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Hair Loss in Swimmers

Q:

Dear Dr. Mohebi,

I am a big fan of the Olympics and have been watching the games. In particular, I have really been enjoying the female swimming competition. These impressive and athletic ladies spend so much time in the pool and their hair is always wet from their swimming activities. I was curious if spending that much time in the water can damage hair to the point they start to lose some of their hair. Can swimming in a chlorine pool make you suffer from hair loss?

Thanks in advance for your answer!

A:

Hair loss for swimmers

Thank you for the very timely and very interesting question!

In general, a good number of women have a naturally receded hairline or foreheads that tend to be higher than normal.  Why? As the years pass and women age, females with male hormones or some elevated amounts of androgen often develop a recessive hairline that is similar to adult men. This condition is known as male patterned hairline maturation. This can also be the result of a male patterned hair loss gene that has been passed on to them from their mother or father.

Please note there is no evidence that suggests any increase in male hormones in female athletes is the result of strenuous physical activities!

For women who are suffering from hair loss, my 5-Step Management System for female hair loss can be a big help in addressing the issue. One of my first steps in treating female hair loss is ordering a comprehensive set of lab tests that include determining the levels of total and free testosterone and DHEA (a hormone produced by the adrenal glands of the body) in women with a male patterned hairline as well as females who lose their hair in a way similar to a male pattern. Any female with a recessive hairline that impacts their quality of life can see great benefits from a hair transplant procedure.

An effective hair transplant method for females is lowering the hairline via Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant. This procedure alters a hairline that is perceived as masculine to a natural in appearance feminine hairline. These cases involve women that often lack hair loss signs in other areas of the scalp so they likely have a good amount of high-quality transplant donor hair. A reasonable level of density can normally be achieved in one or two hair restoration procedures.

Thank you for the interesting question. Just like you, our entire staff is enjoying the Olympics and cheering on Team USA. Congratulations to all of our athletes on their accomplishments!

– MA