Hair Loss Treatments
There are many hair loss treatments. Finding the right one can sometimes be a costly and unrewarding experience. Many are not scientifically proven at all and others can only be effective on a small percentage of users. For a treatment to be useful it should be scientifically proven and licensed to work on a majority of users. Of those there are only a few.
Some hair loss treatments can actually stop or slow down hair loss and in certain instances patients can experience some regrowth. This would only be possible with certain hair loss types and patients would need to have a consultation with either a Consultant Dermatologist or Private Registered Consultant Trichologist to assess if any hair loss treatment was available for their particular hair loss condition.
Minoxidil – Unisex Hair Loss Treatment
2% strength for women
5% strength for men
Minoxidil is a medication that has had long term testing in the treatment for hair loss. The drug was originally developed to treat high blood pressure and a side effect of causing hair growth was discovered.
We still do not know exactly how Minoxidil works to cause hair growth, but we do know that in a small percentage of men and women terminal hair will re-grow. Of greater significance is the fact that the rate of hair loss slows down. In fact the latest research shows that there is an eighty percent (80%) possibility of slowing down or even stopping the process of hair loss in men and women. Research at Bradford University is only recently beginning to discover just how Minoxidil works. These discoveries will lead to exciting new treatments for hair loss.
Minoxidil is supplied as a lotion that should ideally be applied twice daily to a clean and dry scalp. The drug has been found to be free of side-effects apart from the occasional allergic reaction or skin dryness. A new Minoxidil Foam for men only, called Rogaine, is available where the application may be easier and side-effects are far less common.
In general, 5% (extra strength) is recommended for men, while 2% (regular strength) is suggested for women.
Any benefits gained by using Minoxidil will be lost within a few months of stopping use of the drug.
Finasteride (Propecia® or Proscar®) - Men Only Hair Loss Treatment
Finasteride is taken orally in tablet form. it has been used for the treatment of enlarged prostate glands (prostatic hyperplasia) where the mechanism of action is similar to the scalp.
It blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) reducing its level in the bloodstream. Research shows that there is an 80% to 90% possibility of slowing down or even stopping the process of hair loss in cases of male pattern baldness. They also show that there is a 15-30% chance of a cosmetically significant increase in hair volume. Finasteride's action only begins to 'kick-in' at 3-4 months, while results should begin to be apparent after around 6 months. Any benefits gained by using Finasteride will be lost within a few months of stopping use of the drug.
There is a small potential for side-effects because the drug is taken orally, and therefore affecting DHT throughout the body and not just the scalp. The commonest side-effects are sexual (1 in 200 or 0.5% possibility) specifically decreased libido or difficulty with getting or maintaining erections. Normal sexual function should return to normal 1-2 weeks after stopping use of the drug. If you persevere with Finasteride despite the side-effects, the body has a 60% chance of getting rid of the side-effects without stopping the drug.
The drug must not come into direct contact with a woman who has the potential to get pregnant.
As this is a prescription-only medication, a consultation with a doctor is required to fully discuss the benefits and possible side-effects, following which it will be possible to make an order for the medication.
Dutasteride (Avodart®) - Men Only Hair Loss Treatment
This works on a similar principle to Finasteride, but on a more powerful level. To date, it is licensed for treatment of enlarged prostates but not for hair loss. Although research has shown that it is more effective than Finasteride in combating hair loss, the potential side-effects are more common.
A consultation is required to fully discuss the benefits, possible side-effects and the licensing issue, following which it will be possible to make an order for the medication.
Hair Transplant Surgery – for Men and Women
Hair transplant surgery is now a highly refined technique which, if performed correctly, can produce results that are so natural that even hair stylists cannot detect them. Hair transplantation is more commonly performed on men as the level of density improvement achievable can be more suited to men's expectations.
It is critical to choose the right hair loss treatment and hair restoration physician, since the skill, talent, and experience of physicians vary widely, as do their results.
Ultra-refined Follicular Unit Transplantation
Hair transplantation is the only permanent method that can be guaranteed to overcome hair loss and regain a head of growing hair. When performed correctly, hair transplantation can now produce results that are so natural that even hair stylists cannot detect them. This technique can be used to restore lost hair in all areas of the scalp and the hairline, also facial hair including eye brows, eye lashes, side burns, beards and moustaches and pubic hair. This technique is also used to hide scars and can often be used to restore growth even into scar tissue.
Ultra-Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation, using stereoscopic dissecting microscopes, is the ultimate form of hair transplant surgery. Most people’s hair at the back and the sides will continue to grow throughout their lifetime. This refined style of hair transplant involves taking hair from those areas and relocating it to the bald or thinning area.
This minimally invasive procedure enables patients to achieve very natural and dense hair growth after only one surgical session.
To recreate the hair line, the hairs are strategically placed to match the direction and angle of the natural growth of the hair. The end result is very realistic and that hair can then be treated like the rest of your own hair.
The procedure is very clean and no dressings or bandages are required. Within half an hour of the end of the treatment session you can be on your way home.
Each hair transplant treatment takes 2-8 hours depending on the number of grafts or hairs being transferred. The hair loss treatment transplant procedure in principle is simple and involves only short-lived discomfort when applying the anesthetic. The rest of the hair transplant procedure is painless.
From the day of the treatment it takes approximately 3-4 months for your new hair to start to grow and then it simply carries on growing at your natural rate (normally 1/2 inch or 1cm per month). Hence it could take at least 6 months after the procedure before you have substantial amounts of hair resulting in a gradual change of appearance. As a matter of fact, your new hair continues to mature in color, body and texture for up to 18 months after surgery. For most people with significant hair loss, 1-2 operations per bald area can give a natural looking head of hair of reasonable density.