Can a Dermatologist Help Women With Hair Loss?


While hair loss can be hard for men, hair loss in women can pose a significant psychological strain due to society’s expectations on how they appear. These days, however, a visit to a dermatologist can lead to a diagnosis that can help to treat and even reverse the condition.

Because of the importance placed on long, thick hair in women, some who experience hair loss can experience severe problems with self-esteem that affects their quality of life. Although hair loss in women doesn’t typically pose a risk to their physical health, many still find it worthwhile to visit a doctor that specializes in skin, hair and nails for help.

How Do Women Experience Hair Loss?

Somewhat like men, most hair loss in women occurs as female-pattern hair loss. That is, hair is lost in specific areas of the scalp and the hair that remains is more like the hair on a person’s arms or legs. The pattern of hair loss in women is different than men, however.

Most cases of hair loss in women are genetic in origin and can be inherited from either the mother or father.

While most men experience baldness as a receding hair line and bald spots, women typically experience a visible thinning across the crown. Both women and men experienced the shortened growth cycle in the areas of hair loss that create small and sparse remaining hairs.

Are There Other Causes of Hair Loss?

It is important to first distinguish between female-pattern hair loss and other, less common causes of hair loss. Your physician may want to check laboratory tests or before an examination or tests on your hair. Often, your physician will check hormonal levels and make sure there are no signs of autoimmune disease. Even stress can cause hair loss. Some of these less common causes of hair loss can be reversed with treatment, so it is important to have an evaluation before starting treatment.

Can Hair Loss in Women Be Treated?

The popular medication minoxidil 5% is the only topical medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for female-pattern hair loss. It can work for women as well as men, though it can sometimes cause the growth of facial hair. Although minoxidil is available without a prescription, seeking the advice of a dermatologist is still generally advised before starting.