Hair is a very important part of our physical appearance and identity. For men hair has traditionally been associated with virility and youth, and for women with beauty and fertility. The hair is often referred to as a woman’s crowning glory, so it can be particularly alarming and upsetting when a woman begins to lose her hair or develops areas of baldness on her head.
Male pattern baldness is widely understood and hair transplants have been around for years. Techniques are improving all the time and the procedure is gaining in popularity for both men and women. Hair loss in women occurs for a variety of reasons which are generally a little different to those which cause hair loss in men.
The most common cause of hair loss in women is Androgenetic Alopecia. Unlike Androgenetic Alopecia in men, women tend to have diffuse thinning, often sparing the frontal and occipital regions which tend to recede first in men. This condition can occur for a variety of reasons, including hormonal and hereditary ones. An initial step in diagnosing the causes of hair loss in women is being tested by an endocrinologist to establish if a hormone imbalance may be causing the problem. This involves blood tests which investigate whether the thyroid and other glands are working as they should.
A hair transplant may be performed using two different techniques, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The first technique involves hairs being extracted from areas of abundant growth (at the back of the head) and moved to areas of thinning. This method is performed using a punch tool. The second technique, FUT, is performed by removing a strip of hair bearing skin from the back of the head which is dissected, using powerful microscopes, into individual hair follicles. These individual hairs are then inserted into the thinning area where the hair will grow as it did at the back of the head. A good supply of hair at the back of the head is crucial for this procedure and not everyone is a candidate.
For those women who have suitable donor hair, a hair transplant can offer a permanent, natural-looking solution to the problem of hair loss.