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Breaking Down Barriers: Female Hair Loss
by Matthew Dello Russo
Male pattern baldness has been in the spotlight for years, as over 50% of men over 50 experience some degree of balding each year. Female pattern baldness, while significantly different, is just as severe; women lose roughly 100 hairs a day, and 40% will experience significant hair loss as they grow older.
Female pattern balding, a hereditary condition that can come from either parent, is usually identified as a widening of the center or side part, or a general thinning that leads to more scalp visibility along the crown. For men, the problem is a bit more obvious – the hairline recedes from the front of the head as hair follicles shrink, producing shorter and finer strands of hair. For both men and women, the follicle eventually stops producing new hair altogether.
While there hasn’t been any change in the amount of women that suffer from hair loss, there has been a noticeable shift in the attitude toward female balding. This may have to do with the role of women in the workplace – a dynamic that has changed drastically over the past few decades. With increased responsibility and higher expectations, most women don’t want to be weighed down by the psychological impact of hair loss, studies show. "It's totally acceptable for a man to be bald," says Dr. Brad Limmer, a San Antonio based dermatologist specializing in hair transplantation.
"It's not a socially acceptable thing for a woman. So much emphasis and value is placed on a woman's head of hair; it's hard to even compare the impact on men and women."
For quite some time, the treatment of female hair loss was uncommon. As treatment options advance, that trend seems to be ending.
"It was always very hush-hush, so women did not talk about it with anyone other than their hairdresser," Limmer says. "But today, more and more women are seeking treatment. Five years ago, one in 25 to 30 of my patients was a woman, now it's one in every 12 patients."
One of the most progressive – yet unproven - forms of treatment available for women is PRP therapy, or platelet-rich plasma injections. Preliminary studies haven’t shown much of an improvement for patients, but that hasn’t stopped marketers from pushing the Kim Kardashian-inspired “vampire hair treatments.”
Roughly 30 million women in the United States deal with hereditary hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, not all female hair loss can be attributed to aging or genes; that figure does not account for the millions more struggling with hair loss due to pregnancy, menopause, or stress.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, managing stress levels, and getting a good night’s rest has been shown to slow some cases of hair loss.
If you or someone you know would like more information about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!