Hair loss is a multifactorial condition, which explains why there is no cookie cutter solution to the problem. Since hair loss can stem from a variety of causes, it is only right that there are different treatments available. So, for those who seek a way out of their follicular dilemma, here are 8 potential treatment options for you.
1. Hair Supplements
Hair supplements have renewed its reputation with brands attaching itself to massively popular celebrities and influencers. These products have come far from simply being considered a bald man’s treatment taken on the down low, to something hip and cool. From straightforward packaging, you can now find products that come in cute gummy forms that appeal to the younger generation. With a lot going for it in terms of promotion, is this effective in treating hair loss?
What they’re saying: Hair supplements are the new wave of getting that thick and luscious hair!
What you’re getting: Hair loss supplements don’t really address the root cause of hair loss, neither can it prevent it. These products are not capable of treating hair loss that stems from genetic or hormonal causes. However, it can make existing hair stronger and healthier. It can be a good complimentary measure to boost the results of other hair loss treatments.
- A lot of the products today provide excellent results in promoting hair health.
- It can improve your hair from the inside out.
- If you are deficient in key nutrients necessary for hair growth, supplements can help reactivate your oil glands which can make the hair look healthier and shinier.
- They are not FDA regulated, so brands you find in the market can say what they want to attract customer, so you must be discerning when choosing your product.
- You might have some reactions to certain ingredients found in supplements.
- It may cause interactions with certain medications you may be using.
- You need to take it consistently if you want to get the best results.
2. Hair Boosting Shampoos
Shampoos that promise to improve hair growth or density would easily catch attention because it is a relatively easier solution. While it may be convenient, it doesn’t necessarily stop hair loss. It may help hair appear thicker temporarily, but there is no assurance that it can be a reliable long-term treatment.
With all the laudatory promises, is it enough to reverse hair loss?
What they’re saying: Hair boosting shampoos can give you thicker hair.
What you’re getting: There are shampoos in the market that come with certain ingredients that may help promote hair growth. Ketoconazole is one ingredient with anti-inflammatory effects that keep the scalp healthy so that hair growth is not stunted. Small studies also claim that 2% Ketoconazole may have a similar effect to topical hair loss medications. However, there is not enough evidence to prove its reliability with long-term use. Therefore, it may only work best when used to address temporary hair loss.
In general, shampoos that are formulated to boost hair growth work more on improving scalp health for better growth of existing hair. Yes, it may give you the appearance of thicker hair, but there is no strong evidence to show that it is a formidable treatment against aggressive hair loss.
- It can promote healthier scalp and hair.
- Works well for temporary hair loss.
- These types of shampoo can get expensive.
- Some ingredient can be irritating to sensitive skin.
3. Hair Loss Medications
Hair loss medications are considered the first line of defense against hair loss, particularly for those that stem from genetic causes. What started as off-label use, is now backed by research and a good number of satisfied users.
This treatment option is popular among those who suffer from hair loss conditions because they are convenient. The hair loss medications available in the market today come in the oral and topical form with their own pharmacologic action in reversing hair loss and promoting hair growth.
With its established effects, what is the catch with pharmacologic interventions?
Finasteride is an oral medication that was originally prescribed for individuals with an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). However, it was later discovered that the drug was also able to induce hair growth.
What they are saying: Oral medications for hair loss can reverse the problem without having to undergo surgery.
What you are getting: Finasteride has been proven to create the desired results that it even earned FDA approval for hair loss. It can decrease the amount of DHT or dihydrotestosterone, which is a hormone that is responsible for hair thinning, miniaturization, and shedding. Consequently, it increases hair regrowth while slowing down hair loss.
However, Finasteride is for adult men only. It is not advised to be taken by anyone under the age of 18, or by women. The required dose is one tablet a day. Also, take note that this is a prescription medication. Purchasing it online without a prescription is illegal and dangerous. Online stores who sell it prescription-free have the reputation of selling placebos or they use dangerous replacements.
- It significantly reduces her hair loss progression
- Increases hair growth and prevents further hair loss
- Suitable for long-term treatment
- It is reported to have sexual side effects
- Finasteride may help address hair loss, but it must be taken indefinitely to maintain its effects
- Some men develop gynecomastia with prolonged use
- The cost can stack up over time
Minoxidil is the topical treatment for hair loss, and it is an over-the-counter option that has been proven to work. Available as foam or solution, this treatment stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles. It can increase follicular size, hair shaft, and diameter, and even lengthens hair growth phase.
