What Causes Receding Hair in Women?

Ladies, if you're stressing over thinning tresses, some new research might help with some hair-saving answers.

Female pattern baldness affects 38 percent of women by age 70. Twenty-one million women in the U.S. have some degree of female pattern baldness.

"Thinning hair is no laughing matter for anyone, but it probably bothers women most. There might be new hope.  Research pinpoints a new cause of receding hair in women," said Dr. Bruce Hensel.

Years of progressive hair loss started dictating Jacquelene Toma's hairstyle.

"It's mostly in the front, that's why I've always worn bangs. I have to part my hair to the side. It's all, you know, in this area here," Toma said.

Tests ruled out hormone and thyroid problems, but her dermatologist pinpointed a newly identified culprit.

"A number of women who have diffuse hair loss will have some low-grade inflammation in their scalp. And then they will develop proteins called antibodies that will interact and actually destroy their hair follicles," said Dr. Neil Sadick.

Sadick discovered the inflammation and antibody connection while testing women's scalp biopsies for signs of lupus, which can also cause hair loss.

"This new finding, again, is not lupus, but a low-grade inflammation that can be associated with hair loss in a significant number of female individuals," said Sadick.

Although antibodies are a bad sign, all is not lost. Some hairs in a waiting stage can be saved with the right treatment.

"In these women that have this so-called inflammation, or again, reaction with antibodies, we're also introducing anti-inflammatory medications, like topical steroid lotions," Sadick said.

Topical steroids, along with specialized hair products, may help these women maintain what they've got.

"Moving those hairs back to the growing phase, we can significantly alter the cause of female pattern hair loss, in my opinion," Sadick said.

"Dr. Sadick's research is very new and the findings are just being submitted to a peer-reviewed dermatology journal for future publication. Because the research is so new, his office in New York is the only place you can request the biopsies needed to diagnose the inflammation and antibody condition," Hensel said.

For general information on hair loss:
American Academy of Dermatology, http://www.aad.org
International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, http://www.ishrs.org

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