Losing your hair often happens gradually. Maybe you’ve noticed a receding hairline or thinning around the crown and temples, or it seems like you’re shedding more than you should be. At first, these signs can be easy to miss, but then you remember that your mom or dad started balding around your age. If this sounds familiar, you’re probably looking for a solution to restore a fuller head of hair, but find it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Hair restoration is a topic overrun by quick fixes and false promises, so board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kahlil Andrews has provided real answers you can count on to seven of the most frequently asked questions about hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss?
If your hair is thinning, you might be wondering why. Hair loss can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common form — male and female pattern baldness — is genetic. Simply put, some people are more susceptible to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that binds to hair follicles and causes them to shrink. The medical term for this is androgenic alopecia, and the shrinking is known as miniaturization, but no matter what you call it, the end result is a distinct pattern of hair loss around the temples and crown of your head.
Who is Affected by Hair Loss?
If you’ve noticed thinning hair, you’re not alone. Hair loss affects more than half of men by the time they’re 40, but it can happen to anyone regardless of sex or age. If hair loss is related to hormonal changes, a medical condition or other concerns, it will show up around the same time. For those with the “balding gene,” hair loss is more likely to occur at a certain age. In men, genetic hair loss usually begins in their 20s or 30s and becomes more noticeable over time, while female pattern baldness tends to start after menopause.
Can I Prevent Hair Loss?
It’s possible to prevent hair loss that occurs due to factors like stress, hormones or a poor diet by addressing the underlying cause, but genetic hair loss can happen regardless of your health. There’s no miracle pill or cure that can completely stop your hair from thinning, but there are some treatments that can help slow down the process. Rogaine and Propecia are two of the most well-known options for treating hair loss, but both are only effective while you’re using them and may cause some serious side effects. Only surgical hair restoration techniques like Neograft can reverse your hair loss for good, providing permanent results that don’t require daily maintenance.
How Do I Know If My Hair Loss Isn’t Normal?
We all lose a certain amount of hair each day — it’s part of the natural growth cycle, which occurs in stages and isn’t a uniform process. According to studies, about 90 percent of our hair is in the growth (anagen) phase at any given time, which can last for three to five years. After a period of growth, things slow down a little and hair follicles begin to shrink as they enter the transitional (catagen) phase. This only lasts for about 10 days before hair enters the resting (telogen) stage, during which time hair doesn’t grow, but it doesn’t fall out, either. This is when new hairs begin to form within the follicles, triggering the exogen phase.
It’s during the exogen stage that shedding begins, causing us to lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day. More can fall out with things like brushing and washing, but even losing up to 150 hairs is considered normal. Since new growth is beginning in the follicle at this time and we have over 100,000 hairs on our head, shedding isn’t a cause for concern. But when genetic hair loss causes the hair follicles to shrink earlier than usual, new growth won’t sufficiently replace the hairs that are shed. As a result, your hair will gradually become finer and thinner in certain areas, usually near the temples and top of the head.
If your hair loss is gradual, begins at an earlier age and isn’t related to stress, medical problems or other underlying factors, it’s likely due to female or male pattern baldness. A consultation with Dr. Andrews can help you determine if your hair loss is normal or progressive and what your treatment options are.
Do Home Remedies Work?
Despite what you may have read, home remedies and homeopathic “cures” aren’t particularly effective at reversing hair loss. Things like essential oils, nutritional supplements, special shampoos and aloe vera can help to improve scalp health, but don’t target the underlying cause of genetic hair loss and won’t stop the process from occurring. Instead, these treatments may increase collagen, improve circulation and reduce inflammation to stimulate growth to a certain degree, however there are few studies that demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of natural or home remedies when it comes to androgenic alopecia. Your best bet is to talk to a professional like Dr. Andrews to explore your options for proven methods that can permanently treat or reverse genetic hair loss.
What Treatments CAN Make a Difference?
Losing your hair can be disheartening, but the good news is it can be treated — just not with essential oils or hair masks. The most effective way to restore hair growth is with Neograft, a technologically-based approach that uses follicular unit extraction (FUE) to permanently reverse the effects of androgenic alopecia.
This technique involves taking healthy hair follicles from donor sites and individually implanting them into balding or thinning areas, where they’ll continue to grow naturally and offset the effects of genetic hair loss. In the past, this was done painstakingly by hand, but the NeoGraft device has revolutionized hair restoration by automating the process to provide faster and more reliable results. And unlike strip surgery or hair plugs, Neograft requires no incisions or sutures for minimal scarring and a quick recovery.
Is Neograft Right for Me?
Neograft provides even, natural-looking results for those who are experiencing mild to moderate hair loss, thinning or balding. Once healthy follicles are transplanted into targeted areas and new growth begins, this technique delivers permanent results that let you cut, style and color your hair any way that you choose. The NeoGraft method is suitable for most patients but does require enough donor hair in other areas of the scalp. If your hair loss is severe, this procedure may not be able to provide enough coverage, so it’s better to start exploring your options sooner rather than later. During your consultation, Dr. Andrews can examine your scalp, discuss your goals and review your medical history to help determine if the NeoGraft technique is right for you.
Of course, other factors can contribute to hair loss as well. Things like stress, poor nutrition or certain medical problems can lead to thinning hair, so it’s important to determine the underlying cause to ensure effective treatment. Dr. Andrews and his team can help you understand why you’re experiencing hair loss and develop an effective solution for restoring a thicker, fuller head of hair.
Losing your hair is never easy, but Dr. Kahlil Andrews and his team can help you regain your confidence and a fuller, thicker head of hair. If you want to learn more about the NeoGraft procedure and how it can deliver natural, seamless-looking results, contact or call Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery today at 319-450-7619 to schedule a consultation.