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What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

Hair loss can be hard for anyone to deal with, but for women, who are often told that their hair is their crowning glory, it can be particularly devastating to come to terms with. Although it’s an issue that tends to be more associated with men, female hair loss is actually very common, with 4 out of every 10 women experiencing some degree of hair loss throughout their lifetime.

There are many potential triggers for hair loss in women, which can be difficult to identify. We have identified some of the most common causes of female hair loss, and how to handle them.

 

Hormones

 

Hair loss is common in women during menopause, due to the reduced levels of progesterone and oestrogen. These hormones help the hair to grow faster and also keep them on the head for longer, so when the production of the hormones slows, hair growth also begins to slow. It can be treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), although not all women are suitable candidates for this.

Hormonal changes are also the root cause behind postnatal hair loss. During pregnancy, the surge of oestrogen means that many women notice their hair looking significantly thicker than before. It affects the hair cycle, making the growth stage last longer than usual. However, after giving birth, the hair cycle returns to normal – meaning that some women, they will notice they are shedding far more hair than they usually would. Thankfully, this should settle down a few months postpartum.

 

Weight Loss

 

In some women, weight loss can cause an unpleasant side effect – hair loss. This can sometimes be due to nutritional deficiencies as the diet is being restricted. When the body is only taking in a certain number of vitamins, it makes sure it uses them where they are needed most, meaning it neglects non-vital processes like hair growth. In particular, a lack of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin D has been linked to hair loss, so make sure that you are eating a nutritious, balanced diet.

 

Tight Hairstyles

 

Traction alopecia is caused by hairstyles that repeatedly pull on the hair over a period of time, causing thinning and bald patches on the scalp. Some of the hairstyles associated with traction alopecia are tight buns, ponytails, and braids, as well as hair extensions. Although it’s most common in women of Afro-Caribbean origin, anyone can develop traction alopecia.

In most cases, traction alopecia is reversible and can be cured by wearing the hair down when possible, tying hair more loosely and wearing it in different styles to avoid pressure on a particular area of the scalp. However, in more severe cases, the damage to the scalp can be permanent. In these instances, hair transplants can be an option for any woman who are struggling with the effects of traction alopecia.

 

Genetics

 

Female pattern baldness – also known as Androgenetic Alopecia – is a genetic type of hair loss, which is usually inherited from one or both parents. Although it is more common as women age, particularly after menopause, hair loss can start to present at a younger age. Women are less likely than men to go completely bald, although they do tend to lose hair from all over the head.

Although female pattern baldness isn’t curable, it is usually treatable. There are treatments available to help slow down hair loss, but hair transplants are the only permanent solution to help bring your hair back to its former glory.

 

If you’re worried about hair loss, arrange a consultation today with our expert surgeon, Dr Asim Shahmalak, to find out your best course of treatment for female hair loss.

Our Surgeon

Dr. Asim Shahmalak

Dr Asim Shahmalak is a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon who performed the UK’s first eyelash transplant in 2009. He runs Crown Clinic – one of Britain’s most successful and best known hair transplant clinics. He has treated a number of high-profile industry leaders and celebrities including the medical broadcaster Dr Christian Jessen, best known for Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies.

Expert hair transplant surgery by Dr Shahmalak

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One question we hear a lot from our patients is if they can go on holiday after their hair transplant. As looking overseas for cut-price transplants has become more popular in recent years, many clinics try to reel in potential patients with the promise of sun, sea and sand straight after their surgery.
However, if you have had an FUE or FUT hair transplant, good aftercare is crucial to ensure that you get the best results from your surgery and, surprisingly, the sun and sea can do more harm than good if you don’t follow the necessary precautions.

Can I sunbathe following a hair transplant?

Unfortunately for any sun-seekers out there, we advise against sunbathing for the first few weeks after a hair transplant, for several reasons.
After an FUE or FUT hair transplant, your scalp will have surgical incisions that need time to heal. Exposing the incisions to sunlight can hinder the healing process and damage the deeper layers of the scalp tissue, potentially leading to scarring and damaged follicles.

Your scalp also may feel slightly numb after your surgery, meaning that if your scalp starts to burn under the sun’s harmful rays, you might not notice in time to protect yourself from sunburn. Although it is unlikely to impact the long-term results of your surgery, it can be painful and slow down the recovery process.

If you must sit in the sun, wear a loose sun hat that doesn’t rub against your scalp too much, and, once the incisions have healed, use sunscreen on your scalp to protect your skin.

Will sweating affect my hair transplant?

If you are planning on jetting off to sunnier climes, the hot weather will also cause you to sweat more. Just after a hair transplant, your scalp is more sensitive than usual, so perspiration can irritate the scalp and hair follicles. Sweating can cause a build-up of bacteria on the skin, potentially leading to infections.
To help keep cool, make sure you stay in the shade whenever possible and avoid any strenuous activities that can lead to increased perspiration, such as running, for around a week after your surgery.

Keeping your scalp clean can lower your risk of infection, so you can start washing your hair again 48 hours after your transplant, using lukewarm water and being careful not to rub your scalp. Steer clear of power showers for the first few days post-surgery, as the pressure of the water can cause irritation.

 

Get in touch with Crown Clinic to find out more about hair transplants

Can I go swimming after hair transplant surgery?

The first thing many of us want to do on our holidays is to take a dip in the pool, of course, people want to know if you can swim with a hair transplant. However, chlorine is notorious for drying out your hair, making it more brittle and fragile. To avoid any potential damage to your new grafts, wait until your scalp is healed before exposing it to unnecessary chemicals.

Salt water may be healing, but unfortunately, there is no way to be sure how clean the ocean is or what pollutants may be lurking in the water, so swimming in the sea during the healing process is also not advised. Everyone heals at different rates, but for the first two weeks post-surgery, it’s better to be too cautious!

