“I always had long hair. When you lose it, you realize just how important it is to your identity.”
Hair loss can be devasting no matter what your gender. Since many women experience hair thinning or hair loss, it’s time to talk about ways to treat this problem without stigmatizing it. Most women alter their hairstyles to disguise the fact that their hair is thinning. Perhaps you’ve changed where you part your hair or stopped pulling it back altogether. While those techniques may make the loss less obvious, it won’t change what’s happening to your body, so let’s review what can be done.
Minoxidil for Female Pattern Baldness
Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, has been available for over 20 years. If your doctor determines that you have female pattern baldness, this FDA-approved topical foam or liquid treatment can help encourage hair growth and is applied to the scalp on a daily basis. According to a study cited in Harvard Health Publishing, 60 percent of women in clinical trials experienced healthy growth while using 2 percent over-the-counter minoxidil. Results don’t happen overnight, though, and continuous usage must be maintained in order to continue seeing benefits.
Ferritin to Restore Iron Levels in the Blood
While the word “ferritin” may be new to you, the words “iron deficiency” probably are not. Some forms of hair loss have been linked to a lack of ferritin, which is a form of protein that your body stores in the blood for use at a later time. When this protein is inadequate, hair loss can occur because the body needs iron more than the hair follicles do, so it takes what it needs, and your hair can suffer in the process. If your hair loss is a result of an iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend dietary changes or supplements to ensure your body as a whole gets what it needs. Eating more iron-rich foods, such as meat, nuts, legumes, and whole grains can make a difference.
Finasteride for Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)
If your doctor feels that you have AGA, you likely have too many male hormones circulating in your system. Finasteride can inhibit these androgens, but it is only FDA-approved for men and should not be taken if you’re pregnant are trying to become pregnant because it can harm the fetus if it’s a boy.
Stress Reduction Stops Telogen Effluvium
If you think stress can’t cause your hair to fall out, think again. Telogen effluvium is a complicated way of saying that hair suddenly enters the dormant cycle thanks to a number of causes, stress being one of them. Scientists believe it happens “3–4 months” after a “triggering event.” Thankfully, this condition usually resolves on its own, but taking precautions to keep your stress levels in check makes good medical sense.
Hair Transplantation to Banish Baldness
If your hair loss only affects the top portion of your scalp, hair restoration surgery, aka transplantation, may be an option to consider. The process isn’t cheap or painless, but it’s often quite successful. A cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist will remove a section of skin from a discreet portion of your scalp and then transplant the individual hairs into the bald sections. Be sure to do your research before undergoing this procedure and choose a skilled provider with high quality results.
The Future of Hair Restoration
Advances in medicine occur every day, and the use of platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is showing great promise in a variety of areas. PRP contains a person’s own growth factors and is derived from their own blood. While the procedure has to be repeated every three to six months, it may be something to consider.
To your hair health,