Your Complete Guide to Hair Loss and Hair Restoration
At some point in your life, you’re most likely going to have to deal with hair loss. Luckily, today’s hair restoration options are better than ever before. With surgical procedures, you can permanently replace lost hair, for example. Whether you’re currently dealing with hair loss or are concerned that one day you might wake 1up to thinning hair, here’s your complete guide to hair loss and hair restoration.
Causes of Hair Loss
One of the more common causes of hair loss is male or female pattern baldness. Pattern baldness is genetic, which means that if your parents or grandparents went bald or lost a significant amount of their hair, you can expect see some hair loss, as well. Although pattern baldness is commonly associated with men, it can affect women, as well. The pattern of hair loss differs between men and women. Men tend to see a receding hairline while women tend to see thinning all over.
Often, a male hormone, DHT, is responsible for male or female pattern baldness. The hormones causes certain hair follicles to shrink, or miniaturize, so that the hair becomes thinner over time, and eventually, stops growing completely.
Hair loss can also be due to a number of external factors. For example, in some cases, wearing tight hairstyles can lead to hair loss, as the tight style puts force on the hair follicle. If you keep wearing a tight style, it’s possible for the hair loss to become permanent. A condition called trichotillomania, which causes people to pull out their hair, can also lead to permanent hair loss.
In some instances, hair loss is due to medications or an other medical condition. Thyroid issues and lupus are two common medical reasons for hair loss. An auto-immune disorder known as alopecia areata also causes hair loss, because the immune system is actually attacking a person’s hair follicles. Usually, the hair lost from alopecia areata grows back on its own.
Other common causes of hair loss include:
- Changes in hormone levels (such as during pregnancy or menopause)
- Infections on the scalp
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- Too much vitamin A
- A poor diet
- High levels of stress
Who is Affected by Hair Loss
The stereotypical hair loss patient is an older man. But, anyone, male or female, young or old, can find themselves having to deal with hair loss. It’s estimated that the vast majority of men will lose hair from male pattern baldness or another reason over the course of their lifetime, and that more than half of women will have to deal with some type of hair loss.
Hair Restoration Options
Hair restoration options range from temporary fixes to permanent solutions. In some cases, combining hair restoration options provides the best results. It’s worth reviewing the options available, then discussing them with your hair restoration surgeon to find the one that best suits you.
- Medication. Medication to treat hair loss includes minoxidil, commonly sold as Rogaine. Minoxidil helps in the early stages of hair loss by helping hair to grow thicker or helping to increase hair growth. Both men and women dealing with hair loss can use it. Regrowth tends to be slow, if the treatment works at all. The medication is applied directly to the area affected by hair loss, twice a day. One of the biggest downsides of minoxidil is that it only works for as long as a person uses it. Once you stop using it, your hair loss will continue. Another medication is finasteride, which is only available for men. Unlike minoxidil, it’s an oral medication that helps slow down hair loss by limiting DHT.
- Laser Light Therapy. Laser treatment can help slow down hair loss in some people. The Capillus272 is a small insert that fits under a normal hat. It helps increase blood flow to the hair follicles, slowing down the progression of hair loss. Typically, the Capillus272 is worn at home, but the treatment is available only from a doctor.
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Platelet rich plasma therapy, or PRP, uses the plasma from your own blood to stimulate hair growth. During the treatment, the doctor first takes a sample of your blood. It is then spun in a centrifuge, so that it separates. The plasma is then injected directly into your scalp. PRP can performed on its own, but people also often have it performed alongside of a hair transplant to improve results.
- Hair Transplant Surgery. A hair transplant, sometimes called hair restoration surgery, involves taking hair from one area of the scalp or body and transplanting it to the area that is experiencing baldness. There are several forms of hair transplant surgery. In some cases, known as follicular unit extraction, the surgeon takes individual follicles from the sides or back of the scalp. In follicular unit grafting, the surgeon often removes an entire strip of scalp from the back, leaving a scar behind. It typically takes several months before results are visible, as the transplanted hair needs time to grow in place. Once it has grown in, the transplanted hair is permanent.
Choosing the Right Hair Restoration Option
If you’re dealing with hair loss, you might be wondering which hair restoration option is best for you. The answer depends on your specific situation. If there’s a chance your hair will grow back, it’s often best to take a wait and see approach. If you’re in the early stages of male or female pattern baldness, medication such as minoxidil or a treatment such as Capillus272 might be ideal, as they can slow the rate of hair loss.
If you are in the advanced stages of hair loss and you are dealing with male or female pattern baldness, surgery might be the best option for you. In Virginia Beach, board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Kyle Choe performs hair restoration surgery, as well as offering PRP therapy and other treatments. To learn more about your treatment options, call 757.389.5850 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe today.