Hair Loss and Aging for Women

Older woman sitting on park bench, thinking and smiling.Concern for one’s health is a natural reaction to hair loss, as losing hair is a symptom of several major and minor health conditions. However, many cases of alopecia (the medical term for hair loss) are simply a result of the natural aging process. Though most alopecia sufferers are male—up to 80% of men display signs of male pattern baldness by the time they reach 70— over half of women will experience hair loss at some point in their lives. By the time they reach age 50, 25% of women develop female pattern hair loss (FPHL), with that number more than doubling over the next three decades of their life.


In addition to the differences in the prevalence of alopecia in men and women, the type of hair loss differs based on the sufferer’s sex. While men’s hair loss tends to manifest in the form of receding hairlines and bald patches, women tend to experience an overall thinning of the hair and rarely see their condition progress to a state of total baldness.


Although hair loss in women is less likely to result in complete baldness, the condition still causes far greater psychological distress for women than male sufferers. For many women, hair carries significant meaning; more than just a part of their body, it is a symbol of beauty, sexuality, and femininity. Hair is an important part of their overall identity and how they express themselves in the world, and the loss or deterioration of this feature can have significant effects on a female sufferer’s self-esteem, body image, anxiety levels, and overall ability to function socially. This isn’t to say male sufferers aren’t affected emotionally by losing their hair; just under 30% of men suffering from alopecia report feeling “very-to-extremely upset” by their hair loss. However, society’s understanding of male pattern baldness and general acceptance of men with little to no hair often results in a less traumatic experience for the patient.


Unfortunately, most cases of hair loss that are related to aging in female patients is permanent if left untreated (the exception to this is hair loss triggered by menopause, which will often reverse itself after 6-24 months). However, there is a silver lining; so long as a physician has confirmed there is no other underlying condition causing the hair loss, FPHL is not dangerous and does not require treatment if the patient is comfortable with their appearance.


Because a woman’s hair is often so vital to her self-esteem and psychological well-being, many patients experiencing FPHL do seek out treatment to alleviate their symptoms. There are many options to treat hair loss, and choosing the right one is essential to obtaining the desired results. The internet is littered with ads for a variety of pills and creams that promise miraculous results, but these quick-fixes often end in disappointment for the consumer. The best course of action is to consult with a physician that specializes in hair loss and seek out treatments approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Minoxidil is the only medication approved by the FDA for FPHL and is available as a solution or foam that is applied directly to the scalp. Though not designed specifically for hair loss, other medications such as spironolactone or birth control pills may also be used if minoxidil is not effective.


Low-Level Light Therapy Treatment Process

Low-level light therapy (LLLT) is another treatment method that is preferred by many physicians and patients due to its ability to assist in hair regrowth with few or no side effects for the patient. With LLLT, lasers are used to penetrate the scalp and stimulate the follicle beneath, resulting in better cellular respiration and overall function. The use of light as the primary treatment component means this particular method is non-invasive and easy to administer. Traditionally, these treatments have been offered in the offices of hair restoration specialists and have required patients to visit their doctors to receive the treatment. The LaserCap® is a photomedicine device that eliminates the need for in-office LLLT treatments, as it provides the optimal laser light power and coverage for full scalp treatment in the form of a portable, east-to-use cap that can be worn in the comfort of your own home or while on-the-go. If you’d like to discuss the LaserCap® as a treatment option with a physician, find a LaserCap® doctor near you by using our online directory.


Though it can be difficult, it’s important to accept that hair loss frequently occurs with age. The prevalence of this issue, however, means there are an abundance of treatment and support options available to sufferers to help them be their most confident, beautiful self.


About LaserCap® Company – Transdermal Cap, Inc. was formed in 2006 by co-inventors Michael Rabin, MD and M.I.T.-trained optical physicist David Smith, PhD, in collaboration with Harvard-based photomedicine expert Michael Hamblin, PhD and internationally acclaimed hair restoration physician Robert Haber, MD, to develop innovative light-based devices for the Global Beauty & Health Industries. Its first commercial product is LaserCap® for women and men with thinning hair or at risk for thinning hair, a condition that affects up to 50% of adult women and 80% of adult men.  Patents pending, Copyright 2009 Transdermal Cap, Inc.