When it comes to hair loss, women are perceived as being less susceptible than men. However, hair loss is a lot more noticeable in women when it does occur, and has more of a stigma attached to it. Hereditary hair loss affects about 30 million women. (The figure is about 50 million for men.) This doesn’t include hair loss for other reasons, so the numbers are actually much higher than this. The good news is that the problem isn’t being ignored. New treatments are in the works for helping women with chronic hair loss regain their hair and their confidence.
Why Hair Transplants Don’t Always Work for Women
Women’s pattern of hair loss tends to be different than men’s; women uniformly lose hair across all areas, rather than leaving areas with full follicles, like men often do. Hair transplant requires a full patch of hair for harvest, so that the removal is not noticeable following the procedure. Only about 5 percent of women with hair loss meet the requirements for hair transplant, so it is usually necessary to look to other treatments.
Platelet Rich Plasma
A treatment that is already in use in the United States, platelet rich plasma (PRP) is an injection therapy that takes the patient’s blood, extracts the plasma, and infuses it with other nutrients. This plasma is then injected into the scalp at one-inch intervals. The procedure requires no downtime. After a few months, most patients start to see the beginnings of new hair growth. Though the procedure is new, the safety and results are promising and make PRP a potentially good option for women with hair loss. Follow-up treatments may be needed for good results.
Rogaine for Women
Rogaine liquid hair loss solution has long been a go-to for men experiencing hair loss, but until recently, there was no formula made specifically for women. Women were warned against using the male version of the product, as there is a hormonal component to the solution. The new product is a mousse, making it easier to apply to long hair, and contains a 5 percent solution of the active ingredient minoxidil. It also only needs to be applied once a day. Women are already seeing promising results from women’s Rogaine, so hopefully it will remain a good option. Rogaine should ideally be started at the first sign of hair loss for best results.
An eyelash growth prescription medication, some doctors and patients are experimenting with Latisse in the hopes that it will help encourage growth of hair on the head, the same way it does for the lashes. There are several drawbacks to this, however. Because the lashes are so small and localized, the bottle of the solution is extremely small, making the treatment inefficient for large areas like the head. Also, head hair follicles and lash follicles follow different resting cycles, making the prospective results potentially less impressive.
Stem Cell Treatments
Stem cells are in use for many different purposes these days, and now some researchers are turning their attention to hair stem cells in the hope that they can help people with hair loss. Angela Christiano, a hair geneticist at Columbia University, is working on a method to grow hair follicle stem cells, for the purpose of injecting them into the scalp in a minimally invasive procedure to encourage new hair growth. This method would require a much smaller donor area than a hair transplant, and could be regrown as needed for reinjection. Clinical trials have not yet started, but it’s a promising step in the field of hair regrowth.
One of the more unconventional treatments for hair loss are the caps and “combs” being produced by laser companies. These are said to help reduce shrinking of the hair follicles and improve hair growth. These devices are used a few times a week, and studies have shown that they do have some positive effects on hair growth when used properly. These results are beginning to change the minds of those skeptical of the effectiveness of these treatments.
Discussing Your Options
If you’re a woman discouraged by hair loss, don’t just accept the fact that your hair is disappearing. It is worth giving treatment a try, even if the technology is still emerging. Don’t try to navigate your options alone, however. Be sure to enlist the help of an expert, such as a qualified, board certified dermatologist. He or she can give you recommendations and help you come up with a plan that works for you.
If you would like to speak with an acclaimed dermatologist in the Miami area, come to Dr. Diane Walder’s office and discuss your needs with Dr. Walder and her colleague Dr. Stacy Chimento. Dr. Walder is a nationally respected leader in the field of cosmetic dermatology, and she is often consulted for national publications. If you would like to learn more and schedule an appointment regarding hair loss or skin care with Dr. Walder, call 305-866-2177 today.