Transitioning to another gender is an exciting yet challenging time. One of the issues many transgender people continue to be concerned by is hair care and hair loss. In fact, 37% of ISHRS members reported seeing an increase in hair transplants for transgender patients in 2021 .
If male pattern balding runs in the family, many male to female transgender people worry they will suffer hair loss that betrays their assigned-at-birth sex. On the other hand, female to male transgender people may have difficulty achieving the facial hair they want.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- the major hair loss concerns transgender people face
- how hormones impact hair loss
- how people of all genders can address their hair loss.
Male to female transgender hair loss: what are the concerns?
The main concern with hair loss in male to female transgender people is male pattern balding. Despite transition, the fear remains that genetics will prevail. However, as the experience at Transgender Care suggests:
‘Hair loss (or alopecia) in transgendered women is normally associated with the normal pattern of balding seen in men — the variety of receding hair line and balding patterns prior to the use of female hormones. Baldness in men is not a disease, but rather the body’s reaction to the male hormones (androgens) in genetically predisposed individuals.
However, a smaller but still significant percentage of transgendered women (prior to hormone treatment) suffer from female pattern balding. This condition isn’t often mentioned. The condition is also more prevalent in genetic women than one may realise since many women use concealing hairstyles, wigs and hair enhancements as a means of concealing the problem. About 15% of genetic women experience some degree of noticeable hair loss.’
We have worked with many transgender people and discovered that almost all hair loss can be addressed gradually and subtly. Not all hair loss means you need a hair transplant — there are many other options before surgery is discussed.
Hormones and hair loss – what do you need to know?
Hormones are closely linked with pattern baldness. That’s why it’s essential to find a hair loss treatment that doesn’t interfere with your hormone therapy.
We are often asked if pattern baldness affects transgender women, since hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often considered to override the risk of male balding pattern. Some research suggests that reducing testosterone levels to those seen in most women can actually reverse male pattern baldness . However, this field of study is still pretty new — so there’s a lot still to be uncovered in terms of how hormone treatments can affect hair growth. It also means that some baldness treatments like Finasteride and Dutasteride may be unsuitable for transgender patients. Learn more about HRT and hair loss.
But pattern baldness doesn’t just affect men, whether they’re cisgender or transgender. Female pattern hair loss affects up to 50% of women by the age of 50 . A specialist at a UK hair loss clinic will be able to determine which type of hair loss you have, regardless of your gender. They can then recommend the best course of treatment that won’t interrupt or disturb your hormone therapy while you transition.
What other hair restoration options are there?
There are a range of hair thickening sprays which can help to reduce the appearance of hair loss. These products work by applying hair fibres to your hair, which cling to your strands using static electricity creating the appearance of a fuller head of hair.
The most popular and widely-used hair restoration product is Minoxidil. This topical solution reactivates and revitalises shrunken hair follicles by increasing their size. With continued applications on the scalp, the follicles gain greater volume so that longer and thicker hairs are produced.
Finasteride is prescribed medication in the form of an oral tablet. It works by inhibiting the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme in your body, which in turn stops testosterone from converting to DHT. This results in slowing down the rate of hair loss. Learn more about Finasteride dosage and see Finasteride results.
Many transgender men opt for beard transplants in order to achieve thicker facial hair. In many cases, natural growth is already present however the look is perhaps unrefined, uneven or patchy. In these cases a beard and even a eyebrow transplant can modify your appearance to give you the masculine or feminine look you want.
You don’t need to take any hormone treatments to have a hair transplant — so they’re often the most effective way to reduce transgender hair loss. Check out our hair transplant before and after gallery to see how FUE or FUT surgery can enhance hairlines for people of all genders.
Get advice from the UK’s leading hair transplant clinic
If you are in transition or post-transition and have hair loss concerns or an existing hair loss condition, we can help. Over the years the Wimpole Clinic has helped many transgender people achieve a full head of hair or improved the look of natural facial hair. Take a look at our hair transplant clinic reviews to learn more.
If you would like to know more or would like to book a totally confidential, no-obligation consultation, book a free consultation.
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