7 myths about female hair loss

There is a lot of 'fake news' in the media about hair loss in both men and women. Here's Crown Clinic's hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak dispels 7 of the most common myths about female hair loss.

1 You can cause thinning by washing your hair too much

This is absolute rubbish and a common misconception. Hair benefits by being washed regularly to keep it clean and healthy. Appropriate products help to maintain a healthy scalp which assists in providing thicker and full hair.

2 Diet plays no role in the health of hair

This is another misconception. Hair is made up of keratin, which is a natural protein. Following a healthy diet with plenty of protein can help to keep hair strong and looking shiny and healthy. I recommend incorporating meat, fish and eggs into your diet. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of high-protein alternatives such as quinoa, soy, lentils and beans. With these foods included in your diet, you may gradually notice an improvement in your hair if your diet has been lacking in protein previously.

3 Birth control pills can contribute to hair loss

There is some truth in this – certainly some women who take the pill experience thinning or hair loss. The good news is that this hair loss is almost certainly non-permanent. It is worth remembering that if baldness runs in your family, birth control pills can speed up this process.

4 Wearing your hair in a ponytail will not cause your hair to thin

Sadly, there is some truth in this point. Pulling your hair back tightly into a ponytail can weaken your hair. Over-styling, braiding and/or use of hair extensions can all lead to traction alopecia – a condition brought about my environmental damage done to the hair. Naomi Campbell has suffered from traction alopecia in the past due to her use of extensions. It doesn't just happen to women – my client Calum Best believes his hair loss in his 20s was exacerbated by wearing his hair in a tight ponytail. He has had three FUE (follicular unit transplantation) transplants with me to reverse his hair loss.

5 Hair loss in women is all about genetics

While it is true to say that genetics do play a big part in female hair loss, they are not the only cause. Genetics play a much more significant role in male pattern baldness. With women, other factors complicate the picture. Hair loss in females is far more likely to be caused by an underlying medical condition than it is in men.

6 Hair thinning only affects women with thin or fine hair

There are all sorts of factors which can cause female hair loss – hormonal deficiencies or imbalances, stress, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, diet, stress and weight loss. They don't just affect women with existing thin hair but all women regardless of the health of their hair previously.

7 All hair loss is permanent

While this is largely true in men, hair loss in women is much more likely to be reversible. The good news is that both men and women can benefit from hair transplantation. Around 10% of Dr Shahmalak's patients at Crown Clinic are female patients – opting for an FUE or FUT (follicular unit transplantation) procedure. Other celebrities who have had FUE procedures at Crown Clinic include Calum Best, Homes Under The Hammer star Martin Roberts, Gogglebox star Chris Butland-Steed and the football pundit Didi Hamann. FUT patients include the TV doctor Christian Jessen.

Dr Shahmalak also performs other more unusual procedures on primarily female patients. He is one of the few surgeons in the country to offer eyelash transplants and eyebrow transplants – largely for women who have damaged their brows through overplucking or their lashes through an accident or the use of stick-on lashes.