While many men have come to accept a receding hairline or thinning hair as a natural part of getting older, hair loss remains a taboo subject among many women – despite being a far more widespread problem than many realise.
In fact, several female celebrities have opened up about their hair loss journeys in recent years in an effort to share their struggles and remove the stigma around the issue. Acclaimed South African Blood and Water actress Gail Mabalane launched a YouTube channel which chronicled her experience with alopecia and drove important conversations about black women’s hair. Internationally, Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey and model Ashley Graham have also been candid about their issues with thinning hair over the past two months.
Also known as female androgenetic alopecia, female pattern hair loss typically results in thinner hair over the central scalp, a wider parting and receding temples, while the front hairline retains its hair.
Further demonstrating just how common the issue is, a recent study published by the National Library of Medicine found that as many as 12% of women will experience visible hair loss by the age of 40 years. Likewise, a 2022 study published in the journal Menopause found that more than half of women over the age of 50 years will experience female pattern hair loss. “Female hair loss is a very important topic that deserves many more meaningful conversations, especially as it can have such a devastating impact on women’s self-esteem and confidence,” notes Dr. Kashmal Kalan, Medical Director of the Alvi Armani hair restoration clinic.
“Hair loss and thinning can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience for anyone, but particularly for women who often regard their hair as a trademark or an essential part of their identities. A lack of public awareness only aggravates the issue, leaving many feelings vulnerable, insecure and alone, or suffering from low self-esteem and confidence.
“However, it is a very common concern, and in many cases is highly treatable. It’s time to let go of the stigma around female hair loss or baldness, and encourage women to speak up and explore the many treatment options available.”
One such treatment option is Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which regenerates hair growth through reinjecting the patient’s blood into their scalp to stimulate hair follicles and rejuvenate the scalp. Another is the scalp micropigmentation (SMP) cosmetic treatment, which involves the use of microdot tattoos to create a natural 3D hair appearance, giving the look of fuller, denser hair. Finally, hair transplants are one of the most common treatment options for patients seeking fast, visible results, says Dr. Kalan.
“The most common and preferred hair transplantation method is Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE, which requires fewer grafts than other methods. This involves extracting hair follicles from a donor area and transferring these to the area which has experienced hair loss, implanting the hairs in groups to give the patient a full head of hair,” he explains.
“However, the recommended treatment option will depend on your specific condition and concerns, which is why you need to consult qualified professionals and surgeons at reputable hair restoration clinics. Don’t be afraid to seek help or have the conversation – there have been a number of advancements in cutting-edge treatments that can have you quickly feeling your best again.”