Thinning hair is not just a problem for men. Unfortunately, it is also a reality for millions of women. Whether it is from thyroid disorders, menopausal changes, or autoimmune diseases; alopecia (the medical term for hair loss) can be devastating for many.
Many women suffering from alopecia choose to wear wigs to cover up their disorder and, while many wigs look natural these days, they can be costly, and, in Arizona, they can be HOT. Sweaty heads are no fun, whatsoever in the Phoenix summer months. Other options in include the use of fibers – either sprayed onto the scalp or glued on by a professional – which add the look of density to thinning areas, however these can get messy and do not allow for certain activities, such as swimming, without the potential for embarrassment.
So, what is a woman with alopecia to do? Well, it largely depends upon the type of alopecia they have. Believe it or not, Androgenic Alopecia – or what we commonly refer to as “Male Pattern Baldness” is not just limited to men. After menopause, due to changes in hormone balance, women can also experience pattern baldness that typically affects the crown of the head and hairline areas. Other women will have more diffuse thinning that affects their entire scalp (and sometimes their entire body). Autoimmune Alopecia can either present as diffuse hair loss or patches of thickened skin called “Scarring Alopecia”.
Unfortunately, for those suffering from the scarring-type of alopecia, aside from injections of steroid into the areas, few effective treatments exist to treat this condition, as many can only exacerbate the potential for more scarring to occur. That said, those with diffuse alopecia are typically treated with supplements such as Biotin, use of products like Rogaine®, medicated shampoos and use of wigs or other modalities to cover up. There is also growing evidence that use of PRP orPlatelet-Rich-Plasma injections with or without the combination of Microneedling treatments can stimulate hair growth in some of these individuals. PRP provides the necessary growth factors necessary to jump start hair growth. Microneedling of the scalp can also stimulate blood circulation and recruits healing cells to the area to further improve the effect of the PRP. Lastly, low-level-laser therapy such as with the Sunetics® Laser, harnesses the power of certain wavelengths of light, which have been found to decrease inflammatory processes thus allowing hair to grow more easily.
Many women with patchy or patterned hair loss are candidates for hair grafting procedures, such as with the NeoGraft® device. This is a device that provides precise harvesting of hair follicles from more dense areas of the scalp and allows for the safe and effective transfer of those follicles to the areas of baldness. Once transplanted to the new area of the scalp, the follicles will regain a blood supply and will become a permanent addition to the density of hair in this area. This is a treatment called FUE or “Follicular Unit Extraction” and it is gaining in popularity due to the improved tolerability of the procedure compared to prior hair grafting procedures that required excision of part of the scalp, leaving unsightly scars and prolonged healing times. NeoGraft® can be done in conjunction with PRP and low-level-laser therapy for faster regrowth in the area of transplant.
Lastly, we recently discovered a treatment called “Scalp Micropigmentation” which essentially tattoos hair-like patterns onto the scalp to either add density to thinning areas without the risk of washing off, like fiber therapies, or, in men, to give the look of a shaved head appearance to the scalp. We are now working with a group called Scalp Aesthetics to offer this service to both our male and female clients. If you’re interested in seeing some of their before and after photos, you can check out their website, scalp-aesthetics.com.
For more information on our various therapies for hair loss in men and women, visit our website – paradisemedspa.com – or book a free consultation with Dr. Weiss.