Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration - Hair Thinning in Women
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Thinning Hair Nightmare - Cosmopolitan Magazine - January 2014

A patient who visited Dr. Bernstein to learn about her hair loss authored an article on her experiences which appeared in the January 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. In an article titled, “Thinning Hair Nightmare,” the patient wrote about her struggle in coping with thinning hair, the taboo of talking about women’s hair loss, and ways in which she attempted to overcome these physical and emotional difficulties.

On visiting Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration:

I dialed up New York dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon Robert Bernstein, MD — I’d just seen him on Oprah talking about hair loss, so he had to be good — and booked an appointment.

Dr. Bernstein ordered a blood test to rule out common hair loss causes, like thyroid disorders and hormone abnormalities, and he made sure my diet and any medications weren’t to blame. Everything came back normal.

On the diagnosis of hair loss in women:

During a follow-up visit, the doc broke out a densitometer — a crazy flashlight-looking tool that measures the changes in diameter between hair — dove into my mane, resurfacing moments later with a diagnosis: mild androgenetic alopecia, aka female pattern hair loss (FPHL). “It’s the most common type of hair loss in women, affecting perhaps one-third of the adult female population,” he explained. It occurs when a woman’s hair follicles shrink in response to her body’s own hormones.

On the taboo of female hair loss:

In search of solutions, I turned to the blogosphere… While the topic of female hair loss feels taboo, here were thousands of women talking openly — not just about the physicality of the issue but also its psychological toll. […] Whenever any conversation turns to hair, I push myself to talk openly about my issue. I’m determined not to let this condition make me feel ashamed. With more than 30 million U.S. women affected by FPHL, we should find strength in our numbers.

Dr. Bernstein was the featured guest on the Doctor Oz Show, where they discussed women’s hair loss and how the subject is often, unfortunately, considered taboo.

Consultations for female hair loss patients

Video: watch Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Mehmet Oz discuss the taboo of female hair loss

View before & after hair transplant photos of some of our female patients

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Q: What is female androgenetic alopecia?

A: Female androgenetic alopecia, also called female pattern hair loss, is caused by the shrinking of susceptible hair follicles in response to normal levels of hormones (androgens). It is the most common type of hair loss in women, affecting perhaps 1/3 of the adult female population. It is seen as a general thinning over the entire scalp, but can also present in a more localized pattern i.e. just limited to the front and top. The condition is characterized by a gradual thinning and shortening (miniaturization) of individual hair follicles, rather than their complete loss and, although the condition tends to be progressive, it rarely leads to complete baldness.

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British Vogue Oct 2012 CoverHair transplantation for women is in vogue. As a pioneer in the surgical treatment for female hair loss, Dr. Bernstein was featured in an article in the ‘Beauty’ section of the October 2012 issue of British Vogue.

After describing a visit to Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration in New York City and giving readers a primer on hair transplant surgery, the article turns to Dr. Bernstein to describe the surge in popularity of the treatment of hair loss in women.

“A quarter of my consults are women. It was 10 per cent five years ago,” says Dr Bernstein. “These improved [hair transplant] techniques work especially well for female hair loss, where it is usually localised patches of thinning that need attention.” And while in the chair, you can even have your eyebrows boosted to Arizona Muse quality, too, if they’ve also taken an ageing hit.

Dr. Bernstein speaks to the difficulty of being a woman suffering from hair loss:

“This is life-changing. Bald men are commonplace, but to have less than a full head of hair for a woman can be isolating. Although there are more tricks women can use to disguise the problem.”

The article also discusses a variety of products and techniques to boost hair volume or camouflage hair loss. Among these are: Kérastase, Nicky Clarke’s ‘Tease Me’ powder, Viviscal Hair Nutrition, laser stimulation, Michaeljohn’s ‘Fine Hair Clinic’, and Touché by Flavien.

Reference
“Hold Onto Your Hair”, Vogue Magazine, October 2012; p375-6.

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Q: Is the hair transplant for women different from the one for men? Anything easier? Anything more difficult?

A: Women’s hairlines are far more complex than men’s as the hair in a women’s hairline often creates subtle swirls and directional changes. These must be mimicked in the surgical design for the hair transplant to look natural.

In women, we are more often working in and around existing hair, as most women that seek hair transplantation are thinning rather than bald. This slows down the graft insertion steps and makes the procedure take a bit longer compared to men.

Read more about hair loss in women or see before/after photos in our Women’s Hair Transplant Gallery.

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