Hair Loss – Treatment Options Revealed
As a person ages, a recession to the hairline is a natural part of the aging process. In men, the condition is often referred to as male pattern baldness as the hair loss often begins at the front area of the scalp and the hairline continues to recede or the hair becomes thin on the top and crown of the head. Female hair loss can be seen as a general diffuse thinning of the hair on the scalp while still maintaining the look of the front hairline, miniaturized hair that is finer in appearance and texture, or hair loss that is much like male hair loss with a recessed front hairline. Let’s examine why hair loss occurs and share some of the treatment options available to patients and how they can help to improve and/or restore the hairline.
Hair Loss – Why Does it Happen?
Male hair loss, AKA male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss in male patients. It can be caused by a number of factors including genetics/heredity/family history of hair loss, the aging process, and a hormonal imbalance.
Female hair loss can happen for a number of reasons including the aging process, genetics, and hormonal changes that impact women who are currently experiencing menopause. In addition, female hair loss can occur due to sudden stress from childbirth, severe illness, or a high fever (Telogen Effluvium), medical conditions such as Lupus, side effects to common medications such as antidepressants, and hairstyling products that can harm the hair.
Hair Loss – Over the Counter Treatment Options
Before a patient makes the decision to have a hair transplant (discussed later in this article), there are also some over-the-counter medications that are available to address hair loss.
Minoxidil, which is also known as Rogaine, is a hair restoration medication that can be applied to the scalp each day or taken in the form of a pill to treat male pattern baldness. It is available in a formula of 2% or 5% and the 2% solution is recommended for use by women with thinning hair. Minoxidil works by widening blood vessels and, in turn, this increases the blood flow that delivers the necessary amount of nutrients to the scalp. In general, it works better for patients who are not experiencing hair loss in a large area and/or have been experiencing hair loss for an extended period of time. The results that are gained from minoxidil are not permanent and the results that are gained from using the product will start to go away once minoxidil is not used on a daily basis.
Finasteride, which is also known as Propecia, is a medication that comes in the form of an oral tablet. It is used by patients on a regular basis to restore hair that has been lost at the crown and in the middle of the scalp. Propecia blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase (since testosterone contributes to the growth of body hair).
Dutasteride is an oral medication option that works in a similar manner to finasteride. While dutasteride is able to treat an enlarged prostate, it can also prevent the effects of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and block the formation of DHT. Besides reducing the amount of hair loss experienced by a person, it also increases the amount of scalp hair and fills in some of the balding sections of the scalp.
Hair Transplant – How it Reverses Hair Loss
Patients who do not get the results they desire from any of the above treatment options might consider undergoing a hair transplant to restore their hairline. A hair transplant is when the surgeon takes hair follicles from the donor area of the body and moves them to the balding or thinning section of the scalp.
The most popular hair transplant treatment is Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) where the surgeon removes the hair grafts from the donor area on an individual basis. The removal of the individual hair grafts means there is no need for the creation of a linear scalp scar (from the removal of a strip of the scalp) that makes it obvious a hair transplant was performed. The donor area is normally the back and sides of the scalp as the hair in this area has been shown to be resistant to balding.
The hair grafts will begin to grow into the transplanted area and act like the native hair on the scalp. The results are permanent and will give the hairline a look that is more youthful and refreshed.
The loss of hair on the scalp does not mean that a person will need to experience a lifetime of balding or thinning hair. Anyone who is interested in learning more about how to treat their hair loss should schedule a consultation appointment with their hair restoration specialist of choice to determine the extent of their hair loss and learn more about the options available to them when it comes to hairline restoration.