Hair loss is usually less dramatic in women as the frontal hairlines usually stay intact, but the psychological impact is more severe. For women, hair is their crowning glory, and there is a lot less social awareness or acceptance of female hair loss or Female Pattern Thinning (FPT) as compared to Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). At Clive Clinics in the last 5-10 years we have noticed an increase in the number of women seeking hair loss treatments with women now making up over 40 per cent of clients.
Women’s lifestyles have become increasingly stressful as they juggle work and home commitments. Stress stimulates the release of the hormone testosterone from the adrenal glands which caused hair follicles to collapse in people genetically predisposed to baldness.
We should all know the following about the causes of female hair loss:
- Although female thinning is genetically ‘recessive’ and needs to be inherited from both parents, it is possible for a thinning daughter to have both parents with a full head of hair while her own hair thins, exposing more and more scalp. Often this starts in the hair parting becoming more noticeably thinner, then slowly the hair thins all over the scalp. Genetic thinning will never lead to total baldness in women, but if not treated early, the thinning can make a person very self-conscious. Overall, genetic thinning is increasing and is now occurring at an earlier age in women. Thirty percent of women will experience thinning hair before they reach 30. But over 50% will notice genetic thinning after menopause. Usually female sex hormonal levels decrease at menopause or after a hysterectomy due to the lowered estrogen levels allowing androgen to become more dominant.
- In some women thinning hair starts or worsens after taking a particular oral contraceptive. Birth control pills like Dianne 35® have a high estrogen level, which counter excessive testosterone. Long and short term side effects should be noted, particularly weight gain. These measures will not bring hair back, but they may stop or slow the process.
- Stress (mental, dietary or physical) in women can promote enzyme activity within the cell and stimulate testosterone production, mainly from the adrenal (stress) glands. You should monitor stress levels or ask a Tricholoigst for help in assisting your body to deal with stress. In general, anything unusual experienced by the body causes stress – this can be either an unpleasant or pleasant experience. Pituitary, adrenal or ovarian gland disorders can trigger androgen levels to increase. In these cases, usually other signs and symptoms will become evident particularly in females, such as facial and body hair increasing, skin becomes oily, irregular periods, change of hair texture. Appropriate tests should identify the cause, which can then be corrected.
- Imbalances of nutrients available to the hair roots – either through poor diet, malabsorption or maldistribution. Often high levels of toxins accumulate at the hair roots, worsening the thinning. We recommend a personal consultation and a full hair mineral analysis test in order to provide a customised programme of treatment designed for you personally.
- Scalp disorders can also cause hair loss either directly or indirectly
- Tension of the skin crownal area causing a decreased blood supply can produce weak hairs. Although massage or a topical vasco-dilatory treatment containing the drug minoxidil can benefit circulation by carrying more oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots, beware, the extra blood will also carry more hormones which could trigger more baldness.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above we would recommend you book a consultation with a Trichologist in order to correctly diagnose the cause of your hair loss.
There are a number of products on the market for hair loss including external or topical testosterone blockers which can reduce the rate of loss considerably. However Testosterone blockers containing Finesteride cannot be taken by females of child bearing age. Female hormones and enzyme blockers are effective only while you are taking them. Recent tests in the UK on post-menopausal women found Propecia® to have a negative result compared to the placebo group. Clive Clinics does not use these products and instead utilise natural testosterone blockers like our SF Alpha5 range of products; and Saw Palmetto in our ProAnagen capsules, although less powerful, they can be taken or applied by females and have no detrimental side effects for either sex. These ProAnagen capsules are available at our online store.
Natural topical blockers used by Clive Clinics include vitamin B6, zinc and azelaic acid. These were found to block up to 90% of the baldness triggering messenger di-hydro-testosterone. Published in the British Journal of Dermatology (1988), 119, 627 – 632. These Kankho products are also available at our online store.