Tag Archives: GENETIC HAIR LOSS

The Costs, Pros & Cons To Hair Loss Treatments


Hair-Loss-in-menAndrogenetic alopecia (AGA), or male pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss. It’s inherited from either one or both parents and is caused by the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which shuts down hair follicle growth. Men with this pattern baldness tend to have the classic “horseshoe” appearance of the scalp; women usually have thinning hair concentrated on the center part or diffuse loss on their entire scalp.

There are many causes for hair loss such as medical illness (diabetes, lupus, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism), medications (antidepressant, beta-blocker, and cholesterol reducer), physical/emotional stress, chemical dyes, and even wearing tight braids/ponytails (Traction Alopecia),and over-styling of the hair.

Here are a few pros and cons of FDA approved hair loss treatments:

Finasteride-DHT Inhibitor

According to clinical studies, this medication, sold as Propecia, was most successful with patients. It’s primarily prescribed for men because it can cause serious birth defects in women.  Women of child bearing years may be prescribed Propecia, but special precautions must be implemented to prevent pregnancy because of teratogenic side effects in male infants. The cost is around $60 to 80 per month depending on the pharmacy.

imagesPros: In clinical trials in which men with pattern baldness took 1 milligram per day for two years, new hair grew in 66 percent of patients. In 83 percent, hair loss was stopped.

images copyCons: Side effects are infrequent but may include decreased libido, impotence and depression. These symptoms typically disappear if the medicine is stopped. Patients should commit to it for at least six (6) months of therapy before evaluating treatment effectiveness. If the patient stops taking the medication   any hair gained or maintained through the therapy will be lost.

Minoxidil

This topical product is manufactured in strengths of 2% (the only version approved for women) and 5%, which also comes in a foam. Sold under the brand name Rogaine or generically, versions sell for as little as $10 per month. Minoxidil works best on patients whose hair loss is recent.

imagesPros: In a study cited in the journal ACP Medicine, even the 2 percent solution was shown to produce visible hair growth in about one-third of patients and fine-hair growth in another third.

images copyCons: In the same study, minoxidil was ineffective in one-third of patients. Results might not be visible for 4 to 12 months, and like Finasteride (Propecia) any benefits are lost when you stop applying the product. Side effects include dry, itchy, or irritated scalp and increased facial hair.

Hair Transplant Surgery & Costs

If you want to regain a natural youthful hairline and medical therapy does not work,  or your hair loss is too advance, you will most likely require hair restoration surgery.  Modern hair surgery uses your own natural hair grafts which are moved from the back of the scalp, to the top or front part of your head. There are two surgery techniques used in hair surgery- FUE and Strip. The average cost per graft for the  STRIP technique is $4-8,  and $ 8- 12 for FUE.  The average hair transplant requires 1500 to 2,000 grafts for mild hair loss. Depending on the severity of the hair loss, multiple procedures may be required with over 6000 to 8000 grafts harvested necessary to achieve the proper cosmetic outcome.

imagesPros: If you find a skilled and experienced hair transplant surgeon, and the transplant is successful, you will end up with a youthful appearance of your hair.

images copyCons: Rarely does a surgical hair transplant fail in the hands of an experienced hair surgeon. Make sure the surgeon is an active member of the ISHRS and that they actually perform the hair surgery. Some doctors lack the training and skills to perform FUE surgery. So what these doctors do is to hire hair technicians do perform the surgery, and shake your hand and leave the operating room. Not ethical or legal behavior.

pic-patient-testimonial-6mo-postHair transplant surgeon at OC Hair Restoration of Irvine, California , Dr. Ken Williams, specializes in FUE hair restoration technique. He also not only helps patients struggling with hair loss, but he also speaks to his patients from personal experience. Dr Williams is an advocate for a daily treatment program to treat hair loss.

