Recent studies show that hair loss is widespread in men and women. Millions of people have been affected by this problem with the greatest emotional impact on women. Why do people lose their hair?
Male pattern baldness which occurs in up to 90% of all males is called androgenetic alopecia. The same term is used for this condition in women. It is caused by genes inherited from one of the parents or even both. Balding becomes worse as a person ages. But some men lose their hair in their late teens or early twenties. In both sexes testosterone converts into dehydrotestosterone (DHT) and causes the hair follicles to shrink.
There are other contributory factors such as stress, shrinking hair follicles, mental anxiety, medical conditions, the side effects of medication like chemotherapy, dietary changes and hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, menopause or puberty periods. The use of hair shampoos, colouring, bleaching and hard brushing also causes hair stress.
How Do You Regrow Hair?
There are two types of medication for this problem. The first one taken orally, stops further loss of hair by preventing the body from converting testosterone into DHT. The second type can be applied directly on the scalp. The most expensive treatment is a hair transplant which is used in conjunction with surgical procedures.
Minoxidil which is marketed under the brand name Rogaine is the most effective treatment for men and women to date. Previously a prescription drug, it is now available over the counter at many retail outlets. To be effective it has to be used on an ongoing basis. Rogaine is an FDA approved hair loss treatment for use by both males and females. In females it is effective in restoring hair growth and decreasing the appearance of thinning hair but it often takes several months to see results.
A prescribed drug which stops the process of losing hair and reduces balding is Finasteride which is sold under the brand name Propecia. Like Rogaine it is FDA approved. It stops the hair loss process and reduces balding. It takes about three months to show results. However, it cannot be taken by pregnant women and women who can conceive as it can cause birth defects.
Besides the use of medication, there are three types of surgery that you can choose from.
1. Hair transplants are effective in treating male pattern baldness. As the nature of this problem is different in women, this treatment is not recommended for them. In this procedure, hair is harvested from the sides and back of the scalp and transplanted to areas where dormant growth or thinning occurs.
2. In scalp reduction surgery a small bald spot on the scalp is reduced through surgery. This procedure is for men who do not have a big bald spot at the top of their head. Scalp reduction if used in conjunction with transplants should result in a fuller head of hair.
3. Another procedure is scalp flap surgery. The doctor removes a portion of healthy scalp and hair from back or sides of the head and transplants it to the affected area of the head, effectively creating a new hairline. Scalp flaps are usually performed on patients who are completely bald on the front of their scalp but have full and healthy hair elsewhere on their head.
Certain factors determine the suitability of a candidate for the surgical procedures mentioned above.These include age, hair colour, hair type and the nature of the hair loss itself.
Remember that these surgical procedures may have undesirable results. A person with advanced stage hair loss can opt for hair weaving or non-surgical hair replacement to achieve the appearance of a full head of hair. This treatment which is suitable for both men and women does not damage any existing hair.
It is best that you consult a qualified dermatologist or doctor who will diagnose the underlying causes of your hair loss and prescribe the best treatment for your condition.