Is there a good age for a hair transplant? Not a straightforward question to answer. 20, 25, 30, 40, 60 never? So, what reasons can there be for pulling the trigger? Do you have a hair transplant or wait a few years longer and see what happens to your remaining hair.
Generally, men or women, we try to look our best. Feel good about ourselves. We like to convey a youthful appearance to others. Life today has its own demands. More and more people look to cosmetic surgery for answers to the ageing process.
Hair loss can have deep psychological effects for both men and woman. Consciously or subconsciously can affect confidence. Also, the ability to interact with others easily, and can lead to low self-esteem.
Hair loss and younger men
As a young man, we can sometimes have greater insecurities about how others will see us. Physically and intellectually. Any perceived defect in our makeup can affect how we interact with others. It is a very vulnerable time in our lives. It is a time others can take advantage of this vulnerability. Tell you they have the answers, give you back your youth. It is a time when the male hormone testosterone is at its peak. The judgment making and decision process can be totally illogical. Sometimes any amount of common sense reasoning goes unheeded and dismissed. Young men can be huge risk takers. Often completely blind to the potential consequences.
No one belittles a younger man´s reaction to hair loss. Their perceived premature ageing. Being less attractive to the opposite sex due to hair loss. It must be understood before undergoing any surgical procedure it is far from being a miracle. Happiness is far from being guaranteed, short or long term.
What´s a hair transplant?
Hair Transplantation is known under many names. Surgical Hair Restoration, Hair Transplant, Hair Transplant Surgery. Or by the actual technique names STRIP Surgery/”FUT” and Follicular Unit Extraction or “FUE”.
FUT hair transplant surgery the doctor harvests the hair from a thin strip of the hair-bearing tissue removed from around the back and sides of the head. The length and width of the strip will ascertain the number of follicular units, (FU) that are contained within the strip; this can range from a few hundred to thousands of “FU”. Follicular Unit Extraction/FUE, on the other hand, utilises a different harvesting method, using a micro-punch to extract each FU one by one from around the donor area; the number of punch extractions is directly related to the number of grafts required.
With both techniques it has been medically recognised that hair from the donor can be moved to an area of hair loss. This hair will continue to grow after being moved to the new area. Displaying the same traits and characteristics as it had prior to being moved.
Genetic hair loss or male pattern baldness
Male-pattern baldness is a result of a gene in the body that 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. This balding process is caused by hereditary factors. You inherit the tendency to lose hair from either of your parents. This is transmitted in your genes. You may even have this tendency despite the fact that your parents have full heads of hair – this is due to a process known as a spontaneous mutation, whereby the genetic information changes at conception.
Male Pattern Baldness in severe cases can manifest in advanced hair loss, leaving only a thin band of hair around the sides and back, known as a “horseshoe”.
How to predict my hair loss stage
Hair loss stages are categorised in useful guide help diagnose the extent of the hair loss, for both men and women. The Norwood Scale is a classification of MPB for men. From remedial thinning to progressive hair loss. This makes it easier to understand the present hair loss pattern and determine the potential future loss. The Scale starts at 1 at its most minor up to 7 as the most aggressive form of hair loss. Also staging the loss between hairline and crown. This is a useful guide even if not totally depicting your hair loss stage.
The total area of hair loss may vary from 5 to 250 square centimetres. Although this is a crude measurement to make. It acts as a guide easier to understand. As the scalp is not flat but contoured and measured in volume.
As hereditary hair loss can start in the early twenties and slowly progress over the life of the man it is hard to predict the final hair loss stage. Other family members can help as a guide but even this is not specific and especially when hair loss starts early there is a greater risk of the hair loss stage progressing to an advanced stage over time.
Timing is everything
Starting hair restoration at an early stage and an early age can have bad consequences. If the hair loss pattern continues overtime and the donor hair cannot sustain a natural pattern of hair growth.
For example, fixing a low adolescent style hairline may seem to be a good idea at the time. For a few years, it may look perfectly natural. But, even short-term will begin to appear unnatural. Unfitting to the facial bone structure as a person ages. Even from their mid-twenties into their early thirties.
Repairing relatively minor hair loss at an early age then can have negative consequences. Especially if and when hair loss continues. You can´t keep having more and more hair transplant to repair the new areas of hair loss. The timing is important to mix what is possible and what is credible. While looking into the future may not be appealing. It sounds common sense. With the feeling, you will worry about it at a later date. Bury your head in the sand attitude. May come back to haunt you down the line if you are not careful.
What do you have to work with
The assessment of graft numbers available. It must be understood regardless of technique an initial estimation can only be considered a guideline. There are many factors to consider. Such as the healing of the donor can influence long-term measurements of donor capacity. The graft numbers are determined by assessing the area to be covered. Any native hair still apparent in the area and to a large degree the hair characteristics of the candidate. When one looks at other hair transplant results do not assume you will need the same as another person. A similar hair loss pattern is only a guide and is not always the case.
Treatment alternatives for hair loss problems
Hair loss treatments cannot lower hairlines and massively turn the hair loss clock back but they can help to preserve and improve the growth of your hair and assuming started early enough can help to sustain your hair growth for many years before ever having to consider a hair transplant.
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. The size of a normal hairbrush, and also available in dome form that sits under a cap or hat it improves the strength and appearance of hair as well as hair growth.
Your personal assessment is designed to answer questions such as are you a hair transplant candidate, your hair loss stage, whether your goals and expectations are realistic and if so how many graft, the technique to use and the cost. Maybe the answer is not yet, wait, use treatment, do nothing, but it is worth the time to find out what your sensible options are before making any decision based on emotion rather than fact.