When you hear people talking about hair loss and baldness treatment, you probably think of men. While it’s understandable due to the number of ads airing everywhere every day, female hair loss is almost totally ignored, even by mainstream beauty magazines or other publications whose market is made up mostly of women.
It’s a shame, actually, as nearly a third of American women endure some degree of hair thinning at some point in their lives. Women going through noticeable thinning or baldness often feel more ostracized from their peers or in social circles than men with similar issues.
West Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Dermatology stand on the forefront of cosmetic and medical dermatological care, and they have the knowledge and training to treat your particular condition. Call 888-554-8740 or contact us online to schedule a consultation about hair loss treatments.
Is Hair Loss in Women Different from That in Men?
Although women can also lose hair because of genetics, there are distinctions between typical female and male patterns of loss.
One difference is that women are less likely to lose follicles from their hairline or crown – in women, the thinning is more spread out and can happen anywhere. Another difference is that women seem to be more likely to have an underlying health condition that can contribute to the loss. These can include thyroid issues or anemia, both of which are treatable. A third difference is that women can experience localized baldness or thinning due to repeated hair trauma, such as wearing a tight bun or ponytail.
There are also commonly-held myths about female hair loss that you should disregard, such as shampooing speeds it up (not true – shampooing merely removes those strands that were soon to fall out anyway), or dyeing causes breakage and loss (not true – chemicals and dyes are not usually to blame).
What Causes Female Hair Loss?
For many women, the main reason for losing hair is genetics, just as it is for men. However, various other medical conditions can cause loss in women:
- Frequent stress
- Severe emotional issues
- Trauma, such as injury or surgical procedures
- Poor nutrition
- Crash dieting
- Protein/calorie deficiency
- Hormonal changes
- Discontinuation of birth control pills
- Postpartum or post-menopausal states and other obstetric and gynecologic conditions
- Lupus – a connective tissue disease
- Various medications
Female Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenetic Alopecia)
On average, a human head has well over 100,000 healthy follicles; some people have as many as 150,000. In a typical day, you might lose about 100 of these hairs, but it starts to be noticeable when 100 hairs or more are lost regularly. With female pattern hair loss (FPHL), when an affected hair is lost again and again at the root, each replacement is finer and weaker than the hair it replaced. Eventually, the regrowths are nothing more than peach fuzz or vellus hair (fine, light-colored hair).
There are two types of FPHL, which often starts after menopause, although it’s not uncommon for it to begin in puberty.
- Mild FPHL – The most common type of women’s loss of hair, this mild form is thought to be genetically linked to both sides of the family. Usually, this mild form of loss can be managed with scalp makeup, hair styling, and topical medications.
- Severe FPHL – Severe FPHL may induce a stronger psychological effect because loss of hair is considerable and obvious, but often it’s not enough to require wearing a wig. Makeup isn’t effective, either, because it doesn’t fully cover the patches of baldness.
Conventional Treatments for FPHL
All of the below are ongoing medical dermatology treatments for hair loss, as any break in taking medication restarts the FPHL cycle all over again.
- Minoxidil – A popular topical lotion available over-the-counter or as a higher-strength prescription, it stabilizes female hair loss as well as helps growth.
- Propecia – Can be effective in post-menopausal women.
- Spironolactone – A medication taken orally for stabilizing loss and stimulating growth.
- Anti-Androgens – These types of treatment, such as Dianette, have been shown to be effective in slowing down FPHL.
A variety of other nutritional supplements may also be effective such as Vivisacal.
Other Types of Hair Loss
- Alopecia Areata (AA) – An unpredictable condition of patchy hair loss that affects over 3 million Americans. AA commonly affects younger women. Because AA doesn’t result in actual loss of follicles, they usually can regrow.
- Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia – This type can result in post-menopausal women losing the first few inches of their hairline, beginning at the ears and gradually inching up to the hairline.
- Trichotillomania – It’s estimated that around 6 million Americans are afflicted with Trichotillomania (TTM), with women affected nearly 8 times as much as men by this neurobiological condition that causes uncontrollable urges to pull out your own hair. This can be treated very effectively if caught early enough.
Learn more about hair loss treatment at WebMD.com.
Schedule a Consultation with West Dermatology/Cosmetic Laser Dermatology
To understand more about female hair loss in general and your condition in particular, contact the specialists at West Dermatology. The expert staff has the training and experience to diagnose your particular pattern and prescribe the most effective treatment possible.
Each patient and each condition is different, and treatments vary, so contact West Dermatology/Cosmetic Laser Dermatology today for a consultation.
Next, read about Lupus Treatment.