Though more men suffer from hair loss (which is often caused by an overloaded presence of a male hormone in the scalp, and so, obviously, more common among men), women suffer worse. That’s probably because women’s hair has been elevated, over centuries of painting, sculpture, tradition and other forms of representation, into part of the symbolic set of items representing womanhood – beauty, fertility and purity. For a woman to lose her hair, though actually no more or less serious than for a man has become seen, in the eyes of society, as an ultimate de-womanising event. An ailment, almost. Female hair loss is the cause of much pain and embarrassment – needlessly, but true nonetheless.
Previous types of hair treatment haven’t really stepped up to the mark, as far as women are concerned. Even expensive wigs right up to the end of the 20th century still looked like wigs: and actual hair replacement, even as little as 20 years ago, was so unlikely to look natural it almost wasn’t worth it. Hair replacement was, then, done by removing whole strips of skin and hair from one part of the body and grafting them onto the bald area – with a result that usually looked as though the patient was wearing a wig. Why? Because even this relatively sophisticated method of hair loss treatment (the hair, at least, was fairly likely to stay in) couldn’t, and didn’t, take into account the natural grains of hair growth – the directions in which the follicles in the bald area should naturally be pointing.
The newest method of hair replacement – Follicular Transfer, or FT – works a lot better than anything that has been before it, because it works precisely on the principle of individual hair growth direction. In FT, single hairs are injected back into the bald area. The hairs are chosen specifically because their natural growth direction, in the site from whence they are plucked, is the same, or as near the same as can be, to the natural growth direction of the missing hair in the bald area. This method of hair loss treatment has already proved astonishingly successful, promoting natural looking hair growth in treated areas. That’s great news for women – who, for the first time, have a chance to get a real, workable hair replacement treatment: one that doesn’t make them look like they’ve had a wig stuck to their head.
Hair loss, then, may have been around for centuries: but, finally, mankind is able to fight back. Modern treatments are proving efficacious in ways that have never been seen before.