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Overview

There are 20 million women in America with excessive hair loss. Ten million of them are under the age of 40. While it’s common to see and hear about mens hair loss, women’s hair loss is seldom mentioned. It’s almost as if society doesn’t want to admit there’s such a condition. The purpose of this web page is to define the problem and it’s causes, as well as to explain some of the solutions available.

What is excessive hair loss?

All people, men and women, lose hair. It’s natural to do so. A normal parson loses 15 to 40 hairs every day.


Hair goes through three growth cycles. The Anagen phase is when hair grows. This cycle lasts about three years. The second phase is called the Catagen phase. During this time, hair growth ceases and no pigment is is produced for about 10 days. The Catagen phase is followed by the Tologen phase, when hair is shed. This cycle usually lasts about three months.
In individuals with healthy follicles, about 90% of the hair on the scalp grows at one time. Because the vast majority of the follicles are in the Anagen phase – and only a small percentage of them are in the Telogen phase – a normal amount of hair fallout isn’t noticeable.

“The overwhelming majority of women suffer from what is known as androgenic hair loss. This is caused by hormones.”

When a follicle is unhealthy, for whatever reason, the hair growth cycles are suspended and the follicle stays in the Telogen phase for an indefinite period. As more and more follicles stay in the Telogen phase, less new hair is being produced. This results in thinning, and ultimately, balding.
How long do afflicted follicles stay in the Telogen stage? In many cases, forever; in some cases, hair production resumes. The determining factor is what caused the follicles to stop producing hair in the first place.

Why women lose hair

Women can loose hair for a variety of reasons. In pregnancy, changes in hormone levels can

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produce hair loss. Stress and anxiety can also cause hair follicles to cease production. In some cases, as vitamin deficiency can lead to hair loss. Certain medications can cause hair to fall out, too. But in all the aforementioned cases, the hair loss is only temporary for most people. Once the condition causing the hair loss ceases, either naturally or through intervention, the hair follicles will “wake up” and begin producing hair once again.
There are two conditions in which hair loss is irreversible. The first is from the condition known as alopecia universalis. Very few people are afflicted with alopecia universalis, but those who are facing the devastating effects of all hair production ceasing on their body – they actually produce no hair at all, from their scalps to their toes. The condition is believed to be caused by a virus and there is no “cure” for it.

The overwhelming majority of women suffer from what is known as androgenic hair loss. This is caused by hormones. It was previously mentioned that pregnant women can experience hair loss due to changes in hormonal levels. With androgenic hair loss the principle is the same but the cause s quite different.
Both men and women have hormones of the opposite sex. Men have levels of estrogen in their body, just as women have levels of testosterone. In women, the cause of what is known as female pattern baldness is the testosterone hormone. Women with hair loss do not have abnormal levels of testosterone in their body. These women are just unable to “break down” testosterone properly.

There is much testosterone found in a person’s scalp. If the hormone dose not break down properly as it ages and is ready to be disposed of as waste, a by-product known as dihidrotestosterone (DHT) exists. When too much DHT accumulates in the scalp, hair follicles are affected. They begin to atrophy. The hair being produced becomes smaller, weaker in structure, and lighter in color. Finally the hair follicle enters a permanent dormant state and no hair is produced at all. In most cases there is no way to induce the hair follicle to produce normal, healthy hair again. The hair follicle is essentially dead. ?

Solutions

What can be done?

In cases of hair loss that stress, medication, or pregnancy, hair growth will return to normal as soon as the condition causing the hair loss ceases to exist. When hair loss is caused by scalp disorders or vitamin deficiencies, these conditions can be corrected with proper therapies, many which can be obtained without a prescription.
However, for the vast majority of women suffering from female pattern baldness (FPB), the answers and corresponding solutions are not as easy to come by.

Topical Lotions

There are many topical lotions sold by beauty salons across the country, specifically for women with thinning hair. For many women, this is the first attempt at correcting their excessive hair loss. However, for women with androgenic hair loss (female pattern baldness), lotions and creams simply will not work.

Drug Therapy

Minoxidil has now been approved for use by women in formulations containing 2% of the drug. Now sold as an over-the-counter product, minoxidil has been approved by the FDA as a hair loss cessation/hair growing drug. However, minoxidil has only been shown to grow hair on the crown, not in the frontal hairline. The hair that minoxidil can grow, even in the crown is usually hair that is not considered “cosmetically acceptable”, meaning hair that will not grow long and healthy enough to cover the scalp.

As for minoxidil’s ability to stop hair loss, the success rate varies widely from individual to individual. In most cases, the hair loss still continues but will sometimes do so at a lesser rate. In all cases, once minoxidil use is stopped, hair loss returns to its original levels; any hair growth achieved will also cease.

Transplants

Transplants are now being preformed by doctors on women patients. Hair transplants have been vastly improved in the past ten years, and no longer produced the “row of corn” appearance that was the case in the days of “hair plugs”.

It must be noted that transplants do not create new hair. They simply move hair from the back of the scalp (the donor area) to the desired areas of the scalp where there is hair loss. The amount of hair on the scalp remains the same. It is just rearranged. In order for transplants to be successful, the patient must have enough hair in the donor area to cover the thin or the bald areas. If enough donor hair can’t be harvested, significant cosmetic coverage will not be achieved in thin or bald areas. Another consideration is future hair loss: since your natural hair continues to fall out, the question then becomes, will there be enough donor hair to eventually cover the balding areas without leaving the donor area denude of hair too?

