What Does Female Hair Loss Look Like?
If we were to poll 10 random people and ask them what male hair loss looks like, they would probably all give similar answers about starting as receding in temples, with thinning in the crown, and eventually balding on top with a ring of hair around the head. If we then asked those same 10 people what female hair loss looks like, I am pretty confident we would get 10 different answers. This is one of the complexities about female hair loss. For many women, it is hard for them to realize if they are experiencing it since it can differ so much from person to person. It can even be hard for some medical practitioners to properly diagnose as its causes and presentation are so varied.
On our website there is a questionnaire that visitors can fill out that asks them various questions about their experience with hair loss. With over 1000 responses, it provides a pretty good snapshot of what our patients are experiencing. As expected, the experiences vary widely.
If people think they may be experiencing hair loss, often their first thought is to consider their family history. While the myths talk about different grandfathers, the truth is that genetic hair loss can come from anyone in your family. However, of the survey respondents only 55% felt there was a history of it in their family, which means that 45% did not believe that they had a family history of hair loss. While genetics can play a big role in causing hair loss, it is only one potential factor.
Often times our perception of hair loss is rapid sudden shedding happening over a short period of time. However, only 22% of the respondents felt their hair loss was sudden, while 78% felt that it had been gradual over time. Unfortunately, with gradual hair loss it has probably been happening longer than you thought, as it takes time to notice, which is why it is so important to seek treatment once you feel you are experiencing hair loss.
As we noted above, male hair loss is fairly consistent, but there was pretty big variation in how the respondents described their hair loss. The percentages below do not equal 100% as respondents were asked to select all that applied. Below is what patients felt they were experiencing, from most common to least common:
- 62% - Thinning All Over
- 48% - Excessive Shedding
- 40% - Thinner Ponytail
- 37% - Widening Part
- 27% - Temporal Loss
- 11% - Other
Lastly, 63% of the survey respondents had never received a diagnosis for their hair loss, while 37% had. If you think you are experiencing hair loss, it is so important to get a diagnosis from a practice that is trained in evaluating and treating female hair loss. If you have received a diagnosis from a dermatologist or primary care physician, make sure you meet with a hair loss specialist who can get you started on a treatment plan right away. Most important, if you think you are seeing any signs of hair loss, know you are not alone and there are great treatment options available.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Gender Inequalities in the Treatment of Hair Loss
Before Women’s History Month comes to a close, I wanted to touch on a subject that hits really close to home, both professionally and personally; the gender inequalities in healthcare and how these have impacted the treatment of hair loss in women. As a primary care physician for thirty years, I saw firsthand how these inequalities impacted my patients, especially as women are more likely to forego healthcare services due to cost while at the same time often having to pay higher insurance premiums.
When we discuss gender inequalities in healthcare today, the discussion often revolves around access to healthcare, and that is certainly an important part of the discussion. However, one of the biggest issues is that for centuries, medical research was primarily conducted by male doctors and scientists on only male patients. The assumption was made that the results of these studies would be the same for females as males. Unfortunately, this meant that women were not receiving the same level of care, as the medical community did not fully understand what women were experiencing. This too is the history of the treatment of hair loss in women.
For far too long, female hair loss has been an afterthought for most medical practitioners, because its causes were not understood well enough, its impact was not understood well enough, and there were not great treatment options available. Female hair loss can be very complex to diagnose, as there are many potential causes and often multiple factors aggravating the condition. Due to the types of hair loss that women experience, they tend to respond best to medical treatments that focus on treating the causes and not masking the symptoms. For a long time, the only hair restoration option was a hair transplant, which work well for most men, but women are not always great candidates. The reason we, at Medi Tresse, offer hour-long consultations is because it takes that long to properly evaluate, diagnose, and create a customized treatment plan that addresses the needs of that specific patient. Unfortunately, this understanding of how to properly treat hair loss in women is still relatively new and many medical professionals still do not understand what it takes to properly treat or how difficult the experience can be for women. Hair loss has often been brushed aside as a cosmetic issue, but we at Medi Tresse understand the emotional toll that often comes with experiencing hair loss as a woman.
