One of the most disconcerting things that occurs regarding our appearance is that we begin to notice our hair is thinning—both men and women. As a matter of fact, although everyone is familiar with male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness is actually much more common and is not really manifested as a slick scalp but a thinning of the hair.
Hair Loss Causes
To begin to understand what can be done, it must be understood that hair is not alive; it is a product of the skin manufactured just underneath the surface.
There are many causes of thinning hair or baldness from wearing hair in a tight hair-do like a pony tail to hormonal changes. In men, as male hormone levels decrease the scalp hair stops growing in the front and on the vertex and if it is not treated the hair actually dies. To treat male pattern baldness, the ultimate is a hair transplant and hair transplants now have come to the point they look completely natural, not like corn sticking in a field.
But before that approach is taken, there are a number of things that are available. Rogaine® is available without a prescription and is effective especially in early stages of loss. It works better if used in conjunction with a retinol product, which can also be obtained over the counter. There is also a drug (Finasteride) that can be taken by mouth if prescribed by a physician. This drug does work and is used mainly for prostate enlargement and does have some side-effects.
What about Female Hair Loss?
The most common cause of hair loss in women is pregnancy. Hair grows in phases and in some areas the resting phase is long and the growing short (e.g. eyelashes), but in some the growing phase is longer and on the scalp at any time about 70% is growing and 30% resting.
During pregnancy the percentage growing is above 90% and then when the pregnancy ends it reverts back and there is a noticeable loss of hair. It is important to understand that this is temporary and is normal and the hair almost always comes back. This may also occur with the discontinuation of birth control pills.
Women also begin to have thinning hair as they age due to changes in hormones of various types and Rogaine actually works better for them than it does for men. Hair transplants are also done for women when necessary and desirable and work very well.
The main thing to remember is that if you are experiencing thinning hair, there is treatment available!