Monthly Archives: April 2011

Royal Hair Loss at the Royal Wedding

Congratulations to Prince William and Princess Catherine!  We wish you all the happiness in the world!

With all the Royal Wedding media buzz, we can’t help but wonder….. Are the next generation of royals going to inherit male pattern baldness?  To answer this question we must first look at the royal family tree.

Prince William and Princess Catherine

Prince Charles: Prince William’s Father

Prince Edward & Prince Andrew: Prince William’s Uncles

Prince Philip Mountbatten: Prince William’s Grandfather

There are many theories on the genetics of hair loss. You most likely heard the popular myth that hair loss is passed down to men from the mother’s side of the family and to women from their father’s side. These myths travel alongside countless other genetic theories about how hair loss could be transmitted from one generation to the next.

While it is clear that male pattern baldness, medically known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is genetically based and common baldness cannot occur without the presence of specific inherited genes.  Physicians and scientists know these genes are transferred to children from either parent, but it is still unclear the exact mode of inheritance and the relative importance of each parent contributes to hair loss in the children.

Current genetic models have focused on one particular dominant gene, but  it is becoming clear genetic hair loss is a polygenic trait.  This would mean genetic hair loss is a complex condition most likely involving several genes.

A new genetic test has recently become available for hair loss by DermaGenoma. The Hair Dx Genetic Test™ is available for men and women and is offered by hair restoration physicians. These tests assist the patient and physician in making future medical and/or surgical treatment decisions.

Understanding the genetics of hair loss has practical implications for both the diagnosis and treatment of baldness. Early Diagnosis is the key and identifying those at high risk of becoming bald is critical. Treating hair loss in its earliest stages has the greatest chance of successfully reducing hair loss.


Hair Loss in Young Men: Balding Before They’re Legal

Hair Loss is commonly thought of as a problem for older men. But when it happens in younger men, even those who are not yet 21 years old, it can be considered an emotionally and medically serious problem requiring anti-anxiety medications.

Since hair loss is generally unexpected before age 21, it can be a shock for a young man 15 to 20 years old to discover he is losing hair. The first sign of hair loss to occur is thinning or miniaturization of the hair follicle in the frontal hairline. This can result in having the appearance of a high forehead. A person may also notice excess shedding when combing or shampooing the hair.

Hair loss has a very close association with family background or genetics.  There is a misconception in society that genes associated with hair loss are only passed down through the mother’s side of the family.  The truth is the genes involved in hair loss are passed down through either the maternal or paternal genes.

Hair loss before age 21 can be very disturbing for a young man, even if he expects to eventually undergo hair loss similar to other male members of his family. Loss of hair at this psychologically and emotionally vulnerable time in his life can leave him feeling disfigured, less attractive socially, and hindered in the job market. He can be an easy target for expensive but ineffective “miracle cures” advertised in print media, on TV and on the Internet.

The best first step is to have a hair restoration consultation with a physician hair restoration specialist who is a member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). A physician member of ISHRS is skilled and experienced, and importantly, follows ethical guidelines that make the needs of the patient the physician’s primary concern. Ethical considerations are especially important when the patient is vulnerable, distressed, and not yet an adult. The minor with hair loss should not be “pushed” into any decisions about hair restoration, especially surgery, and should be educated and counseled against making any hasty decisions that may not be in his best interest.

The best advice a physician hair restoration specialist can give is, “Don’t panic. I understand.”  Male pattern hair loss is a common, inherited condition and it is normal to be bothered by it. We can almost certainly find a way to manage it by making decisions tailored to your individual needs.”

When the patient is under eighteen (18), the physician hair restoration specialist must insist that a parent or legal guardian be involved in the decision-making process. Inclusion of a parent or legal guardian resolves questions of legal responsibility and gives the patient support in making informed decisions. Close parental support is important in the success of any treatment recommended to a teenager.

