First off, I am absolutely for hair restoration by any means. It feels awful to lose one’s hair. If you can regain it by supplements, medications, topicals, or surgery, by all means, do so if you wish. I will never make fun of toupees, wigs “bad” hair plugs, extensions, or anything of the sort. Mother Nature can be a nasty wench when she wants to be, so if you so desire, arm yourself and reverse the process if you can. Take no prisoners because this is war!
Beautiful hair is such an enviable asset. Long, thick, lustrous and plentiful. Well, I have thin, baby-fine hair and after getting extensions for a documentary a few years ago it is now damaged beyond repair unless I remove them and start from scratch. Not to mention that brow lift that I should not have had caused my left hairline to be too high (in my opinion) and the hair loss around the incision line and abscesses I developed from the sutures are also hair-free. I hesitate to say hairless because it sounds mortifying to me.
Medical hair restoration is definitely an option if you need to rearrange the furniture upstairs. I actually know quite a few people who have had hair replacement and have been fortunate to observe the process from before, intra-operatively, during the growth and the after. I have considered when I get the time and the will I may ‘head’ in to replace the hair I lost on my incisions. However, I REALLY would rather something like hair ‘cloning’ (actually hair multiplication) because I don’t want a strip taken from the back of my head. So, here I sit waiting to go to the U.K., Italy or Spain when they get it right. Which will come out ahead? The Cloning or The Frustration?
Just be sure to do your research because I have seen some less than stellar hair transplants. When it is obvious on the hairline, or you have too few implants evenly spaced, it will be apparent that you’ve had a poor hair replacement procedure.
First, I would personally determine if your loss is health, injury, genetic, and/or age-related. If you are simply malnourished, or you’ve had a recent trauma or surgery, you may not need a true ‘treatment’. You can help determine the cause by a family medical history profile, medical tests to measure your testosterone levels, or have a full blood panel work up. You don’t have to jump into a hair restoration clinic chair. Determine the cause first before you treat a symptom that may not even be an issue.
Although there is no baldness “cure”, there are alternative hair loss treatments. If you are reaching middle age and just starting to lose your hair and you wish to hold out on surgical means, you can always try serums or topical medications first. They don’t work for everyone, and there are many who don’t believe they work at all. You will only know if you try. You could start out with something as simple as Nioxin hair products. My hair stylist in San Francisco swears by them, and my ex-boyfriend seemed to like them as well. I personally didn’t have the patience for them as I did not notice any thickening and this was long before my brow lift and/or extensions. I think mine is pretty much genetic baby-fine hair. Although, I don’t understand because both of my parents have thick, full heads of hair and mine has always been fine and thin. Rotten luck I guess.
Most times, hairloss is caused by the presence of dyhydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp. DHT is the product of when an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts normal testosterone into DHT. DHT blockers or reduction systems include products such as Crinagen and Revivogen.
You may have heard of circulation increasers like Retin-A and Tricomin. Retin-A has been shown to increase hair growth by stimulating angiogenesis, as well as allowing other products, such as Rogaine, to more efficiently enter the skin. My bestfriend uses both of these and says they really help, however she decided to get hair transplants anyway. Tricomin uses copper peptides to stimulate hair growth. She has tried this as well and did not adhere to the treatment.
Rogaine, a topical minoxidil product, is proably the most common over-the-counter (OTC) product used today. What it can do is increase the size of your hair follicles once they have decreased in size. It can result in a thicker hair shaft and possibly new hair growth for dormant follicles. However, minoxidil has not effectively produced much hair growth in the front of the hairline. Unfortunately Rogaine is best at delaying your hairloss, not reversing it. If you notice thinning of the hair at the crown, you may wish to begin a Rogaine regimen to keep the hair that you left. Also, once you start, you can’t stop or you reverse the progress, if any, that you do experience.
Propecia utilizes a drug call Finasteride in pill form. Finasteride, like Revivogen, works by reducing the presence of dyhydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp. However, Propecia is FDA approved and has been proven to do so. Also, like minoxidil, finasteride only increases hair growth on the crown—not the front hairline. Nothing non-surgical seems to help the front hairline. Another con? Propecia is scary business for use in female patients if you are pregnant, or trying. You have probably been told that you can’t even touch it if you are pregnant or attempting to become so. Why? Finasteride can cause a birth defect in males, called hypospadias, which causes the urethra to open on the underside of the penis instead of its rightful place at the end. It is caused from the blocking of essential hormones necessary for a male fetus to develop. There are mild to severe cases which are determined by the distance of the urethra from the tip of the penis. Patients with severe cases may have the urethral opening as low as a scrotal or perennial placement.
Low Level Lasers—do they work. How is it even purported to work? It is supposed to increase the circulation and increase hair growth. I have seen the before and after photos just as you have and it looks impressive. ? I have actually been under a laser hair restoration machine as a research and can’t, for the life of me, determine how it truly can be beneficial for people with hair, especially with extension bonds close to the scalp blocking the laser from even going near your follicles. There is no way that the laser light can touch every follicle, much less even 25% of them, even if you don’t have extensions and just have medium to long hair on top. Now, I have seen some pretty tall claims on the Internet regarding the laser’s ability to repair chemically-treated hair. What?? That doesn’t even deserve a response. I can see if your hair is very short or you have just had transplants, MAYBE. But, on a natural head of relatively long hair? Good luck.
Hair transplants. Sorry, but this is the only proven method to effectively grow hair in the front hairline and to extend the hairline in general. The back of the hair consists of follicles not genetically prone to hair loss in most people. Most hairloss is prevalent in the crown and front to slightly front-side hair line. Ever hear of Male Pattern Baldness? Well, the follicles from the rear of the head are transplanted to the front because these follicles are typically immune to premature dormancy in most people. Just be sure to do your research because a good surgeon will transplant the fine hairs to your temples, and not implant big ole honkin’ follicles in this place so that it is less obvious. Hair transplant surgery is not a cake walk. It takes a while to fully recovery and even longer (about a year and a half) to truly start growing hair. Most will sprout within a few weeks but they will be short, and colorless and fragile. Leave them be! Not all of the follicles will maintain their ability to grow hair due to the trauma, and most will seem to “fall out” before they are even given a chance. Don’t look in the mirror, and go find a hobby.
Take care when delving into the world of hair restoration. It will take time to discover what works for you, and any surgical means requires patience and a bit of luck. Don’t lose hope, however. I still have my thoughts on hair cloning. It will be the wave of the future. You don’t need to sacrifice too many healthy follicles because of the multiplication process. Hair stems cells are removed from healthy follicles on your scalp and then multiplied in a matrix in a petri dish. The stems cells are then implanted into the scalp where the hairloss has occurred. Not only do these stem cells grow into healthy follicles, they actually produce chemical signals that promote regeneration in dormant follicles which are near the implantation sites. Check out http://www.intercytex.com/ for more info.