Thankfully, over the past 15 years we have seen progress as great treatment options have become available and more women are now seeking help. According to the International Society of the Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), in 2005 women made up only 28% of the patients seeking non-surgical treatments, but in 2019 that increased to 40%. As one of the leading medical professionals in our industry, we understand that it is our responsibility to help normalize women's hair loss through education and creating a caring and supportive community for women. We still have a ways to go, and we hope to see even more progress over the next 15 years.
Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel
Ways to Camouflage Hair Loss this Holiday Season
While we are always looking for instant gratification, with medical treatments for hair loss the results can take time. As hairs only grow around a centimeter per month, it takes at least a few months for new hairs to grow in and be visible. With the holidays just around the corner, patients often ask if there is anything they can do today to provide immediate results. While there are no medical treatments available that will work in time for the holidays, there are things you can do to mask the appearance of thinning hair.
Medical Micropigmentation & Microblading
Medical micropigmentation and microblading are semi-permanent procedures where pigment is placed into the epidermal layer of the skin to provide the illusion of hair. Utilizing tools made specifically for this treatment, highly skilled micropigmentologists are able to create a natural look due to their refined technique. At our Medi Tresse Boston office, our micropigmentologist Nellie uses the combined hand and digital machine method, which provides the most natural looking results. Not only does Nellie help patients camouflage their scalp, but she also offers microblading, which is specific to the eyebrows. (Currently we only offer medical micropigmentation and microblading at our Boston office, but we are working to offer it at all locations in the near future.)
Hair fibers have come a long way over the past few years and look quite natural. You would be surprised how many people, especially those on television, use hair fibers. Hair fibers are a useful product for those who want to add instant volume to the hair or want to hide visible scalp. When you sprinkle hair fibers on your hair, the long-lasting fibers instantly cling to your hair like millions of tiny magnets, making each strand of hair look thicker. At Medi Tresse we offer the XFusion Keratin Hair Fibers, which are made of all-natural keratin protein and are offered in 9 different colors.
Coloring Your Hair
Coloring your hair can help hide the appearance of thinning hairs in a couple of ways. As a reminder it is important to make sure that you are always using an ammonia-free or low-ammonia formula. Ask your stylist about the most follicle-friendly options they have available at your salon. So how does coloring mask thinning hair? While there are no hair health benefits to coloring your hair, coloring your hair can give the appearance of thicker hair. First, if your hair is thin and there is some scalp visible, graying roots will often give the illusion of even more scalp. Secondly, coloring your hair can also make your hair feel and appear slightly thicker as certain components of the hair dye can thicken the hair strands.
It is important to remember that none of these options will treat your hair loss or prevent further loss, but they are ways to help camouflage the problem with some relative immediacy. Many patients utilize these options in the short term, while they wait for the results of the medical treatments. All of these options are also safe for the scalp and follicle. You will notice that we did not include hair extensions on this list. While using hair extensions for a single evening would be OK, we strongly recommend against utilizing hair extensions long term due to the harm they cause to your hair.
Posted by your Medi Tresse team.
At Medi Tresse we have seen women with all different types of hair loss and varying causes of hair loss. With any patient we see, the first step is to diagnose the cause of the hair loss. For many patients, their hair loss is truly genetic, but for others it could be due to a hormone imbalance, stress related, or even a change in medication. One patient population that we often see is patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, more commonly known as PCOS.
While the cause of PCOS is still unknown, PCOS is an endocrine system disorder, which means the hormones are directly affected. Common symptoms of patients with PCOS are irregular periods, excess androgen, and polycystic ovaries, which means the ovaries have become enlarged and contain many small cysts.
Women with PCOS can often see thinning hair due to excess androgen levels, which are commonly known as male hormones like testosterone. Before starting any sort of hair loss treatment, a patient with PCOS would want to make sure that their hormone levels have been checked and are in proper balance. If a woman has elevated androgens, this can potentially be managed with very specific birth control pills which can block the negative effects on hair. Once the hormone levels are in proper balance, then the patient could be a candidate for hair loss treatments.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
The Benefit of Treating Female Hair Loss in Multiple Ways
At Medi Tresse Boston we offer a wide array of treatments for hair loss that treat the follicle in different ways. From Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy to Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to Formula 82M, each of these treatments offer different benefits to help stimulate hair health and even regrow hair. What is great about all of these treatment options is that on their own they are great options for our patients.
