Common Treatments For Hair Loss
Topical Treatments such as Minoxidil
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is approved by the FDA for female pattern hair loss. It can slow or stop hair loss in most women and may help hair grow back in up to a quarter of those who use it. However, the benefits are lost when you stop using it.
This topical medication is thought to increase Nitric Oxide (NO). NO causes vasodilation of blood vessels that bring nutrients to the hair follicle. Additionally, Minoxidil promotes the growth phase of hair (anagen) and shortens the telogen (resting) phase. Minoxidil must be used forever since discontinuation can lead to loss of hair that was gained during therapy. Minoxidil cannot be used during pregnancy.
Low level light and laser therapy
Devices that emit low-energy laser light may stimulate hair growth to help fight thinning hair. We recommend for both men and women to use only FDA approved type devices that have been proven to show effectiveness in hair restoration. To get the best results treatments must be scheduled regularly over a 2-4 month period of time.
This procedure involves moving hair from thicker to thinner areas of the scalp from donor sites. With female pattern hair loss, hair tends to thin from all over, making donor sites limited. The exceptions are women with male pattern baldness or hair loss caused by scarring.
Finasteride (Propecia 1mg or Proscar 5mg ¼ of a tablet)
Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that blocks DHT. DHT is the hormone that causes hair follicles to produce thinner, weaker hair. To help treat this, Dr. Harper uses a specially compounded form of Finasteride called FinPlus that contains Finasteride with added biotin, saw palmetto, horsetail, nettle astragalus, poria cocos, and rehmannia to help boost the effectiveness of this medication.
Finasteride must be used for your entire lifetime since discontinuation can to loss of hair that was gained during therapy. It may take as long as 6 months to notice benefits with this medication.
Side effects of Finasteride include erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, gynecomastia, chills, cold sweats, confusion, and dizziness. These side effects usually occur with the 5 mg dose used for prostate issues, however, the 1 mg treatment does not have these.
Spironolactone or Aldactone
This medication blocks androgen production that decreases the amount of DHT, the hormone that causes hair follicles to produce thinner, weaker hair follicles. This medication is commonly used in PCOS. Normal dosages are 50-100 mg and it may take up to 3 months to work. Once the medication has been deemed effective, hair can typically be maintained with a lower dose. Side effects include hyperkalemia, headache, fatigue, menstrual irregularity, and GI bleeding.
This hormone blocks androgen production that decreases the amount of DHT, the hormone that weakens hair follicles and leads to thinner, weaker hair follicles.
Low Level Light / Laser Therapy (LLL)
Red light therapy in the spectrum of 630 – 670 NM increases cellular ATP production that stimulates growth, extracellular matrix deposition, and cell proliferation at the hair follicle improving hair growth as well as hair health. LLL decreases inflammation and increases blood supply to the scalp area. Hair follicles need to be present for this treatment to be effective.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP contains natural growth and healing factors that accelerate tissue regeneration to enhance hair follicle function. In addition, PRP has been shown to stimulate stem cells to regenerate hair. Additional growth factors may be added to increase the effectiveness of this treatment.
A small handheld device allows 10,000 precise channels to be created through which PRP can better be absorbed into the scalp.
A-Cell is a cellular regenerator that activates and recruit stem cells that are critical for healthy hair growth. This product can be used with or without PRP.
Provides critical amino acid building blocks for hair growth including cysteine and methionine. Additionally, methionine is involved with the methylation process described earlier and cysteine is vital for glutathione production.
Iron supplements are given based on blood work. We use a special form of iron that is not irritation to the stomach and is non-constipating. Foods that can decrease the absorption of iron into the bloodstream, include coffee, tea, and soybeans. Supplementing the diet with vitamin C can help the body absorb iron. It’s wise to eat foods that are high in iron, including lean red meat, dired fruit, broccoli, egg yolks, lentils, spinach, and chicken.
Vitamin D will be given based on blood work results. We use a special form of vitamin D which contains vitamin K. This additional nutrient is important to keep calcium in the bones when taking vitamin D. Vitamin D levels should be measured every 3 months as high levels of vitamin D can be toxic. Additionally, vitamin D can be found in foods such as salmon, mushrooms, and grains.
This critical antioxidant glutathione is responsible for quenching oxidative stress and calming autoimmune inflammation.
Zinc supplements will be given based on the zinc blood test. This nutrient can be found in foods such as lamb, turkey, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate. Periodic testing for blood levels of zinc will done. 30 – 40 mg/day of zinc may be used for at least a 1 year period.
Multivitamins with vitamins A, E, B complex, and Omega-3 and 6. A twice-daily dose of a complete multivitamin with the above nutrients should be taken for healthy hair as well as a healthy body. Additionally, B vitamins can be found in foods such as grains, eggs, and avocados.
A component necessary for the production and maintenance of healthy hair. Biotin enhances, hair growth, thickens hair fibers, and diminishes shedding. It also plays a role in the overall health of skin and nails. Biotin is commonly found in food such as egg yolks, liver, rice, and milk.
Other nutrients for healthy hair
- Gingko (antioxidant)
- Saw palmetto (fatty acid oils and sterols)
Quick fixes for thinning hair
Your stylist may have temporary fixes for hair loss, but getting to the underlying causes of your hair loss is key to reestablishing a healthy head of hair. A styling product for thin hair may temporarily help hide hair loss. You apply it to the root area and gently blow dry to build volume-letting hair air dry partially before using a blow dryer.
Special cosmetics can camouflage visible areas of the scalp and keratin fiber hair cosmetics may be worth a try. They’re sprinkled over the thinning patch, where their static charge makes hair appear thicker. In addition, a shorter cut, a different part, or a gentle body wave may make thinning hair less visible while new hair grows in.
Healthy hair leads to a better appearance
Your hair says a lot about the overall health of your body and hair loss is often times the first sign of underlying health issues. When the body is under stress from any of the above causes, hair growth is stunted and energy is redirected to other cells throughout the body. While age is definitely a factor in hair loss, the other factors listed above are much more influential in solving the hair loss mystery.
The best way to get to the root of the problem is to determine the underlying cause. It is important to see a specialist in hair loss if there seems to be something wrong, because the sooner treatment is started, the better the chances are for improving your hair growth.
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