The hair loss treatment industry is constantly evolving, thanks to new techniques, technologies, and approaches that are being discovered along the way. A lot of research has historically been poured into male hair loss, but not so much in female hair loss. Thankfully, that’s changing and now the female hair loss treatment industry is progressing at a fast clip.
Medi Tresse founder Dr. Mary Wendel hosts many informative webinars revolving around the female hair loss industry, and recently posted one entitled “What's New In the Treatment of Female Hair Loss Heading into 2023?”. We’d like to share some of those new or updated treatments with you today.
Intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) has been found in trial studies to relax the muscles and increase blood flow in a balding scalp, says the NIH. Botox has been used to treat androgenic alopecia, a common form of hair loss in men and women, known as male pattern baldness in men and female pattern hair loss in women. In recent studies, 75 percent of patients saw improvement, with improved hair counts of 18 to 20 percent.
However, here at Medi Tresse, we have only used Botox on patients that have trichotillomania, which is when people pull out their hair on their head or in other places, such as their eyelashes or eyebrows.
In general, there are some drawbacks to consider about Botox injections for any kind of hair loss. The studies so far have been performed on men only, with small numbers of participants. No studies have been done in the United States, and the duration of the benefits are unknown. More randomized controlled trials need to be done on both men and women before considering this treatment.
Polydioxanone (PDO) threads for hair growth is another potential new treatment for female hair loss. These are FDA-cleared, absorbable sutures that have been used for several years in the field of facial rejuvenation. These threads are injected into the face to stimulate collagen and elastin production to result in skin tightening and lifting. The suture then dissolves quickly on its own.
When it comes to using PDO threads for hair growth, they are injected into the scalp and then the inflammatory reaction stimulates new cell growth.
However, there haven’t been many studies done on this and the results that are out there are mostly anecdotal. There has been one randomized controlled trial that revealed significant improvements in hair thickness and hair loss rates as compared with the placebo group. The results last up to a year, and only one treatment is needed.
These are extracellular sacs of fluid that contain proteins, RNA, DNA, lipids and metabolites that communicate between cells. Exosomes from stem cells in bone marrow, placenta cells, umbilical cells and fat tissue contain growth factors that stimulate new hair growth when injected into the scalp. While initial results seem promising, further studies and clinical trials are required.
As exosomes are not FDA-approved for human use, we do not currently recommend them or use them at our offices.
Topical medications such as minoxidil have long been used in the treatment of hair loss, but there are oral versions as well. While results aren’t significantly better than topical treatments, the oral medications are often preferred by women who feel they will be more compliant with a once-daily pill instead of a once-daily topical. Oral minoxidil is rarely used as a monotherapy, and best results are typically seen when combined with Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy.
Several studies have been done on the efficacy of oral minoxidil for hair loss in women. In low doses, it has been deemed a safe alternative to topical minoxidil, which typically has a low compliance rate due to the frequency with which patients must apply the product and some over-the-counter versions can cause scalp irritation.
Finasteride and Spironolactone are other possible medications to use for female hair loss.
Spironolactone, a class of medications called aldosterone receptor antagonists, is available in tablet form. Like Finasteride, it decreases the production of hormones contributing to androgenetic alopecia. While it is FDA-approved for treatment of fluid retention caused by liver and kidney disease, it is not yet approved for female pattern hair loss due to alopecia – a type of hair loss associated with the overproduction of male sex hormones.
Spironolactone is sometimes prescribed when other treatments, mainly minoxidil, do not work. However, Dr. Wendel does not prescribe this for post-menopausal women. This is because their testosterone levels are already low and there is a risk of side effects with high-dose diuretics.
Finasteride is a class of medications known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. It treats receding hairlines or balding in men by blocking male hormone production in the scalp that prevents hair growth. It’s taken once a day as a tablet and could take up to six months to improve.
Higher doses are usually required in women and results are usually not quite as dramatic as those seen in men. Finasteride would only be recommended for women who have no chance of pregnancy, as it can cause serious birth defects. It also cannot be used in women with a personal or family history of breast cancer or BRCA gene positivity.
This continues to be an exciting time in the treatment of hair loss with new studies to help women regain their confidence. Stay tuned for updates in the future on potential new treatments.
There’s never been a better time to take advantage of the latest technologies in female hair loss treatments. As your female hair loss medical experts, Medi Tresse can connect you with the right treatments. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule your consultation now at the location of your choice.