While male pattern hair loss is the most common reason for hair loss in men there are many other causes that need to be considered and ruled out.  Hasty treatment before a diagnosis is established may be ineffective and could be counter-productive.

Of Mice and Men- A new hair loss treatment is on the horizon:

John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel based on two migrant workers during the Great depression, really did not have to do anything with mice,men or hair loss.  But recently scientists studying a gastrointestinal disease discovered a medical breakthrough in hair loss. The resulting treatment, discovered by accident, offers promising results in the treatment and prevention of baldness or alopecia.

It’s being reported that researchers came across the discovery when testing a chemical compound on genetically altered mice. The mice’s bodies are programmed to overproduce a stress hormone, called corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), which, in addition to other things, caused them to lose their fur as they aged.

As part of the study, the balding mice were given five daily injections of a recently developed anti-stress hormone, astressin-B, and then returned to their habitat. Three months passed, and when scientists returned to collect the rodents for follow-up studies they unexpectedly discovered the once-hairless subjects had re-grown their fur. Reports show the injections were 100 percent effective in re-growing hair.

Younger mice that hadn’t yet lost their fur were given the anti-stress hormone injections as part of a follow-up study; research showed the treatment prevented their hair loss.

Additionally, scientists found the effects of the anti-stress hormone were more than fur deep. Initial test results also show the hormone had a positive impact in the gastrointestinal system and other areas of the body were receptors are located, including the cardiovascular system.

According to researchers, the most encouraging part of this hair-raising discovery is that the hormone triggered the mice’s follicles to start working again. Some scientists are hopeful the same mechanism can potentially be applied to treat other forms of hair loss including alopecia, pattern baldness and hair loss from chemotherapy.

Only time and science will tell if the potential treatment will help humans prevent and reverse hair loss. Researchers say the next steps will be to find out how the anti-stress hormone works to re-trigger follicles and pinpoint what cells are affected.

The complete study is published in the online journal PLoS One .

Ben Affleck’s Bald Spot

Ben Affleck caught the eye of the media and public when recent photos revealed a bald spot on the back of his head, referred to as the Vertex or crown region. While many adoring fans may think Ben’s bald spot is temporary, the truth is this bald spot represents a permanent loss of hair.

Did you know you can shed up to 100 hair follicles per day? Or you may see more hair loss at certain times of the year than others? While there are many causes for hair loss, a common type of hair loss affecting men and women is called “effluvium.”  To understand male hair loss, or what Mr. Affleck may be facing, it is important to understand the hair folicle cycle.

Hair follicles are not always in the active growth stage. A hair follicle cycles through a growth (Anagen) phase that can last two (2) to seven(7) years, then the hair follicle transitions to a regressing (Catagen) phase lasting a couple of weeks. Afterwards,  the hair follicle  enters the last and final phase (Telogen) for up to two to four months. The hair follicle then is shed when the hair follicle root re enters a new growth cycle. At any time on a healthy human scalp, about 80% to 90% of the hair follicles are growing hair. That leaves up to 10% to 20% percent of scalp hair follicles in a resting state.

Telogen effluvium (TE) is probably the second most common form of hair loss. Generally speaking, TE happens when there is a change in the number of hair follicles currently growing. If the number of hair follicles producing hair significantly decreases for any reason during the resting (telogen) phase, there will be a significant increase in dormant hair follicles. This is known as TE hair loss.

TE hair loss can be more severe in some areas of the scalp than others. It is uncommon to have hairline recession with TE hair loss, except in a few rare chronic cases.

The hairs that begin to shed are typically telogen hairs, which can be identified by a small bulb of keratin on the root end.

People with TE never completely lose all their hair, but the hair can be noticeably thin in severe cases. TE is often limited to the scalp and is fully reversible. The hair follicles are not permanently or irreversibly affected; there are just more hair follicles in a resting state than there should normally be.

How Does TE Start?