Williams states, “Daily treatment is key.  The use of a DHT blocker, like Propecia, and topical application of minoxidil will stop further loss and maintain current hair density.” He adds, “I use Rogaine 5% foam in the morning when I am in a hurry to get to work because it acts like a muse and holds the hair in place in the morning. For the evening dose,  I use the liquid Minoxidil from Costco because it is four ($4) dollars a bottle. I take a DHT inhibitor once a day, and I use the Laser Cap (low-level laser therapy) every other day. I have an aggressive approach to a daily treatment program because I had FUE hair restoration surgery, and I don’t want to be bald ever again.”

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Michelle Williams’ New Hair Cut: How To Grow Your Hair Out


rs_300x300-130410110511-600.MichelleWilliams.mh.041013While promoting her new movie, Oz the Great and Powerful, Michelle Williams admitted she was going to grow out her infamous pixie cut locks, “I think I’m ready. It’s on its way slowly but surely.  Her hairstylist, Chris McMillan, explained how he keeps Michelle looking gorgeous while she grows out her hair. “It’s getting long,” he said. “It’s growing out. We’re just cutting the underneath. It’s called an undercut haircut. That underneath hair is kept short and the top is growing longer so you can really see the extreme difference between the two. That is one way of growing a short pixie haircut out,” McMillan said. “You cut the underneath layers and keep the top longer.”

It is easy to get frustrated and discourage when attempting to grow out your hair.  Our society tends to be driven by instant gratification and growing out your hair can take months or even years…. enter hair extensions.  The problem with hair extensions though, is they cause even more damage and prolong the growing out process.  Many women even experience traction alopecia caused by the excess weight and pulling of the extensions.

The first thing you need to know is what influences healthy hair growth. There are many factors which influence healthy hair growth; these encompass a whole range of medical, emotional and lifestyle conditions which can prevent the body from effectively absorbing the essential nutrients it needs to support healthy hair.

  • Tppic131AGE– With aging nearly everyone has some hair loss with aging. The rate of hair growth begins to slow as we age. Hair strands become smaller and have less pigment. So the thick, coarse hair of a young adult eventually becomes thin, fine, light-colored hair. Many hair follicles stop producing new hairs.
  • STRESS– Believe it or not, the cliché about stress leading to hair problems is actually true. In extreme stress, the adrenal gland goes into overdrive, and the resultant increase in adrenaline sometimes leads to a consequent increase in the production of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which, without enough estrogen to counterbalance it, can lead to hair not being as healthy as it should be. For some people being stressed can seriously affect the condition of their hair and it can turn into a vicious circle: Stress affects the hair cycle and the impact of this can cause more stress for the sufferer. It can be difficult to pinpoint a specific stress episode as the reason hair becomes unhealthy but it is often acute and chronic stress that will bring on conditions such as telogen effuvium (hair shedding).
  • MEDICATION– In some instances medicine may have side effects which impact on healthy hair growth; they include cholesterol lowering agents, ulcer healing agents, anti-diabetic drugs, blood pressure medication and birth control pills.
  • POOR DIET– A diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy hair and hair growth. A diet low in protein is often the reason someone will experience hair loss, as a poor diet affects new growth. The hair follicle is a nonessential tissue and, therefore, one of the last tissues to receive nutritional substances, therefore any long-term deficiencies may lead to premature hair loss.
  • HORMONAL CHANGES– Hormonal changes associated with menopause can affect the healthy hair growth cycle. While this menopausal side effect is relatively rare, it has been known to occur in some cases. Other hormonal changes in the body– notably thyroid issues and hormonal responses to changes in the autoimmune system have been known to affect hair thinning and loss in some women. Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can experience problems with their hair due to a hormone imbalance and increased sensitivity to the male hormones we all have.
  • POST PREGNANCY– While a beautiful and natural process, it is nonetheless a stressful process on the body. Consequently, it’s common for post-partum hair thinning or even bald patches to occur as the bodies’ hormone levels normalize. This is usually a temporary condition, however, and should reverse itself soon. If hair health is still an issue a few months after the pregnancy is over, chances are that the hair condition is attributed to something other than the pregnancy.
  • SMOKING– Smoking affects healthy hair growth. Cigarette smoking has been shown to cause poor circulation, which can affect the amount of blood flow available to the hair follicles of the scalp.
  • OVER-STYLING– Aerosol sprays, hair dyes, hair irons, and curlers might seem to be essential to hair beauty in the short term, but do keep in mind that excessive use of any of these items may result in damaging hair in the long run. Women who find their healthy hair is being affected may also want to consider what they’re putting into their hair and scalp on a daily basis and consider other nutritional supplements and cosmetic methods.

