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Thinning hair in women: Why it happens and what helps – Harvard Health Blog


Many individuals consider hair loss as a male downside, however it additionally impacts at the least a 3rd of girls. However in contrast to males, girls sometimes expertise thinning hair with out going bald, and there might be a variety of totally different underlying causes for the issue.

“Some are related to irritation within the physique. Some are female-pattern hair loss,” says Dr. Deborah Scott, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical College and co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic at Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital. However the excellent news is that in lots of instances this hair loss might be stabilized with therapy, and it might be reversible. When it’s not, there are a selection of latest beauty approaches that may assist.

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Understanding hair loss

Step one in coping with thinning hair is figuring out what’s taking place inside your physique that’s inflicting these additional strands to cling to your shoulders and your brush. Some hair loss is regular. Everybody loses hair as a part of the hair’s pure progress cycle, which happens in three phases:

  • The anagen stage refers to when a hair strand is actively rising. This stage can final wherever from two to eight years.
  • The catagen stage is a brief transition part that lasts as much as three weeks. At this level the hair has stopped rising and is getting ready to shed.
  • The telogen stage is the a part of the hair cycle when the hair is expelled from the follicle (the construction that produces and holds the hair). After the hair sheds, the follicle then stays dormant, sometimes for round three months, earlier than a brand new hair begins to sprout.

Regular hair loss is extremely particular person. Most individuals have a way of how a lot hair is regular for them to lose. When you all of the sudden discover extra hair than typical falling out, you’re shedding clumps of hair, or your hair appears to be visibly thinning, it might be an indication that one thing is amiss, says Dr. Scott.

Underlying causes for hair loss

Quite a few issues can set off feminine hair loss. Some are exterior, reminiscent of taking sure drugs, continuously carrying hairstyles that pull the hair too tight, or perhaps a tense occasion reminiscent of surgical procedure. In different instances, thinning hair is triggered by one thing occurring contained in the physique — as an illustration, a thyroid downside, a shift in hormones, a current being pregnant, or an inflammatory situation.

Hair loss might also be genetic. The most typical genetic situation is called female-pattern hair loss, or androgenic alopecia. Ladies with this situation may discover a widening of the half on the prime of the pinnacle, usually starting when a girl is in her 40s or 50s. You may expertise this should you inherit sure genes from one or each dad and mom. Hormonal shifts that happen throughout menopause might also spur it.

One other set off for hair loss in girls is an inflammatory situation affecting the scalp. That is perhaps eczema, psoriasis, or a situation known as frontal fibrosing alopecia, which generally causes scarring and hair loss — generally everlasting — on the entrance of the scalp above the brow.

Different widespread causes of hair loss embrace overuse of damaging hair merchandise, or instruments reminiscent of dryers and different units that warmth the hair. Underlying sickness, autoimmune situations reminiscent of lupus, dietary deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances might also trigger hair to shed.

Drugs to deal with hair loss

Therapy is determined by the underlying trigger, says Dr. Scott. Typically merely addressing a medical situation prompting hair loss will likely be sufficient for the hair to regrow. In different situations, a girl may take into account a drugs like minoxidil (Rogaine), which helps with sure kinds of hair loss, or one other therapy to interchange or regrow misplaced hair.

A more recent choice getting used to deal with hair loss is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. For this therapy, the physician attracts your blood, divides it into its separate parts, recombines the blood fluid (plasma) with a excessive focus of platelets (buildings within the blood that assist with clotting, amongst different capabilities), and introduces the ensuing preparation again into the scalp.

“The science on this isn’t completely labored out. We nonetheless don’t fully perceive the mechanism behind PRP, however progress elements contained in platelets can stimulate regeneration of hair follicles and different tissues as effectively,” says Dr. Scott.

As well as, low-level LED laser lights have been discovered to be useful in regrowing hair in some instances. It’s probably that much more remedies will likely be developed within the close to future.

Beauty choices for hair loss

When medical remedies fall quick, girls also can take into account beauty choices to make up for misplaced hair, reminiscent of carrying a wig. On the different finish of the spectrum is hair transplantation, a surgical process that strikes energetic follicles from the again of the scalp to areas the place the hair is thinning. As soon as transplanted, the hair grows usually.

Hair transplantation is often carried out as an outpatient surgical process. In acceptable sufferers, it may be extraordinarily profitable, however it gained’t work for everybody, says Dr. Scott. One downside is the expense: it may value hundreds of {dollars} and isn’t coated by insurance coverage. The process additionally requires restoration time. And it will not be acceptable for ladies who’ve diffuse thinning throughout the entire scalp. It’s more practical in treating smaller, extra outlined areas of balding.


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