There are many potential triggers that can result in a woman losing hair, so how can you tell if your thinning is due to inherited female pattern hair loss? We look at the cause, identification, and treatment.
Triggers and Identification
While many events can be the trigger to hair loss, from illness to pregnancy, there is only one cause for female pattern hair loss. It is hereditary. We inherit the genes for our hair from both parents so looking at your older relatives can provide a clue to your hair future. Nevertheless, because many of the other causes can initially present as identical to female pattern hair loss, a visit to a dermatologist for confirmation is a must. As we will see later early treatment is vital if you are to hold onto your hair so a proper diagnosis is essential.
For most women, the issue will start sometime during mid-life while they are in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s. The fact that it is seen, usually, after the menopause might be indicative that hormones play a part. The condition is progressive, so the sufferer can expect it to worsen over time. Unlike men, women do not lose all of their hair. Rather, the issue starts on the top of the head with a center parting that just keeps getting wider and can progress to the point where there is little hair left behind a thinned out hairline. As soon as you have a diagnosis your dermatologist can recommend a course of treatment.
Not so long ago there was only one treatment. Minoxidil, as the only FDA approved treatment on the market for women, is by far the most commonly recommended. Available without prescription it is applied directly to the scalp… users should know that initially, they might experience a bout of accelerated hair loss before the hair begins to grow again. Also, care should be taken to avoid contact with other areas of the face when applying, it can result in unwanted hair. Minoxidil is not suitable for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
These days however, dermatologists have a range of new, largely untested, options available that can be offered in conjunction with a course of minoxidil.
There are also medications which are recognised as having potential benefit for female pattern hair loss but which are actually made, and approved, for use on other conditions. Spironolactone, for example, is a diuretic that has been prescribed for “off label” use against hair loss for many years. Finasteride, flutamide, and dutasteride are also medications that many dermatologists will prescribe. It is vital to check with your doctor that no current medications you are taking should mean you avoid any or all of these… all have been linked with birth defects and so should not be considered by a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
There are a host of other options, some using your own stem cells, another that uses your own blood… platelet-rich plasma therapy involves taking your blood and enriching it before putting it back into your system. Lasers that can be used at home are becoming popular.
But the fact is that much more work needs to be done on all of these before a definitive benefit can be established.
Supplements might be an answer that avoids concerns around side effects. Biotin and folic acid are reputed to improve hair thickness and condition. One study saw women improve both by taking specific omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Hair Loss For Women
Whichever solution you choose, it is important to bear in mind that any treatment for hair loss involves a long wait for improvement. It is unlikely you will see any improvement in the first few months, such is the glacial rate at which hair grows and recovers.
We would like to offer you the opportunity to discuss your hair loss situation with a friendly, globally recognized, expert. Ranbir is a committed hair professional with years of experience and a well-earned reputation for thought-leadership and innovation in the industry. If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with an expert, sympathetic and experienced ear, please use the contact form to get in touch.