Women’s hair restoration procedures can be as effective as those for males. When the grafts are inserted into the most aesthetically problematic places rather than dispersed over the scalp, women with female pattern hair loss typically can achieve the best, most predictable results.
In this article, we will talk about hair loss in women and how hair transplantation in women functions.
Why Do Women Lose Hair?
Because of the trimming restrictions, female hair transplantation is difficult to perfect. In surgery, the strategy of applying grafts to a focused location is typically used. The causes listed below may be the cause of female baldness.
Female Pattern Baldness (FPB)
Female Pattern Baldness (FPB) is the most common kind of hair loss among women, and it is primarily a hereditary condition. While it typically occurs in the late 50s or 60s,
It can happen at any time, even during the teenage years. FPB, also known as androgenetic alopecia, affects men and women differently. In the case of female pattern baldness, the hair follicle is gradually replaced by hair that is equal in size.
However, the new hair is finer and thinner, resulting in a miniaturized version. Women with FPB often experience hair loss at the top of the head or along the part, as the family’s genes can cause thinning of hair in these areas.
Hair loss can also be triggered by various chronic illnesses and medical conditions. In such cases, the hair follicles become uniformly smaller in size, leading to sudden hair loss.
Some medical conditions associated with hair loss in women include pregnancy, thyroid disorders, anemia, autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and certain skin conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
Additionally, there is a link between menopause and hair loss. Other factors that can contribute to hair loss include extreme stress, physical trauma such as surgery or intense illness, dramatic weight loss over a short period, excessive intake of vitamin A, chemotherapy, diabetes, chronic fever, the use of blood thinners, birth control pills, and steroids.
Hormonal changes caused by certain medications or hormone replacement therapy can also affect hair growth.
Apart from genetic and medical factors, sedentary lifestyle choices and practices can contribute to hair loss in women. Excessive exposure to high heat from blow dryers or flat irons can damage the hair and lead to hair loss.
Harsh chemicals found in products like bleach, perms, or other hair treatments can also weaken the hair follicles and cause hair loss. Additionally, tightly pulled hairstyles using clips, bands, or pins can put excessive strain on the hair, leading to traction alopecia.
Over shampooing or excessive brushing and combing, particularly when the hair is wet, can result in hair breakage and loss. It is crucial to adopt gentle hair care practices and avoid subjecting the hair to unnecessary stress to maintain healthy hair growth.
Types Of Female Pattern Hair Loss
Women can experience different types of baldness, including the Ludwig pattern, Norwood Hamilton pattern, and Christmas tree pattern.
The Ludwig pattern is the most common type, often observed in postmenopausal women. It involves diffuse central thinning of hair while retaining the frontal hairline.
The main objective in treating this pattern is to increase hair density in the central area without causing harm to existing hair. Instead of mini blades, 21G needles can be used for making the slit during implantation, and high magnification loupes of 4X to 5X are employed.
The Norwood Hamilton pattern is less frequently seen in females and is characterized by the loss of frontotemporal hair, causing the recession.
Temples may experience more thinning compared to the central area, and the front temporal region is reconstructed similarly to that in males. Lastly, the Christmas tree pattern refers to a broad frontal accentuation of hair loss that tapers posteriorly.
When Should Women Opt For Hair Transplantation Surgery?
Hair transplant surgery in women should be considered in specific circumstances. Firstly, if a woman’s response to medications, such as minoxidil 5% and finasteride, is slow, despite following the prescribed dosage and proper counseling, she may explore surgical options.
It is important to note that while finasteride is not FDA-approved for female pattern hair loss, it can still be prescribed after careful consideration. Additionally, mild herbal dihydrotestosterone (DHT) inhibitors like saw palmetto and green tea extract can be incorporated into the treatment plan.
Topical peptides have also shown promising results. Before opting for hair transplantation, other underlying causes of female pattern hair loss, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or adrenal hyperplasia, should be ruled out.
In severe cases where medication is not expected to yield satisfactory results, early hair transplant surgery can be considered. However, it is crucial to understand that hair transplantation in women aims to camouflage existing baldness rather than achieve ideal density and coverage.
The precise placement of grafts at the accurate positions on the scalp is of paramount importance for the surgeon to ensure optimal results.
How Hair Transplant Works For Women?
Hair transplantation surgery for women with diffuse hair loss and overall thinning works differently compared to men. In most cases, women experience hair loss in all areas of the head, including the sides and back, which are typically considered donor sites in hair transplant surgery.
However, these donor areas in women are usually unstable and affected by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can kill hair follicles.
If hair and accompanying follicles are removed from these donor areas in women and transplanted to other zones, they will eventually fall out.
Due to this limitation, only a little percentage of women are suitable candidates for hair transplant surgery, typically ranging from 2% to 5% of women with hair loss. It is important to note that women with hair loss tend to retain their frontal hairline but experience loss of volume rather than a receding hairline.
Physicians may take economic advantage by selecting female patients for hair transplantation, as the success rate and overall coverage achieved may be limited compared to men. However, there are specific cases where women may benefit from hair transplant surgery:
- Nonhormonal causes such as mechanical or traction alopecia, women who have undergone previous cosmetic surgery are concerned about hair loss around the incision sites.
- Women who exhibit a distinct pattern of baldness similar to male pattern baldness, including hairline recession, vertex thinning, and a donor area unaffected by androgenetic alopecia.
- Hair loss due to trauma, such as burn victims, scarring from accidents, or chemical burns.
- Alopecia marginalis is a condition that closely resembles traction alopecia.