Hair Loss Treatments- Do they Really Work
Few cosmetic issues are there in our society that can strike a common fear among men and women both as ‘Hair Loss’. With increasing stress and receding hairlines, demand for more and more hair care products and treatments is on a rise. Though many men remain unfazed by the prospect of going bald and are even willing to flaunt it, not many women are actually willing to do so. Hair loss is a medically treatable condition with a strong scientific research history behind it. A number of certified doctors and medical research organizations are looking into new ways and treatments for this popular problem. However, as with most of the other cosmetic fields, this area is also rife with questionable products, misinformation and misleading quacks disguised as doctors.
Today, everything from pills to shampoos to different medical procedures are sold by various drugstores and companies as a promise to regrow your hair. However, dermatologically, only a few of them are truly effective while all others are just money making schemes by the companies. Let us take a look at some of the most popular hair loss treatments:
- What is it: Only available over the counter hair loss medication approved by FDA. Continual medication has to be applied for about 16 weeks for it to work. Effective only when you are under the age of 40 and have started losing the hair just recently
- How does it work: Approved by FDA, the drug is said to “reactivate the natural growth cycle of your hair by invigorating the hair follicles that have shrunken due to hair loss”. Usage of this medication, as per site, claims that it reduces hair loss and promotes natural, thicker looking hair.
- Effectiveness: Although it doesn’t claim to cure baldness, it is said to be effective for men and women under the age of 40. In a 16-week placebo controlled drug testof over 352 men, a significant increase was seen in about 38.3 per cent of the group along with an improved hair quality. However, many experts consider this as a temporary fix as it doesn’t act directly on the hair loss hormonal process.
- Side effects: redness, itching, scalp irritation, dryness or flaking
- What is it: Directly attacking the hormone at the root of male pattern baldness, this medication stops the body from producing the same. Available under the brand name Propecia, it is a pill available for only men.
- How does it work: This is the first drug in the medical history that treats male pattern baldness among men. It inhibits 5-alpha-reductase enzyme that makes testosterone from DHT or Dihydrotestosterone. This is the hormone that shrinks the hair follicle, thus leading to baldness
- Effectiveness: A highly effective treatment that proved to be successful in over 90 per cent of the men taking the drug. 65 per cent even noticed a substantial increase in hair growth.
- Side effects: Diminished sex drive, erectile dysfunction. Pregnant women should stay far far away from this pill
- What is it: Used by many doctors for speedy hair growth. It involves the usage of corticosteroid injections in the scalp or prednisone taken orally. It is successful among only those patients diagnosed with alopecia and not those having baldness due to aging
- How does it work: The injections suppress the local immunity reaction that happens during alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune disease causing hair loss among both men and women. Using these injections allows a normal functioning of the hair follicles so as to stimulate new hair growth.
- Effectiveness: In a study, over 92 per cent of the participants having alopecia areata and around 61 per cent with those suffering from alopecia totalis were found to benefit from these injections.
- Side Effects: Temporary skin thinning, weight gain, acne, menstrual problems, metabolic abnormalities and acne. Positive effects were also found to be just temporary.
Hair Transplant/ Resurrection surgery
- What is it: A surgical procedure that involves taking the hair follicles from the back of the scalp, also known as the donor site, to the area where thinning has been observed.
- How does it work: A surgeon removes hair plugs from the donor site skin and then implants them into the bald areas of the scalp.
- Effectiveness: Said to have an excellent effect on hair growth. However, it requires a considerable healing time and activity restrictions which is specially problematic, considering the immense pain experienced during this procedure.
- Side Effects: Infection, scarring, permanent linear scar
- What is it: Low level FDA approved lasers that are used to treat pattern baldness in both men and women.
- How does it work: The low level laser lights given by the laser caps like Hairpro Laser Caps are gently absorbed by the scalp cells. These, then help in repairing the damaged scalp and encourages new hair to grow.
- Effectiveness: Even though this therapy is seldom known to bring back the dead hair follicles, several customer group studies have proven that it stimulates the declining follicles to make hair thicker and healthier.
- Side Effects: No side effects found in the studies conducted so far
However, before indulging in any of these hair treatments, do consider a certified dermatologist to avoid any irreversible side effects. Also, avoid stress and indulge yourself in biotin- rich foods. Biotin is a hair building protein. Including it in your everyday diet will automatically improve your hair quality. It is available aplenty in almonds, sweet potato, spinach, cauliflower, cheeses and yeast. Do not overindulge as then it may cause more harm than benefit.
In the end, remember that routine hair care followed by regular visits to your dermatologist will surely improve your hair growth. Good news is that that correct treatment like LLLT Hairpro Laser caps used for correct condition with regular follow ups can surely make a difference. The key is to just do your homework and indulge in due diligence to avoid getting fooled.