Female Pattern Hair Loss
Just as with men, women can experience balding, but its more commonly referred to as female pattern hair loss. This condition is characterized by the visible loss of hair along with thinning around the crown. Women may notice the first sign of female pattern hair loss as a widening in her part or a smaller width in her ponytail.8
Hair Thinning Treatments For Females: What Works
Here at HairLust, we believe in taking a two-pronged approach to treating thinning hair in women:
First up, lets discuss hair thinning treatments for females! These are simple lifestyle changes you can make that will help support hair growth in your hair follicles.
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Intense Emotional Or Physical Stress
When you’re experiencing something stressful or traumaticnot your average day-to-day stress, but something big and life-altering like a divorce, a death in the family, a significant job change, or a big moveyou may experience a temporary halt in hair growth as your body puts its resources toward getting you through said big event.
“Hairs dont all grow at the same rate,” Dr. Schlosser explains. “Some are growing, some are resting, and some are actively being shed. When you have these conditions, your body halts hair growth, and then things get restarted and all these hairs that have been halted start to get pushed out at the same time.” The same thing can happen with physical stress and trauma, like having a big operation, being hospitalized, or even losing a significant amount of weight very quickly.
Usually this type of hair shedding is temporary. But if it bothers you, check in with a dermatologist to learn more about styling changes and products you can use to make your hair look and feel fuller.
What Steps Can I Take To Prevent Or Slow Hair Loss
Unfortunately, certain types of hair loss are genetic, and very little can be done to prevent them. Genetic types of hair loss include alopecia areata and female pattern hair loss.
But other types of hair loss can be brought on by stress and a poor diet. Do your best to eat a balanced diet, and find ways to take care of your mental health.
For added benefit, stay up to date with your routine checkups. Anemia, low levels of vitamin D and abnormal thyroid hormones can all affect the health of your hair. Simple bloodwork from your primary care physician can determine if these conditions are contributing to your hair loss.
Black women in particular are prone to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia, which is caused by heat, chemicals and tight styles that pull at the hair root, including some braids, dreadlocks, extensions and weaves.
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Medication For Hair Loss
Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a topical medication that is used to treat female pattern hair loss and male-pattern baldness. It was initially developed as a blood pressure medication and was used off-label to treat hair loss until it became FDA-approved for that purpose. Minoxidil can slow the progression of hair loss. Most women who use the medication experience regrowth of hair. The medication needs to be used continuously to maintain results. Other types of treatment work for different kinds of hair loss. Corticosteroids help suppress the immune response that damages hair follicles in people who have alopecia areata. Once the follicles recover, hair can grow back. If nutritional deficiencies underlie hair loss, eating a healthy diet with adequate and protein and nutrients can help you regrow hair. Certain medical problems may trigger hair loss. Adequately treating these conditions may help restore hair growth.
Buying Guide For Best Hair Loss Treatments For Women
Hair loss is usually thought as a problem that affects only men, but many women experience hair thinning and loss as they age, too. There are many reasons why someone might start to lose hair, but regardless of the cause, it can wreak havoc on a womans self-esteem and confidence.
Fortunately, there are plenty of OTC hair loss treatments that can help slow the loss or even regrow hair. But not all hair loss treatments for women are the same. If you dont choose an effective product, youll just be wasting your time and money.
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How Do You Measure Hair Loss
Doctors characterize the severity of hair loss using something called the Savin density scale. This scale has 8 stages and describes hair loss around the midline part as well recession in the front of the hairline. Some women lose hair to various degrees around the midline and/or in the front of the hairline. Some women experience hair thinning all over the scalp. Hair loss may occur in episodes or continuously. The doctor parts the hair down the middle of the head and then determines the severity of hair loss. The most common pattern for female pattern baldness is thinning around the midline that occurs in the shape of a Christmas tree. The pattern and severity of female hair loss helps determine the appropriate course of treatment.
Style Tips For Thinning Hair
Ask your stylist. They might suggest a short cut, a different part, maybe a gentle body wave. Try a styling product for thin hair to hide bare spots. Apply it to the root area then gently blow dry to build volume. Let your hair air dry for a while before you use the dryer. Special cosmetics can disguise parts of your scalp that show. Think about keratin fiber hair cosmetics. Sprinkle them over the thinning patch. Their static charge makes hair look thicker.
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When To See A Doctor For Thinning Hair
Although its common to lose hair throughout the day, its a good idea to speak with your doctor if youre losing more than 100 hairs per day.
You should also talk with your doctor if youre worried about persistent hair loss or a receding hairline, or if you notice sudden patchy hair loss. Patches of hair loss could signify an underlying medical condition.
What Is The Relationship Between Hair Loss In Women And Menopause
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didnt before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.
Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth.
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What Can I Do
- The appearance of menopausal hair loss can sometimes be improved by cosmetic practices, e.g. reducing the use of straighteners, hair dryers and other heat damaging tools. This along with the use of thickening shampoos and conditioners may improve hair appearance.
- A healthy, varied diet is a contributing factor to a healthy body, so a nutritional review may be helpful.
