Our hair is our crowning glory; if it looks good we feel good. Today, however, hair loss is a common issue both for men and women. Nearly 40 million people in the United States alone are affected by hair loss or alopecia. Alopecia can have devastating effects on one’s self esteem and confidence. Treating alopecia is also difficult and it depends mainly on the cause of the condition. If your hair loss is genetic, i.e. your parent had it then chances are that you too would be affected by baldness. Despair not! We are in 2016 and advances in medical science and cosmetic hair restoration procedures are offering hope to the most hopeless case of hair loss. So read on to find out all about the best hair loss cures for 2016. But first, let us find out the causes of hair loss:
What is hair loss? What are the factors that cause hair loss?
Hair loss is of different types based on different causes.
- Alopecia Universalis– This includes loss of hair from the entire body, including eyelashes, and eyebrows.
- Alopecia Areata– This type of hair loss is very common and occurs in patches. It is a reversible and temporary hair loss that rarely leads to total baldness.
- Androgenetic alopecia-This is the most common type of hair loss which is attributed to DHT. DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone. Basically, testosterone is the male hormone which is responsible for deep voice, strong muscles and genital structures that characterize men. Testosterone hormone acts on these tissues directly but on the scalp it causes a negative impact, especially on the hair follicles. Here, it gets converted into DHT that leads to hair loss. DHT builds up from stress and several other factors like improper diet, age, hormones etc. In women too, androgenetic hair loss can be blamed on DHT. Women undergo many hormonal changes during their lifetime specifically at puberty, childbirth and again during menopause. These changes wreak havoc on the skin and hair.
- Miscellaneous factors-Many hair styling treatments like hair curling, straightening, smoothening etc can also cause hair fall. This type of hair loss is temporary and ceases once the treatments are stopped. Pollution and toxic environment can also be blamed for excess hair fall. Certain diseases, poor blood circulation and nutritional deficiencies are also some factors for hair loss. Again, all these types of hair fall are cured by treating their underlying causes. Prescription drugs, chemotherapy, poisons and radiation exposure can sometimes lead to irreversible hair loss.
Who is likely candidate for hair loss?
Across the world, statistics pertaining to hair loss are alarming. Almost 50% of men and 75% of all postmenopausal women around the world are known to be afflicted by hair loss. Hair loss is even being seen in young men in their early 30s and late 20s. Even teenagers as young as 15 years old are experiencing severe this condition.
Signs and symptoms of androgenetic alopecia
Androgenetic alopecia has following signs and symptoms:
- Thinning hair
- Receding hair line
- Broken, weak hair
- One or more round or oval bald patches on the top of the head
- Excess hair on the pillow, comb, dress/shirt etc
Hair loss: A debilitating condition
It starts slowly in the beginning- at first, you see a few hairs in your comb. Slowly, you start seeing a visible chunk of your scalp. In a few years time, you have lost significant amount of hair. Man has been searching for a permanent cure for hair loss since times immemorial. Most of us do not have the money to undergo expensive hair transplant procedures to restore our hair. Not only are these treatments expensive, they are also very painful and have a significant down time. All this adds up to one’s frustration. It causes the sufferer to have a low self esteem. Most people with severe hair loss tend to become anti-social.
So- Is there a solution for this problem? What are the best hair loss-cures available in 2016?
Let us find out…
Hair loss cures 2016: What cures hair loss permanently?
A healthy diet is very important for healthy hair. There are many dos and don’ts that can help prevent and arrest hair fall as far as diet is concerned. These are:
- Do eat a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruits and vegetables. They prevent free radical damage that cause premature hair damage. Consume fruits and vegetables having the lowest starch content.
- Do eat foods high in Biotin. Biotin is vitamin B7. People having excess hair fall are often known to be deficient in Biotin. This vitamin is available in grains, oats, lean meat, eggs, soybeans etc. It is needed for healthy hair, skin and nails.
- Do consume plenty of protein rich food. Protein is found in meat, sea food, eggs, dairy and soy products. Vegetarians should consume soy in form of tempeh, tofu, lentils, whole grains etc. Soy is especially important for all hair fall sufferers as it is known to block DHT.
- Do eat foods rich in iron. Iron deficiency is also a leading cause of hair fall. Consume plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, liver, eggs etc. Take a supplement if needed.
