Hair Loss and Thinning - The Latest Treatments
You know that few things are more upsetting than hair loss and thinning. But there are a variety of treatment options available today that can prevent and even restore balding hair.
Here are some of the latest:
Drugs for hair loss
A variety of drugs have been found effective against hair loss among the most popular are minoxidil, ketaconazole, and finasteride (all generic names).
Minoxidil and finasteride (available in tablets, lotions, and shampoos) work by blocking the action of enzymes that cause hair fall. Ketaconazole in the shampoo Nizoral - works by treating fungal infections (as in dandruff) leading to hair loss.
Like with all drugs, you need to be aware of the side effects. For example, preparations containing minoxidil may lead to low blood pressure.
Consult your dermatologist before starting on any hair-loss drug that needs to be taken orally, and keep your doctor informed about any hair-loss product you use if you have a medical condition.
Special combs for thinning hair
Laser combs and other comb-like devices for restoring the hair generally work on the principle of scalp stimulation to increase blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Laser combs supply low intensity laser light to the scalp, while other combs are designed to massage oil or lotion into the scalp so that hair is nourished and the hair follicles get stimulated.
Laser combs have been approved by the US FDA. They are safe, and they will not damage your remaining hair.
On the flip side, they tend to be less effective than drugs and are quite expensive (though they turn out to be less expensive than drugs or surgery.
The verdict they are definitely worth a try, though they may or may not always help you.
Hair Re-growth Vitamins and Diet
Back to the basics - What is good for your body is also good for hair, and a diet high in vegetables, fruits, proteins and calcium will ultimately help your hair grow thicker especially if you have been on a high-fat diet, or been going on and off starvation diets for years. Drinking lots of water will also help.
About the hair-growth vitamins and pills available in the market most of these contain a cocktail of vitamins and extracts that will not harm most people, and you can use them along with most other hair-loss treatment products.
But, again, because overdoses of some vitamins and minerals can be toxic, let your doctor know before you start on any vitamin supplement for hair loss.
Hair Restoration Surgery
Surgery for hair loss involves transplanting donor tissue from areas where hair growth is thick to areas where it is scanty and sparse, and if you are considering surgery, your doctor will check if hair growth on at least part of your head is thick enough to donate tissue to the thin areas.
Surgeons have several techniques depending on whether you just want your scanty patches filled in or a complete makeover. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia and does not require a hospital stay.
But, as with all surgeries, there is a risk of infection and scarring. Sometimes several sessions are needed to get the fullness you want, and because there needs to be a healing interval between sessions, the complete treatment may take up to a year. If this is what you ultimately opt for, look for a doctor who is experienced in this particular kind of surgery. Be wary of anyone who promises a revolutionary new technique that can give you the hair of your dreams.
Remember that the surgical option is expensive and you should discuss the costs with the doctor before letting yourself in for the treatment.
Whatever you choose, remember that
- Most treatments will take time to work
- Different things work for different people
- And you will see improvements, but will rarely get back the coverage you had in your teens.
But all said and done proactively treating hair loss and thinning will increase hair growth for most people, and will make you look and feel better. So go for it!