Once, it was believed that men were the only ones who had to deal with hair loss. However, female pattern baldness has become an all too common occurrence. Millions of women deal with thinning hair or bald spots.
Many women choose to hide their thinning hair and feel ashamed or unattractive. Rather than concealing their hair, women should understand that balding, thinning hair is perfectly normal and usually at no one’s fault.
Most importantly, women suffering hair loss should maintain hope: there are numerous effective hair replacement options available. Let’s take a look at the causes of female pattern baldness and the surgical and non-surgical methods of restoring that hair.
Causes for Female Hair Loss
Pinning hair loss on any single cause is hard. There are dozens of possible reasons a women may be losing her hair. What makes things even more difficult is the fact that the patterns of hair loss in women are not as easily identifiable as those in men.
Some causes for women’s hair loss include:
Genetics – The most common cause of scalp hair loss, in both men and women, is entirely hereditary. Androgenic alopecia is an inherited sensitivity to the effects of male hormones (androgens) on scalp hair follicles. After reaching menopause, for instance, women may find that their hair has become thinner.
Normally, when a hair follicle falls out, it is replaced by a hair of equal size and thickness. For women with female pattern baldness, the new hair is finer and thinner. This cycle continues with thinner and thinner hair until the hair quits growing altogether.
A simple way to determine your susceptibility to hair loss is to look at your parents or grandparents, and so on. Hair loss can be hereditary both maternally and paternally. If any of your family suffers from thin hair or scalp baldness, you might have to deal with the same in the future.
Medical conditions – Numerous medical conditions can bring about hair loss, the most common including:
- Androgenetic alopecia
- Alopecia areata
- Pregnancy (which may cause imbalances in hormones)
- Thyroid disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Some skin conditions
However, signs of baldness or hair loss caused by these medical conditions are often temporary and subside in a matter of weeks.
Environmental – Sometimes, hair loss comes down to outside agents. Extreme stress can lead to all sorts of physiological problems, including hair loss. Dramatic weight loss or a lack of certain nutrients can take a hard toll on your body and your hair.
Sometimes, hair loss is attributed to self-inflicted causes. Over-tight hairstyles like cornrows or braids can lead to traction alopecia. Take into consideration the types of manipulation done to your hair (dyes, chemicals, blow dryers, flat irons, and more), all of which can cause damage or breakage.
Replacing and Restoring Hair
Understanding the causes of hair loss, let’s take a look at a few ways to prevent and restore your hair.
Diet –Eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent hair loss. Some foods worth considering include:
- Oats can speed up hair growth with high levels of iron, potassium, and magnesium.
- Citrus fruits contain vitamin C, which is essential to healthy hair and skin.
- Turkey is a great source of niacin, which promotes healthy blood circulation. Increased blood circulation means more oxygen to your scalp and hair follicles and thus better hair growth.
- Minoxidil, which goes by the brand name Rogaine, is an FDA-approved hair restoration drug and can either be taken as a pill or applied topically. Surprisingly, Minoxidil seems to be more effective on women suffering androgenic alopecia than men. However, product labeling suggests that women only use the 2% concentration of Minoxidil. The higher 5% concentration is only prescribed under the supervision of a dermatologist.
- Propecia (finastiride), is another pharmaceutical option that is more common. This drug inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, the hormone that often causes hair loss. Be sure to talk to your doctor about this option, because it isn’t always recommended for women, and certainly shouldn’t be taken or handled by pregnant women.
Surgery – When worse comes to worst, surgery is always an option. The two most common surgical methods of hair restoration are transplants and scalp reduction (with transplantation being highly recommended over scalp reduction).
- Hair transplants are probably the more popular of the two methods. Hair transplantation is completely safe and easy. During the procedure hair follicles are taken from donor areas of a woman’s scalp. Eligible donor areas are the parts of your scalp that have strong hair growth. The hair follicles are then surgically placed into the bald or thinning areas, and the hair continues to live and reproduce after being transplanted.
Hair Duplication – A unique, detailed process goes into creating this non-surgical hair replacement. Perfectly matched real human hair blends seamlessly and naturally into your own hair type. This is a durable, aesthetically pleasing choice for many men and women.
Remember to consult a professional to fully understand your options and make the best choice.