Although hair loss may seem like a more prominent problem in men, women are nearly as likely to lose, or have thinning, hair. Most women notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.
There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
Female pattern baldness
Female pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in women.
Each strand of hair sits in a tiny hole (cavity) in the skin called a follicle. In general, baldness occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle does not grow new hair. The follicles remain alive, which suggests that it is still possible to grow new hair.
The reason for female pattern baldness is not well understood, but may be related to:
- Changes in the levels of androgens (male hormones). For example, after reaching menopause, many women find that the hair on their head is thinner, while the hair on their face is coarser. The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem.
- Family history of male or female pattern baldness.
Other causes of hair loss include; stress, medications, hormone imbalances, fungal infections, nutritional deficiencies
Hair thinning is different from that of male pattern baldness.
In female pattern baldness;
- Hair thins mainly on the top and crown of the scalp. It usually starts with a widening through the center hair part.
- The front hairline remains unaffected except for normal recession, which happens to everyone as time passes.
- The hair loss rarely progresses to total or near total baldness, as it may in men.
Hair Loss Treatments
Specialised hair loss solutions are formulated in our laboratory. We use higher strengths of minoxidil which thicken and lengthen hair follicles. We use a variety a DHT blockers which prevents the formation of DHT, which as discussed above, is the main hormonal culprit in hair loss. We also use retinoic acid which promotes hair growth in combination with minoxidil to increases cell turnover thus increasing the rate of hair growth. It also increases the absorption of minoxidil so hair growth can appear faster.
It takes 4-6 months of application to see noticeable hair thickening and lengthening.
Contact us for further information or to book an appointment with the compounding pharmacist.