A lot’s been said about male pattern baldness but there’s less awareness of the female equivalent and of the many causes of female hair loss. So we thought we’d write a quick summary of what we see coming to the clinic and what hair loss solutions are available.
It may be a surprising statistic – but almost 50% of women
will be affected by hair loss at some point in their life
Female pattern hair loss presents as a thinning of the hair over the whole of the top of the scalp. We think of testosterone as a male sex hormone, but women produce it too and female pattern baldness is caused by the same follicular sensitivity to a chemical derivative of testosterone. Propecia, is not available for women, which makes using a combination of approaches (as we do) even more important if we are to stop and hopefully reverse female hair loss.
A major stress event can cause hair loss. Massive stress, even from something like childbirth, can make some of your hair follicles go into rest mode which lasts for about 3 months and is followed by shedding of the hair (and a new hair growing through). The normal hair loss of about 100 hairs a day is from hair follicles reaching the end of their rest period and beginning a new growth cycle. When an event such as that mentioned above causes extra hairs to go into the resting phase, this is a condition called telogen effluvium. If the stress was a one-off, then telogen effluvium will often correct itself. Otherwise something may need to be done not only to stop the hair loss, but also to help fix the underlying cause.
‘Diffuse hair loss‘ is another hair loss condition that can be prevented with the right combination of treatments, but also requires an examination into the underlying cause of the hair loss so that it can be dealt with.
Patchy hair loss is likely to be alopecia areata, a condition that might cure itself or might progress possibly even leading to complete baldness over the head or even over the whole body. No-one knows much about what causes it but it is categorised as an auto-immune condition and can be triggered by stress. Don’t worry though – it’s very unlikely that patchy hair loss will progress into total hair loss. The hair will frequently grow back on its own or if not there are effective treatments that help to regrow hair lost from mild cases of alopecia areata.
Hairstyles that continually pull the hair (tight pony tails and braiding, for instance) can damage the hair causing traction alopecia.
So how do we cure female hair loss?
Our approach is usually to combine a number of treatments to try to address every possible cause. We find this combination approach much more effective.
A professional hair loss treatment course aimed at halting hair loss and encouraging regrowth has to start with a diagnosis of the problem by a professional trichologist along with a discussion and a search for contributory lifestyle and health factors.
Once we know what’s causing the problem, we can custom design a course of treatment appropriate to the individual based on our experience and professional training. The progress of treatment is then monitored regularly with follow-up appointments and backed up by scalp photographs.
What’s likely to be in my hair loss treatment plan?
We concentrate on proven, effective treatments and to date there’s just one FDA-approved drug for hair loss in women: Minoxidil. It’s a circulation stimulant that’s applied to the scalp. Results often start to appear after about four months.
Minoxidil is available over the counter, but on prescription it’s available in stronger concentrations and can be mixed with ‘booster’ compounds that help maximise its effectiveness: either Medroxyprogesterone (MPG) or Azelaic Acid (AA), which both inhibit the effect of testosterone on hair follicles .. the cause of female pattern hair loss.
The Belgravia Centre has its own pharmacy, so we can prescribe and provide prescription medications as part of ‘combination’ treatment courses at excellent prices.
Treatment is often augmented by a HairMax LaserComb (free with most programmes), along with other treatments such as infra-red light therapy and the use of specially developed shampoos and conditioners and food supplements.
It is also usually recommended that women use our herbal hair loss supplement – Hair Vitalics. Hair Vitalics has been formulated to supply the body with a number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to ensure healthy hair growth. It also contains a product that helps to block DHT – the cause of genetic hair loss.
The effective treatment of female hair loss requires a combined approach that tackles all possible causes. Ongoing monitoring and advice is important so that progress can be checked and the treatment adjusted if necessary. With a combined, professional programme female hair loss can often be stopped and often reversed.
The Belgravia Centre is Europe’s largest hair loss clinic, successfully treating thousands of people every year. Established in 1991, Belgravia’s goal is to provide the most effective treatments and professional service at the best price. Hair loss treatment courses are available at our London hair loss clinic or online.
Belgravia’s reception and pharmacy