According to a recent survey, as many as one out of three women over the age of twenty five suffers from some form of female hair loss. While it’s not as prevalent as in men, it can be disconcerting to see part of your identity washing down the drain in greater and greater amounts. Significant developments have arisen from research conducted in this area. And there are now more solutions for women than ever before. Before we get into effective methods for female hair restoration, here are a few of the more widely-held myths about hair loss in women:
- It can be caused by combing or brushing too much
- It can be caused by wearing hats, wigs or dyeing your hair too often
- It may result from washing your hair too often
- If you shave it often, it will grow back more thickly and lushly
The fact is, hormones are the primary cause of female hair loss. Changes in estrogen and DHT levels can be brought about by pregnancy or starting/discontinuing to take birth control pills. Other causes include: illness, stress, and inadequate nutrition. The three most common forms of hair loss in women have very different causes and treatments.
Perhaps the most common of the three conditions, and the one also responsible for hair loss in young women is telogen effluvium. The disease is characterized by excessive shedding from the scalp and other areas. It often occurs quite suddenly and can be brought on by strong or continuous physiological or emotional reactions to stress. The result is an alteration of the normal hair growth cycle. This disease can usually be brought under control once the stress or medical conditions causing it have subsided. In most cases, a surgical procedure is not required.
Androgenetic Alopecia & Alopecia Areata
Androgenetic alopecia is another common condition faced by both women and men. It is related to hormones and can be inherited. This form of alopecia affects women before and after menopause, although it is much more common in post-menopausal women. When a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is being produced in greater amounts, it can cause the follicles to make thinner and thinner hairs which can lead to alopecia universalis – complete hair loss. The treatment for androgenetic alopecia depends on the particular cause. If it is found to be temporary, patience may simply be required as the hair growth cycle restarts. If the cause is hereditary or due to other more permanent factors, medication or transplantation may be required.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition whereby white blood cells actually attack new hair follicles. The resulting hair loss can be for long periods of time or even permanent. Hair may gradually thin or come out in patches. If left untreated, complete baldness may follow.
Female Hair Restoration
There are a number of restoration treatments for the above-mentioned conditions. In cases of excessive thinning and persistent alopecia, a follicular unit transplantation provides the most immediate, extensive, long-lasting solution. In this laborious procedure, hair is transplanted follicle by follicle from different parts of the scalp to mimic a more natural growth process. While it is very successful and looks the most natural, it is also the most expensive procedure. A similar procedure, a body hair follicular graft transplant, uses donor strands from all over the body.
Non-surgical Solutions For Female Hair Loss
Non-surgical hair loss solutions for women include oral and topical medication. While there are several proven medications available for men, physicians are reluctant to prescribe them to women. Anti-androgens often prescribed to men can have serious side effects when taken by women. Therefore, topical solutions such as Minoxidil are usually recommended. Additionally, synthetic and natural-hair wigs are sometimes indistinguishable from the real thing. In cases where complete baldness is unavoidable, a hair implant can provide a more affordable, flexible and less invasive alternative to a surgical procedure.
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