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Myths about female hair loss: Treatment and recovery

It means you’re not a proper women with two X chromosomes. It’s caused by washing your hair too often. It’s caused by too much brushing or combing. Hair dyes and perms can cause permanent loss. It may result from wearing hats and wigs. Shaving your hair will make it regrow thicker. Standing on your head […]

Written by Gary Heron

Posted on: April 14, 2010

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It means you’re not a proper women with two X chromosomes.
It’s caused by washing your hair too often.
It’s caused by too much brushing or combing.
Hair dyes and perms can cause permanent loss.
It may result from wearing hats and wigs.
Shaving your hair will make it regrow thicker.
Standing on your head will help it grow back.
It’s a sign of an overactive brain.
There’s a miracle cure out there waiting for you.

Scan the internet and you’ll see all sorts of miracle cures for baldness on offer, from strange herbal lotions to mechanical devices. Perhaps the most useful first step you can take is to avoid the myths.

After this there are several options. You can find some way to accept the change and live with it (let’s face it, this is a tall order – most men struggle to come to terms with their baldness and for them at least society equates it with maturity and power).

You can try cosmetic treatments such as wigs or hair thickeners, or you can try medical therapies. The last option is hair-replacement surgery.

The drug minoxidil was first developed for treating high blood pressure, which was found to have the side effect of thickening hair growth in some people. It’s now available as a lotion to apply directly to the scalp.

No one really knows how it works, however, and it’s not effective for everyone. Studies show that only about 20 per cent of women between 18 and 45 have moderate regrowth using the drug, while another 40 per cent experience minimal regrowth.

It works best on younger people with early hair loss. A big disadvantage is that you have to carry on using minoxidil indefinitely or the new hair will fall out.

Another drug, finasteride, which was developed for treating prostate cancer, has also been found to be effective but is only available for men.

Surgical techniques for restoring hair have improved greatly in the past couple of decades, but this is still an option that requires careful consideration.

Key points
Many causes of female hair loss are temporary – check your general health and be patient.
Take a look at your family for an idea of your risk of female pattern baldness.
Don’t be taken in by claims for wonder products for female pattern hair loss.
Many women cope well by using cosmetic products, hats and wigs, so persevere until you find your own style.

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