In honor of National Hair Loss Awareness Month, I’m going to share some chapters from my e-Book, “Hair Loss: Causes and Solutions” to educate the consumer with facts, as well as cover some basic information when it comes to hair loss. One of hardest things to deal with when experiencing hair loss is having to diagnosis, treat, or navigate your way through a problem you aren’t familiar with. There are so many magical potions and lotions that are said to “regrow your hair,” but how are you supposed to know what’s right for your specific situation? Hopefully these excerpts will help…
Ch. 2: “What Can I Do About My Hair Loss?”
There are many treatments available that can cater to your individual needs. For some types of hair loss, the hair may fully grow back over time without aid. For more permanent hair loss situations, there are also several options that can help promote growth or camouflage the hair loss you have incurred. The key is finding the right treatment for you…
- Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
What Is It? Laser light hair therapy is a therapeutic, non-invasive and non-chemical way to treat and control hair loss using a “cold” low-level, laser device. The laser is a “hooded” model under which the client or patient sits for a period of 20 to 30 minutes while 40 to 80 laser diodes distribute “soft” laser light to the tissues of the scalp. Unlike some topicals and other pills, the low level laser diodes have no thermal component and are side-effect free. The process is one of “bio-stimulation,” and is absolutely safe; to put it simply, laser therapy is a “trigger” for the rearrangement of cellular metabolism.
How Does It Work?: Clinical trials conducted in the United States have confirmed that low level laser energy delivered at a specific wave-length, using the correct power has the ability to stimulate hair growth and stop the progression of hair loss. These studies have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Studies also show this to be a solution to treat damaged hair by restoring the state of health back to what it originally was prior to hair loss. Patients will see an increase in thickness and fullness of their hair as well. Once treatment is completed, minimal maintenance may be required.
Because laser therapy involves follicle stimulation, it is recommended for the patient to meet with an experienced laser therapy specialist who will determine whether an individual is a viable candidate for laser treatment. Treatment programs for candidates are typically from six to 12 months. Patients visit their hair loss center two-three times a week.
For those who are unable to make weekly visits to a specific location, there are now portable, in-home laser therapy devices that have also been approved by the FDA – removing inconvenience and lack of time as an obstacle to stopping hair loss. Remember, it’s still important to see a hair loss specialist and be screened for candidacy and potential for regrowth.
There is no right or wrong answer when deciding which treatment is best for you; all of these options can be effective if used correctly. Your treatment choice should be the one that fits best with your life style, the extent of your hair loss and your commitment to stopping it.
- Non-Surgical Hair Systems and Procedures
What Is It? The most popular method of hair replacement – a hair graft or hair system can re-create the look and feel of your own natural hair. The hair system is customized per individual client prescription (male or female); so any hair color, texture, density and style can be matched. Continued technological advancements have culminated into modern hair systems that supersede hair pieces or wigs of the past. These solutions can be completely natural and undetectable. If done correctly, the hair systems are designed to become a part of you and your everyday lifestyle.
How Does It Work? Once the prescription has been made, the hair systems are created by injecting strands of human hair into a thin layer of polyurethane or mesh material – a membrane which acts as a contact lens, or second layer of skin. Unlike a synthetic or machine-made wig, the material is light weight, breathable and comfortable and provides an undetectable hair line that is life-like in appearance.
Benefits of Human Hair Systems:
- Human hair allows for custom characteristics in hair systems, but it also allows the client to treat the hair like they would normally treat hair growing from their scalp. Clients wash and style the system on a regular basis. Styling options are unlimited – you can blow-dry, curl, flat-iron the hair and use hair spray, gels or any other styling products to achieve the look you want. Human hair looks the most natural but it also requires maintenance and will need to be replaced over time.
Method of Attachment:
- Semi-permanent: This hair system is attached to your scalp using a medical adhesive and designed to only be removed every 2-6 weeks by a licensed technician. This method allows clients to resume normal daily activities without worrying about their hair – exercising, playing sports, swimming, surfing, riding in a convertible, running your hands through your hair, etc. This method does require monthly maintenance visits, where service is done to the system, as well as to the client’s natural hair. The client only has to visit one place for all of their hair needs.
- Temporary: For people who don’t want a more permanent method of attachment, double-sided adhesives and clip attachments are available. This is an easy kind of attachment, and you can remove it or re-attach it anytime you want. Both are secure when attached and easy to use.
