Difference in male and female hair loss
Men and women are very similar but also very different. This is true with hair loss as well. The most common cause of hair loss in men and women is called androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia is most commonly known as male or female pattern baldness. This type of hair loss typically follows the same pattern and is caused by a hormone known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone). For men, the hormone is a conversion of testosterone. For women, it is a conversion of estrogen. The hairs on the top of the scalp are the follicles that are affected by the DHT and will fall out.
The similarities end there though, and the differences between how men and women lose hair mean that we need a completely different strategy to treat each person’s hair loss.
Difference in Female and Male Hair Transplants
Since men and women’s hair loss patterns differ, their hair transplant is done differently.
Male Hair Transplants: Even though a male may consider himself as well prepared for a hair fall treatment or hair transplant he may still require a hair transplant surgeon. The hair specialist will first make an evaluation of his hair loss progression and whether it has run its course. If a patient is in a hurry to get a hair surgery, before hair loss has even happened, it is possible he will gain a restored hairline while a bald spot at the centre of his head will emerge later.
The male hair transplant procedure usually proceeds by extracting grafts from the back of the head, which tends to be unaffected by hair loss. Your surgeon will employ Follicular Unit Transfer, which removes a piece of scalp with the donor grafts and transplants it to the bald area.
Female Hair Transplants: Since females losing their hair will suffer that loss on other parts of their scalp, their transplant process is different. Hair follicles cannot be harvested from the back of a woman’s head since this area tends to be predisposed to thinning hair. Hair removed from such an area and transplanted would just fall out.
Also, since women tend to keep their frontal hairlines but suffer thinning hair loss in the centre of their scalps, their hair transplants are primarily seeking to restore their hair volume, rather than frame their faces. As in the case of a female hair transplant, your surgeon will employ the Follicular Unit Transfer technique.
When should men and women consider hair transplantation?
In male pattern baldness, the sides and backs still have enough hair. Men who have this balding issue with patterned baldness usually have successful hair transplant surgery. The donor hair from the back of the scalp survives the procedure and continues to grow in the area it is transplanted on the scalp.
DHT is the main thing responsible for the balding pattern on the top of men’s heads. DHT, however, does not have any harmful effect on the hair follicle on the sides and back of the head. Typically, these areas of the head have healthy hair follicles, and the hair in these areas is excellent for use in hair transplant surgery. Referred to as stable sites, the hair follicles in these areas don’t shrink or affected by DHT.
Women, on the other hand, typically don’t have these stable sites wherein balding-resistant hair follicles can be found. Unlike men, women are likely to go bald not just on the top of their head but also on the sides, back and front. All areas of a woman’s head are affected by DHT.
This makes women not good candidates for hair transplant surgery. Since the hair follicles in basically all areas of a woman’s head are affected by DHT, any attempt to move them to the balding areas of the head is futile; the transplanted hair is simply going to fall out. Since the hair follicle is already damaged by the DHT in the first place, transplanting them to the balding area on the head is not going to solve the problem of baldness.
Note also that unlike men, women typically don’t have to deal with receding hairlines. Instead, baldness in women occurs in a more diffuse manner, with uniformly thinning all over the head. In the case of female pattern baldness, the problem is more of how much hair is left on the head than where the baldness is occurring.
That said, a small percentage of women (approximately 5%) with baldness problems that can benefit from hair transplant surgery. These women tend to have areas (donor sites) in their head that have healthy hair follicles.