Although hair loss — which comes in many forms — is often considered a man’s issue, it also affects women, especially after pregnancy or during menopause. In fact, it’s estimated that one-third of women experience hair loss at some point in their lives!
Hair loss can be frustrating and stressful, even knocking your self-esteem. But, thankfully, hair transplant surgery can be a reliable and natural solution to restore your former locks.
We’ve taken a deep dive into the causes of female hair loss, hair transplant surgery to restore it, and answered some frequently asked questions to help you understand the procedure.
What is female hair loss?
Female hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia or female pattern balding, affects women of all ages. Women with the condition may notice hair falling out or thinning, possibly due to ageing stress or genetics.
Common causes of hair loss for women
From hormonal changes to genetics, there are several reasons why hair loss occurs in women. The most common include the following.
Genetics play a significant role in hair loss, so if women in your family have experienced it, it may explain why you are too. Female pattern baldness, for example, is a condition caused by genetic makeup and the level of male and female hormones in the body. This involves the hair follicles shrinking, causing the thinning of the parting. It usually begins after menopause when levels of oestrogen drop (Alopecia UK estimates 50% of women over 65 years old suffer from pattern baldness!)
Although you may initially experience more hair growth during pregnancy due to higher estrogen levels, once these return to normal after you've given birth, the extra hair gained may fall out. However, this is usually only temporary and regular growth rate will resume once your hormones have levelled out again.
Progesterone and estrogen encourage hair growth, so when these hormones decrease during menopause, some women may notice hair thinning or growing slower. Harvard Health estimates that two-thirds of post-menopausal women suffer from hair thinning or balding!
Chronic stress is one of the leading causes of hair loss as it causes the body to produce higher levels of the hormone cortisol to assist us in coping with difficult situations. Over time, this can suppress hair growth.
This isn't usually permanent, though, and once the stress has subsided, your hair should begin growing as usual. Meditation, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a good work-life balance are great ways to help reduce it.
Constantly wearing your hair in tight hairstyles like ponytails could be damaging your hair, as they can pull on the roots, causing hair loss or breakage over time. This condition is known as traction alopecia.
If you avoid hairstyles that tug on the hair, it should repair and grow back. However, if you continue styling this way, you may destroy the hair follicles, meaning natural regrowth isn't possible.
Vitamins like iron, biotin, and vinic play an important role in hair health, carrying essential nutrients to the hair follicles. Therefore, if you don't have enough in your body, the result may be hair loss, thinning or tired-looking hair. Ensuring you have foods in your diet that are rich in these vitamins will avoid this.
As protein makes up a large percentage of your hair, it's also crucial that you're getting enough in your diet to support healthy growth. Nuts, beans, chicken, and eggs are excellent protein sources.
Types of female hair loss
- Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) — The most common type of hair loss: female pattern baldness — also known as androgenetic alopecia — is usually hereditary. Unlike male pattern baldness, which usually causes the hair to recede from the front of the scalp, women with the condition may notice their hair receding from the parting.
- Alopecia areata — Alopecia areata is a disease which causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles, causing hair loss. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence estimates that 15 in 10,000 people in the UK suffer from alopecia areata.
- Traction alopecia — This condition is caused by the repeated pulling of the hair, resulting in hair breakage or falling out. Tight ponytails and slicked-back buns are usually the reason for this, but it can be caused by anything that tugs on the hair. If the hair follicles are destroyed, regrowth may not be possible.
- Telogen effluvium — Telogen effluvium is a temporary condition when healthy hairs are pushed into the resting phase of their growth cycle before falling out a few months later. Although the definite cause is unknown, stress, weight loss, infection, certain medications, and more are thought to be triggering factors. Hair usually regrows within six months after the shedding period.
Female hair transplants
Although some causes of hair loss, like stress and pregnancy, are often temporary, some genetic conditions, like female pattern baldness or menopause, may cause permanent hair loss. Hair transplant surgery offers a natural-looking solution to hair loss that can boost your confidence. And with a reputable clinic like FUE Clinics, the results are permanent!
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
FUE involves taking healthy hair follicles individually from the scalp (the donor area) using a precise instrument called a micro punch. Your surgeon will then make small incisions in the thinning or balding part of the scalp (the recipient area) before planting the individual hair follicles.
You'll be left with pin-point scars on the scalp, but these will be almost unnoticeable to the human eye.
Due to the lack of scarring, quicker healing time, and precision of the surgery, FUE is the more popular method.
Follicular Unit Transfer (FUT)
The difference between the two methods is how the grafts are extracted. FUT involves removing a thin strip of skin from the back of the head and extracting hairs directly from it. The follicles are then grafted in the same way as the FUE method.
You'll have a thin scar on the back of your head, which isn't usually noticeable unless you have very short hair.
Am I a candidate for a female hair transplant?
The best way to determine your suitability for the procedure is to book a hair transplant consultation with your chosen clinic so your surgeon can assess your situation. Factors like hair density, scalp flexibility, and the extent of your hair loss will be considered.
Unfortunately, hair transplants for alopecia areata don’t usually work; after the transplant, the immune system could still attack the newly planted hair follicles, causing them to fall out again permanently.
Frequently asked questions
Are female hair transplants successful?
Hair restoration surgery is a highly reliable procedure that can provide long-lasting, natural results for women experiencing hair loss. In fact, when performed by an expert hair transplant clinic (like FUE Clinics), success for suitable candidates is 100% guaranteed.
Can women have hair transplants for thin hair?
Yes — hair transplants are the perfect solution for thin hair, creating thicker, fuller-looking locks. Your surgeon can move healthy follicles from the donor area to thinning areas on your scalp.
Is a female hair transplant permanent?
As with all hair restoration surgeries performed by a reputable clinic, female hair transplants create results that last a lifetime. However, as you age, your hair may begin to naturally thin, but you'll never go back to the extent of hair loss you experienced before surgery.
Depending on your desired results, you may need a second hair transplant for a fuller finish or if your hair loss progresses in areas that haven't been transplanted.
Will I need to shave my head before a hair transplant?
Although shaving the whole head will make the procedure quicker and easier — allowing your surgeon to see the hair follicles to be extracted clearly — it isn’t necessarily required. Your surgeon may be able to shave just the donor area, but it’s best to speak about this before the procedure so you know what to expect.
How much does a female hair transplant cost in the UK?
The price of your hair transplant will depend on various factors, like your desired results, the extent of your hair loss, and the transplantation method you need. As every patient is different, a consultation with one of our experts will provide you with a more accurate price that’s bespoke to you.
You can also visit our pricing page for more information.
Choose FUE Clinics for your female hair transplant
FUE Clinics is here to assist if you’re considering a hair transplant to restore your thinning or balding hair. Our surgeons have years of experience and are committed to helping you understand the process.