Many things can cause women to lose more hair than normal: genetics, illness, stress, and even what you eat. The first step is to work with your doctor to find out what's causing the problem. There may be treatments that can help restore your locks.
Minoxidil: No Prescription Needed
Pros: Minoxidil ( Rogaine, Ronoxidil) can stop hairs from getting thinner. It also can help some women regrow hair on the top of their head, says Paradi Mirmirani, MD. She's a dermatologist with the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif.. “Very good studies show that it’s effective and gets the hair root or follicle to become larger.”
Minoxidil 5% is considered safe for most women, and you can buy it without a prescription. It's the only hair loss treatment for women approved by the FDA. You put it on your scalp once daily. A 3-month supply is about $50.
Cons: It doesn’t work for everybody. “About half of the people who use it do well and see new hair growth,” says Mirmirani. “Another 40% or so hold steady, not growing new hair but not losing more either. And about 10% find that it doesn’t help at all.”
Regrowth can take a while. It may be 12 weeks or longer before new hair starts growing, says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD. She's a clinical instructor in dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a dermatologist who specializes in hair loss. She suggests using Minoxidil for 6 months and seeing what happens.
The most common side effect is scalp irritation. Some women may have unwanted hair growth on their forehead or face. The other downside: You have to keep using it or your hair will start thinning again.