Helping women face balding

July 7, 2008 8:49:31 PM PDT
The whole idea is to give women the heads-up that they could face hair loss in the future. That way they can do something about it now... before it's too late. Many women cut, color and spend hours at the salon to get the perfect doo. Most women probably couldn't imagine losing their hair. Zelda Hildebrandt of East Oak Lane doesn't have to imagine. She started losing hers at the age of 21.

"I went through different phases where I'd try to camouflage it. I had a scarf phase, I had a side-swipe Donald Trump phase where I had long hair."

Her thin hair made her painfully self-conscious. "Especially being a woman with hair loss- it's devastating to me," said Hildebrandt.

Last winter Zelda got hair transplants. But still she worries about her about her daughters.

So when she heard Bosley Hair Center has the Hair D-X genetic test for female hair loss, she and her 21-year-old daughter Rachel came in.

Rachel says her thin hair has never bothered her. Still Zelda's concerned for her and her other daughters. So the two women swab their cheeks to collect DNA for analysis. Genetics is the primary factor for male hair loss, but it's just one of many factors that can cause thinning for women.

Dr. Behnke from the Bosley Hair Center says, "Thyroid, anemia, heavy metals, auto-immune processes, skin conditions, and genetics as well."

Experts say once hair is gone nothing really brings it back.

The $149 screening test identifies women prone to losing hair before that loss begins, giving them a chance to hold onto as much as possible.

Dr Behnke says, "Once you've noticed you've lost hair, you've already lost 50-percent."

Two weeks after the test Zelda logged onto a secure website to get their results. Zelda's results show a low-risk for hair loss. Rachel scored a medium risk. Dr. Behnke says what seemed like conflicting results just shows how complex hair loss is for women.

Zelda's early hair loss may have been caused by a medical condition or hormonal shifts. He says Rachel will have to work a bit to keep her scalp healthy and counter the genetic influence. Among her options are Rogaine, an over-the-counter product, and the government-approved laser comb.

"The low-intensity laser beam stimulates blood flow, which in turn, stimulates the hair follicle to grow," said Dr. Behnke.

Although Rachel is disappointed her risk is higher than she hoped, she's glad she got the test.

The company that makes Hair D-X says it has a 95-percent accuracy rate. But there have been no independent studies done yet to test that.