What they are saying: The use of topical treatments is a convenient way to restore hair loss.
What you are getting: Compared to Finasteride, which works by blocking DHT, Minoxidil works by creating an ideal environment for hair growth. With improved blood flow, the necessary nutrients are also delivered to hair follicles.
Topical treatment is the only approved solution to treat female pattern baldness. Women are recommended a 2% solution, while men are advised to use the 5% formula.
- Easy to get
- Relatively simple to use
- It promotes hair loss at the vertex of the scalp
- It is not a permanent solution to baldness, you need to be consistent to maintain results
- Possible side effects
- It is ineffective on areas of complete baldness or hair loss along the hairline
Oral and topical medications for hair loss can be combined to create a synergistic effect in preventing hair loss. These two can prevent hairline regression and protect the scalp from baldness.
4. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
There are studies which showed that clinical-strength laser has the capacity to stimulate hair growth. It is one of the three FDA-approved hair loss treatments along with oral and topical medications. But is laser therapy strong enough to trigger significant hair growth?
What they are saying: It is a hair loss savior that uses pain-free light technology that can induce regrowth of thicker and fuller hair.
What you are getting: You can get LLLT at a doctor’s office through a laser helmet, a laser brush, or a wand. It emits red light at wavelengths of 630-670 nanometers. This amount of light energy delivered to the scalp can trigger the following responses:
- Increases blood flow
- Increases tissue oxygenation which encourage hair regrowth
- It inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts free testosterone into DHT
The 3 types of laser devices in the market today includes:
- Combs. Laser combs are the most popular among the other laser devices. You can find it online or at any health and beauty stores. Combs are designed to have laser diodes in between the bristles. It works by targeting the areas directly as the teeth touch your scalp. Studies have shown that when down regularly, it can increase the number of hair follicles in the anagen phase. It is suggested that you use it 3 times a week for a total of 15 minutes per session.
- Helmets. This laser device resembles a bicycle helmet, but they also come in different designs and specs, with some that are even fitted with earphones. There are versions that must be used at a doctor’s clinic, while there are others you can use at home. Helmets are known to prevent hair thinning along the hairline and regrow thicker, fuller hair in 3-6 months.
- Wands. Considered the least popular among the laser devices. It is simply “waved” on the affected area for a certain number of minutes. Since direct contact is not made compared to a comb and a helmet, many say that it is not that effective.
The effectiveness of LLLT depends on several factors. While some say that it may be effective, others may think that its results are lackluster. On its own, the results may not be as dramatic as what you can achieve through medications or through a hair transplant, but they can create some improvement. Mist professionals look on to the beneficial effect of lasers augment the results of other hair loss treatments.
- It is a therapy you can do at home at your own convenience
- It is easy to do
- The result will take time
- It can have adverse reactions like headache, itching, acne, redness, mild numbness, skin pain, and burning
5. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP has been a celebrated anti-aging treatment popularly known as the “vampire facial.” In fact, it has been used in medicine to treat a range of health issues like arthritis or chronic tendon injuries among many others. It essentially uses your own blood to help facilitate to deliver restorative effects. It was established that it also has the same effects for hair loss too.
Since it is minimally invasive, is it aggressive enough to restore advanced hair loss?
What they are saying: PRP hair loss is a less invasive way to promote hair growth.
What you are getting: In a review of 10 out of 12 studies, PRP demonstrates therapeutic effectiveness for male pattern baldness. It is evident in parameters such as higher hair density, increase in terminal to vellus hair ratio, and patient global assessment scores.
PRP is done by extracting your own blood from your arm. The sample is placed in a centrifuge which is a machine that spins the blood to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. The platelet-rich plasma is the component injected directly to the scalp at the level of the hair follicles.
- It uses your own blood sparing you the possibility of adverse/allergic reactions
- No major side effects noted
- Minimal recovery time
- It works in areas that laser treatment can’t reach
- Natural-looking results
- Pain on the injection sites
- The extraction method has the potential for infection with poor technique
6. Regenera Activa
Regenera Activa is the new kid on the block of hair loss treatments. It is a minimally invasive treatment for hair loss using autologous micrografts, which means your own cells. While it may come with some attractive points, is it a good long-term treatment?
What they are saying: It restores your hair without chemicals or highly invasive surgery.
What you are getting: The procedure involves the extraction of small skin samples at the back of the scalp. A total of 3-4 tissue specimens are collected under local anesthesia. As this area is less susceptible to hair loss, the samples will contain thousands of cells that can help activate resting hair follicles.
