Iron plays a certain role in patterned hair loss

J Korean Med Sci. 2013 Jun;28(6):934-8. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2013.28.6.934. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


Role of iron in hair loss is not clear yet. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between iron and hair loss. Retrospective chart review was conducted on patients with female pattern hair loss (FPHL) and male pattern hair loss (MPHL). All patients underwent screening including serum ferritin, iron, and total iron binding capacity (TIBC), CBC, ESR and thyroid function test. For normal healthy controls, age-sex matched subjects who had visited the hospital for a check-up with no serious disease were selected. A total 210 patients with FPHL (n = 113) and MPHL (n = 97) with 210 healthy controls were analyzed. Serum ferritin concentration (FC) was lower in patients with FPHL (49.27 ± 55.8 µg/L), compared with normal healthy women (77.89 ± 48.32 µg/L) (P < 0.001). Premenopausal FPHL patients turned out to show much lower serum ferritin than age/sex-matched controls (P < 0.001). Among MPHL patients, 22.7% of them showed serum FC lower than 70 µg/L, while no one had serum FC lower 70 µg/L in healthy age matched males. These results suggest that iron may play a certain role especially in premenopausal FPHL. The initial screening of iron status could be of help for hair loss patients.

Keywords: Alopecia; Ferritin; Iron Deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Alopecia / blood
  • Alopecia / diagnosis*
  • Alopecia / drug therapy
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Ferrous Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Premenopause
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Function Tests


  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Hemoglobins
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Ferritins
  • Iron