  • Environmental condition or injury that “shocks” the growing hair follicles. If the trigger is short-lived, then the hair follicles will return to their growing state and start producing new hair fibers pretty quickly. This form of TE usually lasts less than six months and the affected person has a normal scalp hair density again within a year.
  • The second form of TE develops more slowly and persists longer.  The follicles enter their normal resting phase but instead of returning to a new anagen hair growing state after a month or two, they remain in their telogen state. 

 In this form of TE, there may not be much noticeable hair shedding, but there will be a slow thinning of the scalp hair. This form of TE is more likely to occur in response to a persistent trigger.
  • In a third type of TE, the hair follicles do not stay in a resting state but rather cycle through shortened growth cycles. When this happens, the individual experiences thin scalp hair and persistent shedding of short, thin hairs.

What Stress and Diet Cause TE?

TE can affect women after giving birth to their child, this is called Postpartum Alopecia. It is caused by a sudden change in hormone levels at birth but most women regrow their hair quickly. 
Vaccinations, crash dieting, physical trauma, and having surgery can sometimes  precipitate hair follicles to go into hibernation or the resting phase.  Some prescription drugs may also induce TE, especially antidepressants which resolves after a prescription change.

Chronic illness or metabolic disorders may lead to TE.  The two most common problems are chronic stress, thyroid disorders and diet deficiency. There does seem to be a link between stress, a change in hair follicle biochemistry, and more hair follicles entering a resting (telogen) phase.

 Dietary changes can cause a deficiency of required nutrients for the hair follicle causing TE. A deficiency in thyroid hormones can be treated with hormone supplements.

 What can Ben do for that bald spot?

The best method for treating hair loss is finding the cause. This will require either a well-trained primary care physician who has the time to evaluate your medical condition, or a hair restoration specialists, or a dermatologist. 

However, a specific cause may not always be identified.

Mr. Affleck’s choices are intially based upon medical stabilization of any hair loss with medications and photostimulation therapy with a Laser Cap,”  says, Irvine hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Ken Williams, of OC Hair Restoration Center. After Ben’s hair loss is stabilized according to Dr. Williams,  he would  then recommend the “no scar hair loss” restoration surgery using the automated FUE device called NeoGraft.  He says, “it is considered the best technology available that will not leave any scar in the back of your scalp.”

To Rogaine or Not To Rogaine…..

Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the FDA for treatment of male pattern baldness. For many years, minoxidil was in pill form and widely used to treat high blood pressure.  Then just like with finasteride, researchers discovered previously an unknown side effect of the minoxidil pill.  Patients who were taking the medication for their high blood pressure began growing hair in unexpected places like on their cheeks, the back of their hands, and even on their foreheads.

After documenting hair growth as a side effect of Minoxidil,  researchers believed applying minoxidil topically directly to the head  would cause hair to grow in balding areas. Their scientific theory proved correct.  The original FDA approved studies found Rogaine was successful in regrowing hair in the vertex or crown.  Although, the original FDA indications of Rogaine was  for hair loss in the vertex region of the scalp, soon thereafter, everybody figured out the hair growth characteristics of the vertex were no different than the other regions of the scalp. So today we tell patients to apply Rogaine to all parts of the scalp to maintain the hair follicle longer in the Anagen or growth stage of the hair cycle.  By the way, Minoxidil should be applied to and massaged into the scalp in the morning and night.   Failure to massage the product into the scalp leaves the product on the hair shaft and transdermal absorption of the minoxidil does not occur.

With that said, Dr. Ken Williams, physician and surgeon for OC Hair Restoration Center, and The American Hair Loss Association (AHLA) still recommend daily use of minoxidil.  Dr. Williams and most hair restoration surgeons recommend finasteride be apart of the daily treatment program to stop existing hair loss and prevent further progression.

