Women with unexplained hair loss can find it difficult to enjoy a high quality of life, and while there are several ways to hide the problem, there are several hair loss treatments available that can accelerate hair growth and improve the health of the scalp. Dermatologists can help some women fight hair loss using topical medications such as Minoxidil.
The most common form of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss, and this is typically inherited from either the mother or the father. Female-pattern hair loss is not characterized by a receding hairline, but there is visible thinning of the hair over the crown, and hairs undergo a shorter hair growth cycle.
According to Dr. Mary Gail Mercurio, associate professor of dermatology and program director of dermatology residency at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, “For women, the first sign of hair loss that they often notice is a widening of their part or their ponytail is smaller.”
Minoxidil 2% is currently the only topical medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for female-pattern hair loss, and Dr. Mercurio encourages women to consult with a dermatologist to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of Minoxdil treatments. The treatment is available over-the-counter in a liquid form, and can be applied directly to the scalp. Results typically take three to four months with a twice-daily application.
Dr. Mercurio explains that hormone abnormalities may be responsible for hair loss in women, so a combination of hormone therapy and topical medication may be the best treatment option for many. Another option is follicular transplantation, where tiny hair follicles are taken from one area of the scalp and transplanted into the balding area. For women that are losing hair because of an inflammatory skin disease or other skin problems, topical, injectable and oral medications including corticosteroids are available.