At last there may be some good news for women experiencing hair loss: last month (September 2010), scientists in Australia announced they may have isolated the specific gene which acts as a trigger for female pattern baldness.
The team of scientists at the University of Melbourne and St Vincent’s Hospital in Victoria, Australia also hinted that, now that the gene responsible for hair loss in women may have been found, scientists should be better placed to establish a treatment to counter its effects. Those behind the research plan to present their finding at the 6th World Congress for Hair Research, which is being held in Australia in October 2010.
To isolate the gene, the Australian scientists used a sample of just under 1,000 women, half of which were already experiencing significant hair loss. By mapping out the DNA of these women they looked for gene variants that set the women with hair loss apart from the control group.
The research found that those women that were experiencing hair loss tended to have a variant of the oestrogen receptor beta gene - ESR2. The scientists believe that the variant ESR2 beta gene makes these women’s hair follicles more sensitive to the oestrogen levels in the body. They also found that variant’s link to female hair thinning was more prominent amongst women aged over 40.
However, women in the control group that were not experiencing hair thinning had a different variant of the same gene that seemed to be less influenced by oestrogen levels in the body.
The findings of this research run counter to the perceived wisdom that high levels of oestrogen help to prevent female baldness and thinning. This was thought to be the case, as most women find their hair gets thicker when they are pregnant (and have increased oestrogen levels). Once the child is delivered and the mother is breast feeding, oestrogen levels fall and women also find they are shedding more hair.
What is really exciting, is that this research could pave the way for new treatments for female hair loss being developed to work on a genetic level.
At the moment, the best treatment for female pattern hair loss - one which is MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for this specific purpose - is topical applications of minoxidil. This hair loss solution is applied directly to the scalp, where needed, and comes in a number of different formulations.
Additional complementary hair growth supporting products can be used in conjunction with this clinically-proven medication. These range from highly-targeted nutritional supplements to laser therapy devices, such as the FDA-cleared HairMax LaserComb, which is designed to stimulate the follicles. Regular consultations with hair loss experts, to monitor the treatment and the progress, are also recommended by specialists.
Hair loss in women can be particularly dramatic, with hair restoration being on the wish list for many of those with, or who are simply worried about thinning hair. Luckily there are support options out there now and anyone concerned about excessive shedding who would like to explore their options in this regard would be well advised to take professional advice from a dedicated hair loss specialist.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.