- Do consume diet a rich in zinc. Zinc is needed for healthy skin and hair. Eat grains, fortified cereals, nuts, sea food and seeds to get zinc. If needed, take a supplement to get your daily quota of zinc.
- Do consume a diet rich in vitamin D. A blood test can tell you if you are deficient in this vitamin and whether it is the cause of your hair fall. If yes, talk to your doctor about supplementing with Vitamin D pills or sachets. Once a week sachet or pill of Vitamin D containing approximately 60,000 IU (international units) can help. Stop taking the pills after 3 months as excess vitamin D can lead to hypervitaminosis. Your doctor will guide you further.
- Do not go on crash diets -These can lead to nutritional deficiency and cause excess hair loss.
2. Hair loss cures that stops hair fall
Currently, there are only two proven drugs in the market that can arrest hair fall. They are minoxidil and Finasteride.
Minoxidil – Minoxidil was originally developed to treat high blood pressure. People who used this medication were seen sprouting new hair on their scalp as well as other areas of the body. Many clinical trials were then conducted on this drug and later it was introduced in the market under the brand name Rogaine. Rogaine is a topical hair loss formula that inhibits DHT in the hair follicles. Today, millions of men and women are known to benefit from the use of this drug to arrest hair fall. The success rate of Minoxidil in reversing hair loss is nearly 90%. It is useful for treating alopecia in both men and women. The topical formula of Minoxidil, Rogaine, is a colorless odorless liquid that needs to be applied twice daily to the scalp in the balding areas. Minoxidil pills are also sold under the brand name of Loniten. Rogaine is available over-the-counter. You can buy up to 5% concentrations which are deemed safe for use and have very little side effects.
How does Minoxidil works ? – Minoxidil is a vasodilator. It enlarges blood vessels and works on the active hair follicles by increasing blood flow and, subsequently, nutrition to the weaker hair. Thus, Minoxidil only works on active hair follicles and not the dying or the dead ones. This preventive remedy prevents further hair fall and reduces the rate of ‘hair follicle miniaturization’ that causes the hair to weaken before dying of completely. The follicles enlarged by Minoxidil tend to remain in the growth phase for a longer period of time. Thus, Minoxidil hair loss cure acts as a “life support” for the dying hair.
The downside to Minoxidil hair loss cure is that it needs to be used every day. The day you stop using Minoxidil, your hair fall will recur. Also, the results of Minoxidil are known to vary from person to person. For most patients though, the rate of hair fall can be dramatically reduced with regular use of this drug. Some men and women are known to even notice new hair growth, but it may take years of Minoxidil usage to cover up larger balding areas.
Finasteride – Finasteride or Propecia is the single most effective drug to treat genetic pattern hair loss. It was initially developed to treat enlarged prostate in men. A side effect of this drug was reduced hair fall which turned out to be a boon for many patients. Note that finasteride is unsafe for use in pregnant women. Today, it is available in form of 1 to 5 milligram pills under several brand names; Proscar or Propecia being the most common. For treating baldness, even the 1 milligram dosage is adequate.
How does Finasteride works ? Finasteride or Propecia works differently than Minoxidil when it comes to arresting hair fall. Propecia basically prevents the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme-an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Thus, the hair follicles do not get the DHT which signals them to be sensitive to it and fall off. Regular use of Finasteride or Propecia has also been proven to cause hair re-growth as well.
As is the case with Minoxidil, Propecia also needs to be taken regularly. Without it, the testosterone will again get converted into DHT causing hair fall again. Thus, it can be said that Propecia only “buys time” for men having the genetic predisposition to balding. That being said: with regular use, Propecia can slow down and even completely halt the progression of baldness.
3. Scalp steroid injections
Many men and women have benefitted from this hair loss cure which mainly consists of corticosteroids. The cortisone steroid is injected directly into the bald areas to stimulate hair follicles to grow. This is a once a month treatment which needs to be continued for life in order to prevent balding in patients suffering from alopecia areata.
4. PRP- Platelet rich Plasma therapy for hair loss
Another highly popular treatment for hair loss in 2016 is the platelet rich plasma therapy. This is suitable for men and women with moderate to severe alopecia areata. A hair doctor, called trichologist, administers this treatment in his/her facility. Many medispas and cosmetic surgeons’ clinics are also known to offer PRP therapy to patients suffering from excess hair fall.
