According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, since 2004, the number of female surgical hair restoration patients worldwide increased 24 percent. Modern surgical hair restoration procedures such as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) allow surgeons to take hair from the back of the head (genetically permanent hair zone) and transplant it to the areas where balding has occurred. The reason why the hair does not fall out once transplanted in its new location is because those hair follicles take on the same characteristics as the hair in the area where it originated, the genetically permanent zone. Both approaches result in lasting outcomes. In order to know if you are a candidate, Dr. Yaker will go over your medical history and examine your hair and scalp. He will determine if you have ample, good quality hair in the permanent hair zone in order to be able to relocate those hair follicles to the areas of hair loss.
Reproductive hormone changes can also play a part, and dermatologists believe the same factors that cause hair loss from the scalp, a common problem for women as they age, may contribute to thinning brows. Nanette Santoro, M.D., ob/gyn and professor of reproductive endocrinology at the University of Colorado at Denver, says, “Abrupt hormone changes can cause sudden hair loss (telogen effluvium) that recovers over about six months' time. It happens postpartum to many women and can happen at menopause.”
Skin infections can cause hair loss at the affected area. One of the more common causes is a fungal infection of the skin, also sometimes referred to as a ringworm. Eyebrow fungus is more likely to be related to a scalp fungus (tinea capitis) and both areas are often affected at the same time. A bacterial infection is another possible cause. Folliculitis for example is a condition where the hair follicle becomes infected usually with bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. Eventually this can lead to loss of the hair in the infected follicle.
Around 30 million U.S. women will experience hereditary hair loss, or female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), while others will struggle with situational hair loss, brought on by medical conditions, medications, poor health and nutrition, environmental factors such as smoking and sun damage, or even from adverse reactions to hair care products or treatments.
Insulin regulation is also a big factor in hair health, as an imbalance can lead to various hormonal effects. Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which effects fat storage and hormone balance. Fat storage and hormone balance play a role in hair growth because fat storages will secrete excess estrogen in the body, and can desensitize hormone signals.
The dermatologist also will carefully look at your scalp and hair. During an exam, the dermatologist may pull on your hair. Sometimes a dermatologist needs to pull out a hair to get the necessary evidence. And sometimes a dermatologist needs to look at the hair on the rest of your body to see whether there is too little or too much hair in other areas.
MICHAEL REED, MD: Over-the-counter minoxidil, which is the brand Rogaine, is FDA approved. It's been shown to be effective in scientific studies. Propecia is the new drug on the block, and that probably is more effective. It's a pill that you take once a day, and that has been shown to slow down hair loss and grow hair in a significant number of individuals. Most of the other preparations that are heavily advertised or marketed are not proven to be effective.