For some, hair can be such a big part of one’s identity. That’s why, one of the questions I get asked most frequently in my practice is how to prevent hair loss. And for those who are starting to see the first signs of hair-thinning want to know, how can I at keep the hair I have and grow thicker hair?
Causes of hair loss in women
There is good news – some causes of hair loss are reversible! More common causes of hair loss in women include hypothyroidism, anemia, stress, chemotherapy, hormonal changes during or after pregnancy, some autoimmune diseases, and skin conditions like psoriasis. Sometimes restoring hair growth could be as easy as identifying a reversible cause. If you have new hair loss it you may want to see your doctor to check out some of these possible causes. The majority of hair loss is ‘androgenic alopecia’ which is the same cause in male, however, in women this tends to present differently.
Women tend to notice widespread thinning and thinning at part-lines in the hair. Rarely do women have the receding hair line or complete baldness that is seen more commonly in men. For many of my patient’s increased shedding during brushing or in the shower is the first sign of hair loss.
What are some treatment options
Early intervention is better. It is easier to keep the hair you have than it is to grow new hair, so don’t delay! If you look online you’ll find a host of options for hair restoration. This ranges from topical shampoos, light-therapy, steroids, platelet rich plasma, stress reduction techniques, and supplements. While there is no magic fix, most of my patients can enjoy a dramatic improvement in their hair with some combination of therapy.
First and foremost, reduce stress! This can sound like the most challenging treatment of all, but start small. Start with identifying stressors, sometimes we can change stressors more than we think. Then identify your stress outlets. For most of my patients that means getting back into an enjoyable workout routine. Whether you prefer to be outdoors or indoors, high or low impact, getting your heart rate up releases stress.
Collagen and Biotin are critical components in collagen generation and have been shown to help support hair growth. Minoxidil is one of the most widely tested and used hair restoration treatments. The formulation for women is similar to that for males. Typically lower doses are recommended for women, so look for women-specific labeling. This is a great place to start if you see early signs of hair loss. Light therapies are a bit more controversial but depending on your motivation level, you may find an at-home light therapy cap a worthwhile investment.
In patients with dramatic increases in shedding I frequently recommend a series of platelet rich plasma treatments. This can demonstrate stabilization of hair with reduced shedding even after the first treatment. In some patients PRP can even encourage new hair growth. This treatment, like most in hair restoration, takes months before seeing final results.
Hair transplant is reserved for more severe cases of hair thinning and requires that you have enough ‘donor’ hair at the back of the scalp to fill the areas of thinning. This can be done in the office over several ours. This, just like with other hair restoration treatments, can take a year before appreciating final results.
It is always important to seek medical advice from a trusted doctor. Not all hair loss is the same and your treatment needs will reflect that.
Roxana Moayer, MD is a facial plastic and microvascular reconstructive surgeon. Her clinical specialties include treatment of facial nerve disorders and synkinesis, facelift and neck lift, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, brow lift, cosmetic facial skin treatments including microneedling and PRP, facial reconstruction (following trauma and cancer), hair restoration, facial feminization, and otoplasty. She is dedicated to helping patients look like the best version of themselves, driven by a strong belief that such work is inextricably linked to their self-confidence and overall health. Her attention to detail and aesthetic eye, paired with advanced training in cutting-edge techniques, allows her to deliver reliable, safe and natural-looking results.
After completing her medical doctorate at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Dr. Moayer continued to the University of California, Los Angeles to complete her internship and residency. From there, she moved to Philadelphia for an additional year of training at one of the highest volume, AAFPRS-accredited fellowship training programs in the country, Jefferson Facial Plastics. She is currently an assistant professor on faculty at the Keck School of Medicine in the Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.
Dr. Moayer is also involved in the Face-To-Face program, an organization affiliated with The Break the Silence Foundation against domestic violence that provides plastic surgery treatment for survivors of domestic abuse.