What is Female Pattern Hair Loss?
Female pattern hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss in women. It is estimated to affect about 40% of women over 40. The frequency is less in younger women and higher as age progresses. Typically, female pattern hair loss appears as visible thinning on top of the scalp but sparing the hairline. Female pattern hair loss is slowly progressive and continues to worsen over time. Several classification systems have been developed to describe female pattern hair loss.
Fortunately, even though female pattern hair loss is progressive, there are effective treatments, so read on.
What Causes Female Pattern Hair Loss?
The effects of male hormones or “androgens” are well known in male pattern hair loss. While androgens play a role in some women with high androgen states, the role of androgens in female pattern hair loss is poorly understood. An excess of androgens is not responsible for hair loss in most women. Less than one-third of women do have an excess of androgens contributing to their hair loss. These women should have a complete hormonal evaluation. Some specific drugs are available that can help in those cases.
For all women, a process called follicular miniaturization is responsible for the appearance of hair loss. This process causes hair follicles that produce large, normal hairs with color to become small and produce tiny white hairs.
These white hairs can be difficult or impossible to see. As time goes on, more and more follicles become miniaturized, so the appearance of hair loss worsens. Hairs on the side and back or the scalp are more resistant to miniaturization. Significant hair loss on the sides and back is unusual. Non-surgical hair restoration is directed at stopping and/or reversing this process. Surgical hair restoration uses hair from the full areas on the side and back to restore hair in the thinning areas.
Can Female Pattern Hair Loss be Prevented?
Preventing female pattern hair loss is difficult. Some women see improvement in hair loss with estrogen replacement, but many do not. About a third of women who experience female pattern hair loss have an excess of androgens (male hormones). Treatment of this excess can prevent further hair loss and even restore hair in many women. Some hair loss in women is caused by constant pulling or “traction” on the hair. This can occur when tight braids or extensions. Eliminating traction can help prevent further hair loss.
What Options Do I Have to Treat Female Pattern Hair Loss?
Female pattern hair loss has several treatment options. Minoxidil is a topical solution or foam that is available without a prescription. Studies show minoxidil is effective at preventing hair loss and restoring hair to some extent. It can cause some initial hair loss when first starting. Scalp irritation and itching are potential side effects and appears to be less common with the foam. Increased facial hair can also occur when using minoxidil. The main drawback of minoxidil treatment is it must be taken from now on, the regrown hair will fall out with stopping the treatment.
Finasteride pills which can help men with hair loss is less effective in women. Some women with hormonal problems can benefit, but most women see little response.
What Options Are Available for Female Pattern Hair Loss When Topicals Fail?
Until the last few years, there were few options for women who did not respond to minoxidil. Recent studies have shown a new effective tool for women. The AuraLux System uses Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for stopping hair loss and restoring hair. This laser is more powerful and has better focusing of the laser emitters then previous medical lasers available.
In addition, this laser is more powerful and many times more effective than lasers that can be purchased for home use. The greater power and focus of the AuraLux System also allows the laser to get great results without changing your hairstyle. You can go right back to work or play without a comb or brush after the procedure.
What Results Can I Expect?
Women and men who use the laser have a 97% rate of increasing hair by 20%. Perhaps more exciting 89% of women and men see a 30% increase in hair and 57% see a 50% or greater increase in hair. This gives a real tool for women suffering from hair loss. You should start to see effects in about 3 months you will see the extent of your improvement in about 6 months.
We recommend an initial course of 20 treatments each procedure lasting 20 minutes. These procedures are done twice a week for 2 months then once a week for two months. Afterward, one treatment per month maintenance is recommended. The treatment is painless and has no recovery necessary.
How Does Hair Transplant using Follicle Unit Extraction (FUE) Work?
Hair transplant has been available for men for several decades. However, hair transplant for women has been relatively rare. Modern techniques like Follicle Unit Extraction (FUE) make hair transplant for women a reasonable alternative. Previous techniques took strips of hair from one area and moved to another. This left scars on the scalp. FUE takes tiny plugs having only 1-5 hairs and moves them from an area with thicker hair to areas where the hair is thin. Since small plugs are taken, minimal to no scarring occurs. The small hair plugs also allow a natural appearance to the final result. The procedure is typically done in a day. Recovery is typically limited to a sunburn sensation on the harvest site and some minor crusting for a few days where the grafts are placed. You should stay out of the water and avoid showering directly on your scalp for 2 weeks. You should also avoid strenuous exercise for 2 weeks. You will see some improvement from the start. However, you will not see your final results for 9-12 months. Not only female pattern hair loss, but alopecia aerata patients can benefit. This is a new age for women with hair loss.
Why use Innovations Medical and Auragraft for My Hair Transplant Procedure?
Innovations Medical has the first AuraGraft in Texas. Our Auragraft is the first in the United States outside of research and development. The AuraGraft system is the first to perform FUE with completely disposable, one-time use equipment. This makes the risk of infection or contamination almost zero. Previous systems required equipment to be sterilized, leaving a small risk of contamination. The reusable tools could also be subject to wear, resulting in duller tools over time. The older tools also used modified dental tools for FUE harvest. This resulted in greater heat generated and potential damage to the graft. AuraGraft is the first tool using a hand-piece developed specifically for FUE. The transplanted hairs survive over 99% of the time. AuraGraft offers new hope for women suffering from hair loss. Innovations Medical offers both hair restoration and hair transplant procedures at both Dallas and Fort Worth practice locations.Schedule a Consultation