2% Minoxidil is a recommended medical treatment for women who suffer from diffuse androgenetic alopecia.    The FDA has approved the 2% minoxidil concentration for hair loss in women but many hair loss surgeons recommend the 5% solution.   Small clinical trials were conducted on 5% minoxidil for androgenetic alopecia in women showing that indeed it  is significantly more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair, but the 5% solution tended to cause facial hair growth.

“There are limitations of topical minoxidil treatment in the fight against female androgenic alopecia” stated Dr. Williams.  ” That is why I recommend, women especially, to seek out the advice of an informed hair loss specialist who can provide accurate and up to date information on medicinal and non-surgical treatments, as well as surgical treatmentoptions.”

My Hair Restoration Story….

Hello! My name is Dr. Ken Williams, I am currently 52 years old, and I had hair restoration surgery over 2 years ago……

Like most men, my hair loss story begins in my early thirties.  As a teenager and young man, I always had a thick and wavy hair style, but once I turned thirty, my frontal hair-line began to thin and recede, and in my mid forties my hair-line for the most part disappeared.  I was left with a couple small patches of hair my kids called “the landing strip.”   When I initially started losing my hair I researched hair restoration, but was not enthusiastic with the notion of surgery, referred to the STRIP method, that removed a large section of my scalp.  I waited many years for technology to catch up with my desire for a minimally invasive hair restoration procedure  that could implant thousands of hair follicles in one surgical session.

Finally in 2009, my patience had paid off as an Automated FUE hair restoration device, i.e., NeoGraft, was FDA approved here in the United States where over two thousand (2000) hair follicles could be transplanted in a single session.  In April 2009, I had my first hair restoration surgery with over 2300 grafts harvested and placed in my frontal hair-line. Since then I have had two more smaller surgical sessions with a total of 4500 grafts transplanted to my frontal hair-line and mid scalp.  I need an additional 2500 grafts to restore the crown of my head but I am thrilled with my results thus far.

Having hair restoration surgery profoundly changed my life.  I am more confident, more comfortable speaking in public, and I am happier in life not being teased about my hair (even by my family).  I want to share my great experience with hair surgery with other men who find themselves experiencing similar circumstances.  NeoGraft changed my life and it could positively impact your life also.  There is no need to go through life bald!  The No Scar Hair Loss Surgery is an incredible procedure to restore your youthful appearance. Call my office at (949) 333-2999 to schedule your complimentary hair restoration surgery consultation today.

A New Recession Hits Hollywood

There is a new recession hitting hollywood, and it is not about the economy.  Tinsel Town’s leading men are experiencing significant hair loss and thinning of the Frontal Hairline, midscalp, and Temporal Points.
Statistically speaking Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) or common male pattern baldness (MPB) accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of thirty-five  over 60% of American men will experience some degree of appreciable hair loss, and by the age of fifty approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair.

The psychological effects of male hair loss varies. Some men pay minimal attention to their thinning hair and usually start to shave their head once the thinning becomes increasingly noticeable.  While others are greatly affected by their hair loss. It becomes a fixation for some men, as they feel self-conscious about their hair and appearance. Some men have a profound emotional reaction that psychological support or counseling is necessary.

Hair transplantation for many young men is not best decision for younger men. A delayed approach to hair transplantation for a young male, even when distressed by his hair loss and who has expressed a desire for immediate hair transplantation, may be the right approach.

 In some men, hair loss may be slowed or even new hair growth stimulated by medical hair loss treatments.

The two such treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are finasteride (Propecia®) and minoxidil (Rogaine®).

Minoxidil is topically applied and is available without a prescription. Finasteride is a prescribed medication taken orally in pill form. The medical treatments may be used separately or in combination, as recommended by a hair restoration surgeon.

“Medical treatment reduces the rate of hair loss and preservse an acceptable appearance until the physician determines hair transplantation can be undertaken,” says hair transplant surgeon Dr. Ken Williams of OC Hair Restoration Center.  Williams adds, “medical treatment is sometimes used as a complement to hair transplantation to preserve any future hair loss.”