How To Treat Hair Loss
The most common type of hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern or female pattern hair loss. This is hereditary in nature, and is related to androgens, or testosterone and similar hormones, which are produced by both men and women. This kind of hair loss is very common, and becomes more common with age. Treatment is much more effective if it begins early in the course…once the hair is gone, it is much more difficult to regrow…better to catch it early and prevent further loss.
One of the earliest treatments approved by the FDA was Rogaine, a solution containing minoxidil. Today, there are many treatments that are available.
Finasteride and dutasteride are medications taken by mouth that are primarily used to treat prostate enlargement. These medications block an enzyme that converts testosterone into a more active form.
Low dose oral minoxidil has been reported in some recent studies to be effective at growing scalp hair. In the much higher doses required to regulate blood pressure, generalized body hair growth can occur, but this is very rare with the smaller doses used in pattern hair loss. The low dose treatment can cause edema, or swelling in the legs, but this is rare.
Low level laser therapy has also shown promise. There are several studies demonstrating effectiveness, with very good tolerability, and no known side effects.
For severe cases, hair transplantation can be employed. This involves removing hair follicles from the back of the scalp and “replanting” them in the front. This is is an expensive, but effective treatment, usually involving several sessions.
At Advanced Dermatology, we offer one of the more intriguing treatments for androgenetic alopecia to emerge in the past few years is platelet-rich plasma. This process involves drawing the patient’s blood and centrifuging it to separate the platelet-rich plasma of “PRP”. The PRP is then injected into the patient’s scalp monthly for four months, then on a less frequent basis for maintenance. Platelets contain over 20 different growth factors, which is the presumed mechanism of action in hair loss. Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated efficacy as high as 30% increase in hair density.
It is important to discuss your treatment options with a Board-certified Dermatologist to find the treatment that best fits your unique situation.