From Houston in the Lone Star State we hear the shocking news that between the ages of 15 and 50 a woman can expect to lose half of her hair. We investigate.
It is a truly shocking statistic, not least because it means that all women will experience hair loss. For many it will progress to what is described as female pattern hair loss. Genetic hair loss in women follows a different path to that of men, typically presenting as a diffuse thinning across the top of the head usually focused in the middle, along a line where a center parting might be.
However, there are many perils for a woman’s hair before genes should be looked at as the definitive culprit.
As well as the steady thinning of the hair which starts almost as soon as you are through puberty, there are a number of triggers. The majority of which are, to some extent, self-inflicted and which could be avoided with better lifestyle choices.
Self Inflicted Wounds
After genetics the most common cause of hair loss is triggered by the use of chemicals and/or heat. As our Lone Star dermatologist, Dr John Wolf, tells us: “Hair is made out of protein… excessive heat or excessive physical injury to the hair will break the hairs, so the hair may not be falling out from the roots but the hair can be breaking off”. Be warned, excessive abuse over a long period of time will result in damage that is irreversible.
This type of damage, caught early enough, will usually reverse completely… you just need to stop doing whatever you were doing to damage it. So put away those tongs, bin the braids and keep the hair dryer on its coolest setting.
Visit Your Doctor
While there is not too much that can be done, in terms of medication, for faulty genes that control the growth of your hair, there are other genetic flaws which may present as hair loss but which are treatable… the catching it early caveat applies again.
The two most common treatable conditions triggering hair loss are hypothroidism (thyroid deficiency) and an excess of testosterone. With these types of condition your doctor can diagnose, with a simple test, and treat with the promise of a return to a full head of hair.
What If I Am Definitely Going Bald?
If the doctor’s tests all come back negative and other possibilities have been ruled out… bear in mind these can include such diverse triggers as an emotional or physical shock, pregnancy and labour so there are quite a few alternate causes to be ruled out before the obvious conclusion is drawn… that the hair loss is down to genetics.
Rogaine is the only FDA available medication approved for women. It is a topical treatment using 2% Minoxodil – Women reported growth of facial hair when using a 5% version so don’t use the men’s version hoping for improved efficacy.
HIS Hair Clinic
Our thanks go out to the Click2Houston site for the lead on the story (read the original article here) and for raising the profile and depth of the problem that is women’s hair loss. Here at HIS we offer a suite of the very latest solutions for dealing with hair loss in women. A free consultation with one of our experts is available at any of our clinics, find your nearest one here.