However, with many patients we often recommend the use of more than one type of treatment as we feel they can get even better results by utilizing the combined effects of both treatments. The first question we often receive is, “If I only do one type of treatment does that mean I will not see improvement in my hair?” The answer to this question is no, as all of the treatments that we offer are clinically proven to improve hair health and in some cases stimulate regrowth when used on their own. We often liken this approach to the approach used in weight loss. It is possible to lose weight through dieting and it is possible to lose weight through exercise, however, when you combine both diet and exercise your approach is more effective, and you often see results more quickly. Treating hair loss is really no different.
One of our favorite combinations of hair loss treatments is PRP and LLLT. Both PRP and LLLT are great treatment options on their own; but since they treat the follicle in different ways, when combined we can see really excellent results. PRP is great, because hair follicles survive on the nutrition they get from their blood supply, and that nutrition comes in the form of platelet activated growth factors. Platelets also tell the body to rejuvenate and repair. By delivering the platelets (via plasma) directly to the cells around the follicle, the growth factors become activated and essentially breathe new life into weak or dying follicles. Alternatively, LLLT stimulates cellular metabolism at the molecular level of the hair follicle, thereby enhancing the quality of the hair produced from the hair follicle, and reversing miniaturization seen in female hair loss. We feel that by combining PRP and LLLT, the patient is providing treatment to the follicle in multiple ways, which can make treatment even more effective.
If you're further curious about PRP hair loss therapy or LLLT hair loss treatments - as well as any of our treatment options - feel free to get in touch with our hair regrowth specialists. Medi Tresse is proud to provide hair regrowth options for women throughout Boston and Wellesley.
Posted by Rosie Scano, RN
Medi Tresse Boston Now Offers Alphaeon Beauty Eyelash Serum
Introducing a new way to grow better lashes and brows!
When we think about hair health and hair loss, we typically focus on the hair on top of our heads. We are always looking into ways to improve it or grow more of it. While the quality of hair on our heads has a lot to do with the way we feel and express ourselves, we can’t forget about our little facial friends; our eyelashes and eyebrows!
Just like the hair on the top of our heads, the follicles producing eyelashes and eyebrows can also become weak and begin to thin out and cease to grow. Whether it’s due to over-plucking brows or simply becoming weak over the course of time when cells tend to become less hearty, many women begin to notice eyebrows as well as eyelashes starting to become less lush.
While Rogaine, laser, or Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy might not be the most appropriate treatments to address the delicate and small areas on our face, we have come across another option that has proved to be quite effective...and no it is not Latisse!
This new product that we are proud to be able to offer our patients is a serum created by Alphaeon. The practitioners at Medi Tresse chose this product very carefully in order to provide not only the most effective option, but one that leads to the most favorable results. Unlike Latisse, which can eventually cause lashes to grow in irregular and crooked directions, the Alphaeon serum promotes growth of thicker, darker, longer lashes that maintain their shape and aesthetic appeal. Results are typically noticed in as little as 8 weeks of daily application and can be used on both eyelashes and eyebrows!
If you’re interested in learning more about this product, get in touch with us or come by our office for an evaluation and learn how the Alphaeon serum can work for you!
Posted by Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy A Treatment Option for Alopecia Areata
Although Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) was originally studied with the intent to treat Androgenic Alopecia, or Female and Male Pattern Hair loss, the research just keeps getting better and better! There have been several very exciting studies showing that PRP is also useful to treat other kinds of Alopecia conditions, one of which is Alopecia Areata.
Alopecia Areata is considered to be an autoimmune reaction in the body that results in patchy loss of hair, typically on the head. At any time in life, most commonly starting in adulthood, a person with Alopecia Areata may start to see small circular areas of hair loss emerge. There may only be one area or several, but typically the area starts small and can become quite large in diameter. In most cases, this is temporary and hair will begin to regrow and fill in. Unfortunately, the event typically re-occurs, and the person experiences the loss all over again, often in different areas then before. It is also possible that hair will never grow back.
