Hair loss (also called Alopecia) is both an aesthetic and a psychological concern, particularly for women. With more than 55% of women going through life with significant hair loss, it is still a heavy burden today and, for many people, it can lead to depression, low self-esteem and social stigmatisation.
While there are quite a number of treatment options available today, not all options have the same effect and not all are available for both men and women. Below you will find more information about the differences in treatment, the diagnosis itself and the types of Alopecia.
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There are differences in treatment for women and men
It is important for you to know that women’s hair becomes thinner and thinner with age, and that there are distinct differences between female and male hair loss.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is a distinctive form of hair loss that occurs in women with androgenetic alopecia. The condition affects many women and manifests itself through hair thinning and or shedding across the scalp, which reduces hair volume.
FPHL presents quite differently from the more easily recognizable male pattern baldness, which usually begins with a receding frontal hairline that progresses to a bald patch on top of the head. It is very uncommon for women to suffer hair loss in this way, although excessive androgen production can lead to hair loss that mimics this pattern.
This difference in hair loss means few female alopecia patients are good candidates for hair transplantation. A 2016 survey showed that among patients treated for hair loss with hair transplantation, only 14% were female1. This means many female patients were still seeking a medical solution after being diagnosed, as no treatment suited their needs. For this reason, treating women is a more challenging.
With limited satisfying hair restoration options available to women, Hairstetics wanted to assist those in real despair. This led to the development of a new generation of hair implants able to help women with alopecia achieve natural and pleasing aesthetic results.
1 International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery: 2017 Practice Census Results.
Being diagnosed with hair loss (alopecia)
Making a diagnosis of alopecia is not always that simple. There are a number of factors that can cause or worsen the condition including your lifestyle, a medical condition or a genetic predisposition. That is why before making a diagnosis, your physician will conduct a physical examination and ask about your medical and/or family history. Additional tests might then be performed to establish the cause of your hair loss. These could include one or more blood tests, biopsy, pull test, standardised global photography, trichogram, dermatoscopy or trichoscopy.
Based on the examination and test, the physician will be able to make the diagnosis and provide you with the best treatment options for your specific condition.
What are the symptoms?
Hair loss thinning
Hair thinning is the most common form of hair loss and is experience by both sexes. This type of hair loss in men is distinguished by gradual thinning that forms the letter ‘M’ whereas in women the hair loss tends to occur where they part their hair.
Circular or patchy bald spots
These smooth, small round bald spots mainly occur in the scalp and less regularly in beards and eyebrows. These spots maybe also become itchy and sore prior to the hair falling out.
Sudden loosening of hair
People who have suffered an emotional or traumatic shot can also experience sudden hair loss. This can range from large clumps falling out while brushing or washing and usually results in overall thinning rather than being confined to one area.
Why do we lose our hair?
People are usually surprised to learn that most of us lose as many as a hundred hairs a day, but because this occurs right across the scalp it is rarely noticeable and is replaced by new growth. However, if that growth cycle stops or hair follicles are destroyed, hair loss becomes more pronounced.
While the causes of alopecia are not completely understood, we do know that it can be triggered by the following factors:
- Hereditary predisposition
- Hormonal conditions such as menopause
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medical conditions, such as ringworms, diabetes and lupus
- Lifestyle (smoking, UV radiation)
- Skin injury
- Therapeutic drugs
1. Nourishment of hair follicle via blood supply enables hair growth.
2. Club hair transitions upwards toward skin pore and dermal papilla begins to separate from follicile.
3. Dermal papilla fully separates from folicile.
4. Dermal papilla moves upwards to meet hair follicle once again and hair matrix begins to form new hair
What are the types of alopecia?
Alopecia areata hair loss is commonly seen as an autoimmune disease. The immune system is the body’s natural defence system that fights foreign microbes and viruses that invade and threaten the body. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system fails to recognise the body’s own cells and tissues and attacks them. In the case of alopecia areata, the immune system damages the hair follicles. This results in round patches of hair loss, mostly on the scalp, but it can occur elsewhere on the body. There are two forms of alopecia areata: totalis, in which all scalp hair is lost and universalis, which causes the loss of all hair on the body, as well as the scalp.
Traction alopecia results from either prolonged or repetitive pulling force to the hair and is caused by such things as tight plaits, usually affecting frontal and temporal scalp areas.
Scarring alopecia is caused by permanent damage to the hair follicles. Some skin conditions like lichen planus, discoid lupus, scleroderma, folliculitis decalvans and frontal fibrosing alopecia are causative factors that lead to scarring alopecia.
These disorders commonly cause skin changes such as scars, rashes and rough patches over skin that lead to the loss of hair follicles and hair in particular areas.
Anagen effluvium is most commonly caused by treatments like cancer chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy. All of these affect rapidly growing cells in the body, not just fast-growing cancer cells. Hair follicle cells fall into this category and are affected by anti-cancer drugs and radiation therapy. These treatments can cause severe hair loss on the scalp, body and eyebrows. At the end of treatment hair usually grows back.
Telogen effluvium is a temporary form of hair loss due to various transient changes. One of the common causes is hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. Emotional stress, short-term illness, surgery, severe infections, chronic illness like liver disease, cancer etc., can also causes of this type of hair loss.
What treatment options are available?
Nowadays there are a number of non-surgical solutions used to manage alopecia. Among others, they include shampoos, vitamins, wig and prescription (pharmaceutical) treatments. There are also surgical options, such as hair transplantation.
Non-surgical solutions often fail to meet expectations, while not all female patients are eligible for surgical transplantation. Hairstetics provides an alternative to both and gives you a fast and natural-looking outcome.
Find out more about treatment options.
Hairstetics hair implants help you to regain your old sense of style
Hairstetics is the first treatment providing an immediate and visible outcome to patients suffering from androgenetic alopecia. Featuring the latest technology for enhancing the implantation procedure, Hairstetics takes hair loss patients on a journey to new aesthetics possibilities.