Flora Fuentes, Owner and President of Unique Hair Concepts
Hair loss is often mistakenly thought to be a solely male oriented disease. Women make up 40 percent of American hair loss sufferers. In fact, 1 out of 4 women (25%) in America have hair loss or thinning hair by the age of 50. To understand hair loss, you must start with how hair grows or the hair growth cycle. Hair grows in 3 phases. First, the “Anagen” phase, or growth phase. Most hair is growing at any given time (90%). Hair spends 2 to 6 years in the growth phase. Next, the “Catagen” or transitional phase. This is a short phase where hair growth slows down. Last is the “Telogen” or resting phase. Over months, hair growth that has slowed down stops and the old hair detaches from the follicle. A new hair begins the growth phase, pushing the old hair out bringing your hair back to the growth phase or “Anagen.”
The most common form of hair loss in women is known as female pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. It is inherited hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone of DHT, a derivative of the male hormone testosterone interferes with follicle growth causing miniaturization. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II alpha reductase, which is held in the follicles oil glands. The level of DHT binds to the receptors in the hair follicle causing shrinkage. Eventually causing the follicle to completely shut down and no longer grows hair.
Signs that a woman is losing her hair:
• Loss of hair volume
• Increased hair shedding
• Widening of the part
• Diffused thinning all over the head
Contributing factors to female hair loss:
• Stress- clinical studies prove that stress or a stressful event may trigger thinning hair or excessive hair shedding
• Iron loss
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Medical conditions
• Hormonal changes
• Prescription medication usage
• Crash diets or eating disorders
• Previous surgeries
Other clinical hair loss conditions:
• These 3 types of hair loss conditions are caused by an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles and suppresses or stops hair growth:
o Alopecia Areata
o Alopecia Totalis
o Alopecia Universalis
• Scarring Alopecia: Also, known as scarring alopecia or cicatricial centrifugal alopecia and frontal fibrosing alopecia are rare disorders that destroy hair follicles. Follicles are replaced with scar tissue causing permanent hair loss.
• Lichen Planopilaris: A rare inflammatory condition resulting on patchy progressive hair loss on the scalp. Cause is unknown but thought to be autoimmune. It affects young adult women.
• Traction Alopecia: A form of gradual hair loss, caused by a pulling force being applied to the hair and scalp. Sufferers frequently wear their hair in ponytails, braids or buns. Hair loss occurs most along the hair line and temples due to the tension caused overtime on the hair.
• Trichotillomania: A disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to put out hair. It is classified as a body focused repetitive behavior. It affects 7 million women in North America.
Although hair loss is common in women, many suffer in silence and it affects a woman’s self-esteem. Many feel ashamed. For many women, their hair is a reflection of their identity. On average, a woman spends 2 hours a week washing and styling their hair. For a woman with hair loss, a bad hair day can be every day trying to hide or conceal the thinning hair areas.
There is no miracle cure for hair loss- but there are solutions available that work. Working with a knowledgeable hair loss professional that can lay out your options will help women decide what is the best option for them. Options may range from scalp therapy, hair loss prevention treatments utilizing low level light therapy. Custom human hair pieces, hair enhancements, wigs and for some hair transplantation. Hair prosthesis are now made to look and feel like your hair allowing women to feel confident in their appearance. The key is to do your research and find the right solution for you.
Flora Fuentes is the Owner and President of Unique Hair Concepts, a hair loss and restoration studio located in Ardsley, NY. Unique Hair Concepts helps men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds with hair loss or thinning hair. Flora is also the U.S. Director for Cesare Ragazzi, the established world market leader and innovator in hair loss and enhancement. She travels nationwide serving as the Cesare Ragazzi spokesperson and expert on the topic of hair loss.