Can I wear a hat after a hair transplant?

After a hair transplant, you need to treat your scalp and the hair carefully, so it is important to avoid any kind of tight-fitting cap until after the grafts have been taken properly. Most would recommend that you wait at least 10 days before wearing any fitted caps or hats.

If being in the sun is unavoidable after your transplant, wear a loose sun hat or fishing hat that won’t rub against your scalp to allow the incisions to heal properly. If you have any concerns, make sure to contact us directly and talk about them when proper aftercare is discussed.

How long should I wait to go on holiday after my hair transplant?

Ultimately, it is at the patient’s discretion if they choose to go on holiday immediately after hair transplant surgery, but many of the indulgences that come with going abroad can potentially compromise the results of your hair transplant.

It may feel like an inconvenience when you would rather be sitting in the sun but following medical advice will give you the best chance to heal. Your new head of hair will be worth it!

To find out more about hair transplants and what your options are, get in touch with Crown Clinic to book your consultation with Dr Shahmalak.

After undergoing FUT or FUE hair transplant surgery, you may be eager to get back to your day-to-day life as soon as possible, but it’s important that you don’t rush into anything that may affect your recovery. Exercise is undoubtedly very important to our overall health, but in the short term, your post-surgical recovery should be your main priority.

Both FUE surgery (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT surgery (Follicular Unit Transplantation) involve hair follicles is taken from a donor area at the back of the scalp and transplanted to areas that have been affected by hair loss. After the surgery, the newly transplanted hair grafts will need to be looked after correctly to ensure that the scalp can heal – so how long should you wait before exercising after a hair transplant?

What are the risks of exercising after a hair transplant?

The reason why it’s recommended that you avoid exercise soon after surgery is to protect your new hair grafts and reduce the risk of infections, to help promote healthy hair growth. Some of the potential issues associated with exercising after a transplant include:

  • Sweating – Sweating is unlikely to affect the results of your hair transplant but after surgery, the scalp can be very sensitive, and sweating can cause irritation. It can also potentially lead to infections around the surgical sites.
  • Stretching – Some types of exercise, such as sit-ups, can stretch and strain the back of the neck. If you have undergone FUT surgery, this is a particular risk, as the scar on the donor site will still be healing. The stitches may tear, which can lead to bleeding.
  • Blood pressure – Strenuous exercise increases your heart rate which, in turn, will raise your blood pressure. Increased blood flow to the scalp can lead to swelling and potentially bleeding.
  • Head injury  – Contact sports, such as rugby or boxing, put patients at a higher risk of head injury, which can damage the hair follicles and have an adverse effect on the outcome of your hair transplant.

 

Get a free consultation from Crown Clinic

 

When can I start exercising again after hair transplant surgery?

If you have had FUE surgery, you should be able to resume exercise as normal after two weeks, but it’s better to err on the side of caution and ease yourself back into it gently. For those patients who have undergone FUT surgery, you should generally wait around a month before returning to your normal exercise routine.

In the first 1-3 days after surgery, exercise should be kept to an absolute minimum – if possible, you should even avoid walking anywhere. During those first few days post-transplant, you should allow yourself to take things easy.

After the first week or so, you can start to re-introduce gentle exercise, such as walking. For the time being, avoid any type of exercise that will raise your heart rate or cause sweating.

For contact sports and weight training, four weeks post-surgery will usually be an acceptable time to start participating again. You can also start swimming again around this point, as the scalp will have healed enough for the risk of infection to be reduced.

It’s worth noting that everyone heals at different rates, so although there are general guidelines on when you can start exercising again after your transplant, it’s different for everyone, so make sure to speak to your doctor to discuss what is best for you.

Hair transplants – where hair from the back of the scalp is extracted and transplanted in balding areas – may be a well-known or even commonplace procedure nowadays, but did you know that body hair transplants are also possible? 

Body hair transplants are certainly a lesser-known procedure, but still one that can be viable for the right candidate – here’s what you should know. 

How do body hair transplants work? 

Body hair transplants work in a very similar way to traditional hair transplants, except that hair is extracted from – you guessed it – donor sites on the body. Patients seeking this type of transplant have typically undergone several hair transplants already and exhausted their supply of donor hair on their scalp. However, for some patients, a body hair transplant is a preferable option if they have naturally thin, patchy hair or if they have acquired a scalp injury that impacts the typical donor areas.

Generally, donor areas for body hair transplants are the abdomen, chest and back. Hair follicles on the arms and legs may be in abundant supply, but the hairs tend to be too fine to use on the scalp. 

The body hair transplant process itself closely mirrors traditional hair transplants. The donor area is shaved before the surgery, and during the procedure the hairs are extracted from the donor area under local anaesthetic, before being transplanted into the thinning areas of the scalp. The length of the procedure depends on how many grafts are needed and the recovery process is comparable to standard hair transplants. 

Can hair be transplanted from the head to the body? 

Body hair transplants can work the other way around, where hairs from the scalp are transplanted in other areas of the body. A common example of this is eyebrow transplants, but head hair can be transplanted in other areas such as the chest or pubic region. Although a less common form of surgery, it can be an option for people who have lost body hair through genetic or external factors such as chemotherapy or injury. 

What are the results of body hair transplants? 

It’s worth noting that often body hair transplants do have a lower success rate than typical hair transplants, partially due to the lower levels of compatibility between the hairs on the head and the hairs on the body and the different structures of the hairs. However, during your consultation you will be able to discuss any potential issues with your surgeon. 

To find out more about body hair transplants and to find out if you may be a suitable candidate for the surgery, get in touch with Crown Clinic.