- Topical solutions to increase hair growth can be purchased. These take several months to take effect and must be used on an ongoing basis, or hair loss will return.
- Laser devices that emit low-energy laser light may stimulate hair growth to help fight thinning hair. Laser therapy is best carried out by a hairdresser or therapist with experience and training on these devices. The long-term safety and effectiveness are unknown.
- Some medications have side effects that could include hair loss. Make sure to talk to your doctor if youve noticed significant hair loss and you think that your medicine might be the cause.
- An important function of hair is to protect the scalp from sunlight it is therefore important to protect any bald areas of your scalp from the sun to prevent sunburn and to reduce the chances of developing long-term sun damage.
- Be reassured. Most menopause related hair loss does slow down with time.
Conventional Treatment For Thinning Hair
Conventional treatments for thinning hair include medications and surgery.
When hair is caused by an underlying disease, conventional medicine likely includes drugs like prednisone to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. Common side effects of prednisone include confusion, headache, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, thinning skin, acne, sleep problems and weight gain.
There are also two drugs on the market today that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat pattern baldness or thinning. The first one is minoxidil, commonly known commercially as Rogaine, and it can be used by both men and women. You may experience hair regrowth or a decreased rate of hair loss, but the growth is not permanent and will stop if you stop using it. Some common side effects may include severe scalp irritation, undesirable growth of facial hair, chest pain, rapid heart rate and more.
Another conventional option in pill form is called finasteride. Again, you need to keep taking it to retain benefits. Additionally, women who are or may be pregnant need to avoid touching crushed or broken tablets. Side effects may include impotence, loss of interest in sex, trouble having an orgasm, abnormal ejaculation, swelling in your hands or feet, feeling faint,headache, runny nose, and skin rash.
Precautions Regarding Natural Treatments for Thinning Hair
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What Causes A Receding Hairline
K, I know youre hoping for a cut and dry answer here, but its a bit more complicated than that. Take it from Hill, who says there are quite a few factors that can cause receding hairlines in women. Thinning along the hairline or temples is more than likely the result of either traction alopecia, excessive hairstyling habits, genetic hair loss, or frontal fibrosing, which is a form of lichen planopilaris, an autoimmune disease that triggers scarring alopecia, she explains.
Hill says that while more research needs to be done in order to understand the specific root causes of receding hairlines, we definitely know that factors like genetics, overall health, hormones, diet, medications, and styling habits all come into play .
Its also worth noting that receding hairlines are not caused by telogen effluvium, aka hair loss triggered by stressful events as well as certain medications and medical conditions . With telogen effluvium, hairs fall out all over the head in a pretty significant fashion, so it doesnt just present as a receding hairline, says dermatologist, Robert Finney, MD. In genetic hair loss, however, the density slowly thins, sometimes giving the appearance of a receding hairline in certain patterns.
All of this is to say that there are a ton of reasons why your hairline might be receding, so its always in your best interest to see an expert to determine whats really going on.
The Thyroid Disease Connection
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that rests in the front base of the neck. It secretes thyroid hormones that are used by every cell in the body. There’s a connection between hair loss in women and thyroid disease. Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels are a common reason for hair loss in women. Too much thyroid hormone and too little thyroid hormone may both trigger hair loss. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heart rate, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, and anxiety. In addition to hair loss, hypothyroidism may be associated with weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold, slow heart rate, and constipation. Luckily, thyroid hormone imbalances are easily detectable with blood tests. Treatment helps alleviate symptoms, including hair loss.
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Options For Treating Hair Loss
Once your doctor determines that your hair loss is FPHL , here are your options:
Topical 2% minoxidil ., applied as 1 ml twice daily, is the only drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of female pattern hair loss. Interestingly, even though 2% and 5% minoxidil technically have different strengths, they are basically equally effective.
Oral finasteride . A few studies have shown improvement in hair loss with finasteride 5 mg daily. However, 1 mg tablets have not been shown to be helpful.
Zinc sulfate + calcium pantothenate. These are over-the-counter supplements. In a study, those using topical minoxidil daily with the addition of capsules 220 mg + calcium pantothenate tablets 100 mg twice a week had better results than those using minoxidil alone. Worth a try!
Spironolactone . There is some evidence that using the diuretic, , at a dose of 100 to 200 mg a day helps women who experienced no benefit from using topical minoxidil.
Platelet-rich plasma scalp injections. Very recent studies have shown that PRP injected into the scalp can improve both hair density and thickness. The basic idea behind PRP injections is to deliver high concentrations of stimulating nutrients known as growth factors to the scalp, with the hope of encouraging hair regrowth.
Hope this helps!
Why Does It Happen
FPHL is very common and increases with age and varies across ethnic groups. Although it can happen at any age, the condition occurs most commonly following the menopause. This does not mean that hormones alone are to blame, although oestrogen may have a protective role, helping to keep hair in the growing phase. Age itself is a factor and whilst women can take care of their hair cosmetically, it is one aspect of the ageing process we cannot always control. Genetics are important too and you may notice a family link with both male and female hair loss. Occasionally times of acute stress on the body will influence hair growth, eg illness, emotional stresses and crash dieting. Some medications may have an influence too.
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