Women who experience hair loss can feel embarrassed and be anxious about what to do and who to turn to. Knowing what treatments are available however is only half the solution. Not everyone’s situation is the same and women will need to know which individual approach will be most suited to them and give them the results they desire.
Hair loss in women tends to be less obvious than in men. While men develop a prominent bald spot or start to noticeably recede, some women’s hair will gradually thin all over. Early treatment usually generates the best response but it can be hard for some women to tell if they’re experiencing hair loss because they don’t have to necessarily be losing hair to thin.
Female pattern hair loss is the result of a miniaturisation of the hair follicles due to a genetic sensitivity to the effects of DHT (a hormonal metabolite of testosterone). As the shrinking hair follicle shortens the lifespan of the hair growth cycle, the hair becomes finer and shorter as opposed to actually falling out. If the hair feels sparser when you run your fingers through it or the scalp becomes increasingly visible through the hair, it may be the result of female pattern hair loss.
Minoxidil is officially regarded as the most effective hair loss treatment for women. Not only does it encourage continuous hair growth, it also stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, relaxes the tissues surrounding the follicle, opens up potassium channels and allows the deliverance of essential nutrients to the follicles. It’s a topical treatment that is applied to the affected areas of the scalp and is available in a variety of strengths, from a 2% solution to a 12.5% minoxidil cream, depending on what is deemed appropriate.
Being a woman, you have to recognise that the cause of hair loss may not be so simple to determine as in the case of most men. Hormonal and metabolic changes are a common cause of hair loss in women. Anything from hormonal fluctuation after pregnancy or with use or cessation of medication, excessive stress, extreme dieting or weight loss, medical conditions or menopause can result in or aggravate hair loss. Women are more likely to suffer from a variety of hair loss conditions such as telogen effluvium, alopecia areata and diffuse hair loss which is why there is no stock standard treatment for women’s hair loss.
Unfortunately, the industry that has developed around the issue of hair loss is largely unregulated and more than a little unscrupulous. There are claims and counter-claims on just about every hair loss treatment around but these should be taken with a grain of salt because testimonials and comments are easy to fake. Also, there really is no miracle treatment for hair loss and while some product comments may be justified, more often the contributor’s exasperation is the result of not giving a particular treatment regime sufficient time to work.
Some hair loss products on the market could be helpful. Most contain ingredients that are beneficial for healthy hair maintenance, but none are actually proven to prevent or treat hair loss (despite some of their claims). Women are more prone to diet-related hair loss than men and hair supplements can help their follicles receive the most important nutrients for hair growth. However, women should consult their doctor before taking any supplements as over-supplementation can have adverse effects, which may actually include hair loss.
The extent of hair loss is another factor women need to consider when searching for the most effective solution. If the hair loss isn’t all over the scalp, a surgical hair transplant may be an option, depending on what previous treatments have been tried. However, transplants for women tend to be most suitable for those with hair loss as a result of scarring. Not many women will actually go bald but for those who do have extreme hair loss and have exhausted other means of treatment, wigs or hairpieces may be the solution.
Many women wear them these days, even if they don’t suffer from hair loss. They’ve become a bit of a fashion statement and their levels of quality and ethical production has come a long way.
There is no such thing as a hair loss treatment that suits everyone but if you can find someone who specialises in hair loss, is aware of all the factors that play a role in women’s hair loss and someone you trust, then you’re likely to receive the best advice and treatment possible. There is no reason why women today shouldn’t have the crowning glory they wish they could have – or feel they’re entitled to!
To find out more, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 666 or send an email. The UK’s leaders in hair loss prevention have been treating women of all backgrounds from all over the world for almost 20 years and offer the medical information you need and the impartial advice you want. If you can’t visit the London centre, fill in the online diagnostic form for a free diagnosis and access to a personalised hair loss treatment program.