Female pattern hair loss is more common than you’re led to believe. It’s estimated that 40% of women will be affected by it before they reach 50. The frequency then increases as you get older, leading many women to seek treatment early on.
However, before undergoing treatment, it’s important to know how severe your female pattern baldness is.
This is where the Ludwig Scale comes into play. It’s a tool used by clinicians to diagnose female pattern baldness, but what exactly is it, where did it come from and what are the main stages on the scale?
We answer all of these questions - and more - in the post below:
What is the Ludwig Scale and who invented it?
The Ludwig Scale is a simple diagnostic tool used to classify how far gone female pattern baldness is. It was invented in 1977 by Dr Erich Ludwig and continues to be the main chart used to categorise baldness in women.
There are three stages on this scale, giving it far fewer stages than the popular Hamilton-Norwood scale for male pattern baldness.
Exploring the Ludwig Scale
We’ll now look through all three parts of the Ludwig Scale, explaining what they are and what hair loss may look like. You can use this to help self-diagnose yourself and figure out what classification you’re in.
What is the Ludwig Scale 1?
The first stage on the Ludwig Scale represents minimal hair loss and thinning on the top of the head at the part line.
Many women with female pattern baldness don’t recognise hair loss at this stage because it is hard to see.
It’s a good idea to take photos of the top of your head to see the difference around the part line. If more scalp appears over time, it could be a sign of hair thinning.
What is the Ludwig Scale 2?
Stage 2 takes things to more extremes. You still experience hair loss at the top of your head and around the parting line, but it’s more severe. The thinning area has expanded and looks like it’s widening on your head. More scalp is visible from the top and you may also notice the hairs look and feel thinner.
This is more noticeable than stage 1 as you can feel a difference in your hair. As well as feeling thinner, the top of your head also feels lighter.
It can give the sensation and look like there’s less hair on your head than normal - it may lose the typical bounce you’re used to experiencing.
What is the Ludwig Scale 3?
The Ludwig Scale 3 is classified as the most serious type of female pattern baldness.
This is where the bald area has spread across your head and there’s a large bald patch that’s easily seen. It’s no longer possible to cover the bald patch by sweeping your hair over and there’s a significant decrease in hair follicles on the top of your head.
As you can see, there are far fewer stages to the Ludwig Scale than there are for the Norwood one in men.
This is because men’s hair loss is slightly more dramatic and begins with a receding hairline. As the Ludwig Scale shows, many women don’t suffer from a receding hairline yet can still have dramatic hair loss on their crown.
What causes female pattern baldness?
There are many reasons you may experience female pattern baldness. Some of the most common include:
- Age - As you get older, your hair starts naturally thinning and stops regrowing. This is why women over 50 are more at risk of developing female pattern baldness than those younger.
- Genetics - Genetics always play a role in hair loss. If your family has a history of female pattern baldness, there’s a high likelihood you will also experience it.
- Hormones - Certain hormones will impact hair loss, with DHT being the main one. It’s a derivative of testosterone that’s been shown to inhibit hair growth when levels are elevated. If you have an abnormally high DHT level, this is likely to cause female pattern baldness.
- Stress - Women who are highly stressed are more at risk of losing their hair. High-stress levels can trigger hair shredding which may lead to stage 1 on the Ludwig Scale.
- Certain Hairstyles - Lastly, the way you wear your hair could cause female pattern baldness. The main issue is when a hairstyle pulls your hair too tightly. If it does this, it can damage the follicles, causing them to fall out and not regrow. Avoid wearing hairstyles like this for extended periods and be sure to give your hair a rest.
How can you treat female pattern baldness with scalp micropigmentation?
One of the best treatment options for female pattern baldness is scalp micropigmentation. Tiny pigments are implanted into your scalp, giving the appearance of hair follicles. It helps to reduce thinning and gives your hair a fuller look.
This is a completely non-invasive treatment that doesn’t require transplants or anything too extreme. The goal is to use these tiny pigments to offer the perfect optical illusion. They look identical to the tiny shaven hair follicles around the top part of your head, near the part line. The result is incredibly realistic and requires no upkeep when compared to other hair loss treatment methods.
Scalp micropigmentation is also far more affordable than a traditional hair transplant - which is more invasive, requires a greater degree of recovery and doesn’t always work. You can regain confidence and wear your hair how you like!
We recommend enquiring about scalp micropigmentation for women when you’re either on stage 1 or 2 of the Ludwig Scale.
At these points, it is much easier to disguise the bald area and provide a natural appearance. The earlier you undergo the treatment, the more cost-effective and impressive it will be.
So, remember the Ludwig Scale and check your hair to see if you’re on it. If you notice the telltale signs of female pattern baldness, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
We offer free consultations to help you find the best solution to hair loss.