At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we treat many different forms of hair loss, but by far the one we see most often is androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as genetic pattern baldness. What many people do not realize, however, is that this extremely common condition can affect women as well as men. In fact, according to the American Hair Loss Council, about one out of every four women can expect to experience some degree of hair loss over the course of their lives, and the majority of that is the direct result of common genetic pattern baldness. Still, even though genetic hair loss in both men and women is similar, there are also many important differences that must be fully understood in order to provide the most effective treatment options.
To the average person, male and female pattern hair loss may seem to be separate conditions because they look very different. In female patients, diffuse thinning generally starts behind the bangs and continues through the top of the scalp, often with a noticeable widening of the midline part. While the hair is less dense on the top, women usually have very good density in the back and fairly good density on the sides. Men, on the other hand, will usually experience more localized thinning along the temples, which then progresses to full crown involvement. By carefully examining the progression of male and female hair loss, we can better understand what forms of treatment will achieve the best results.
The mechanisms of androgenetic alopecia in men and women are still not fully understood. Both are obviously inherited to some degree, and both seem to have a hormonal component. However, in virtually every case of pattern hair loss in men, a specific hormone called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) causes thinning. While some women experiencing genetic pattern baldness have a similar sensitivity to DHT, many do not, and women’s hair loss can also be the result of several other, unrelated causes. This is why Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis at The Griffin Center insist that all cases undergo a comprehensive hair loss diagnosis before they formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” hair loss treatment in general, but this is particularly true when comparing treatments for male and female hair loss since there are so many different factors to consider. For example, even though finasteride, a hair restoration medication sold under the names Propecia® and Proscar®, has been shown to stop or even reverse the progression of hair loss in up to 86% of men, it is not FDA-approved for use on women who are pregnant or who are trying to conceive because it works by altering hormone levels. Fortunately, there are a variety of alternatives available, ranging from non-surgical hair loss treatments like platelet rich plasma and red light laser therapy to advanced follicular unit grafting (FUG) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplantation procedures.
Hair loss can be just as big a problem for women as it is for men, which is just one of the many reasons why Dr. Griffin and Dr. Curtis created 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. If you have concerns that you or someone you love may be suffering from hair loss, and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to help understand your options, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research or The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.