When you are losing your hair, it can be very frightening and extremely stressful. Most people turn to the internet for information and treatment options, but they can be very confusing and with countless articles from various sources, you can spend hours if not days and still feel unsure as to what to do. Today we will break it down for you and make your decision a little easier.
The 1st thing you should always do is check with your primary care physician so he or she can run some blood tests to see if you have any underlying conditions. There are many medical issues that can cause hair loss including conditions like PCOS, Thyroid issues, Lupus or other auto immune conditions as well as medications like blood pressure meds, birth control pills, anti-depressants as well as others. Many times, your doctor will not mention the potential side effects including possible hair loss. The overall majority of men and women are losing hair due to genetics, which over time will attack the hair follicle causing it to degrade and produce weaker hair shafts. Genetic hair loss is something that is passed down from generation to generation and can begin to effect you as early as the onset of puberty.
There are two drugs that are cleared from the FDA to combat hair loss:
Rogaine – With the ingredient Minoxidil, this topical product will help stop hair loss and aid in regrowth. It comes in foam or drops and has to be used once to twice per day. Once you stop, the gains you have made usually decline over time. Like most drugs, Rogaine has some side effects include skin irritation, fast heartbeat, dizziness and facial hair growth in women.
Propecia – With the active ingredient Finasteride, this drug comes in pill form and has to be taken daily. It should not even be handled by women of child bearing years and has some possible side effects like erectile dysfunction and libido changes. Once you stop this drug, you will also begin to regress and give up the gains you have made.
There are other more holistic options that are readily available:
PRP – PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma which utilizes the platelets in your own blood which have healing properties. A doctor will draw a vile of your blood, spin it in a centrifuge which will separate the red blood cells and the plasma. The doctor will then use a syringe to harvest the plasma and inject it directly into the scalp to “jump start” the follicles. This is a very safe procedure and orthopedic doctors have been using PRP for many years for soft tissue healing. You will have to do multiple sessions at first and then follow up sessions to maintain your gains. This procedure works best for early to moderate stages of hair loss.
Laser Hair Therapy – This procedure takes advantage of the properties of red light in the form of lasers tuned specifically to increase cell metabolism and increase blood flow to the follicle. This is a safe painless treatment and has helped many men and women achieve thicker fuller hair over time. You will have to do 2 to 3 treatments per week and combine them with specific shampoos, conditioners and vitamins to aid in the hair growth cycle. This solution is provided by most hair loss studios.
Hair Restoration – This can either be achieved with a surgical or a non-surgical option
Surgical Solution – A hair transplant surgeon will consult with you and see if you are a candidate for this procedure. Men and women have to have an ample supply of “donor hair”, which is the strong healthy hair in the back and on the sides of your scalp. The surgeon will harvest the healthy donor hair and medically transplant it to the thinning areas. Some clients will not be able to achieve a full head of hair with this method and it can be painful and require some time to get back to normal activities.
Non-surgical – Hair replacement is a procedure in which real human hair is integrated into your own growing hair using a grafting method which is completely painless. Your hair color, texture and density are matched perfectly and you will achieve a full head of hair in one session. You will have to do monthly adjustments just like you get your own natural growing haircut. This process can be performed on either men or women and is a viable option in later stages of hair loss.
This procedure is performed in Hair Replacement studios by licensed cosmetologists.