Up until recently, this type of hair loss was treated solely with steroids – both through injections into the area of loss in addition to topical creams. Unfortunately, this still is not a cure and strong steroids are needed to illicit a positive response. Using these steroids long-term is never a favorable choice. Long-term use of steroids in the scalp can lead to thinning and weakening of the skin, as well as rebound irritation or skin reactions. Furthermore, because of the nature of the condition, most patients have to return multiple times a year to get more treatments.
Fortunately, with new advances in research involving PRP, we can now confidently offer PRP as a treatment alternative to steroids for Alopecia Areata!
This is similar to how we use PRP to treat Female Pattern Hair loss; by encouraging healing of injured follicle cells, we also use it to facilitate repair of cells affected by Alopecia Areata. We recommend a series of 3 PRP treatments, however, in as little as a single treatment we can already see hair regrowth over the area(s) of loss much quicker than we would if steroids were used, without the long-term negative side effects! It is also thought that because this is a healing procedure, that PRP treatments can aid in decreasing the chances or number of re-occurrences of Alopecia Areata. It’s a win-win!!
Please, feel free to get in touch with us today to learn more about PRP and Alopecia Areata, or to schedule an appointment!
Posted by Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C
LaserCap® Company Receives FDA Clearance for LCPRO™ as a Women’s Hair Loss Treatment Device
At Medi Tresse, we take a lot of pride in being able to offer different types of female hair loss treatments to women throughout Boston and Wellesley. That's why we strive to give our patients as many options as possible. One of the best hair loss treatments available, and one we highly recommend, is Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). LLLT is an extremely effective non-surgical hair regrowth treatment for women’s hair loss. LLLT not only thickens existing hairs, but also increases the number of hairs in the growth phase. LLLT stimulates the hair follicle cells to grow in the scalp and increases cellular activity around the follicle. This also decreases inflammation so existing hairs can grow thicker and stronger. A 2014 randomized, double-blind (the gold standard of studies!) multicenter study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found that there was statistically significant improvement in hair density in the treatment group, and hair shafts were both more numerous as well as thicker in about 95% of the treatment group. LLLT is beneficial in the treatment of Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Traction Alopecia, and Telogen Effluvium.
While there are a number of LLLT products available on the market today, we wanted to share some news about the LCPRO™ by the LaserCap® Campany. The LaserCap® Company recently announced that they received FDA 510(k) clearance for their LCPRO laser cap as an effective women’s hair loss treatment. The LCPRO is a great option for patients that are interested in utilizing the effects of LLLT. The LCRPO is extremely easy to use, and it covers the entire scalp with even light distribution with 224 diodes. The recommended usage time of the LCPRO is between 10 to 30 minutes three times a week, however, since the device is hands free, it allows you to multi-task in the comfort of your own home while you are treating your hair.
If you are interested in finding out if the LCPRO™ would be an effective hair loss treatment for you set up a free consultation with our medical staff today.
Posted By The Medi Tresse Team
Recent News Stories About Hair Care Products Causing Hair Loss
You may have heard one of the many stories in the news recently about claims being made that certain hair care products are causing hair loss. Many of these products are sold to consumers with the promise to achieve thicker, stronger and more beautiful hair. From these news stories it can be very difficult to know for sure if these products are actually the source of the hair loss. It is always possible that these products had some form of irritant in them that could cause hair loss. There is also the possibility that a number of consumers who purchased these products were already suffering from hair loss, and purchased them hoping to stop their loss, but over time their loss has just continued. Regardless of the cause of the hair loss, these types of news stories highlight some important questions that we should be asking ourselves, what is in our hair care products, and could our hair care products cause hair loss?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes it is possible that your hair care product could be a cause of hair loss. So how can you avoid this, and what do you do if this happens to you? The answer is to be savvy about hair care. If you start using something that creates a change in the way your scalp feels for the worse; such as tingling, burning, itching, redness, or general irritation STOP USING IT! Your body (or more specifically, your follicles!) are telling you that this is not the good kind of stimulation, and that it may even be harmful. Do not ignore these signs thinking things like “pain is beauty” or “if it tingles that means it’s working”. Although there is a lot of research out there supporting the use of products free of harsh sulfates and parabens, we also need to be more in tune with our bodies as well. Certainly shampoos and hair products that are lacking in these proven harmful ingredients will more than likely be better for your follicles, it doesn’t mean you need to drop your Pantene and switch to Castor Oil and Avocados. I personally love more natural products that are free of chemicals, harsh sulfates, and parabens, but I also promote products that are aimed to treat hair loss, that are scientifically proven by good ol’ fashion clinical research, such as our Tricomin Products for female hair loss treatment. These products are specifically designed to treat the follicle and encourage hair regrowth.