Now that we have identified the problem, lets talk about the solutions.  “There are non-prescription products available over the counter to help stimulate healthy hair growth,” says  Dr Ken Williams, a hair restoration physician at OC Hair Restoration Center in Irvine, CA., ” I like to recommend a nutritional supplement  called Viviscal, and always my favorite is Rogaine 5% foam to the scalp twice a day.”  For his patients that wish to be more pro-active with treatment Dr Williams offers Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Low Level Laser Therapy to stimulate healthy hair growth.

The Difference Between Male & Female Hair Loss


male-female2-300x227Many people believe female pattern hair loss is the same disease as male pattern hair loss, and  the hair loss pattern just looks different in women. In the last decades, though, the discussion between hair restoration surgeons in the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has focused on the reality these two separate diseases or problems exists. Today many ISHRS physicians hypothesize  there are two different disease entities because their natural history (epidemiology) is so different.Many hair restoration surgery specialists think Female Androgenetic Alopecia is a misnomer and prefer the term Congenital Female Pattern Hair

PROMOTING PUBLIC AWARENESS-CARLOS PUIG

Promoting public awareness of female hair loss to the lay pubic and medical doctors is no easy matter. One particular physician, though, leading the effort is Carlos Puig , of Houston, Texas.  His tireless efforts to bring public attention to this medical condition is applauded and deeply appreciated. He is the founding member and current President of the ISHRS.  He is a world-renowned hair  restoration surgeon and probably the most knowledgeable hair specialist on female hair loss.

On a regular basis he leads an international effort to teach physicians about female hair loss and surgical restoration.  His hair restoration course, “Cowgirl Hair Loss Workshop,”  is an excellent compilation of his knowledge as well as featured hair surgeons from around the globe.   His below referenced chart comparison illustrates the differences between hair loss in men and women. We commend Dr. Puig for his efforts to bring hair surgical and medical restoration options to female hair loss suffers.

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**Chart adopted from Dr. Puig’s web site: www.hairrestorationhouston.com

HORMONE, STRESS, GENETICS ?

In some women with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, a group of hormones called androgens interferes with the growth cycle of the hair. These androgen hormones-testosterone, Androsteinedione, and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)- are dominant hormones in men, but are present in women to a much lesser degree. In some women, hair loss may be due to the action of androgens on the hair follicles.

Hair grows at one-half inch per month and the growth phase can lasts two to six years. With yet-to-be discovered physiologic signals, the hair goes into a resting phase for a period of time, then the hair follicle falls out and a new follicle starts the process all over again.

In women who are genetically susceptible, when the testosterone comes in contact with enzymes residing in the hair cell, it is converted into the more potent androgen DHT, which then binds with receptors deep within the hair follicle. Over time, DHT in the hair follicle alters the natural resting and growth phases of the hair. Some of the hair follicles eventually die, while others stop continuing healthy hair growth.

webmd_rf_photo_of_hair_loss_chartThe term ‘androgenic alopecia’ in women is often referred to “female pattern hair loss.” It is a broader term that encompasses many possible causes of hair loss in women. Androgenic alopecia is caused by factors related to the actions of hormones, e.g., ovarian cysts, use of high androgen index birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause. Just like in men, DHT and heredity plays a role in this disease.

