There are lots of “Hair Loss Consultants” in the field of Hair Loss Treatment spruiking promises to cure your hair loss and restore your self-esteem. However, the discerning consumer should understand that the industry is highly driven by vanity and desperation. It is filled with more than its fair share of sales people providing medical and surgical advice without the relevant training or qualifications to do so.
This puts you, the patient/consumer, at serious risk of receiving the wrong information or being tricked into purchasing treatments you don’t want by “consultants” appealing to your desperation and emotions.
Do your own due diligence – ensure you see a reputable, experienced and qualified Hair Restoration Doctor/Surgeon for the correct information about all your treatment options, and a treatment plan that is based on an assessment of your individual case and needs.
So what are some of the hair loss treatments available on the market today and do they work?
Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery has been refined over the last 20 years. The old-fashioned grass-like plug transplants ofyears gone-by have been replaced with new techniques that involve the implantation of individual single follicles (rather than groups of multiple hair follicles, or plugs).
The Hair Transplant Surgeon should ideally be a graduate (Diplomate) of the ABHRS program (American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery).
There are two types of surgical extraction methods:
FUG (also known as strip surgery or FUSS)
The surgeon cuts a strip of scalp from the side or back of your head, and the follicles are separated and inserted into the crown and temples.
The implanted follicles taken from the back of the scalp typically aren’t susceptible to DHT. So the hair growing from them is permanent. However, if your thinning is not stable it’s likely you’ll need to continue to use medication to maintain existing DHT-susceptible hairs and prevent shedding.
Some people have been concerned about linear scarring from the strip procedure, so always research the surgeon you’re thinking of using beforehand. Good surgeons can minimise the risk of linear scarring. If you choose a surgeon who experienced in both techniques , then if you do get a tiny bit of scar stretch, FUE can easily be performed later to fill in the scar and conceal it.
FUE (manual or motorised)
No linear incision is made to the scalp as a donor strip is not required, so there is no linear scar following surgery. Rather, instead of a strip, individual follicles are removed by an ultra fine punch tool (either manual or motorised) and implanted into the area of hair loss (called the recipient site).
Costs: $2500- $18,000 on average depending on the number of grafts transplanted and the type of surgical method: FUE (punch) vs FUG (strip)
Prescription Medication (oral)
These medications are only available on prescription and must be prescribed by a qualified doctor/physician following direct consultation with you. It is much cheaper to get the script filled at your local chemist than to purchase it in-house at your hair loss clinic.
You should only seek advice on prescription medication from a qualified doctor due to the potential side effects of the drugs. You must be properly assessed and be given information about the potential side effects before taking.
Medications could include:
- Finasteride (Propecia)
- Dutasteride (Avodart)
- Spironolactone (women only)
- Aldactone (women only)
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is proving effective as an alternative or adjunct treatment to medication. You must be an ideal candidate if you follicles in the area of your hair loss to stimulate. If your follicles have miniaturised so much that they are non-existent under high magnification, then you unlikely to be suitable for PRP injections (a transplant may be your only option).
When choosing a PRP practitioner, ensure they are a doctor experienced in hair loss as not all prp is equal. Your prp should contain highly concentrated Growth Factors (different centrifuges produce varying concentration results) and it should be “activated”, otherwise the Growth Factors are dormant and unable to mobilise your stem cells to the area of concern.
For advice on PRP for Hair Regrowth or other Hair Loss Treatments in Melbourne or Sydney, speak to Dr Rhett Bosnich for his expert and experienced opinion, by calling 1300 360 764 or visit www.newinhairtransplant.com.au for more information or to make an online enquiry.
Costs: $1650 per year if you are an appropriate candidate for PRP therapy (not everyone is).
Laser (Low-Level Infra-Red Laser Therapy)
Some clinics offer laser therapy to stop hair loss and regrow hair. Handheld devices are also available on the market for home use. Recently the Laser Cap was released onto the market. LLILT therapy may combine the use of a micro-needling roller for deeper penetration of topical medication like minoxidil. Your LLILT plan may also include prescription medication, like finasteride or dutasteride, as well as shampoo, thickening conditioners and other products that conceal your hair loss. This not only adds hundreds of dollars in ongoing costs, but also makes it difficult to tell what improvement – if any – is from which treatment, and what is merely a temporary cosmetic effect.
Unfortunately, it has not been conclusively proven whether or not LLILT laser therapy works. It is believed to stimulate follicle growth. However, clinical trials as yet do not support the claims. In addition, the ideal laser parameters, such as wavelength, power, length of time and frequency of application have not been established.
Shampoos and Conditioners
Usually protein-enriched with Keratin and amino-acids to strengthen the hair and may contain herbal tonics, such as Saw Palmetto thought to decrease DHT levels in the scalp – No studies to date support this claim.
Lotions (Over-The Counter Topical Application)
Minoxidil (for example Regaine) is applied to your scalp once or twice a day. It is not exactly known how it works, but it’s believed to increase the supply of blood and nutrients to the hair follicle, which helps strengthen existing hair, prevent loss and in a few people actually stimulate growth.
It works best on people with recent or mild hair loss, but less effectively on people who have had large areas of baldness for a long period of time. It may take up to a year to see results. Hair loss will rapidly restart when you stop the medication.
Some hair loss clinics promote a custom-made pharmacist-compounded solution of minoxidil with retinoic acid (Vitamin A), which is thought to assist minoxidil penetration into the skin. However, there’s no strong supporting evidence that Vitamin A increases minoxidil’s effectiveness, and it is very likely to irritate your scalp with side effects of redness, dryness and flaking skin.
If you lack protein in your diet, your hair can become brittle and weak. You will tend to have lots of damaged hairs that break off easily. The hairs won’t grow long before they break.
Thin hair from poor iron levels is characteristically different from Male pattern hair loss. Hair loss due to anaemia produces more diffuse thinning, including the back of the head. There are less hairs (decreased density), but the actual hairs retain their diameter (hair shaft thickness).
Contrast this with MPHL, where the hairs decrease in density in the front, mid-scalp and crown of the head, while the individual hair shafts also decreases in diameter. Density in the back of the head, however, is retained.
Silica is known to assist the strength of hair, skin and nails.
Saw Palmetto (herbal)
It is believed that Saw Palmetto decreases the level of DHT in the skin of the scalp, though no studies have conclusively proved this theory.
Camouflage Hair Fibres
A cosmetic product usually made from cotton, wool (such as Surethik) or other finely cut natural substance. The “fibres” are dyed and electrostatically charged so that the resultant powder-like product clings to the hairs on your head when sprinkled on the area of hair loss.
The fibres conceal the area of hair loss by covering it up. A light spray of hair spray is sufficient to keep the fibres in place and it can be easily washed out with your normal shampoo. While very effective and convenient, it is a temporary camouflage solution, just like make-up, so it requires repeat application after removal.
Wigs and Hair pieces
Wigs and hairpieces can be made from synthetic or human hair. Some stores offer off the shelf ranges and others can provide you with custom made designs. If do not desire large surgery or are unsuitable, but you wish to retain a hairpiece, it is possible to combine a small Hair Transplant Surgery to your frontal hairline. This can produce desirable results such as covering up the frontal edge of the hair piece to make your hairpiece look more natural.
Cost of cosmetic hair loss treatments: Ongoing maintenance can amount to hundreds or thousands per year depending on the choice and quality of products purchased.