Why would a woman have a bald spot?
August 6, 2008 7:42 AM   Subscribe

SigourneyFilter: Why would a woman have a bald spot?

I am a young woman with a bald spot which I've had for as long as I can remember. What gives?

It's about 2 inches in diameter and begins at my hairline between my left ear and temple. Within the bald spot is an indentation in the skin of about 0.5in and next to that a tiny tuft of hairs which seem stunted at about 0.2in in length.

It's evident in childhood photographs from about age 3 onwards. No one in my family seems to know why I have this.

What would cause something like this? Head injury? Is it a type of birthmark? I'm curious, not worried - it has not ever increased in size and the rest of my scalp has very healthy hair attached.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
I vote for birthmark, since your parents don't seem to remember any trauma that could leave a scar. And they would- sclaps bleed like mad.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:47 AM on August 6, 2008

My mom is in her mid-60s and has a mild case of alopecia... in other words, baldness. It can happen to women too although it's just not as common with men. (I know you're probably a whole lot younger.)

Have a dermatologist look at it, and if there's not a birthmark there or something that would impede hair growth, you might be able to try minoxidil (aka Rogaine) - they make specific women's formulas.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:16 AM on August 6, 2008

Have you looked into something called Alopecia? A few years ago when I was on the USS Nimitz, a Corpsman came up to me in formation and was like, hey brother, do you know about these spots in your scalp? And I did, I had them for about a year and I had no idea what they were and sure enough it was alopecia! Depending on the kind, its very very easy and quick to fix. I got a few shots of cortazone in my scalp and in about 3 or 4 days my hair was back! Then about 2 years later it happened again when my wife got pregnant with our 2nd kid, again, I went in got it done and have not had any instances like that in the last 5 years.

Hope this helps!
posted by TeachTheDead at 8:18 AM on August 6, 2008

I doubt it's alopecia if you've had it since "memory." Alopecia occurs later in life, and is most likely related to stress. Most of the time, hair grows back.
It's most likely a birthmark. But the location makes me think that it might be related to your birth? Did the ob use forceps or vacuum / suction cups to assist delivery? That might be the culprit. But the most likely is a birthmark.
posted by jujube at 9:16 AM on August 6, 2008

I'm guessing that it's a birthmark as well.

Just as another datapoint, there is a such thing as Female Pattern Baldness that is caused by the same genes that cause it in men, except that there is no telltale horseshoe of hair. It manifests as sparse/thin hair. I see it on (older) women all the time.
posted by rhizome at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2008

As we age, we lose our hair, just as men do. And, just like men, some women's hair loss is more noticeable than others. I have seen older women who do a kind of ladies' comb-over to cover their thinning pates. Some women wear hats or scarves. And some dye their hair, and their heads underneath, to disguise the hair loss; I've seen that, too.
posted by Lynsey at 10:34 AM on August 6, 2008

I think it's common for women's hair to be really thin around that area. I don't have a bald spot, but I have an area about that big on both sides where the hair just doesn't seem to grow like the rest of it- it's really short and really thin. I don't like it, but I've noticed that a lot of other women have a similar deal going on in that area.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:32 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aloepecia areata. I had it when I was a kid. The docs definitely think it was from stress. I had bald spots until I was about 18 or so, and haven't seen them since.

And it's harmless -- not like mange or anything. :)
posted by landedjentry at 11:46 AM on August 6, 2008

My fiance has a spot like that from when the doctors used forceps on him during birth. It's most noticeable on his right side.
posted by mynameismandab at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2008

I've had a bald spot since as long as I can remember. On the right side of my head, about 1.5 inch long by .75 inch wide. I used to try and cover it up (I am a man), but for the last 10 years or so I decided not to care. I get the occasional "Drunk barber? Huh huh huh!" But not very often.

I've long considered, and have come very close to, getting, in the bald spot, a tiny brown tattoo replica of Damien's birthmark from 'The Omen.' 666 and all. One of these days.

My parents are sticking to their birthmark story, but I suspect foul play.
posted by Darth Fedor at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2008

ringworm, perhaps?
posted by EastCoastBias at 9:55 AM on August 7, 2008

It is just a birthmark. I have one too, and so does my brother as did my father. It is exactly as you described, however mine is on the back of my head. My brother's and father's both had the dent. I remember feeling a dent before, but there isn't one there now. I never thought much of it because I can't see it or feel it. But when people ask about it, I give them some crazy story like it's a tracking device impanted by aliens. I have many outlandish stories to make it more interesting, but it is just a birth mark documented in my birth records. Maybe we can start a society and have meetings every several years to admire eachother's marks and stories.
posted by sharpi at 10:31 AM on December 1, 2008

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