- Hair Extensions for Women
What is it? For women desiring for longer, thicker and fuller hair, extensions may be the best solution. There are many different types of hair extensions available, from clip-ins that you can put in and take out yourself, to professionally applied, Hollywood-style human hair extensions.
How Does it Work? Extensions can be braided, woven, bonded or clipped in using synthetic or human hair. The two most common methods are:
- o Quick Fix Extensions: If you are looking for a temporary fix for a fun night out or a special occasion then this option is best for you. These are available in synthetic and human hair and are either clipped in and out of existing strands or sewn into existing hair.
- o Great Lengths Extensions: These extensions offer a more permanent and natural solution for longer, thicker hair. A licensed cosmetologist and Great Length expert can give you a more customized full, long head of hair within hours.
- Great Length extensions use 100% human hair that’s attached strand by strand using a protein tip as opposed to other glues that could damage your hair. These last up to 6 months and are treated like normal, human hair – they can be styled (blow dry, straighten, curled) and washed on a daily basis. The GL expert will blend or highlight colors to match the individual order.
- If you don’t need length but still want thicker hair, you choose the level of volume you want with GL. This would be a good solution for women with fine, limp or thin textured hair.
- A specific solvent is used to remove the extensions once it’s time for them to be replaced. The process is non-damaging and pain-free.
- Topical Products and Prescriptions
- o Rogaine/Minoxidil: Minoxidil is a topical, over the counter treatment used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. Available in two different dosages, 5% for men and 2% for women, both forms have been approved by the FDA for topical treatment of pattern baldness. Common side effects include: irritated, red, or itchy scalp, excess hair growth in unwanted places and facial hair growth for women. With all of these side effects reversible once treatment stops, experts say that the biggest drawback is that treatment must be continued for as long as results are desired. Once treatment stops, any re-growth that occurred will most likely be lost.
- o Propecia/Finasteride: Propecia is an oral, prescription medication with an active ingredient of finasteride that contains DHT blockers. Propecia was approved by the FDA for treatment of male-pattern baldness in 1997, but should not be used by women. Research shows finasteride is successful at preventing hair loss and keeping what you have, but re-growth may be minimal. Common side effects may occur, mainly a risk of different sexual side effects that can continue even after you stop taking the drug. Like minoxidil, Propecia use must be continued for as long as results are desired. If you stop taking the drug, your newly grown hair will likely fall out within a year.
- o Other Topical Treatments: There are other products available like shampoos, creams and lotions with DHT inhibitors or stimulating agents that are used for hair loss, as well as concealers and powders that are applied to the scalp to help camouflage or hide the skin that shows from thinning hair. Typically, these have no side effects.
- Hair Transplantation
What Is It? Hair Transplantation is a surgical procedure where the surgeon removes small pieces of hair-bearing scalp grafts (that are DHT resistant) from the back or sides of the head.
How Does It Work? These grafts are divided and then transplanted to the bald or thinning area. The number of hair grafts used depends on the hair type, quality and texture, along with the size of the area where they will be transplanted. Additional surgeries may be needed depending on the extent of your hair loss, the projected hair loss rate, and the amount of donor hair you can spare.
- Expectations for Men vs Women:
Typically, men experiencing male pattern baldness will remain with a permanent wreath or “cul-de-sac” of hair surrounding the sides and the back of their head. This is where hair is harvested for the transplant. This hair is genetically programmed to continue to grow even in the worse cases of male pattern baldness. In order to be a good candidate for a transplant, you must have a certain number of donors hairs based on your specific needs. Even if a man does qualify for a transplant, there is no guarantee the transplanted hairs will grow successfully or that the end result will give the patient their desired full head of hair.
Female pattern baldness is when hair loss is distributed throughout the entire scalp, leaving the sides and the back very sparse. If this hair were to be transplanted, there’s no guarantee that it would continue to grow due to the fact that this hair seems to be just as susceptible to DHT as the hair lost on the top of the scalp. Very few women are candidates for transplants (only about 2%-5%) and if they are, typically many procedures are needed to achieve proper density. Most experts strongly advise women not to even consider it.
- Risk and Recovery:
Recovery time will be needed (typically between 3-5 days) and pain medications and other antibiotics will need to be taken. As with any surgical procedure, hair transplantation carries risks, including bleeding and infection. Other risks that can occur with hair transplants include scarring and unnatural-looking new hair growth.
To find out what solution is right for your individual type of hair loss, call to schedule a free consultation at 713-838-1880, or visit http://www.tmhair.com