Overall, if you think you may be experiencing hair thinning or loss, whether due to a new hair product, treatment, or styling technique, it is important to do a little investigating to see if you can find a direct correlation or cause. When in doubt, it is always recommended to seek an expert’s opinion to help identify any potential causes for what’s going on with your hair.
If you are curious to find out ways to prevent and or treat hair thinning or hair loss, get in touch with us, or come see our female hair loss treatment specialists here at Medi Tresse. We are dedicated to helping you preserve and promote growth of strong, healthy hair!
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Q&A with the Director of Clinical Services - Lacey Sellati, RN, PA-C
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your training?
Of course! So I am a Registered Nurse and a board-certified Physician Assistant. I graduated from Simmons School of Nursing and obtained my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Prior to joining Medi Tresse, I was the former owner of Eden Spa, a beauty and wellness spa in Brookline, Massachusetts. Early on in my PA career I developed a passion for treating patients that were struggling with hair loss. During my training I held a clerkship with Brigham and Women’s Dermatology Alopecia Clinic, as well as received hair loss-specific medical training with one of the leading hair regrowth and restoration clinics in New England. Through those experiences I established a specific interest in treating women who were experiencing hair thinning and loss so it was only natural for me to become a member of the Medi Tresse team.
What is a PA and what do they do?
Actually, a lot of patient’s are not very familiar with the role of the Physician Assistant (PA)! PAs are similar to Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in that we are considered mid-level practitioners. Like an NP, a PA is a nationally board certified and state-licensed medical professional.
PAs practice medicine as a part of a healthcare team that includes physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. Most PA training programs are approximately 3 years, have the same prerequisite courses as medical schools, and require students to have healthcare training and experience prior to attending.
In Massachusetts, a PA is able to be the primary care provider for patients and may be the sole practitioner a patient sees during their entire healthcare experience.
PAs meet with patients, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat medical conditions, order and interpret labs or tests, develop treatment plans, counsel patients, perform minor surgical procedures, write prescriptions, and follow a patient throughout the entirety of their care.
A PA will collaborate with their supervising physician regularly in order to provide the best treatment regimen for patients.
What led you towards being a PA that treats women’s hair loss?
Well, over the course of my training to become a PA I have developed a passion for hair loss, specifically in women. On multiple occasions I had the pleasure of witnessing the incredible potential of today’s medical technology to restore a women’s confidence through hair restoration and regrowth. Early in my clinical year, I sought out opportunities to work with hair loss patients. From the initial patient consultation, I had an immediate affinity for this area of medicine. It was fascinating and inspiring to take part in such innovative practices involving treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Also, I truly believe that medicine is about caring for people holistically. Creating a positive shift in a woman’s self perception by helping her feel more confident about her hair is a professional goal of mine.
What are your expectations for the future treatments for hair regrowth?
My hope is that there will be continued research towards finding new effective treatments to treat hair loss, in both men and women. Because there are often other reasons for which a women will experience hair loss that a man would not necessarily experience, I would hope there would be clinical advancements made towards studying women’s hair loss specifically.
Learning new hair loss treatments to stay on the cutting edge of surgical and non-surgical approaches is something that I am both excited by and dedicated to. Being a part of a leading hair loss practice puts me in a place where I will be able to apply new treatments if and when they become available. As with anything in medicine though, research takes time. However, there are new studies on the horizon; whether they involve a new medicine or a new procedure, so that is very encouraging!
Posted by your Medi Tresse Team