 3x more likely to suffer from thinning hair.
Below we show hair loss statistics on the prevalence of Female Pattern Hair Loss in each age group, according to epidemiological studies in different population groups. There have been 6 in-depth studies over the last 20 years. Three involved Asian women, 3 involved Caucasians.
The chart below compares the average of the 3 Asian studies with the average of the Caucasian studies.
The difference is just as wide, irrespective of age. Whether aged 30-39 or aged 60-69, the studies show Caucasian women are 2-3x more likely to suffer from thinning hair than their Asian counterparts.
Diet affects hair loss
Interestingly, you’ll “Never meet a bald Eskimo”, according to a book by Thadeus Slattor, which discusses how Indigenous People Hold The Key To Preventing & Reversing Hair Loss. A supplement described as “Botox” for hair contains fish protein found in the diet of Greenland’s Inuits. The Inuit diet is high in fat and protein, with seal, whale and fish such as salmon.
Weight and thinning hair.
Whilst almost impossible to conclude hair loss prevention is linked to a specific diet, high in fish and protein, one of the largest studies into thinning hair in women does show a link between weight and hair loss. The Taiwan study, (Su, 2013) found a positive association between Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) and body mass index >26 kg/m.
China and South Korea have the lowest hair loss in women and one of the world’s lowest average BMIs. In contrast, the USA and the UK are among one of the highest for women’s hair loss and have one of the highest average BMIs.
We show the BMI statistics for western economies vs Asian economies here
Weaves, braids & hair treatment
Dr Yolanda M. Lenzy , MD, FAAD, clinical associate, University of Connecticut, believes that genetic predisposition may be a major factor in hair loss among African-American women. These women may increase their risk of hair loss by frequently engaging in damaging hair styling practices like braiding, weaves and chemical relaxing. “When hair loss is caused by styling practices, the problem is usually chronic use,” she says. “Women who use these styling practices tend to use them repeatedly, and long-term repeated use can result in hair loss.
We’d note that the use of luxury human hair wigs allows women to switch-up their style, without undue pressure on their own natural hair from colouring, braiding and other chemical and heat treatments.
What about hair growth and hair density? The amount of hair differs from each racial group; hair growth rates differ. Caucasian hair grows by 1.2 cm a month whereas Asian hair grows the fastest at a rate of approximately 1.3 cm per month and has the least density. Afro-Caribbean hair grows the slowest at a rate of 0.2 cm a month.
There are several causes of hair loss in women, including medical conditions, certain medications, and physical or emotional stress.
Currently, female pattern hair loss (FPHL) has no cure. However, options to cope with hair loss include medication as well as topical treatments. You can take steps, however, to prevent further hair loss or damage. Try these tips from HuffPost.
- Avoid hairstyles that pull at your strands, like braids, ponytails or buns, as these can put too much pressure on hair and damage follicles.
- Be careful with heating tools such as curling rods and blow dryers with brushes. If you do use these tools, keep them on the lowest settings and also apply a heat-protecting spray to your locks.
- Avoid overdoing chemical processing, as straightening, bleaching or lightening hair can damage the hair shaft.
- Boost your intake of foods high in vitamins such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12 through diet or dietary supplements, to help revitalize thinning strands.
- Try essentials oils to condition the scalp. For example, massaging a few drops of rosemary, cedarwood, lavender or clary sage into your head can invigorate your scalp and improve hair growth.