Is losing your hair just bad luck? Only down to genetics or can be caused by a stressful lifestyle?
Plain old male pattern baldness
Baldness is a medical condition that affects some 25% of men in their 20’s. And an astounding 2/3 of all men after the age of 60. The predilection for hair loss can occur at any time through our adult life. As early as in our teenage years. Hair loss is progressive. Although it can be slow. Once it starts it will generally continue. Normally following the genetic patterning within the family.
Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) is the most common hair loss condition to affect men. This form of hair loss is passed down genetically from family members. There is a predestined potential this gene will be inherited by one or more family members.
It is a result of a gene in the body. This gene converts large quantities of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Hair loss occurs to some extent in 60-70% of all men, and 4-8% of women.
Other Causes of hair loss
Blood and hormone conditions, like anemia or a thyroid problem. Medical treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. Medications, such as blood thinners, some acne treatments, steroids, called anabolic steroids. Stress.
Hairstyles that create tension or traction on the hair shaft such as ponytails, cornrows, or braids.
Some hair loss issues are progressive, such as male pattern baldness. Whereas others can be treated. Some even grow back on their own accord. A hair loss consultation is the first option to discuss your hair loss condition. Whether there is a treatment that can help.
Some hair-raising facts
Black is the most common hair colour in the world. Red, which only exists in about 1 per cent of the world’s population, is the rarest. Blonde hair comes in a close second, with only 2 per cent of the population.
Hair can grow just about anywhere on the body. Except for the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet. Also, on your lips and mucous membranes.
Hair is more elastic than you think! It can expand by up to 30% of its original length when wet.
Do you ever see a lot of hair in the drain after showering? That’s normal–we shed between 40 and 150 strands of hair a day.
Cutting your hair does not affect its growth, but it does help to avoid split ends, which can work their way up the hair shaft and make the individual shafts thinner, giving your hair the appearance of not growing.
How to treat hair loss
It is important to seek medical advice before starting any treatment for hair loss. Some treatments may be specific to certain hair loss conditions.
There are only three FDA approved medicated treatments and therapies for the treatment of hair loss. Although FDA approved it must be understood there is no miracle cure. Results can vary from person to person, and always consult a specialist before using.
Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is a topical application applied to the scalp twice daily, 1ml each application. Available over-the-counter in 2% or 5% lotion, and now in a foam form, the active ingredient is thought to increase blood circulation locally, acting as a vasodilator.
Finasteride (Propecia®) is a tablet taken daily and acts by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the cause of male pattern hair loss. It is available only on prescription and cannot be taken by women. It slows hair loss and stimulates some new hair growth, and works more effectively on the crown and mid- scalp than the frontal area.
The most recently approved treatment uses low-level red laser light which stimulates hair follicles. There are two models, one that resembles a large comb and the other that is shaped as a cap and sits under a hat of some kind. Used every other day it improves the strength and appearance of hair as well as hair growth.
There are many natural herbal treatments available that are not approved and have not undergone any long-term case studies. Some, such as saw palmetto is widely used by male hair loss sufferers with many swearing by how beneficial it works.
The hair transplant is a surgical procedure under local anaesthetic and sedative usually taking one day to perform. Although a hair transplant moves permanently strong hair it will not cure progressive hair loss.
Not all hair transplants are the same
It should be understood that not all hair transplant procedures are the same. Care should be taken to ensure you understand the consequences of being on the wrong side of a poorly performed hair transplant. Not only the growth or the look but also the damage caused to your remaining hair and skin. A hair transplant, when performed to high quality, is a technically skilled surgical procedure. That requires medical and artistic skills learned over the years to ensure the required care and attention is given to achieving the best result.
The patient has a finite resource of hair to use. A full density of hair cannot be realised for the vast majority. So planning is vital. A good donor area can yield around 8000 follicular groups. With the original density of follicular groups prior to hair loss between 70 and 100 groups per square centimetre. It is not necessary to reach this number to create the appearance of a good density and coverage in most people. It is considered correct to rebuild a new hairline first. Then work back into the central area. Lastly to the crown, this creates a natural look rather than a thin general coverage from front to back.
Today there are considered to be two procedures. The Strip Technique (FUT) and FUE. The major difference between Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and the Strip Harvesting Technique (FUT) is the method of extracting the follicular units. With FUE, a specialised punch is used to extract the hair from the scalp. The main advantage of this technique is that follicular units are extracted directly from the scalp which expels the need for scalpels and stitching.