Whatever the cause, hair loss is not something you want to deal with. Luckily for you, you live in a time when there are more options for treating or coping with hair loss than before. While there are plenty of so-called treatments out there that won’t do much aside from take money out of your wallet, there are plenty of treatments that have been shown to be effective. Deciding which hair loss treatment is best for you involves understanding the cause of your hair loss and how much your hair loss has progressed.
Minoxidil, often sold under the brand name of Rogaine, is a topical medication that’s applied directly to the scalp, in areas where the hair is thinning. The medication’s use as a hair restoration product was discovered by accident. Its original use was as a medicine to treat high blood pressure. Increased hair growth was seen as a side effect and it was soon approved by the FDA as medicine to treat hair loss.
The medicine can be used by both men and women dealing with hair loss. It usually works best in younger people, under the age of 40. It’s worth noting that minoxidil won’t cure hair loss or baldness. Treatment needs to be ongoing for it to help improve hair growth. Once you stop using it, any results will wear off. You might think of it as a first stop when it comes to treating hair loss. It might provide some benefit, but can be a hassle to use long term.
There are two strengths of minoxidil on the market, 2 percent and 5 percent. Men can use either strength while only the 2 percent formulation is recommended for women. To get any benefit from the product, it needs to be applied daily, either once a day (for women) or twice a day (for men).
If you are a woman who is dealing with hair loss, you can skip this section, as finasteride is recommended only for men. Like Minoxidil, the medication began with a different purpose in mind. Its original use was as a pill to treat enlarged prostate glands. Hair growth was seen as a side effect during the initial drug trials.
The medicine works by blocking Type II 5-alpha-reductace, the enzyme that turns testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that is responsible for male pattern baldness. Taking the medicine on a daily basis can lower DHT levels considerably, preventing the hormone from interfering with the hair follicles and causing baldness.
While the medicine can help when it comes to male pattern baldness, it should be noted that it’s serious stuff, with potentially serious side effects, including a loss of libido, erection problems, and an increased risk for prostate cancer. The medicine is very much not recommended for female patients, either. In fact, the National Institutes of Health warns that pregnant women should avoid any contact with the pills, particularly with crushed pills, as they can harm the fetus.
If you are considering finasteride for hair loss, it’s worth it to weigh the pros and cons of the medication before you begin treatment.
The type of hair loss you’re experience determines the best treatment. While finasteride can be an option if you’re a guy with male pattern baldness, it’s not helpful for people with conditions such as alopecia areata or other forms of hair loss. Conversely, genetic types of hair loss might not respond to treatments that are are effective for alopecia areata.
One example of a treatment that can help boost hair growth in patients with alopecia areata, a type of autoimmune disorder, is platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP). PRP can also be used alongside of other treatments in patients with male or female pattern baldness, but might be less effective on its own. The treatment involves using the growth factors, derived from the platelets in a person’s blood, to stimulate new hair growth. It doesn’t provide instant results, but many people see new growth after a few months.
Hair Restoration Surgery
If you are dealing with male or female pattern baldness and are looking for a treatment that doesn’t involve swallowing a pill each day or putting medicine on your scalp once or twice day, hair restoration surgery might be the right call for you. The surgery might be right for you if you have plenty of hair on the back and sides of your scalp and are thinning on the top.
Don’t let the word surgery scare you. Usually, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia and many people are able to get back to their regular lives quickly. It does take some time for the new hair to grow in, but once it does, it will be there permanently.
You don’t have to live with hair loss. If you need help deciding which treatment is right for you, hair restoration specialist Dr. Kyle Choe can provide guidance. Dr. Choe performs hair restoration surgery and platelet rich plasma therapy at his Virginia Beach practice. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.