Hair loss is a frustrating problem that can cause dissatisfaction with one's appearance. Studies suggest that, with early attention and proper care, hair loss may be reversed to some degree. We are proud to offer advanced hair loss treatment at our Boca Raton dermatology office.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Our hair follicles are programmed for various hair growth cycles. For unknown reasons, some hair follicles engage in shorter cycles than others. That said, studies have discovered a few factors that may contribute to hair loss in men and women. These include:
- Hormones. It is well-known that imbalance in some male hormones contributes to hair loss.
- Genetics. Some people may be predisposed to hair loss based on their family history of this condition.
- Chronic stress and illness may blunt the hair growth cycle as energy is diverted elsewhere in the body.
- Poor nutrition. A lack of calories, protein, and other vital nutrients can influence the hair growth cycle.
- Medical conditions. People with diabetes, iron deficiency, anemia, lupus, and thyroid disease are at risk of hair loss.
- Ringworm, a fungal infection that can affect hair follicles.
- Injury to the scalp, such as a burn.
- Autoimmune disease, which can attack the hair follicles.
- Cosmetic procedures such as perm or bleaching.
- Hairstyles that are extremely tight or damaging.
In the case of some medical conditions, cosmetic procedures, and hairstyles, hair loss is often a temporary problem that can be reversed by addressing the cause.
What Treatment Options Are There for Hair Loss?
A surgical hair transplant is a type of surgery that moves hair from one area of the scalp to fill an area of thinning or baldness. Two common methods for hair transplant exist, follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). Using FUSS surgery, the doctor removes one or more strips of skin from the back of the head, where hair growth tends to thrive. After removing the strip, the two new edges of the skin are sewn together at the back of the scalp. This joins the adjacent pieces of the scalp where hair is growing, hiding the fact that hair has been removed. The strip of scalp removed is carefully separated into many tiny grafts, which are then inserted into the area where hair growth has stalled. The FUE hair transplant technique removes single units of graft tissue for transfer to the affected area of the scalp. Both have been successfully performed for several years.
Surgery is not the only option for hair replacement. Many patients explore other options first.
Are There any Non-Surgical Hair Replacement Options?
Several non-surgical hair loss treatments are available today. Patients often try topical medications as their first line of defense against hair loss. These may be most effective when started very early in the thinning cycle. Medications like Rogaine have been shown to thicken hair and slow the progression of hair loss. However, they don't seem to halt hair loss in the long term. Oral medications have also been developed for problems like male-pattern baldness. These work by blocking the active male hormones associated with hair loss.
At Rendon Center in Boca Raton, patients can benefit from one of the most recent advancements in hair restoration, PRP therapy. This form of treatment has been used for decades in fields like sports medicine and orthopedic medicine. More recently, the benefits of PRP therapy have become well-known through various cosmetic treatments, including hair restoration. PRP hair restoration treatment is a three-part process that involves drawing the patient's blood, processing the blood to separate the platelet-rich plasma, then injecting the PRP into the scalp. PRP injections into the scalp stimulate circulation and oxygenation as well as the delivery of nutrients to the hair follicles, causing them to widen and become more active. To achieve the best results, PRP injections are repeated three times, with appointments scheduled at 4 to 6-week intervals. For maximum gains, PRP may be combined with other hair loss procedures or medications. Once hair growth has become more robust, patients should schedule maintenance treatments every four to six months.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Hair Loss Treatment?
Studies indicate that hair loss treatments are most successful when started early. Soon after the hair has started to thin, doctors can identify hair follicles that are still active but that are slow and weak. At this time, the hair follicles can be stimulated into more profound activity. In the case of PRP hair restoration treatment, the critical ingredient in stimulating hair growth comes right from the patient's body. For platelet-rich plasma to work optimally, it must be abundant in platelets and healing growth factors. These can be diminished by smoking, heavy drinking, and poor general health. Our board-certified dermatologists perform a thorough consultation, medical history review, and examination of the scalp for every patient to ensure that the most appropriate treatment plan for hair loss is developed.
Are Hair Loss Treatments Safe?
The hair loss treatments that are available today are considered safe and effective with few risks and side effects. Medications nearly always carry some risk. For example, some topical hair loss medications can cause localized skin irritation and itching or more widespread symptoms like dizziness. In the vast majority of cases, side effects associated with hair loss treatments resolve quickly after medication use stops. The benefit of PRP hair loss treatment is that the ingredients that we use to stimulate hair growth are found in the patient's body. There is no risk of allergic reaction. There is, however, a small risk of infection due to the injection method involved in the process. Patients may experience temporary pain across the treatment area and, though uncommon, there is also a risk of scarring.
How Long Do Hair Loss Treatment Results Typically Last?
The results of non-surgical hair loss treatments can last indefinitely but do require maintenance. These treatments work by stimulating the hair follicles to continue their active phases of hair growth. Without periodic stimulation, the hair follicles will likely return to a dormant state at some point. According to studies, patients can enjoy the benefits of PRP hair restoration for a year or longer before the hair follicles slow down and produce less new growth. By maintaining periodic touch-up treatments, patients can preserve their fuller, thicker, longer hair more easily.