Losing one’s hair can be difficult and often traumatic, which can affect us throughout our lives. Thankfully for both men and women, there are various methods and surgeries to restore your hair to its glorious past. Male pattern baldness is just one of the reason for hair loss and is the most common.
Other reasons for hair loss may include drugs, infection, trauma, pregnancy, diabetes, lupus and chemotherapy. Chemo hair loss is usually temporary and the hair starts to grow back within 6 weeks or in some cases, during the chemo. In many circumstances, the hair will grow back in a different color and texture.
Hair loss issues can range from a small patch on the top of your head to Alopecia which is the loss of hair on your head as well as the entire body. There is no cure for this, and this can affect both men and women alike.
Sometimes certain methods are not suitable for specific types of hair loss, so it is essential that you investigate all the options available and of course speak with your doctor with regards to the best and safest solution for you.
Quick and inexpensive solutions to treat thinning hair
As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”, and in the case of hair loss solutions, this couldn’t be more true. Both men and women have been concerned or obsessed about the loss of hair since the word “vanity” came into existence. Of course, there is nothing vain about wanting a full head of hair, but with the advent magazines, pictures videos and of course the internet, hair loss has become a major image issue. In the 18th century we see that powdered whips were the custom, although more for pomp and not to cover hair loss. The toupee flourished in the 19th century as the desire of men to look younger became more popular. But not until the late 19th century did the creation of alternatives to hair loss come into popular culture and with the advent of surgical procedures and drugs, there was finally some great solutions.
One of the quick, inexpensive and not so attractive solutions is the “comb-over”. This is when you grow your hair on one side of your head to a length, which enables you to comb it over the balding area for that “natural” look. Think of President Trump and the mane of hair which resides on his head. The drawbacks to this are obvious, as one gust of wind can make that head of hair look as though your hair dresser forgot to cut the one side of your head. Again, this “solution” costs nothing, but it certainly is not a serious remedy to an unfortunate problem.
Toupees are another quick fix, which are inexpensive and are easily removed when needed. In most instances, they are used for a small area of the head. The cost can range from inexpensive to quite costly, but the difference is notable and a bad toupee can look worse than the original hair loss issue. If you are serious about a toupee, it is recommended to go to someone with a stellar reputation and to own 3 toupees at a time.
More costly and attractive solutions for hair regrowth
Hair weaves were a popular and functional solution to hair loss. As I child, I can remember the commercials of a woman puling a man through a pool by his hair weave. The procedure was more of a permanent toupee weaved into the scalp which had to be maintained. This weaved hair did not grow and could look a bit awkward after a moth of your natural hair growing, and involved monthly treatments so that your natural hair could be cut to match the weave.
Other hair weaves and extensions are usually worn by women. These extensions are used to increase the length of one’s hair as well as to make it look thicker. A good hair weave can fool anyone, as many female celebrities have weaves, as well as non-celebrities. Did you really think Beyoncé’s mane of hair was her own? These need to be maintained as well, and are not immune to side effects. The most common side effect is hair loss, as the extensions can sometimes pull out the natural hair they are attached to, leading to other hair issues.
Expensive pharmaceutical solutions against going bald
Those suffering from hair loss, are always dreaming of that certain panacea which comes in the form of a topical solution or special pill, which magically overnight (or a few days) grows your hair back to its original and youthful look. Other than in the back of magazines or attached to a junk email, these solutions do not exist. Fortunately, there are solutions in the future, as well as current drugs which in some cases can regrow hair.
Propecia (Finasteride) and Rogaine (Minoxidil) are the most recent iterations of drugs which can help with hair loss. Both were not originally created for hair loss, but after use for other issues, they were found to create hair growth in certain regions of the head. These can be taken in oral form or as a topical solution and must be consistently used or the hair loss will return. As with any drug there can be serious side effects for both the user and someone who comes into contact with the drug. As in the case of Propecia, there can be side effects to pregnant women who handle the product, even when it’s not for their use. Rogaine is now an over the counter product, but as with any drug, it is incumbent upon the user to read the label and understand the side effects. If you have any other health issues I would recommend speaking with your physician as well.
Expensive but the best solution: hair transplant
If you’re looking for the best solution to hair loss, then a hair transplant (follicular unit transplantation) is the way to go. The process involves taking the natural hair follicles from your scalp, and implanting them into the donor site. Hair transplants have been around for quite some time and have advanced to a degree where a good transplant can be undetectable and can bring back the confidence of having your original head of hair. When first introduced, these transplants, although a step up from a toupee, looked somewhat unnatural and could look as if you have corn rows on your head. This was caused by the fact that they had to implant groups of hair, instead of one hair at time.
Since hair follicles usually grow in groups of 1-4, in the past caused some difficulty as the surgical procedures were still not sophisticated for such a small size and the grafts were much larger. The procedure can be done in one of two ways, Strip Harvesting or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). The surgery can involve just one session or multiple. This can depend on the patient’s preference, although the complexity of the transplant is the ultimate decider. FUE is the latest technology and it stands for Follicular Unit Extraction.
There are many factors which go into the planning of a hair transplant especially in the pre-operative planning, surgery and post-surgery phases. Much of have what is planned and implemented depends on many issues, and will be decided in consultation with your doctor. It’s a serious decision to undergo this type of surgery, but with the proper planning and execution, this will be a positive life-changing experience.