How to Stop Hair Loss in Women?
While it's a struggle to deal with hair loss, the phenomenon is not uncommon is women. As much as 5% under the age of 30, as well as 60% of those aged over 70 are affected. But while others adopt by changing their hair style to accommodate the thinning process or to hide patches, seeking care can increase the chances of treating it.
Women love to look good and do lots of stuff with their hair, be it perming or constantly dyeing it to the latest hair color trend. Some women believe it's this practice that leads them to lose hair. But that's not really the real reason: women have a genetic predisposition to lose hair. In other worlds, your hair won't grow as long as it did when you were younger.
What Are the Common Forms of Female Hair Loss?
Paradi Mirmirani, a dermatologist in Vallejo, California who specializes in hair disorders, says that “We all shed around one hundred to one hundred fifty hairs per day.” However, if you notice that you're losing more than that – as seen in the clumps of hair in the shower drain – then your hair has either become finer or you may be going through female pattern hair loss (FPHL), a genetic condition that affects 30 million women.
FPHL or androgenetic alopecia can start as early as in your 20s, but it's most common after menopause. Mary Gail Mercurio, associate professor of dermatology and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester, says that “Multiple genes play a role, and they have an equal probability of being inherited from your mother's or father's side.”
While hair loss doesn't necessarily mean you have a medical issue, you should consult your doctor so issues such as a thyroid problem, iron deficiency anemia or an excessive level of male hormones (common with polycystic ovarian syndrome or when estrogen levels decline around menopause) can be ruled out. If left untreated, these symptoms can cause various kinds of hair loss and can even make FPHL much worse.
Once your doctor determines that these serious health issues aren't the cause of your hair loss, then your next step is to see a dermatologist. They will check your scalp and take a detailed medical history to see why your hair is thinning and will help you design a treatment plan.
How Can Hair Loss in Women Be Treated?
There are various ways to treat hair loss in women, and these include:
Natural Hair Loss Treatments
Your genes can't be changed, but there are things like lifestyle changes that you can make to protect your hair and some other natural forms of treatment:
- Change your diet. Those on a vegetarian diet or are anemic lack iron which is needed for strong, healthy hair. To add more iron into your diet, consume more leafy greens such as spinach, kale and chard. In addition, beans, tofu or lean cuts of red meat are great sources of iron as well as biotin and zinc which can help with hair growth.
- Do a scalp massage. A lot of experts suggest that those with thinning hair should massage their scalp. With a bit of argan or coconut oil, rub your scalp using your fingertips in circular motion for several minutes before putting shampoo. What this does is increase circulation in your scalp which help pump hair follicles with the nutrients it needs for hair growth.
- Natural hair restoration method. Many women may not be too keen on using prescription drugs of over-the-counter remedies. Some may not like the idea of shelling out a lot of money for expensive hair transplants. This is why they would rather go for natural hair restoration methods like the one seen on Hair Loss Protocol. That method ensures fuller, thicker hair in less than three weeks.
Medical Hair Loss Treatments
While some women would do well with natural remedies, some may require a bit of medical intervention. Here are some medical methods to deal with hair loss:
- Over-the-counter medication. The only topical medication approved by the FDA for female-pattern hair loss is minoxidil. Even the stronger minoxidil 5%, which is for male-pattern hair loss, works well on women but it does increase facial hair growth.
There are 2% and 5% solutions available over the counter in liquid form. A foam version is available for the 5% solution as well. Minoxidil works by prolonging the growth phase of hair by providing more time for hair to grow to its full density.
- Prescription medication. Your doctor may be able to prescribe anti-androgen medication if your hair loss problem doesn't respond to minoxidil. The anti-androgen medication can slow hair loss and stimulate growth. According to Dr Mirmirani, “they inhibit male hormones that can exacerbate hair loss.”
In some cases, finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor which blocks an enzyme regulating the prodution of androgen, may be prescribed. Although, this kind of medication is recommended for pre-menopausal women who are no longer childbearing as it can cause birth defects. Although it's FDA-approved for men only, pre-menopausal women can be prescribed it off label.
- Hair transplant. With this method, hair is removed from one part of the scalp and implanted in an area where hair is thinning. The thing is this procedure is quite costly: ranging from $3,000 to $15,000. A survey of hair transplant surgeons led by Walter Unger, a dermatologist, suggested that at least 40% of women with female pattern hair loss are candidates for surgery. Plus, a lot of doctors believe that up to 80% of women with thinning hair can see successful results.
There are instant and low-cost ways to cope with hair loss, and these include:
- Fullmore. This is a tinted spray that can temporarily thicken hair with tiny fibers and conceal visible scalp. Lucinda Ellery, a hair restoration specialist, advises clients to try this product before resorting to extensions. For a lot of women, this product is all they need.
- Pantene AgeDefy Advanced Thickening Treatment. This is a styling spray capable of plumping each hair fiber. A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that it can increase the the diameter of individual hairs by 10%.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP). There are doctors who are using this method to stimulate hair growth. A couple of studies are also planned on the best ways to make use of the technology. The way it works is that platelets release growth factors when separated from a patient's own blood. These are then injected into the scalp to stimulate hair shafts. Neil Sadick, a New York City dermatologist says “So far we're seeing decreased hair loss after one or two treatments, and some degree of new growth after three to five.”
- Bimatoprost. This is a synthetic prostaglandin found in the prescription lash-growth serum Latisse. It went into clinical trials but it failed to proceed to late stage study. The company that produces it, Allergan (producers of Botox), said that they are extending the mid-stage of the development program. While the news is devastating for those looking for a cure to hair loss, at least the project isn't dead yet.
- Hair cloning. This is still a ways off but hair restoration surgeon Alan Bauman hopes that by 2025, “we will be able to multiply hair from a small biopsy to produce unlimited follicles for transplantation.”
Hair loss may be tragic for women who want a full mane to flaunt around and style up. However, there are lots of remedies available to deal with the issue and it ranges from natural methods to extremely complicated procedures.