In men, the pattern of hair loss is distinct whereas, women have a diffuse thinning of their hair. Female pattern balding affects circumferentially the whole top of the head with preservation of the frontal hairline. Men rarely have diffuse thinning and the frontal hair line is usually  loss to balding.

The science of female balding remains not entirely  understood.  Genetic codes and other factors plays a role in hair loss in women and remains a challenge to doctors and patients alike.

PATIENT SURGICAL RESULTS


29 year-old male came into The Irvine Institute of Medicine & Cosmetic Surgery concerned about hair loss in his frontal hairline.  The patient began losing his widows peak at 22 years-old, he began taking Propecia several years later.  Patient desired to recreate his widows peak to restore his youthful looks. 1817 grafts were harvested from the donor site and transplanted to the frontal hairline using Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) Linear STRIP technique.  After the transplant procedure patient began using Rogaine 5% foam twice a day in addition to taking Propecia, as recommended by Dr. Ken Williams. The pictures above show the dramatic difference at only 9 months post op, with final surgical results at 12 to 18 months.

Automated FUE Hair Restoration: Patient Results



36 year-old male came into The Irvine Institute of Medicine & Cosmetic Surgery concerned about hair loss in his frontal hairline.  2000 grafts using Automated FUE technology were recommended to recreate and lower the frontal hairline.  2021 grafts were harvested from the donor site and transplanted to the frontal hairline.  The pictures above show the dramatic difference at only 7 months post op, with final surgical results at 12 to 18 months.

Saints defeat Lions, but Drew Brees is losing fight against hair loss


On Saturday, January 7, 2012 the New Orleans Saints defeated the Detroit Lions with a 45-28 NFC wild-card victory.  Drew Brees led an unstoppable offense by throwing for 466 yards, the most yards in a regulation playoff game.  “We were pulling out all the stops,” Brees said.  “We play aggressive. We’re not going to apologize for that. That gives guys in the huddle a lot of confidence. We’re not going to pull the reins back. It’s pedal to the metal.” That type of aggression has led to many victories for the New Orleans Saints, and if Brees would show that type of aggression with his hair he may have preserved his frontal hairline and overall hair density.

It is normal to shed hair everyday and the truth is we lose between 100-125 hairs on any given day.  However, some individuals may experience higher amounts of hairs being shed each day. Once a hair reaches the end of its growth cycle it will then shed from the scalp. At any given time 10% of our hair is in a “resting phase” and after 2-3 months resting, hair falls out and new hair grows in its place.

As we age, both men and women will experience some hair loss. This is a normal part of the aging process. Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) accounts for 95% of hair loss, and it often times runs in families. In men this condition is usually referred to as Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). MPB is characterized by a receding hair-line and baldness on the top of head.  Women, on the other hand, don’t go entirely bald even if their hair loss is severe. Instead, hair loss is spread out evenly over their entire scalp while maintaining the frontal hairline.

Hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Ken Williams of the Irvine Institute of Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery adds, “Drew is one of the truly amazing football players in the NFL. But if he continues to lose hair, he will look much older than his chronological age if he does not intervene at this time in his life.  His hair loss is quite noticeable and I don’t want to see him lose any more.”

Hormones play a dominant role when talking about AGA. Simply put, both men and women produce testosterone and this testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) with the aid of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. DHT miniaturizes the hair follicles causing the membranes in the scalp hair density to decrease.

Men naturally produce more testosterone than women and therefore men experience more hair loss. Both male and female AGA is very common and easily treated medicallyand surgically. For medical treatment,  minoxidil is recommended for both men and women to apply topically twice a day. For men, taking the oral medication finasteride, DHT blocker, is strongly recommended. Male and female AGA responds well to low-level laser therapy, and platelet rich plasma therapy is a therapy with a potential future as well.  For surgical treatment there is the older and more invasive linear strip method, or the latest FDA approved hair surgery called Automated FUE.