Hair & Women: Causes and Treatments for Hair Loss

different strands of hair

Hair loss is a major problem more commonly associated with males. Contrary to popular belief, at least a third of women also experience this problem. While men tend to go completely bald, women are more prone to thinning hair.

A quick visit to the hair salon and a stylist can immediately identify the problem area. Hair loss in women can be linked to various causes. One bit of good news is that these can easily be stabilized and even reversed with the proper treatment.

Hair Growth Cycle

The hair follicles on everyone’s body are found just below the top layer of the skin. Located at the base of a hair follicle is the bulb where matrix cells become hair. Above the follicle is where the bulge can be found. This particular part is still very much a mystery, except that this is where the follicle stem cells live.

One of the most interesting features of hair follicles is that they are self-regenerating. Simply put, hair loss is actually a normal process. There are several stages that each strand of hair goes through before growing.

Anagen Stage

The anagen phase is where 90% of hair cells are. This is often defined as the growth phase when a hair strand is actively growing. Hair matrix cells are given a signal to grow hair. This process creates a new hair shaft.

Exogen Stage

The new hair shaft produced from the anagen stage pushes out the old, dead hair shaft. The exogen stage is where a strand of hair begins to fall out.

Finishing Anagen Stage

After the old hair has fallen out, the new hair constantly grows even after it has gone beyond the skin. The hair shaft fully develops during this stage. It usually lasts somewhere between two and eight years.

Catagen Stage

At this particular stage, the lower two-thirds of the hair follicle has already been withered and destroyed. Hair has stopped growing at this point and is preparing to be replaced. This is a transition phase that can last up to three weeks.

Telogen Stage

This part of the hair cycle is when the hair has already been removed from the follicle. The hair follicle stays inactive for around three months until a signal is sent for the process to be repeated.

Common Causes of Hair Loss

Women’s causes for hair loss can be linked to genetics, hairstyles, hair products, or autoimmune diseases. Obviously, these can be triggered by a wide range of circumstances.

Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic Alopecia is the most common genetic condition for hair loss in women when they inherit a certain gene from one or both of their parents. More commonly known as female-pattern hair loss, this particular problem is frequently observed in women already in their 40s or 50s. Shifts in hormones due to menopause can also prompt this.

Aging is often a major factor in hair loss because it affects the hair growth cycle as well. Hair follicles become smaller, the anagen stage becomes shorter, and the telogen stage becomes longer. This results in short, thin hairs and even empty hair shafts.

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

Fibrosing Alopecia is an inflammatory condition that affects the scalp. This could be due to eczema, psoriasis, and other conditions that can cause scarring and hair loss above the forehead. The hair loss related to this cause can sometimes become permanent.

girl holding her hair

Treatments For Hair Loss

The underlying cause largely determines the cure for hair loss. Oftentimes, being able to alleviate a medical condition related to hair loss is enough to mitigate the problem. In the case of autoimmune diseases, bringing a person’s immune system under control can address the matter of hair loss.

Others might consider taking medication like minoxidil that helps fight androgenic alopecia. A more recent treatment called platelet-rich plasma injections is also a viable option. Here, a doctor will draw blood from a patient and recombine the plasma with a high concentration of platelets. The plasma is then injected into the scalp to stimulate regeneration in hair follicles.

For more extreme, permanent hair loss situations, cosmetic options like wearing a wig can be a big help. There is also hair transplantation, which is an outpatient surgical procedure. This particular operation is only suggested for smaller problem areas, given its cost and effectiveness.

At present, countless labs are looking for breakthroughs to eliminate hair loss and thinning for good. This has always been a rampant problem in both men and women. It affects people’s confidence and wellness overall. Perhaps soon, nobody will have to worry about losing their hair anymore.

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