Hair Loss: 5 Paths to a Full Head of Confidence

In today’s media-driven world, all attention is on the face. And yes, the area right above it.

Hair loss is an issue for men (and women!) of all backgrounds and ages. Male pattern balding affects tens of millions of men in the United States alone. 33% of American men begin to show signs of balding before the age of 35; while a staggering 40% of women show hair loss before 40.

It can be devastating to lose the defining feature of health and youth. There are several ways thinning hair affects the average person. These include changes in:

  • Confidence
  • Sex Appeal
  • Ability to Style
  • Appearance of Age

You may try to mask issues with hairstyles or with hats and caps. But many seek more permanent solutions, other than doing away with it allIf you’re man or woman who’s confused about the solutions out there, here’s news: you’re not the only one. The age-old problem of hair loss hasn’t changed in history (though the treatments have!).

Today, there are more options than ever before. These include a swath of natural supplements, drugs, lasers, transplant techniques and regrowth treatments. It can be difficult to navigate through each type. Here are 5 popular treatments (along with a healthy lifestyle) that can well put your hair back in your hands.

1.) Propecia (Finasteride)

Originally designed to prevent prostate cancer, Propecia comes with a beneficial side effect of hair loss prevention. Finasteride is the first drug in history to treat male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the production of a male hormone in the scalp (DHT) that shuts down follicles that cause pattern baldness. Careful though, Propecia is a committed treatment and isn’t for women. Once you stop taking Propecia the hair you’ve retained with the drug will be lost within 3 to 8 months. Side effects may include loss of sexual desire or impotence.

2.) Minoxidil

The most well-known hair loss medication is Rogaine, which uses minoxidil. It’s the only FDA-approved drug for the condition other than Propecia. There are oral and topical applications of the drug. Minoxidil both slows the progression of hair loss and promotes the growth of new hair. It works by widening blood vessels, allowing more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to reach follicles.

This is also a lifetime-use treatment. Once you stop using a minoxidil product, your hair will thin at the same rate as before. Side effects include shedding, unwanted body hair growth, itching and allergic reactions. Often Propecia and minoxidil products are used in tandem to treat hair loss on dual fronts.

3.) Laser Light Therapy

Laser treatments come in several forms, including professional laser light treatments and at-home devices. Laser therapy applies photons to tissue helping to revitalize weak cells. Some devices stimulate blood flow which may promote new hair growth. It’s not a direct baldness solution; light therapy has shown to maintain hair for some. And there are critics questioning its effectiveness. A benefit of using a laser light is that the side effects are minimal and these can be used in conjunction with other treatments.  

4.) Hair Transplant

Hair transplants are a well-established, long-term answer to baldness. There are two types of hair transplants: follicular unit strip surgery and follicular unit extraction. Both move hair from one part of the body to another. Strip surgery transplants a strip from the back of the head. The unit extraction method moves grafts of smaller sections for transplant. Once hair is moved it will begin to regrow as usual over time. Downtime for transplants ranges from 3 to 10 days. The risks include bleeding, scarring, infections, unnatural hair growth, and dying follicles. Healing can take months and you may need several transplants for full coverage.

5.) PRP + ACell

PRP (platelet-rich plasma) + ACell injections is a new technique used to treat baldness through follicles and hair roots. This treatment is two part. ACell slows down thinning by providing a structure hair follicles can build upon. PRP, often used in sports medicine, amplifies natural healing. This may promote new hair growth and slow hair loss when applied to damaged hair follicles. Injections are composed of factors from your own blood: so risks are low and there is zero downtime.

A downside of ACell + PRP is that it’s an advanced technique not available everywhere. Treatments typically last a year. We offer this treatment at our Bay Area location.

Visit San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center’s PRP + ACell for Hair Regrowth page for more information about this procedure.