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What you need to know about female pattern hair loss

What is female pattern hair loss?

Female pattern hair loss is part of the androgenetic group of hair loss.

This type of hair loss is where the scalp hair goes through a process of hair follicle miniaturisation. This means that the long, thick hairs on our scalp, will over time become shorter and finer. As time goes on and the thicker hair is naturally shed out it will be replaced by a finer hair and this will continue to happen.

This process happens due to androgen hormones. These hormones can bind to the hair follicle and start the process of hair miniturisation. Our sensitivity to these hormones can depend on our genetics as this type of hair loss can be inherited and can come from either the mother or fathers side. The speed at which the hair loss is experienced or the severity will be genetically determined.

There are also other factors that can contribute to this type of hair loss which include age, medication and illness. I always advise an up to date blood test to rule out any underlying health issues.

Androgenetic alopecia can also disrupt the hair growth cycle which means that as well as miniturisation, it is possible to experience excessive hair shedding as well. This is because the growing phase in the hair growth cycle becomes shorter and the resting phase either remains the same or gets longer meaning that there will be less hairs on the scalp.

This will result in the hair being less dense and will be thinner in appearance.

What does it look like?

When it comes to female pattern hair loss its appearance on the scalp is different to that of male pattern hair loss. Male pattern hair loss usually follows the common pattern where the hair recedes back and eventually forms a horse shoe shape. This is not the case for everyone, it can sometimes start at the crown too.

In females it usually appears that the parting is becoming wider and people often report that their scalp is more visible. Again this is not always the case and the hair loss can be more diffuse over the top of the scalp but doesn't usually affect the lower part of the scalp from the top of the ears downwards. It is also common for women who suffer with this type of hair loss to retain their front hairline. People often report that their hair is feeling finer and their ponytail not feeling as full.

Can it be treated?

The approved treatment for this condition is Minoxidil, which is known as Regaine. Regaine for women is also available. Minoxidil widens the blood vessels and so allows more blood, oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles and so promoting hair growth. This is a topical solution that is applied to the scalp twice a day

Other treatments are used such as low level laser light, the duration in which you use this will depend on each individual device. The one we use in the clinic, we advise to have two sessions a week, lasting 20 minutes each session.

The other option we have available is our Trichotest, which is a genetics test for your hair. This is done using a mouth swab, which is sent off to the lab and once we receive the results a personalised treatment will be suggested for you. These treatments are topical solutions and usually applied to the scalp once a day.

There have been great results with all of these treatments and each one will suit different people.

It is important to note that it is not always possible to regrow the hair back fully with any of these treatments. It will depend on how early this condition is diagnosed and how well each individual responds to the treatment. Usually treatment for this type of hair loss will need to be continuous and if stopped the hair can revert back to how it was before.

Other options

If you have tried the treatments above or they are just not for you, are there any other options?

There are other options available, which i have listed below:

- Hair camouflage sprays, these are fiber sprays that are sprayed onto the existing hair. The fibers cling to the hair giving a fuller look.

- Hair Toppers, these can be clipped, beaded or taped on and provide coverage for the parting area.

- Hair Systems, these are larger than hair toppers and are for larger areas of hair loss. These too can be beaded or taped on.

- Wigs, these give you the freedom to change your style when you want to and can be removed on a daily basis.

Make sure you see a professional for a diagnosis and let them advise you on the best course of action or treatment plan for you.

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