Most women dealing with hair loss (alopecia) struggle with how to regrow hair. They often spend time and money on options that will never work for them. You may have a friend that had some success with nutritional supplements, for example, but that doesn’t address the cause of your hair loss. If you try different options without finding out what your best options are based on your situation, you may be swinging in the dark at your problem, which can be emotionally exhausting.
Many women don’t realize that they can regrow their hair. There are many options outside of changing their hairstyle, color, or concealing their hair loss (such as scalp concealer or a wig).
Female Hair Loss Treatment – The First Step
The first step to regrowing your hair is to find out what’s causing it. Seeing a dermatologist or an M.D. with experience treating females with hair loss is usually the best choice. They will take a medical history, examine your hair, check for thyroid issues, and possibly do a series of other tests (including the hair pull test, hair pluck, biopsy, and blood tests). They can tell you what’s causing your hair loss, and what your options are for regrowing your hair.
Getting educated beforehand may give you a better idea of what to expect, and what you’re comfortable with. For example, if your dermatologist recommends a drug, and you’re not comfortable with the side effects, you may want to explore other options with them. Each option has it’s strengths and weaknesses, such as cost, recovery time, effectiveness, side effects, and whether they are painful or invasive. Whatever treatment options you decide to pursue, the earlier you start, the better.
Treatments for the Most Common Cause of Hair Loss in Women
90% of all women’s hair loss is due to androgenetic alopecia, or androgenic alopecia. This is where the naturally produced male hormone testosterone in your body is converted to DHT (dihydrotestostrone). DHT attacks and eventually kills hair follicles. To find out more about how to treat androgenetic alopecia, check out our Guide To Treating Androgenetic Alopecia. This guide includes information about several treatment options that don’t require a prescription:
- Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine and others)
- Ketoconazole shampoo (brand name Nizoral)
- Low-level laser therapy
- Cimetidine (brand name Tagamet)
- Saw palmetto
and several others that require a doctor or dermatologist’s prescription:
- Spironolactone (brand name Aldactone)
- Tretinoin (brand name Retin-A, that can enhance the absorption of minoxidil)
- Latanoprost (band name Xalatan)
- Bimatoprost (brand name Latisse)
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Finasteride (brand name Propecia or Proscar). This is FDA approved for hair loss in men, but it’s use for women is controversial.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
- Flutamide (Brand Name Eulexin)
- And oral contraceptives (including Cyproterone Acetate).
The most common, and one of the most effective treatments for women’s hair loss (alopecia) is minoxidil. It’s one of two treatments approved for hair loss by the FDA. To learn more about this treatment option, check out our Ultimate Guide to Minoxidil for Women.
If you prefer not to use drugs to regrow your hair, the chances of regrowing your hair are much slimmer. However, there’s some research that shows some promise for botanicals. Procyanidin B-2, rasberry ketone, and/or green tea can be a part of your overall plan to regrow hair.
Although there isn’t strong scientific evidence for the use of essential oils to regrow hair, there is some evidence that it can be effective.
If you your hair loss is very advanced, one of your last options is hair transplantation. Hair transplantation is a surgical technique where a surgeon will take healthy individual hair follicles from a part one part of the body (donor site), to a thinning part of the scalp (recipient site). This option is far more common among men due to the nature of their hair loss. Male pattern baldness results in hair no longer growing on most of the scalp. Only hair on the sides and back remain. Women usually lose hair diffusely across the entire scalp. But if your hair loss has been happening for a long time, and you have large bald patches, a hair transplant may be an option for you.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Though rarely prescribed for hair loss alone (because of the potential serious side effects), HRT can rebalance hormone levels and help regrow hair.
It’s also been referred to as low laser light therapy, red light therapy, cold laser, soft laser, biostimulation, and photobiomodulation. There’s evidence that lasers can stimulate hair growth, which is great news because it is non-invasive, pain-free, relatively inexpensive, and has no adverse side effects.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet rich plasma is the plasma from a person that contains a higher concentration of growth factors. It has been used by Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, and many others for faster recovery from injuries or surgery. It’s now being used to stimulate hair growth.
For many women that have regrown their hair, shampoo was part of their regimen. There are a lot of options when it comes to women’s hair loss shampoos, so we did a ton of research to come up with a top 10 list.
If your hair loss is due to nutritional deficiencies (often due to crash dieting), changing your diet or taking supplements can regrow hair.
January 2nd, 2015 Written by a Staff Member of Hair Loss in Women
There are a lot of new products and treatments for women to regrow hair. Is there one that has worked for you? Please add your comment below.