PRP basically consists of the use of plasma from the patient’s blood. The blood plasma is activated using growth factors with the help of a special centrifugal device. The activated plasma is then injected back into the patient’s scalp to stimulate rapid hair growth. Unlike a hair transplant surgery, this procedure has very little down time and the results are quite dramatic. Patients can experience luxurious hair growth in 2-3 months after the treatment.
To start with, a detailed consultation helps the doctor decide whether PRP therapy is suitable for your type of hair loss. You will need to undergo several blood tests as well as a detailed hair analysis exam to ensure that your hair follicles are in the active stage. Once you are determined to be a likely candidate, the doctor will draw your blood-at least 6 vials of blood may be taken from your body. The blood is then sent to the lab for activation. The activated plasma is returned to the facility within 3-4 days where it is injected into your scalp during an in-office procedure. The entire treatment takes only 45 minutes to one hour. You can go home after the procedure but you might experience pain and swelling for 3-4 days in the areas where the plasma has been injected. Results of the therapy can be seen in as little as 2 months. You will need to take PRP injections once every 2 to 3 years to maintain the results.
hair transplant – before and after
5. Hair transplant
Hair transplant is a proven hair loss cure which is, however, also very expensive. This is a successful treatment for patients having enough hair in the donor areas of their head. The donor areas usually are the areas on the back or lower side of the head. In most balding men, hair loss occurs only on the front, near the temples and the top of the head. However, the hair on the bottom side of the head does not fall off. This shows that this hair here is strong enough and DHT resistant to prevent hair fall. So, the hair transplant surgeon picks out the hair grafts from this donor area and staples or seeds it into the balding regions of the scalp. There are different types of hair transplant procedures among which the FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)are prominent ones. These days, you even get to see laser and robot assisted hair transplants that minimize human errors. Hair transplant is a proven method of regaining lost hair but it is also expensive and has a significant down time. You must also find a skilled surgeon to do this procedure for you since the results can vary from specialist to specialist. The more skilled and experienced a surgeon is the more natural looking results you would get.
6. Laser hair rejuvenation
Laser hair rejuvenation treatment for hair loss consists of using a low-level laser light from either a laser-comb, a hand held device or even a laser helmet to stimulate hair follicles. Several double blind controlled trials have been conducted on laser devices to study their efficacy in treating male and female pattern hair loss. The results have been quite promising in that; considerable improvement was seen in the number of new hair as well as the density of existing hair. Increase in terminal hair count was even seen to be comparable to the results seen with 5% Minoxidil solution. Further research is necessary to define optimal treatment the duration of the results and the use of laser devices in other forms of alopecia. The positive aspect of this therapy is that it is quite affordable and the patient can even buy handheld laser devices and use them safely in the comfort of his/her home without any adverse effects.
7. Stem cell hair rejuvenation therapy
Adipose or fat derived stem cells are usually discarded after cosmetic surgery procedures like tummy tuck or liposuction. However, quite recently, doctors have started using the Adipose stem cells from the fat and injecting them in skin and hair for rejuvenation. Tests conducted on these have shown enhanced hair growth in patients. Adipose stem cells are also available commercially and they do not require any specialized equipment or cell processing centers. A trained expert can apply these proteins into the balding areas of the scalp. The stem cell hair rejuvenation procedure also has very little downtime. This makes this hair loss cure one of the most effective cures for hair regeneration in patients who are unwilling or unsuitable for traditional surgical hair transplants.
8. Hair wigs
If you are looking for cheaper alternatives to hair restoration and do not have the time or money to spend on these hair loss cures, then a wig is a great alternative. There are hundreds of choices in wigs and you can choose one in different style and color to suit your face shape. Always look for a wig that does not use sutures or adhesives that glue to your scalp since these could give rise to severe allergic reaction.
A great deal of research has been conducted on hair loss causes but no one can say for sure why it occurs. Genes, hormones, environmental factors as well as your lifestyle all play an important role in hair loss. Natural and alternative therapies like Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi, Reflexology and hair and scalp oil massages are known to help to a certain extent, at least in the very early stages of alopecia. Whatever treatment you choose, it should not just focus on hair re-growth but also on future hair fall prevention. Personal care, a good healthy diet, proper hair and scalp hygiene and stress control are some other important things you must do to curb hair loss.
The fact is: there is help available, be it in the form of expensive hair restoration procedures or home remedies with herbal oils. Once you have chosen a hair loss cure that works and shows promising results-you must stick to it. Then, you can go out and live your life with confidence!