Hair loss is most people’s nightmare. Nobody likes the idea of balding because it makes them appear to have less power, virility and youth. Of course, most of us do not like change especially when it comes to the looks department. Statistics show that balding is highly prevalent and affects about 70% of the world population.
Hair loss affects both men and women. About 40% of the people who experience hair loss are women that can be very devastating to them. This is because hair is tied to self-worth and image. Hence, women whose hair thin out may start feeling less attractive which can adversely affect their social lives and romantic relationships. Men also get psychologically affected by hair loss and may even develop suicidal tendencies.
Causes of hair loss include hereditary, hormone imbalances, hairstyles and hair treatment, illness, surgery, medication, aging, stress and nutritional deficiencies. Some of these may be temporary and thus can be treated, but others are permanent. A dermatologist has to conduct an extensive diagnosis to establish the cause of your balding.
This involves taking a biopsy which means taking hair follicle from the balding area to test for autoimmune disease like lupus. They may also check whether the follicle and hair has a fungal or bacterial infection.
Treatment of hair loss
Hair loss treatment can be costly. Apparently, people spend about 3.5billion dollars to treat hair loss in U.S alone. The most common treatment includes:
Creams and lotions: minoxidil (Rogaine) that can be found in most chemists and is known stimulate hair growth particularly in people who have lost their hair due to hereditary reasons. It costs about $30 over the counter. Users have to apply it on their scalp. Prescription-strength finasteride or simply Propecia is an effective pill meant for the mean. However, it can take six months to determine whether these medications are effective. How does finasteride work you ask? It blocks the production of dihydrotestosterone that catalyzes male pattern baldness (MPB). The pill can also thicken hair. The downside of taking this pill is that it can lower libido in men even long after they have stopped taking it. This explains why most men prefer to avoid it despite its proven benefits.
Hair wigs and weaves: these cover the head completely or add to existing hair and give an illusion of a full head. They are relatively expensive. They are particularly useful for people who have lost hair temporarily such as cancer patients.
Anti-inflammatory medications: this involves using prescription steroid-based injections or creams to calm follicles that have been inflamed or damaged by harsh chemicals or too mush pulling.
Surgery. This is mostly recommended to men because their hair loss usually occurs on one or two areas on the head. The procedures performed include grafting that involves transplanting hair from one site to another. Another procedure is scalp reduction that eliminates bald skin to allow for hair-covered scalp to be stretched covering the bald parts. However, patients may suffer side effects like headaches, bruising and swelling.
If you decide to go for this option, you have to take caution by making a thorough research to find the best surgeon who can carry out the procedure to perfection. This is because there are mane quacks who are parading as experienced hair transplant specialists yet they have no experience or training in this field.
It is not unusual to see someone whose hair transplant procedure has gone awry, and they end up having a worse problem than they had initially. You can find a qualified specialist on sites like IAHRS.org. Besides searching the internet, you should also do a background check on the specialist and establish the number of patients they have worked on and the quality of their work.
Hair-growth laser treatment is also another possible hair-loss treatment procedure that can have positive results. However, you have to combine this method with others to achieve better results. This procedure can cost up to $3000.
Natural and other therapies
The National Institute and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases body (NIAMSD) states that alternative therapies can fail to promote hair growth and do not have any scientific evidence. Nevertheless, treatments such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, zinc and vitamin supplements, aroma and evening primrose oil are believed to have the healing properties of this condition.
Viviscal is a natural supplement that has proven to stimulate hair growth in the mean. It has been found to be more effective that fish extracts that are used for the same purpose.
Other alternative cures include platlet-rich plasma, standing on the head and thickening shampoos. The last two are subject to debate since most scientists doubt whether they are effective at all. Some lotion companies purport to use minoxidil as one of the ingredients to justify the high costs, but you can buy the medication in a drug store at a much cheaper price.
Ideally, you should consult a qualified physician before you use any alternative treatment available in the market.