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General Medical Questions
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Question : I am a 60 year old woman. What can I do to promote hair growth?
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The Trusted Source
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Rebecca Campen, M.D., J.D., is an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. She divides her time between clinical practice of dermatology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and private practice in Savannah, Ga.

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April 28, 2014
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As we grow older, our hair growth declines. Genetics comes into play as well. Almost 50% of women older than 40 have “androgenetic alopecia.” This is an inherited type of hair loss with thinning of hair all over the scalp.

There are other reasons for hair loss:

  • Medicine
  • Illness
  • Stress
  • Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid problems
  • Curling or blow-drying hair with excessive heat or pulling of hair
  • Scalp conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis

Unfortunately there is no optimum treatment yet for females to promote hair growth.  Topical minoxidil applied to the scalp is FDA-approved for treatment of androgenetic alopecia. It may cause some small hairs to grow when hair is thinning. But its effects are lost once you stop using the drug. 

Some shampoos and other hair products can help condition the scalp and make hair feel thicker. But they do not change the diameter of the hairs or increase hair growth.

Talk with your doctor. He or she may want to order some simple tests to make sure there is no medical condition causing the hair loss. You should also eat a healthy diet, get enough rest, ease stress as much as possible and treat your hair gently.

Scientists are working hard to develop treatments for promoting hair growth. In the meantime, keep your body and mind healthy for the best outcome.

 

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