How To Make Your Hair Grow
If you're one of the millions who suffer from alopecia or hair thinning, learn your options.
Step 1: Diagnosis
Hair loss can be embarrassing, depressing, frustrating, but you're not alone. By the age of 50, approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. There are many forms of alopecia, with androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, accounting for 95% of hair loss in men. Other forms of alopecia include effluviums, alopecia areata, scarring alopecia, congenital hypostrichosis, infectious agents, and hair shaft defects. Treatment depends on the type of hair loss you have. Misdiagnosis wastes time and money, so find a board certified dermatologist at www.abderm.org. Dermatologists will diagnose androgenetic alopecia based on a characteristic pattern of thinning and hereditary hair loss.
Step 2: Get Checked
If your hair loss isn't genetic, it could be a symptom of a health problem. Be ready to talk about stress, diet, drug use, vaccinations, physical trauma, allergies, any irritation or pain in the scalp, known birth defects and a complete health history with your doctor.
Step 3: Drug Treatment
If your hair loss is genetic, there are two FDA-approved drug treatments. Propecia or Finasteride is taken in pill form and has proven to stop the progression of hair loss in 86% of men and, actually increased hair growth in 65%. Rogaine or Minoxidil is a topical treatment that can take weeks to start working, but it's a good alternative for those who don't respond well to Propecia. Rogaine has products for women's hair loss as well. Whichever drug you choose, remember that hair growth only lasts as long as you're taking the medication.
Step 4: Hair Restoration Surgery
Surgery offers a permanent solution of sorts, but it comes at a price. Cost for hair restoration surgery can range from $5,000 to $15,000. In most cases, it involves taking hair from the posterior part of the scalp and transferring it to the front to replace balding skin. Multiple five to ten hour sessions may be needed to achieve desired results. The process is mostly painless, but it doesn't always produce natural looking hair. Certain hair characteristics fare better than others including course texture, curly or wavy hair, and lower color contrast to skin. Very few women make good candidates for hair restoration surgery due to limited donor sites. One of the major concerns of hair transplant surgery is that the hair is going to look unnatural and glued on. By going to an appropriate hair transplant surgeon, they can give you the natural look that you want. Finding a qualified surgeon isn't so easy because the hair restoration field isn't regulated. This means any licensed physician can legally perform hair transplant surgery, even if they have no surgical training of any kind. Be sure to ask for referrals and before and after pictures of prior surgeries.
Step 5: Women And Hair Loss
40% of people who lose their hair are women. Diagnosis in women isn't as easy to pinpoint. Pregnancy, excessive processing and birth control add to the possible causes of hair loss in women. There's only one FDA approved hair restoration treatment for women, which is called Minoxidil 2%. Other treatments used include Aldactone/Spironolactone, Tagamet/Cimetidine, Cyproterone acetate, Estrogen/Progesterone, birth control pill (only low androgen index), Nizoral/Ketoconazole, and Cyproterone Acetate with Ethinyloestradiol. Propecia/Proscar is FDA approved for men's hair loss only but is still used for women.
Step 6: Educate Yourself
Educate yourself about alopecia at the American Hair Loss Association website at www.americanhairloss.org.