August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month, so many patients are searching for the best hair loss solution. No such thing exists as the "best" hair loss treatment. Every patient is different! There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for alopecia. A hair loss treatment can only be "perfect for her" or "perfect for him," based on each patient's individual circumstances. A dermatologist can make a decision for patients and offer the most appropriate options for hair restoration.
Shedding Hair vs. Hair Loss
Everyone sheds about 100 hair follicles per day, but we generate almost one thousand times that on any given day. Each hair lasts for about four and a half years, then falls out. Six months later, a new hair begins to grow in that same follicle. Alopecia occurs when the hair follicle loses its ability to generate a new hair.
Hair loss is usually not noticeable immediately. If you do notice your hair thinning, you've probably been experiencing alopecia for at least 6 months. By the time you notice your hair has thinned, you've likely lost around half your hair.
Male- and Female-Patterned Hair Loss
Both men and women can experience permanent hair loss (Androgenetic Alopecia), but the pattern of hair loss usually differs. Individuals experiencing excessive hair loss will first notice the hair on their anterior scalp becoming thinner, finer, and weaker. Men might notice their hair line creeping back either in the shape of an M or a U. Women might notice their part increasing in width. For men, the hair on the sides of the head is usually not affected by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), so it remains healthy and thick. Women may experience patches of bald areas throughout their scalp.
However, it is not impossible for a woman to experience male-patterned baldness or a man to experience female baldness. Once again, a dermatologist can help determine the cause for each patient's personal situation.
"The Best" Hair Loss Treatment Options
Patients must first determine the cause of hair loss before they can find a treatment. For men, the most common causes are hereditary, genetics, stress, and certain hormonal and nutritional deficiencies, such as low iron or low protein. For women, common causes include major life changes -- such as puberty, marriage, pregnancy, and menopause -- stress, menstrual cycle, medications, and nutrition deficiencies.
Once patients, with the help of their dermatologist, determine what is causing their hair loss, they can then view their options for hair restoration. Not every patient is a candidate for all options, so the solution must suit each patient on an individual basis. The five following treatments have seen high satisfaction rates among patients, with great results.
During a NeoGraft Hair Transplant procedure, the healthy, DHT-resistant hair follicles found on the patient's head are transplanted to the balding areas. Over time, the healthy hairs replace the dormant hair follicles and patients retrieve a full head of hair.
During a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment, the patient's own blood is used as a topical serum and injected on balding areas of the scalp. PRP contains growth factors that are the main agents that stimulate hair follicle repair.
Some patients have had great success with certain shampoos and conditioners that encourage blood flow to the scalp, rejuvenating the dormant hair follicles. Some options for topical treatment include DUCRAY and Rogaine for both men and women.
Propecia, prescribed for men, is a prescription that prevents testosterone from converting to DHT, thus restoring hair follicles to their normal growth patterns.
The Neo-Light Therapy System utilizes low-level lights to stimulate hair growth of existing hair follicles. NeoLTS keeps the existing hair follicles in the growing stage, making the hair that's already there thicker, fuller, and healthier.
Are you a candidate for one of these treatment options? To discover your "perfect hair treatment solution," we offer complimentary consultations with our board-certified dermatologist. Request an appointment anytime -- we'd love to hear from you!