The reason that transplants are more widely touted for men and not women has to do with the amount of hair that can be harvested. Both men and women have the same number of hairs on their scalps, but in men, it is more acceptable for light coverage to be the result – it’s better for a man to be thinning than bald, is the theory. For women, thin hair that makes her look like she is going bald is rarely acceptable.

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Wigs

Standard machine-made wigs offer a number of advantages. They provide full coverage of the thinning areas, for one. And unlike many so-called women’s hair loss solutions, they’re guaranteed to work.

But machine-made wigs are not for everyone. The less expensive ones that use synthetic hair can be less than natural looking. Machine made wigs can also be hot and cumbersome. For women with an active lifestyle – especially women who exercise and engage in other physical activities – wigs can be limiting: you certainly can’t swim in them, and sunning or being intimate can be compromised by a wig’s limitations. And of course, they are not part of you; at night, they generally come off.

For some women, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. For other women, wigs are not a viable solution. It depends on lifestyle, your expectations, and the trade-offs you’re willing to accept. In other words, whether or not to wear a wig is an intensely personal decision.

Hair Augmentation

There are many different methods of women’s hair restoration that fall under the general heading “hair augmentation”. Some of these methods rival wigs, for the most part. Other are far different.

By definition, hair augmentation refers to the process of adding to a women’s existing hair, rather than covering it up as a wig would. If this is done in such a manner that is results in the hair becoming “permanently” part of the scalp, it offers women a plethora of advantages over other solutions.

The idea of augmentation was largely derived from yesterday’s “hair weaves”. The internet was not to cover the entire scalp, but only to add hair where needed. However, weaves had so many disadvantages that other methods were created to overcome them: thus, the beginnings of modern day hair augmentation. However, just like wigs and weaves, there are many different types of hair augmentation, some much better than others.

The idea of augmentation was largely derived from yesterday’s “hair weaves”. The internet was not to cover the entire scalp, but only to add hair where needed.

Encore System

What exactly is encore hair augmentation? A method of adding hair to thinning areas and replacing hair in areas where there may be no hair at all.

This is truly a great advancement in women’s hair augmentation. Because the amount of hair that is supplemented can com in what ever proportion it takes to cosmetically solve your hair loss problem.

This allows for an optimum level of flexibility. Which is exactly what is needed when confronting women’s hair loss. Because though women’s pattern baldness may sometimes have the same causes as male pattern baldness, therein the similarities end.

Women’s pattern baldness is different.

Men’s pattern baldness generally ends up with a “horse shoe” of hair around the sides and back of

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the head, with the top of the head totally denude of hair. Not only is the end result fairly common, the path to get there is shared by most men, as well. It usually begins with a gradual recession in the temples. Then the frontal hairline begins to recede. At the same time, the most forward part of the anterior scalp (mid-scalp) begins to loose hair. This creates the typical “island” of hair that exists between the receding frontal hairline and the middle of the scalp. Somewhere along the way, usually when the anterior scalp begins to lose hair, so too does the crown. The confluence of the many receding areas leads to a contiguous patch of bald scalp, from the front of the forehead to below the crown. But this is hardly the case with women. In actuality the term “female pattern baldness” is largely a misnomer, because there is no pattern to female hair loss.

Women’s hair loss different patterns, different progressions.

Very few women with hair loss end up with the horse shoe pattern that is the inevitable result of male pattern baldness. Rather, women tend to lose their hair in various combinations of patterns and progressions. Why this is so largely unknown; it is simply a fact that is verifiable by both anecdotal and clinical evidence.

“How can one solution that helps establish a frontal hairline also work for a woman who is suffering diffused hair loss all over the top of her scalp?”

Some women notice their hair loss beginning in the anterior, or mid-scalp region, a few inches behind the hairline. In other women, it is the hairline itself that begins to thin, but there is rarely a true recession as there is with men; rather, the thinning seems to occur randomly throughout the first inch or so of hair without the orderly “march back to the crown” that categorizes most male pattern baldness. As well, very few women experience recession at the temples; most men do. The wide variety of patterns and progressions in female pattern baldness make a single solution that helps establish a frontal hairline also work for a woman who is suffering diffused hair loss all over the top of her scalp? Quite simply, it can’t.
Naturally, there is always the wig, which due to the fact that it covers the entire scalp, means it can theoretically resolve any type or pattern of hair loss. In effect, “one size fits all”. However, with this approach the portions of the scalp that are producing hair are also covered, which understandably is less than desirable for most women.

The ideal solution would therefore be for a method to just cosmetically alter the areas where there is hair loss while leaving the areas of the scalp producing hair untouched. However, there are two problems in taking this approach: the fact and most obvious is that the areas of scalp that are being covered with new hair must flow seamlessly into the uncovered areas that produce growing hair. They have to match almost identically. This is far easier said than done. Not only must the hair match perfectly, but the patterns and density of hair growth must be the same. The only problem is that in most cases areas of severe thinning are often positioned alongside areas of the scalp that experience more moderate thinning. So even if it were possible for a solution to provide coverage to severely thin areas of moderate thinning would the be prominent. Again, up to now, the solution would be to cover all areas without differentiation in respect to the various degrees of hair loss. That’s what a standard wig does. And that’s something most women find unappealing.

What exactly is encore hair augmentation? A method of adding hair to thinning areas and replacing hair in areas where there may be no hair at all.

This is truly a great advancement in women’s hair augmentation. Because the amount of hair that is supplemented can com in what ever proportion it takes to cosmetically solve your hair loss problem. This allows for an optimum level of flexibility. Which is exactly what is needed when confronting women’s hair loss. Because though women’s pattern baldness may sometimes have the same causes as male pattern baldness, therein the similarities end.

Compare Encore to a standard, machine-made wig:

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