In the Uk around 40% of men will suffer from visible hair loss by age 40, rising to 50% by age 50 while for women, although the process may not be so dramatic, it is estimated that some 40-50% will have visibly thinning hair by age 50. While many in the UK will investigate the causes and possible remedies for hair loss, it has been noted that many men affected will not seek any remedy and that women are far more likely to seek treatment – including hair transplant surgery – for the problem.
Most cases of hair loss in men and women are due to either the genetic condition androgenic alopecia (commonly known as male or female pattern baldness) or alopecia areatas which can be caused by stress, chemical exposure or illness. it is important for men and women suffering from hair loss to seek a diagnosis as the treatments for these two most commonly diagnosed causes are very different. With male or female pattern baldness, it is the body’s own sensitivity to levels of the male hormone testosterone that causes the hair follicles to shrink and eventually die in parts of the scalp which means that besides hormone treatments for women, the only real options for both sexes are early non-surgical treatments such as Minoxidil or surgical procedures such as hair transplantation.
Worldwide the number of hair loss sufferers seeking hair transplant surgery increased by 34% between the years 2004 and 2006 with the ages of patients decreasing from those in their 40s and 50s to those in their 30s (ISRS) with around 31.4% of male and 26.4% of female hair transplant patients belonging to this group.
So why are hair restoration procedures, such as hair transplant surgery, seeing such a big increase in global uptake? One major reason is certainly the advances in surgical techniques such as follicular unit extraction which provides both an increased number of transplantable follicles and a more intricate method of transplantation leading to little or no visible scarring – so much so that hair transplant surgery is now being viewed by many hair restoration specialists as a minor skin surgery procedure.
Another reason could be that younger hair loss sufferers wish to see an end to worrying about the appearance of their hair and are seeking a permanent solution earlier. The figures by gender also show that women are tending to be far more proactive than their male counterparts perhaps because hair loss in women tends to be more socially stigmatised.