The Truth About Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss can be an emotionally troubling experience for some women. We spoke to two experts to learn how to treat and prevent this condition.

What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

According to Dr. Robert Jones of the Hair Transplant Centre in Oakville, ON, hair loss in women is largely attributed to genetics-he estimates that nearly 80 to 90 per cent of hair loss in both men and is due to a family history of the condition. But some women can experience hair loss as the result of a thyroid dysfunction, pregnancy hormones or because of side effects of medications such as antidepressants and birth control pills. Nick Dimakos, founder of SureThik International in Toronto agrees stress and lower-than-normal levels of estrogen are other contributing factors to hair loss in females, says. Low levels of iron and over-use of chemical hair products such as artificial dyes can also lead to thinning hair, which can be especially difficult for women, for whom hair loss is much less socially acceptable than it is for men. “Women lose about 25 per cent of their hair before even noticing there’s a problem,” Dimakos says. “It can be devastating for them.”

How to Treat Premature Hair Loss

• Hair transplants

Very few women are good candidates for hair transplants because unlike men. women suffering from hair loss usually have thinning hair all over their heads rather than only in one area, says Dr. Jones. If there is not enough hair somewhere else on the scalp that can be taken to fill in the gaps, a transplant cannot be performed.

• Minoxidil

Found in Rogaine, an over-the-counter product, this is an antihypertensive medication that lowers blood pressure. But it can also slow down or stop hair loss, says Dimakos. This option may work for some women, but it is important to consult your physician before taking any type of medication. Dr. Jones often recommends this treatment and says it works well for most of his patients.

• Cover-ups

Products like SureThik Hair Building Fibres can help cover up bald spots. “It’s real hair, ground up, so it really sticks to the scalp and the hair,” Dimakos explains. It acts as makeup for your hair and can be applied and washed out daily. Dr. Jones recommends Instant Thickening Hair Fibres , as well as trying non-permanent hairpieces attached with clips.

How You Can Prevent Hair Loss

There is no sure-fire way to prevent hair loss, but there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of hair you lose. Dimakos recommends visiting your doctor to determine whether or not you have a thyroid imbalance. Early detection and treatment can prevent unnecessary hair loss. He also recommends using mild hair products, avoiding hair dyes or extensions, avoid smoking and taking vitamin B12 or iron supplements if you suspect hair loss may be in your future. Wearing hair in a ponytail or braid regularly can also lead to weakened hair that is likely to fall out, so it may be best to avoid wearing these styles too often, says Dr. Jones. He adds that permanent hair extensions should be avoided as they can also weaken the hair and cause a receding hairline.

Last modified: