Hair Loss in Women
There are many conditions which cause hair loss in women, but one of the most common is androgenetic alopecia. This is also known as female pattern baldness.
What is androgenetic alopecia?
A genetic condition that can be inherited from either your maternal or paternal side.
It is caused by a by-product of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which shrinks the hair follicles, resulting in progressive hair thinning.
What are the signs?
The most common signs include:
- Your parting becoming wide
- Shedding more hair than usual
- A receding hairline, where hair thins mainly around the temples.
How likely am I to lose my hair?
That’s a very difficult question to answer and it’s not always possible to give an accurate prediction, given that androgenetic alopecia is influenced mainly by our individual genetic code!
There are currently no medically accurate crystal balls which can predict this.
Although this can be extremely distressing, females are less likely than males to experience complete balding. If that helps.
Are there other causes of hair loss in women?
Yes, many, would be the short answer.
If you would like the long answer, check out this article on other causes of hair loss.
What are the best treatments?
With the never-ending list of hair loss products on the internet seemingly promising a cure, it can be difficult to know where to start and who to believe.
Ask Doctor Jad only discusses products which are proven to help.
There is only one medication licensed to treat female hair loss:
Minoxidil (also known by the brand names Rogaine and Loniten) –
It is known to be effective against hair loss, but with an unclear mechanism. Theories include increasing blood supply to the hair follicles or acting as a growth factor.
This is a topical treatment, meaning you apply it directly to the site of hair loss.
It is available over-the-counter, so no prescription is required.
Side effects are rarely reported.
It can take up to 6 months to start seeing results with this medication.
You must keep using this treatment indefinitely. Once you stop, the hair loss will resume.
Please note that another drug used to treat male hair loss, Finasteride (also known as Propecia), is not suitable for use in females. In fact, even handling broken Finasteride pills can result in absorption through the skin and harm an unborn fetus.
You will likely see a range of other options being advertised on the internet. For simplicity’s sake, if it’s not discussed on Ask Doctor Jad, it’s not licensed for treatment and is therefore unlikely to help anyone (apart from the companies you’re giving your hard-earned cash to!)
Also known as low-level laser therapy, it is used to stimulate hair follicles and improve circulation to the scalp. Research is limited and further investigations into these products are necessary, but studies are showing promising results.
It is important to note that not all LLLT products are yet deemed suitable for use, which is why Ask Doctor Jad have done the hard work to find the best ones for you.
The main downside is that these devices are pretty expensive, but many people find that the investment is worth it!
Hair transplants can be very effective, although only a small proportion of women are eligible. The main reason for this is that as women tend to experience diffuse thinning of the hair, as opposed to the pattern seen in men, there may not be any healthy donor sites. Transplanting hair from these areas would just fall out, unfortunately.
For the most accurate information pertaining to your specific case, it is always recommended to seek an opinion from a qualified specialist.
For those who may benefit from a hair transplant, the two most common procedures are called follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
FUT involves removing a section of skin from the back of the scalp, which contains hair which is still growing. This section of skin is then split into tiny pieces called grafts, which are inserted into parts of the scalp with no growing hair.
FUE involves removing individual healthy hair follicles from the scalp, making small holes into parts of the scalp with no growing hair, and inserting them there.
Please check out this article for a more thorough description of your hair transplant options.
A quick aesthetic fix to hide any apparent hair loss, concealers won’t help slow down or regrow your hair, but are a useful aid in your journey for a fuller head of hair.
The key thing to bear in mind is that the quality of these products vary wildly. I'm talking the difference between looking like you have a full head of hair and a bird using your head as a nest.
Assuming you'd prefer the first option (I'm not judging), check out this excellent hair loss concealer, which caters to 15 different hair colours!
When is the best time to start treatment?
As soon as possible. The earlier you start treatment, the better the results will be. If you leave it too late, a significant or full recovery may be less likely.
Some people will experience significant levels of hair restoration, others will experience more moderate improvements, and a small number may not notice many changes at all. It is hard to predict who will fall into which group, but starting treatment early can only help you.
Here at Ask Doctor Jad, we have you covered with all the options you need to consider right now!