Have you noticed a receding hairline recently? Maybe you’ve been losing more hair than usual? Experiencing hair loss is a very common scenario for people around the world, so you’re not alone. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy condition to face.
Hair is often directly tied to your self-image and confidence. When you’re not looking your best, it can mentally take a toll. Luckily, since hair loss is so common, there are multiple solutions. Keep reading for a rundown on common treatment options that are proven to be effective.
For treating many medical conditions, medicine has been the answer for years. These usually work from the inside-out, either suppressing symptoms or healing damage. There also exists medication to treat hair loss, both from the inside and outside. The most popular forms of this are minoxidil and finasteride.
Usually sold as a foam, gel, or shampoo, this medication acts as a follicular stimulant. This means it triggers weakened follicles to start producing hair again. Also known by its brand-name, Rogaine, minoxidil typically yields results within four to six months when applied twice daily.
Because of its stimulating nature, some conditions minoxidil is particularly powerful at treating are telogen effluvium and certain types of alopecia. Telogen effluvium occurs when the follicles essentially go dormant and stop producing hair. Alopecia is usually caused by faulty autoimmune reactions, genetics, or stress. Both lead to either patchy or pattern-baldness types of hair loss.
Commonly available as a pill, this medication is most often used to combat male pattern baldness. This is because one of the most common causes of MBP is the overproduction of dihydrotestosterone, a male sex hormone.
When the body makes too much DHT, the hormone can build up around hair follicles, making them weaken and stop producing hair. This usually occurs as a receding hairline or loss on the crown. Finasteride counteracts this buildup of DHT, blocking the overproduction of the hormone. This can also lessen the effects of genetic-caused hair loss, like androgenetic alopecia.
Follicles that were negatively affected by the DHT or genetics will be able to gain their strength back and start growing hair again. Some treatments offer a combination of minoxidil and finasteride for extra power, addressing multiple issues at once.
Since everyone’s bodies are different, yours might not respond well to certain treatments. While medication is usually a go-to, you might have to consider some procedures that are a little more invasive. This might be especially true if you’re struggling with a particularly aggressive form of alopecia, for example. Two types of common procedures to address hair loss are scalp injections and hair transplants.
Injections are often used in treatments for bodily injury or damage, so it’s not surprising that they’re used for hair loss recovery. These types of injections deposit healthful substances that your body can use to restore hair growth. One type often used for hair loss is called platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP) therapy.
So how does PRP work? Unlike other injection therapies, this procedure involves using what your body already makes — your own blood. The doctor will draw a portion of your blood and separate out the plasma and platelets, creating platelet-rich plasma. This essentially becomes blood with more platelets than usual, because these cells help with tissue growth and recovery.
Once the platelet-rich plasma has been created, it will be injected into the problem areas of the scalp. It can take up to six months before you see noticeable results, since hair grows pretty slowly. However, this procedure is fairly low-risk, and it’s very rare to experience complications.
If you want to go big or go home, a hair transplant might be for you. Although it’s more on the costly side, hair transplants often yield successful results. If you still have healthy areas of hair growth, you could likely be a good candidate for this surgery.
The most popular form of this procedure uses hair grafting. Similar to skin grafts, a surgeon will remove a small portion of skin from a healthy area of the scalp. This means it will have good hair growth in the region, and grafts will contain anywhere from 1-15 hairs. The surgeon will then graft these into problem areas of the scalp. If everything goes well, the skin will accept the grafts, and you’ll see noticeable results within the first year.
3. Holistic Approaches
Looking for the root of a problem can be difficult, so treating your body as a whole is never a bad idea. The better you treat your body, the better you’re likely to feel overall. This can also apply to hair loss — sometimes the cause isn’t as straightforward as you think. It could be a combination of sources, so getting a little holistic in treating hair loss can be effective.
As many are aware, a balanced diet can help prevent many health conditions. This can sometimes be the case with hair loss, as well. If you’re lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, your hair health can suffer. For example, biotin is necessary for hair growth and strength. It’s part of the B-vitamin family, and it serves as a protein-builder. Since hair is made up of proteins, it needs plenty of biotin to keep follicles healthy and strong.
Vitamin D is also necessary for hair loss recovery. While usually referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” and associated with bone health, a 2019 study found it effective against alopecia areata. This is because hair loss and deficiencies in the vitamin were discovered as being correlated. So drink more calcium, and get out in the sun. Consider asking your doctor if a supplement might be good for you.
Believe it or not, stress has way more of an impact on your body than you might realize. Anxiety and stress can lead to several health conditions, like lowered immunity, irritable bowel syndrome, and — you guessed it — hair loss. Telogen effluvium, mentioned previously, is most often caused by stress. Extreme anxiety or trauma felt causes the follicles to simply shut down, no longer growing or maintaining hair.
Some forms of alopecia, like alopecia areata, have also been linked to stress. So, make sure you’re taking care of your mental well-being. This can look like meditating, exercising, or getting enough sleep. As you take care of yourself, your hair loss might resolve itself.
Solutions Take Time
Remember that hair grows slowly, so you’re going to have to be patient to see results. Additionally, it might take time to find the right treatment. Starting your treatment journey by doing research is a great way to be informed and educated about your option. You’ll be helping your doctor by paying attention to small details and changes in your body or lifestyle too. Knowing all these elements can make the secret formula that leads to hair growth and recovery.