Throughout history, men and women have been searching for the secret to curing hair loss. In fact, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (The father of modern medicine) was not unlike modern day hair loss sufferers attempting to reverse their balding. Among other “treatments” to curb hair loss, Hippocrates devised an ancient hair loss remedy that included a mixture of horseradish, cumin, pigeon droppings, and nettles to be applied to the scalp. As you may have guessed, this and hundreds of other wacky treatments have proven to be ineffective in combating thinning hair. The good news for the men and women of the 21st century is that real options, both surgical and non-surgical now exist.
Despite the number of proven treatments today, many men and women are convinced that the real “cure” already exists and is known only to a select few individuals including the rich and the famous. Unfortunately, these hair loss sufferers quite often find themselves parting with hundreds or thousands of dollars as they gobble up every whimsical lotion, tonic, pill or device being hawked on late-night TV or in the back of magazines. So how do you know what works and what doesn’t in the world of hair restoration?
Non-surgical hair loss treatments involve everything from covering up the balding area to medications that have the potential to slow or, in some cases, reverse balding. The venerable toupee, hair piece or hair restoration system has existed in one form or another for centuries. Today’s hair systems are custom fitted and virtually undetectable but the regular maintenance required often comes at a high price. For those men and women that are experiencing thinning hair but not yet ready for a hair system, concealers such as Toppik and DermMatch offer a temporary solution that creates an illusion of thicker, fuller hair. Finally, Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride), the only two FDA approved and clinically proven medical treatments for hair loss offer a medicinal double-punch helpful for slowing the progression of hair loss. It is important to note that, while Rogaine is available for both men and women, Propecia is approved for use by men only and should not be taken by women.
Surgical hair restoration has evolved dramatically since bursting on the scene in the 1950’s. Today, the “Gold Standard” of hair transplant surgery is the ultra-refined follicular unit transplant. Using micro surgical blades the same diameter as the grafts now enables hair transplant surgeons to safely make more tiny graft incisions in a given area than ever before. The resulting graft density is as much as twice that of the standard follicular unit hair transplant procedure (FUT).
While hair loss sufferers have more options today than ever before, they never stop dreaming of new and exciting treatments looming on the horizon. One such procedure, available now, that has received a lot of buzz recently is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). This relatively new and still unproven treatment relies on increasing platelets in the blood in order to take advantage of their ability to induce accelerated tissue and wound healing and perhaps wake up dormant follicular stem cells. Histogen promises its own form of hair regeneration based on “proprietary bioreactors” that mimic the embryonic environment encouraging newborn fibroblasts to produce vital proteins and growth factors inducing new hair growth. Of course, the Holy Grail of hair loss cures is hair multiplication (HM). Also known as hair cloning, HM promises to restore a person’s natural hair to its full density by growing genetic copies of DHT resistant donor hair. Unfortunately, one of the biggest players in the field of HM, Intercytex, closed its doors in early 2010.
For more information or to add your comments join the following discussion on our hair loss forum and social network.
David – aka TakingThePlunge
Assistant Publisher and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum
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