Hair Loss Options
What Causes Hair Loss?
Contrary to what you may have been told growing up about hair loss, baldness genes are passed down from both parents, not just from your maternal grandfather. Baldness genes affect hair loss in women as well as men, may skip generations, and are totally random in terms of how or which siblings will be affected.
Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness , is caused by a sensitivity of the hair follicles to a hormone that causes healthy hair to become weaker and finer, until hair eventually stops growing. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the name of the hormone primarily responsible for male (and yes, female) pattern baldness . Typical areas that may be affected include the front and top of the head. Estrogen is responsible for keeping female DHT levels down, but when estrogen levels drop, usually around menopause, women’s hair follicles also become sensitive to the effects of DHT.
Types of Hair Loss
Male pattern baldness is normally diagnosed based on the pattern and appearance of the hair loss, and a detailed medical history, especially any other incidences of hair loss in your family.
A specialized dermatologist should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. Avoid those doctors who suggest a scalp biopsy, which is only necessary if there is a reason to suspect poison-induced hair loss.
The Norwood classification for hair loss in men, published in 1975 by Dr. O’tar Norwood, is the most widely used diagnostic tool utilized to determine the degree of hair loss in male patients.
This information is helpful to help patients determine which treatment options are best suited for them.
Norwood-Hamilton Hair Loss Scale
- Minor or no recession of the hair line, a normal scalp and hair line.
- Symmetrical triangle shaped areas of recession at the front temporal area. Hair loss remains well in front of the ears, and becomes thinner in the central front part of the scalp.
- Deep symmetrical recession at the temples, which will have a sparse layer of hair, if any. This is also the lowest amount of hair loss sufficient enough to be called baldness.
- Severe recession at the front temporal areas and a noticeable lack of hair on the crown. A dense band of thicker hair extending across the top separates the hair loss between front temporal and crown.
- The band of hair across the crown is narrower and thinner. The vertex region is still separated from the front temporal region, yet becoming less distinct. A definite horse shoe shape is forming when viewed from above.
- Hair loss is extending further back in the front temporal and vertex regions, with only a few sparse patches of hair across the crown area.
- A thin, narrow, horse shoe shaped band arond the sides and back is all that remains.
Laser Hair Replacement
- For those in the early stages of hair loss, there are two FDA-approved, non-surgical treatments available: Propecia (finasteride), and Rogaine (minoxidil).
Surgical Hair Restoration
- Hair transplants are often done for those needing permanent hair replacement and is one of the top choices of dependable hair loss solutions. The procedure involves grafting of hair bearing scalp areas onto bald areas.
- Scalp reduction surgery involves removing a bald section of the scalp, then suturing the hair producing areas of the scalp back together.
- Laser hair restoration is a newer concept in the non-surgical approach to help stop hair loss. Studies show that when used in combination with Rogaine and Propecia, laser hair restoration has been proven to be very effective.
- Laser combs are sometimes used to accelerate healing after the surgical placement of hair transplants. They may be prescribed by a specialist to be used at home to provide phototherapy to the scalp.
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