The collected specimens are placed inside a special patented system to extract the growth factors and other cells with regenerative properties. The suspension collected is then injected into the balding areas which slow down the progression of hair loss and initiate the regenerative process.
- It is a short procedure which takes about 30-45 minutes
- No downtime
- Results can be expected within 30-60 days
- Eliminates the risk of tissue rejection or allergic reactions
- Non-permanent results
- It must be repeated every 1-2 years
- It will eventually cost you more than what you would pay for a hair transplant
7. Scalp Reduction
This is a surgical intervention also known as scalp lifting. This is a procedure where flaps of the non-hair bearing parts of the scalp are surgically cut out and the wound sutured back together. This is basically to minimize the bald areas. But is this a good approach for those suffering from male pattern baldness?
What they are saying: It is a procedure that can address hair loss, but it is not for everyone.
What you are getting: Scalp reduction was all the rage back in the 80s, but it is only used nowadays to address extreme cases of alopecia or traumatic burns. The technique of removing the scalp can be risky if not done right. If the surgeon removes so much scalp, it can result in excessive tension of the adjacent scalp which also means a wider scar. The tension can also reduce blood supply which can only worsen your hair loss.
Some practitioners today feel that scalp reduction should not be considered a reasonable option today. To ensure that results are safe and aesthetically pleasing, there must be careful patient selection. It must be done only for specific situations.
- It is recommended for those who have bald areas on the scalp
- It is a good option for those who don’t have enough hair grafts to cover bald areas
- The surgery is not for individuals suffering from male pattern baldness
- It may cause problems such as scarring, altered hair direction, and thin scalp
- It has a risk for complications
- There is no conservation of donor’s hair
- It may cause scarring when addressing hairline regression
8. Hair Transplant
Hair transplant surgery is considered a person’s last resort in hair restoration. It is a meticulous surgery that uses your own hair to be used as donors to cover up bald areas. It is a widely popular treatment, but even the best resort requires several considerations. Do you think this is the right solution for you?
What they are saying: The success of a hair transplant procedure depends on proper patient selection and the skill of your surgeon.
What you are getting: Hair restoration surgery you can expect the removal of donor hair follicles from the back of the scalp to implant them on the hairless portions of the head. It can also be used to improve hair distribution in areas like the eyebrows or beards. Patients have two options on how their donor grafts are to be extracted, these are the FUT (follicular unit transplantation) and FUE (follicular unit extraction) techniques.
Also known as the strip method, this technique involves the removal of the piece of scalp from the back of the head which contains the donor’s hairs. The back of the scalp is often unaffected by male pattern baldness making the hairs in this area viable donors. The donor grafts are removed from the piece of the scalp using a high-powered microscope while the doctor prepares the recipient site.
This technique removes the hair directly from the scalp using a punch-like tool that creates a circular incision around the donor graft. It may have skipped the need for incisions, but it is more labor-intensive with a high risk for resection. [ps2id id=’Hair Loss Treatment Options’ target=”/]
Even though it is considered the best option to restore hair, it is not for everybody. A good surgeon would know that otherwise efforts and resources will be put to waste. This is why you need to find a credible surgeon who will evaluate you extensively and honestly.
On average, the right candidate for a hair transplant should have the following characteristics:
- Male or female whose hair loss has stabilized
- Over the age of 25
- Suffer from male or female pattern baldness
- Those with realistic expectations
- No bleeding or clotting problems
To help you find a good hair transplant surgeon take note of the following:
- He must be trained and certified to do hair transplant surgery.
- Ask the number of hair transplant surgeries he has done
- Ask for his revision rate and probe further if the numbers are high
- Ask for before and after photos
- Hair transplant can create natural-looking results
- The procedure guarantees the growth of healthy hair in bald or thinning areas.
- It can be customized to suit a person’s face, age, and even their ethnicity
- It can provide you with permanent results
- It is an expensive treatment
- Visible scarring, particularly with FUT, should a patient decide to wear short
- You need to be at the right age to be considered a good candidate for this surgery
- The success of your results largely depends on the skill and experience of your hair transplant surgeon
As you can see from the list above, those who suffer from hair loss have a range of options to choose from. However, you need to weigh the advantages and drawbacks, along with professional advice, to improve your chances of achieving your desired results.
Talk to someone who is well versed in this matter today. If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, you may call 1300 733 092 to book an appointment with Dr. Andrew Kim today. You may also drop us a line, here.