What about female hair loss?

I am an asian woman in my mid 30s. I've always had thin hair but in recent years, I noticed my front hair line is thinning even further. I've started using Rograine 5% foam less than a month ago. I am aware that the 2% is FDA approved for women however uptodate recommends 5%. What's your experience with women using topical minoxidil-short and long term. Thanks!

Female Hair Loss

I’m glad you asked this!  First of all, pretty much every woman (and some men) who have thinning hair or female hair loss and are premenopausal, need a medical evaluation by a dermatologist first.   Remember dermatology covers diseases of the skin, hair and nails.   Please don’t assume that hair loss is necessarily “male pattern,” especially if it starts on the younger side OR you really don’t have much of a family history of hair loss in your close family members.   It might be different if 3 brothers all started going bald in their 20s…….but even then women shouldn’t assume.

Also, even if it turns out that we have the gene for thinning hair as we age, and many of us do, there are often contributing factors that may be correctable and slow the process.   For example, if a woman has low total body iron stores (this is not the same as anemia) then the hair will start to fall out.   Total body iron stores are best measured by a blood ferritin level.

Just for other examples, thyroid function (whether low or high), can really impact hair growth.   Autoimmune diseases often impact hair growth and so does protein intake, and the disease celiac sprue……..and on and on.    And that’s not to mention specific diseases of the scalp like lichen plano pilaris and many others.

So…..please get a medical evaluation for female hair loss first, by a dermatologist, just to be sure.  You can also read an article here on SkinTour by my colleague Dr. Peter Goldman on Hair Loss, both female and male hair loss.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Female Hair Loss

Female Hair Loss

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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