Hair restoration is often associated with men. But high numbers of women are also affected by genetic thinning and loss. And due to differences in physiology, reliable treatment options have been quite limited, but not entirely out of reach.
Differences Between Male and Female Hair Loss
FUE hair restoration expert, Sanusi Umar MD, was interviewed by American Health Journal about truth versus fiction in genetic hair loss. He explained that there is a wider range of factors contributing to the condition in women compared to men.
Both sexes can inherit genes which create DHT sensitive protein receptors on their follicles. These hair structures shrink as a result.
Dr. Umar who treats many women at his clinic suffering from different forms of hair loss also explained that various types of hormonal factors (e.g. from pregnancy and menopause) are also likely to contribute to hair loss to a much greater extent than in men. And this may be why women tend to experience global thinning instead of progressive baldness.
Here are a few currently available treatments for genetic female hair loss.
Rogaine for Restoring Hair in Women
Over the counter Rogaine (Minoxidil) relaxes blood vessels near the scalp which increases the availability of oxygen and other nutrients. This can help follicles that have not yet lost their ability to produce new hair.
Rogaine 2% is usually recommended for women. But the 5% product can be used under the guidance of a dermatologist.
Spironolactone For Female Hair Loss
Spironolactone is a diuretic. But it can also occupy protein receptor sites that DHT would normally bind to. Therefore, it is sometimes prescribed off label for women to treat hair loss that is primarily caused by DHT which has resulted from high testosterone levels.
Hair Transplantation for Women
Hair transplant procedures have long been associated with men. Dr. Umar believes that due to increased awareness and education, more women are learning that this can be an option for them to consider as well.
Candidacy would require having sufficient quantities of quality donor hair as opposed to global thinning. Women who suffer from hair loss due to traction alopecia (due to extensions and tight hair styles) can usually benefit from these procedures. Their follicles have not miniaturized from hormones or DHT.
Can A Laser Helmet Restore Hair In Women
The Theradome laser helmet product has been developed specifically for women. The device is said to work through an emission of cool laser energy. According to Dr. Umar, it is not clear how or why this mechanism of action would be particularly relevant to women.
Dr. Umar also wants patients to be aware that the general the effectiveness of lasers on hair growth continues to be dubious and unsupported by clinical research studies. These home devices have received FDA clearance in terms of safety, not effectiveness.
Future Hair Restoration Hope For Women
Research innovation may lead to new forms of treatment which may benefit female hair loss sufferers.
Dr. Angela Christiano of Columbia University hopes that her work in hair cloning will benefit female patients who do not have enough viable head donor hair grafts to qualify for a transplant procedure.
Researchers have also observed that formation of high levels of the PGD2 prostaglandin is also likely to cause thinning and baldness in both men and women. Therefore a drug treatment which blocks this pathway may offer hope for female pattern baldness.
About Dr Umar
Dr. Sanusi Umar is a pioneer in hair transplant surgery and is widely published and recognized in his field. Dr. Umar is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the founder of DermHair Clinic in Los Angeles, CA.