Doctors are reluctant to use systemic treatment (a pill or other form of internal treatment that affects your entire system) unless they know that the hair loss is due to an excess of androgen in the system or a sensitized “over-response” to the so-called “normal” amounts of androgen in the system. That’s because these systemic treatments may lower the body’s androgen levels. Therefore, physicians often choose topical treatments (those that are applied directly to the scalp). The best results from treatment happen when you begin treatment as soon as possible after the hair loss begins because prolonged androgenetic alopecia may destroy many of the hair follicles. Maintaining your vitamin and mineral levels helps while you’re on anti-androgen medications. Currently there is only one FDA approved treatment for female pattern hair loss.
- Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment. Applying a solution of minoxidil directly to the scalp could also stimulate hair growth. The amount of minoxidil absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream is usually too small to cause internal side effects. Many dermatologists do prescribe minoxidil 5% for women with androgenetic alopecia if used under their supervision. Some small clinical trials have been conducted on 5% minoxidil for androgenetic alopecia in women showing that indeed the 5% solution is significantly more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2 % solution. 19% of women reported moderate hair growth after using minoxidil for 8 months (19% had moderate regrowth; 40% had minimal regrowth). This compares with 7% of women reporting moderate hair regrowth after using the placebo, the liquid without the active ingredient in it, for 8 months (7% had moderate regrowth, 33% had minimal regrowth).