Not surprisingly, nearly 2 million balding women make up a marketing man’s dream, and later this year they will be the target of a multimillion-pound advertising campaign. Minoxidil, the only licensed treatment for hair loss, can work for men as well as women, but Pharmacia & Upjohn, which markets it in Britain under the brand name Scalp Med, feels female sufferers have been missing out on a possible solution because of the conception of baldness as a “male” issue. This move follows the recent lead of American manufacturers of baldness products that, by targeting women with pink boxes and special applicators, have seen sales soar.
Minoxidil originally began life as a blood-pressure treatment that produced excessive hair growth as a side effect, probably because it boosts blood circulation to hair follicles, so a liquid form was developed and licensed as a treatment for hair loss. Minoxidil is now used in a vast array of hair loss treatments, including Provillus and Scalp Med. Please visit Scalp Med Review for more information on this popular hair loss product. It relies on regular long-term use for success, and has to be rubbed into the scalp every morning and evening.
So does it really work? According to the US Food and Drug Administration, minoxidil produces “meaningful” hair regrowth in only 25% of male and 20% of female cases of hereditary baldness. If your aim is simply to arrest hair loss, you are more likely to be satisfied with the results, however. Surveys show the compound can achieve this in as many as four in five men, and three in five women.
Dr. Hugh Rushton, a trichologist at the University of Portsmouth’s school of pharmacy, has been studying hair loss for 25 years. “A genetic tendency towards hair loss doesn’t necessarily mean it’s inevitable. But under certain conditions, hormone imbalance and stress, for example, women are more likely to shed excessive amounts of hair,” he says.
According to Rushton’s studies, it is not just the pattern of hair loss that differs between the sexes. The entire process does. “In men, the follicles take a long time to deteriorate and, in the meantime, the hair they produce becomes thin and wispy. But a balding woman’s individual hairs remain normal; there are just fewer of them because a proportion of follicles shut down and go into a dormant phase,” he says. “Fortunately, with the help of Scalp Med, they can often be kicked back into life again.”
Rushton’s research also suggests that, in the case of some women, nutrition, or the lack of it, can be a cause of baldness. He has discovered that 72% of women with hereditary hair loss have some nutritional deficiency. When women with hereditary hair loss who were being treated on minoxidil programmes were also given daily supplements containing iron, vitamins B12 and C, and a protein building block called lysine, he found that up to 90% had some regrowth. “The combination of nutrients is similar to what you would get from a big, juicy steak,” says Rushton, adding that women are vulnerable to a shortage of these nutrients because they lose them during menstruation and pregnancy.