It is estimated that one-third of all women will experience female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia) at some time in their lives, especially postmenopausal women. Because hair loss is less socially acceptable for women than men, the effects of hair loss for women can be very overwhelming and scary. However, thanks to advancements in medicine and technology, there are viable treatments available for women to use to combat hair loss.
There are many causes for hair loss in women, and if you notice hair loss of any kind, it’s recommended that you visit a dermatologist to determine the causes and appropriate treatment. Female pattern hair loss can be categorized into 3 types. Type 1 is minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hairstyling techniques. Type 2 is decreased hair volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part. Type 3 is diffused thinning with a see-through appearance on the top of the scalp.
Minoxidil was initially used as a treatment for high blood pressure; however, researchers soon noticed that the medication also caused hair to regrow in areas where there was hair loss. Today, 2% minoxidil topical solution is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for female-pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). The treatment regrows hair in 81% of the women who try it. Not all women will experience a complete restoration in their hair density; however, if minoxidil works for you, you’ll need to keep using it to maintain results. If you stop treatment, hair follicles may become weak again.
How to Use Minoxidil
Using the dropper or spray pump, apply the solution twice daily to every area where the hair is thinning. Apply while hair and scalp are dry. Gently massage the applied solution into the scalp with your fingers so that it can reach the hair follicles effectively. Wash your hands and any area on the face where the solution may have dripped. Allow hair to air-dry, and do not shampoo hair for at least four hours after application.
Side Effects and Concerns
Minoxidil has been clinically tested and is safe; however, some women experience unpleasant side effects of alcohol-related skin irritation. Additionally, the regrown hair can sometimes differ in color and texture from the surrounding hair. If the female user is applying a stronger concentration of Minoxidil 5% – they may experience hair growth on their cheeks or forehead.
Hair Transplantation involves removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head and using it to fill in a bald patch. Most hair transplant surgeons today use a technique called follicular unit transplantation where a narrow strip of scalp is taken and divided into hundreds of tiny grafts. From there each graft is planted in the area of missing hair and hair grows naturally in follicular units. The graft looks better than the traditional “plugs” used in earlier hair transplant procedures.
What’s the Best Option For Me?
The biggest difference between minoxidil and hair transplantation is the price difference. Hair transplantation can be costly and minoxidil is often prescribed as a follow-up treatment. If you have allergic reactions to the minoxidil solution – it can be an unpleasant treatment. We recommend you schedule an appointment and discuss your available options with a dermatologist to find the best option for you!
Another reason for hair loss may be a deficiency in iron, so consult your doctor and test your blood iron levels to see if that factor could be a cause for hair loss.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treating-female-pattern-hair-loss