People have always struggled against hair loss. There are even references to hair restoration treatments in writings that date back to ancient Egypt and Greece. But for much of that time hair loss was regarded as fundamentally a man’s problem; little attention was ever given to the women who also suffered from the condition. Today we understand that as many as 80% of all women will experience a noticeable degree of hair loss by the time they reach 60, but as many as a third of those suffering have done nothing to address the problem. Fortunately, as the stigma surrounding women’s hair loss begins to fade, more and more women are seeking treatment. As more research into this area is done, we have come to understand that even though men’s and women’s hair loss may share some similarities, the two are actually quite different and taking a close look at those differences is the first step towards finding ways to effectively treat it. Specifically, there are three distinctive characteristics that make women’s hair loss unique.
Hair Loss Progresses Differently in Women
In most cases, men tend to lose hair in a highly predictable pattern, beginning at the front and then progressing to the temples and crown. The fact that hair follicles at the back of the scalp tend to continue producing hair far longer than those in the front, even if they are moved from the back to the front, is what makes follicular unit transplantation procedures possible. However, in women hair loss does not progress this way, instead usually starting with widening of the midline part and affecting the scalp in a more diffuse and evenly distributed pattern. Oftentimes, hair loss in women can go unnoticed until as much as 15% of the total volume has been lost, meaning that the process is already well underway and more difficult to treat.
Women’s Hair Loss Has Different Potential Causes
While more than 95% of hair loss cases in men are the result of androgenetic alopecia, or inherited male pattern baldness, diagnosing hair loss in women can be significantly more complicated. While women can also suffer from androgenetic alopecia, women’s hair loss can also be triggered by many different medical conditions, as well as several lifestyle factors, ranging from thyroid problems to autoimmune disorders to a woman’s choice of birth control. Board-certified dermatologists Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis combine their years of experience treating all forms of hair loss with an array of comprehensive diagnostic tests to determine the specific cause of each patient’s hair loss. They can then offer specialized treatment packages custom-designed to individually address those causes and achieve optimal results.
Women’s Hair Loss Requires Different Treatments
Hair restoration surgery is often problematic for female patients, as the different progression pattern of women’s hair loss can potentially leave a smaller concentration of healthy hair follicles available for transplantation. Moreover, even though certain non-surgical hair loss treatments like finasteride (Propecia®) work extremely well for male pattern loss, there are conflicting studies regarding how well they work for women. Not only are underlying hair loss processes in males and females different, but finasteride should generally be avoided by women who are or who may become pregnant because of the risk of birth defects in a male fetus. Fortunately, studies have shown that minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine®) actually seems to be even more effective for women than men in treating certain forms of hair loss. Every day we are making great strides towards finding new treatments that specifically target women’s hair loss and now women have a variety of options to choose from that extend above and beyond a traditional Rogaine® prescription.
Because women’s hair loss is unique, and requires specific methods of diagnosis and approaches to treatment, we are pleased to announce the formation of The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, the first center in Georgia exclusively devoted to addressing the unique issues associated with women’s hair restoration. At this new, state of the art facility we can devote the time and attention necessary to diagnose fully the specific causes of each patient’s hair loss and formulate a customized treatment plan that satisfies their individual hair restoration needs. If you have any questions about your individual hair loss and what form of treatment or procedure might be best for you, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.