Female Pattern Baldness (Alopecia) – Hair Loss Series 3

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For my final installment of the Hair Loss Series, I will be addressing female pattern baldness. Female pattern baldness, also known in the scientific world as Andogenetic Alopecia, is a type of hair loss caused by continual inflammation of the hair follicle and the conversion of testosterone to the molecule DHT (Source).


In females, this type of hair loss creates hair thinning along the crown or in the middle or back of the scalp (See figure 1).

(Figure 1) Stages of Female Pattern Baldness 

Female pattern baldness is a non-scarring type of alopecia, meaning there is less external damage to the scalp. There are two main treatments for female pattern baldness which I will cover. I will also offer some natural remedies that you can get started with right away.

Treatment One: Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a pharmaceutical drug that was first prescribed along with retinoic acid to treat Andogenetic Alopecia in 1986. Retinoic acid is believed to “increase the rate of hair growth and extend the hair cycle” (Sinclair). Minoxidil combined with retinoic acid is applied topically to encourage “denser hair regrowth” (Sinclair). Although it sounds promising, minoxidil and retinoic acid can cause adverse skin reactions. In a study with a 24 year old women suffering from female pattern baldness, this treatment caused “scaly erosions” on her scalp (Sinclair).

Side-effects also include “headaches, fluid retention, and dizziness” (Sinclair).

I think that this reaction could also have been caused by the chemical propylene glycol, which was added to the “base” of the drugs. Propylene glycol is a skin toxin used in anti-freeze products.

Treatment Two: Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto palm tree and berries

Saw palmetto is often viewed as a natural way to stop hair loss caused by female pattern baldness. Native of the West Indies, saw palmetto is a squat palm tree that is also grown in the United States. Saw palmetto is extracted from the palm tree’s berries for medicinal purposes. Once extracted, it can be purchased as a liquid extract or an herbal supplement. It may cause skin irritation if it is applied topically (Sinclair).

According to Healthline, “an extract of saw palmetto berries may block 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. DHT is the molecule responsible for hair loss.”

One study argues that the use of saw palmetto must be combined with anti-inflammatory acids (carnitine and thioctic acid) in order to be successful in treating Andogenetic Alopecia (Source).

Keep in mind that a side-effect of taking saw palmetto orally is a “risk of missing early detection of prostate cancer” (Source).

ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking any new supplement, herbal treatment, or pharmaceutical drug.

Natural Remedies for Female Pattern Baldness

  • Saw palmetto supplements (consult doctor first)
  • Reduce stress through exercise or by drinking herbal tea (stress is linked to inflammation which can cause hair loss)
  • Clean your scalp regularly using a mild shampoo like Black Soap

Consult your doctor about which steps you can take to help with Female Pattern Baldness.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Read More:
CCCA Alopecia - Hair Loss Series Part 1
Traction Alopecia - Hair Loss Series Part 2

Sources:
Sinclair, R. D., Mallari, R. S., & Tate, B. (2002). Sensitization to saw palmetto and minoxidil in separate topical extemporaneous treatments for androgenetic alopecia. Australasian Journal Of Dermatology, 43(4), 311-312. doi:10.1046/j.1440-0960.2002.00620.x
http://www.healthline.com/health/saw-palmetto-hair-loss#SawPalmetto4
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137880/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840915/
http://www.americanskin.org/resource/alopecia.php
Photo credits: renufem and maisonterre

3 comments:

  1. Hi
    Ive been suffering from female paternbaldness since early 30 but now its so severe Im struggling with maintaining a normal relationship with anyone due ti this how can I treat this naturally except using minoxidil

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  2. How do I treat female paternbaldness naturally

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    Replies
    1. Hi Denise, I would look into using Saw Palmetto. You can talk to your doctor about the best way to use this herb.

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