do these common hair loss treatments work?
Minoxidil is a synthetic drug that many people try to stop hair loss and grow new hair. It is a vasodilator, which means it opens up the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the body.
Minoxidil is often used for hair loss conditions such as androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss. Unofficially, it is sometimes used for beard growth enhancement, alopecia areata, eyebrow enhancement, and hair loss caused by chemotherapy.
Some people may experience side effects from topically applied minoxidil, and should take caution before taking. We recommend first speaking with your health professional to get the right advice based on your circumstances.
Finasteride is an oral tablet that decreases the production of DHT, which as we mentioned before, is the hormone that causes hair follicles to shrink. Finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT and in some cases, can help prevent hair loss in men.
Finasteride should be taken daily for at least three months before you can expect to see some results. As with all medications, it’s important to be aware of any potential side effects.
One of the most popular treatments for hair loss that people try is hair transplantation. There are various procedures for hair transplants, but all of them feature taking a graft of hair from an area that is still rich in hair (such as the back of the scalp) and implanting it on the balding area.
Hair transplants do not prevent or slow down hair loss; they simply cover up the bald area. If you have very little hair on your head, the results might not be as you expected. It is also important to be mindful that the growth of hair after the transplant takes several months. You might have to go for a follow-up after the transplant several times.
Important points about Hair Transplants
- If you have thick hair, the results may be more satisfactory than someone with thin hair.
- If you have a high density of hair on your donor site, you may get better results. If you have low density, less than 40 Follicular Units, this may not be the right option for you.
- The results vary depending upon the pattern and degree of baldness. If you have frontal baldness, you can possibly see amazing results.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma is a medical treatment that claims to boost hair growth. Blood is extracted from your veins and put into a centrifuge machine; here, the platelet-rich plasma becomes separated from the rest of the blood during this process. This fluid is then administered into the affected area.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy may require several sessions to achieve optimal results.
Low-level laser therapy is used as a non-invasive method to treat hair loss. It is said to stimulate hair follicles and improve circulation. There are some portable devices also in the market which can be used at home.
The results of laser therapy are inconsistent, meaning it works for some people but not for others.
Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is an advanced cosmetic procedure that resembles hair tattooing. It is performed by a needle injecting microdots of pigment into the scalp, creating a look that mimics a buzzcut look. Skilled SMP artists will ensure the pigment precisely matches your skin tone and natural hair colour for a seamless result.
The SMP artist will use specialised needles and equipment to deposit the pigment into the scalp. One session can take anywhere from one to three hours depending on the size of the area to be treated, and the number of sessions depends upon your degree of hair loss. Typically, two to four sessions are required with a gap of 7-14 days in between.
Every patient has a different complexion and scalp type, which is why the practitioner will use different types of needles and different shades of pigment depending on the scalp.
Guidelines for the treatment
- Avoid swimming, saunas, or steam baths between sessions.
- Don’t expose your scalp to the sunlight for at least four days after each treatment. Less sun exposure results in longer-lasting effects.
- Sleep with a clean pillowcase.
- Try not to touch your scalp unless your hands are clean.
- Tenderness and redness in the treatment area are normal during the day following your session.
Things to avoid after the treatment
- Do not swim in a pool or seawater for at least two weeks
- Avoid saunas, steam rooms, and direct sunlight whilst the scalp is healing
- Once your SMP is healed, always use sunscreen when outdoors
- Avoid excessive sweating for at least five days after each session
- Keep your scalp moisturised with a good quality moisturiser and cleanser
If you have acne on your scalp or other skin problems like psoriasis, you should delay the procedure until the skin is healed.
Pricing and Effectiveness
Pricing depends on many factors, such as the degree of hair loss, the client’s desired look, and the recommended number of sessions. It is also essential to remember that as with all cosmetic procedures, you get what you pay for. Make sure you research different providers to discern their expertise, training, and health and safety measures.
If delivered by a skilled SMP artist and cared for properly by the client, SMP can look fresh for up to three to five years. After this time, touch-ups may be required.
The modern diet tends to be devoid of essential micronutrients and is rich in carbs and fats; an imbalanced diet can result in hair loss in many individuals. In some cases, hair loss can be treated with the right supplements.
Biotin is a B-vitamin that plays a crucial role in hair growth. If hair loss is due to biotin deficiency, it can be prevented with biotin supplements or by eating biotin-rich foods such as wholegrains, almonds, fish, meat, and dark leafy vegetables.
If you rely solely on a plant-based diet, it is recommended that you take supplements as your diet will not fulfil the daily requirement of biotin. Biotin supplements can reverse hair loss in biotin-deficient patients, however there is no evidence that it will enhance hair growth in healthy individuals.
Zinc is another micronutrient and falls in the category of minerals. It is essential for the proper functioning of sebaceous glands around the hair follicles; this means zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss. Supplementation with zinc may treat this type of hair loss; beef, spinach, oysters, and lentils are also good sources of zinc.
Protein is one of three macronutrients important for the human body, the other two being fats and carbs. Almost everything in our body is made of protein, including our hair. Hair is composed of a special protein called keratin.
Adequate protein intake is crucial for normal hair growth as protein molecules are the building blocks of hair. Protein deficiency is associated with hair loss and poor hair texture.