Hair loss can be devastating at any age, but especially in young men and women. There is a lot of information on the internet, some good and some not so good. There are a lot of theories surrounding male and female pattern baldness, but the only one proven by scientific research is androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss). In this article, we will be giving you the top 3 best solutions as of 2020 for dealing with hair loss.
#1- Accept and Shave
Now, I know what you're thinking, shaving your head is NO solution. But you're wrong. It is a solution. Shaving your head is by far the quickest and cheapest solution to hair loss. That said, this is not a solution to women suffering from hair loss; society just started deeming this acceptable for men two decades ago.
For women, the equivalent solution would be wearing a topper. Toppers are miniature versions of wigs; they are interchangeable and provide an instant solution to hair loss. Toppers provide targeted coverage for one specific area, which could be the hairline, vertex, or the entire top of the scalp.
#2- Medication Therapy
If you catch your hair loss early enough, the chances are you can save most of your hair with medication. Two drugs that treat male pattern baldness are called Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil). Both of these medications work synergistically together. Minoxidil is a topical treatment that was approved by the FDA to treat hereditary hair loss over the counter since 1996. Finasteride was approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness in 1997. For the past two decades, these two drugs have been the most effective.
To date, it is unknown exactly how minoxidil stops hair loss. Still, many believe that it works by increasing blood supply and oxygen to the scalp, and by prolonging the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle's life cycle. Finasteride is an oral medication that works by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the primary cause of triggering genetic hair loss. Finasteride can block up to 70% of DHT in the body.
However, one medication is more effective than finasteride, and that medication is called dutasteride. Dutasteride works by inhibiting the production of DHT, but dutasteride can block up to 90% of DHT in the body, and it can block both forms of DHT- whereas finasteride can only block one. That said, the FDA has not approved dutasteride for the treatment of hair loss. Many have speculated the reason may be due to the increased risk of side effects, which include erectile dysfunction, low sexual desire, and gynecomastia.
#3- Hair Transplant Surgery
As of the year 2020, the most effective treatment for genetic hair loss is surgical hair restoration. Hair transplantation is the only treatment that can regrow hair on a completely bald scalp. Today, when done right, a hair transplant can restore a natural head of hair without any detection. There are two methods of harvesting the donor hair from the scalp. The first and oldest method is called Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) or strip.
Surgeons remove a strip of hair-bearing tissue from the back and sides of the scalp where the hair is resistant to DHT. The piece of tissue is then dissected into follicular units and transplanted into the balding area. Strip was the gold standard for quite some time, but it does leave a linear scar on the back of the scalp.
The second harvesting method is called Follicular Unit Excision (FUE). Modern FUE has been around since 2001. Surgeons remove follicular units one by one with a small surgical punch. The punch can range from 0.7mm to 1mm in circumference. This method of harvesting is very tedious, and the growth rate is slightly lower than the strip method. However, the scarring is minimal, and patients who opt for FUE can cut their hair short without seeing visible scars.
That said, harvesting methods do not deliver results; the hair transplant surgeons who perform the techniques are the ones responsible for providing results. Selecting an experienced, talented, and skilled hair restoration physician is crucial for getting refined and natural results that are undetectable.
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