Hair loss is generally considered an issue with males. However, female hair loss occurs in approximately 5% of women under the age of 30 and 60% of those who are over the age of 70. Female-pattern hair loss is genetically inherited from either of the parents and can affect a woman’s hair by thinning the area known as the crown. The shortened growth of hair in this area leaves a woman with wispy-looking hairs instead of flowing hair due to the fact that the hair will not grow to its natural length any longer.
Most women prefer to hide their thinning or hair loss by altering their usual hairstyle. However, many doctors believe that the earlier a patient treats their hair loss, the better the final outcome. Thankfully, there are many hair loss treatment options available for female patients of all ages.
Unlike men, the only topical application approved by the FDA for woman is Minoxidil 5% which is also known as Rogaine. Fortunately, 81% of women see results when using this foam once per day to regenerate hair growth. Minoxidil is also available in a liquid solution of 2% and 5% and is available over the counter. Minoxidil works by extending the growth period of the hair which, in turn, provides more time for the hair to grow to a more natural length. With Minoxidil, a person must be patient. It must be used once per day and it will take 3-4 months before any noticeable improvement is seen. Furthermore, this product works best when the patient begins using it in the earliest stages of hair loss. It must be used consistently in order for it to work. In other words, if a patient stops using the product, the hair stops growing again.
Many women believe that hair loss stems from getting their hair permed, colored or from various hair care products. However, this isn’t true. Women do not need to alter their shampoo although an anti-dandruff shampoo which contains ketoclonazole (anti-fungal) like Head and Shoulders can help stimulate hair growth. Anything with zinc pyrthione, which is anti-fungal and antibacterial, can also work well for female patients.
Low iron may be a culprit in hair loss with women. A physician can run tests to determine if a female has low levels of ferritin in her body. Ferritin is a protein that indicates the total amount of iron stored in the body. Therefore, iron supplements might be helpful.
Other women might be experiencing hormonal abnormalities which are often excess male hormones called androgens. Androgens can cause hair loss in women that is similar to male-pattern hair loss. If this is the case, a physician can prescribe medications such as oral contraceptives and spironolactone to combat hair loss.
Finally, hair transplant surgery is a procedure where tiny follicles of hair are transplanted from one area of the scalp to the lacking area. Since the genetics of the hair is different within the various areas of the scalp, this makes hair transplant surgery successful. Many women opt to have this procedure done because it is permanent and can leave the hair looking quite natural.