Help is Available for Women Experiencing Hair Loss
Women experiencing hair loss often remain in the shadows and keep their symptoms a secret. We often hear that women are ashamed and frustrated that they can’t look the way they want. We are happy to say that we are seeing a steady drumbeat of events that suggests women experiencing hair loss are gaining confidence to be more open. This article is devoted to them.
One of the heroes we want to recognize is Kayla Martell, who competed as Miss Delaware in the 90th Miss America pageant last month. As we described in our previous article, “Miss Delaware Goes Wigless for Alopecia Areata Awareness,” Martell has a rare condition called alopecia areata, the autoimmune disease that caused her to lose her hair as a child.
To her credit and our tremendous admiration, Martell has used her beauty queen status to raise awareness about alopecia areata, at times appearing in public and on television without her wig, which takes guts. As a result, the subject of female hair loss has come out of the shadows and into the light, giving women more information and hope than ever before.
Alopecia areata can cause partial or total hair loss that comes and goes. An estimated two percent of the population has the condition.
Other causes of female hair loss include the following:
- Hormonal issues, such as childbirth, coming off birth control pills, thyroid disease or menopause
- Medical conditions, such as lupus
- Dieting (even losing 10 to 15 pounds in a month can cause excess hair loss)
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of iron
- Hair-styling practices
- Central centrifugal and other cicatricial alopecias that can cause inflammation, scaling and scar tissue that eventually destroys the hair follicle so that hair can no longer grow in the affected area
- Traction alopecia (often caused by pulling hair into tight styles such as ponytails or braids)
- Latrogenic resulting from plastic surgery
- Physical burns and trauma
Here are before and after photos of a woman who came to us concerned about her hair loss. The technical term for her condition is a Ludwig I/II in the before photo on the left. Then only four months later, the photo on the right shows increased density in the frontal/mid scalp areas. This early result is already greatly helping the patient in the styling of her hair.
The fact is that most hair loss causes in women can be reversible, particularly if the individual has the benefit of a prompt diagnosis and early therapeutic intervention. You can review several before and after photos of our work with women posted here. Tragically, the reversible forms of hair loss are often left untreated and progress to emotional and physical scarring that are more difficult to reverse.
You should make arrangements to consult with a hair restoration specialist as soon as you notice less hair on your scalp, a prolonged (over two to four weeks) increase of shedding or a greater amount of hair in your brush or shower drain than normal. Why a hair restoration specialist? Because hair loss is a slow, stubborn problem for which there is no easy or immediate solution – even though patients often demand a quick fix. A hair restoration specialist has experience and is knowledgeable about the latest advances in science and medicine pertaining to hair loss remedies.
The good news is that Arocha Hair Restoration offers a free consultation, so there is absolutely no reason to put it off.
The first priority is to figure out why you’re losing your hair, which involves a bit of detective work. Expect lots of questions about your lifestyle, eating habits, family circumstances and medical history. Like many hair restoration specialists, Arocha Hair Restoration also will want to clearly understand your feelings about your hair loss and what you would like to achieve as a result of our assistance. This is very important to ensure the patient’s goals are realistic and our approach is aligned with the patient’s desires.
As we describe in the article, “Hair Loss Products that Work,” science and medicine pertaining to hair loss have advanced a great deal and there are many options that were not available just a few years ago. However, it is critically important that women experiencing hair loss do not “borrow” lotions or potions from men. Women and men have very different biology and what works on a man to stop or reverse hair loss can have damaging effects on women. For instance, a woman whose hair loss is genetic might be a good candidate for a two percent Minoxidil (marketed as Rogaine) solution. If she used a man’s five percent solution, she might end up looking like a werewolf. Another treatment for men that is not advisable for women is Finasteride (marketed as Propecia), which could cause birth defects.
Another potential hair restoration approach that is often overlooked for women’s hair loss is a hair transplant. Over the years, Arocha Hair Restoration has performed more than 3,500 hair transplants and we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of women coming to us for hair transplants. Today, approximately 20 percent of our hair transplant patients are women.
If you are not familiar with what is involved in a hair transplant, you may have outdated images in your mind. Today’s modern state-of-the-art hair transplant can achieve a result that nobody can detect. In fact, as we reported in the recent article, “Bet You Can’t Tell Who Had the Hair Transplant,” most people are unable to tell the difference between someone who has had a hair transplant and who has natural hair. When the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery presented respondents with photos of women – one of whom had a hair transplant, less than 12 percent were able to guess the right one. More than 88 percent could not tell which of the women had undergone a hair transplant.
In a hair transplant, we extract hair follicles from the back of the scalp and then artistically place the follicles one-by-one in the areas where hair loss is being experienced. The idea of artistic hair restoration is to artistically transplant the follicles with densities and angles that achieve a natural and undetectable result. Much more information about hair transplants is available throughout this website.
That’s a lot of information. What is most important to know is that there is help available from specialists experienced with situations just like yours. If you are a woman experiencing hair loss, please do not try to solve the problem alone.