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What Is Female-Pattern Hair Loss And How Can You Treat It?

20th March 2017 Hair and Scalp, Women's Health
Female pattern hair loss

Female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the commonest type of hair loss in women and tends to occur gradually from the age of 40-50 onwards, however in some women it can occur earlier and can progress more rapidly.

FPHL is also known as androgenetic alopecia. Typically, an even pattern of thinning occurs on the top and front of the scalp, often leading to a wider and more visible parting line.

Women with FPHL do not lose all their hair, however without treatment the condition continues to progress and unfortunately there is no cure. However, there are excellent treatments which can lead to hair regrowth, but these are best to be used regularly, early and continuously.

Before starting treatments, it is sensible see a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude other causes of hair loss that might need different therapy.

Treatments for Female-Pattern Hair Loss include:

  • Minoxidil 2 (or 5% under supervision) applied to the scalp every night is a great way of reversing FPHL. It can produce increased hair shedding for a few weeks at the start of treatment, but this settles. It should not be used during pregnancy and should not be used on the face to avoid increased hair on the forehead. Washing the face after application is helpful.
  • Spironolactone tablets can be taken daily. Spironolactone is a diuretic that can reverse hormone and age-related thinning. It should not be used during pregnancy.
  • Some oral contraceptives that block the effect of the ‘male’ hormone testosterone on the hair follicle such as Dianette or Yasmin.
  • Finasteride is another anti-hormone medication which is occasionally used under close supervision by a dermatologist.
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