30% of women over 45 can suffer hair loss – like Helena Bonham Carter

There was considerable media interest in new pictures of the actress Helena Bonham Carter showing the early signs of thinning hair. You can read the piece here and see some of the pictures on this page here.

We thought it would be interesting to get the thoughts of Crown Clinic‘s surgeon Asim Shahmalak who said that around 30% of women over the age of 45 will suffer from female hair loss – similar problems to Helena.

Dr Shahmalak, hair loss expert on the Channel 4 medical show Embarrassing Bodies, said that Helena was thinning around the crown and the mid-scalp.
He said: “Helena is 49 and this kind of hair loss is not uncommon in women from their mid-40s onwards. Around 30% of women will suffer some kind of hair loss at some point in their lives, although it is not always permanent.
“Obviously Helena’s hair loss looks far worse because she has been pictured with her hair unkempt and with her roots showing noticeable greying. But she is definitely showing the early signs of hair loss and mild thinning in key areas.
“This kind of hair loss can have a devastating effect on women from middle-age onwards. It can severely dent their confidence and self-esteem. People expect men to suffer hair loss but not women.
“Obviously women have more hair to play with and can find clever ways to disguise their hair loss. Helena’s hair is quite thick away from her crown and mid-scalp and a good stylist could easily give the impression that she has a full head of hair.
“She could also opt for extensions which would give her fuller hair and also compensate for her hair loss in key areas of her scalp.
“Some women opt for hair pieces, though this would be inappropriate in Helena’s case where the hair loss is still quite mild.”
Around 10% of Crown Clinic’s patients are women and many opt for full hair transplants to cover up their hair loss. This is where hair is taken from the back or side of the scalp and transplanted into the balding areas.
Dr  Shahmalak said: “More women are taking this option – seeking the same type of treatment as men like Wayne Rooney and Calum Best who have both had transplants. It offers a permanent solution to the problem.”
Dr Shahmalak said that female hair loss was particularly common in post-menopausal woman.
He said: “It does become particularly pronounced in women over the age 45. Sufferers can get to the bottom of what is causing their hair loss by taking some simple blood tests.
“The psychological trauma of hair loss can be far worse for women than men. Men can cover up their baldness by simply shaving their head but women often need more involving strategies.”
Dr Shahmalak has also pioneered new treatment for female patients such as eyelash and eyebrow transplants. He conducted the first eyelash transplant in the UK – on a young woman from Greater Manchester.