For women, hair loss treatment is especially important. Of course, treatment is important to men with hair loss as well, but hair loss can be even more disturbing for women. The psychological impact of hair loss should not be discounted. Women that lose their hair may feel self-conscious, anxious, depressed, embarrassed or ashamed. They may even withdraw from social situations because of these feelings about their condition.
Despite the seriousness of hair loss in women and the fact that it is not an uncommon condition, it’s something about which you don’t hear very much. We want to focus on hair loss in women and hair loss treatment for women here for that reason. If you’d like to learn more about hair loss in men, please visit our page on that subject.
People often think of hair loss or balding as a men’s issue, but women can develop hair loss, as well. In fact, the American Hair Loss Association reports that about 40 percent of all people experiencing hair loss are female.
A common cause of hair loss in women is hereditary hair loss, leading to what is often referred to as female-pattern baldness. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder, is another common cause. It can cause hair loss all over the body, not just on the head. Hormonal changes or imbalances, such as may occur during or after pregnancy and childbirth or with menopause, often cause hair loss in women. Less commonly, women may lose hair due to side effects of medication (including birth control pills, some antidepressants and some medications used to treat arthritis), or as a result of surgery or medical treatments (including chemotherapy). Hair loss may occur as a result of an underlying medical condition, like an autoimmune disorder or thyroid disease. Eating disorders or a psychological condition called trichotillamania, in which people pull out their hair, can also cause hair loss.
Even doctors may not realize the psychological impact of hair loss on women. They may tell women that thinning hair is no big deal or that they need to “just learn to live with it,” not understanding the importance of women’s hair loss treatment. If your doctor seems unsupportive or unable to tell you about your treatment options, see another doctor.
The best treatment for hair loss depends in part on the cause of the hair loss and in some cases, treatment may not be effective. For most women, though, there are effective treatment options available.
Women have fewer options for treating hair loss than men do, however. In fact, there is currently only one medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of hair loss in women. Minoxidil is a topical medication applied to the scalp and it is safe for use in both women and men. According to the American Hair Loss Association, minoxidil may be more effective for women than it is for men, so it’s a great choice of treatment for women experiencing hair loss.
There are other medications sometimes used to treat hair loss, but not all of them can be used by women. For instance, one medication commonly used to treat hair loss, finasteride, can only be prescribed for men due to the risk of serious side effects in women, including severe birth defects. In fact, women are advised not even to touch finasteride tablets because the medication can be absorbed through the skin.
There are other treatments for hair loss available to women, such as laser therapy and hair transplantation surgery. These are expensive and can be painful and have other unpleasant side effects or complications. Women often prefer to try more affordable, less invasive options first.
Some women opt to wear a wig or cover their heads with headscarves instead of treating their hair loss. If you choose to wear a wig, we recommend having one made just for you. A custom-made wig will fit better and be more comfortable. It will also look better and more natural.
If you have questions about the best treatment for your hair loss, talk to a dermatologist about your options.
Our favorite women’s hair loss treatment is Rogaine. Rogaine contains minoxidil, the medication frequently recommended by dermatologists. We like it because it’s easy to use, affordable, and most importantly, it works. It’s available in a formula specifically designed for women (a men’s formula is also available). To learn more about Rogaine, and how it can benefit you, just follow the link.