At the age of 24 my younger cousin brother couldn’t ask for more. A dashing young and handsome officer in the Indian Army with a great going career, he has everything a man at his age can possibly want. Apart from the fact that he didn’t have his brother’s thick crop of hair. We teased him about it- that it was a result of his own doing, thanks to the application of jells, colour streaks and other trendy applications that his ilk opted for, till the Indian Army gave him a close crop cut! And that opened our eyes to the fact that how little hair he had left on his crown.
What is Male Pattern Hair Loss?
Then began a plethora of advices on home remedies by our grandmother which ranged from curry leaves to snake oils, but simply refused to work! There was gradual thinning of hair on the crown of his head and a receding hairline- the telltale signs of male pattern hair loss. That was when he decided to fly to Delhi, instead of visiting the family when he got his annual leave. Searching for the best hair loss treatment in Delhi was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There were quacks selling snake oils, clinics imparting laser treatments and dermatologists offering consultation all over the city. Fortunately for him, he found a qualified and experienced dermatologist, who examined his scalp with a densitometer and informed him that he was suffering from androgenetic alopecia that affects 85% men between 21 to 50 years. While the causes for this may be many, such as medications, stressful situations, diseases and heredity, it is characterized by inheritance of sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone, which is a by product of the male hormone testosterone. As a result of this the hair follicles begin to shrink and die, thus failing to produce normal healthy hair. Fortunately for him the cause was detected early which is necessary for timely intervention.
Treatments of Male Pattern Hair Loss
The solutions for male pattern hair loss range from medications to hair transplants. As for medications only two FDA approved treatments are there. These are Finasteride/ Propecia and Minoxidil/ Rogaine. While Minoxidil is an OTC topical treatment, Finasteride is a prescription drug. These can slow or stop hair loss, but have to be taken on an ongoing basis like diabetes medicines as hair loss, continues once the medication is stopped. Therefore, costs are a major consideration. You may also use the HairMax Laser Comb to improve scalp circulation. Another solution is hair transplant, which again is of two types- the traditional strip transplants that involve removing whole patches of skin from elsewhere and grafting them on the scalp, and the modern Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) where healthy hair follicles are removed directly from the sides and back of the head and implanted individually into the balding areas for more permanent and natural looking results.
How Is Female Hair Loss Different from Men?
Another case in point was that of my friend Shweta, who was engaged to be married in six months’ time. Her hair parting was getting wider and the once thick ponytail becoming smaller. Of late she had been sporting weird hairstyles to camouflage her fast thinning hair, till it was time to visit a dermatologist. It was found that the cause of her hair loss was the crash dieting she had been doing to get in shape for her big day. She was tested for Ferritin and the levels were found to be low, and was prescribed iron supplements that helped greatly. Other reasons for female hair loss may be environmental shock, vaccines, post pregnancy, stress, physical trauma or surgery. Female hair-loss is different from that of men and is reversible. At any given time only about 80% to 90% hair follicles on a normal healthy scalp are in the growth or anagen phase, while 10% to 20% are in the telogen or resting phase. In case of female hair loss there may be an increased number of follicles in a resting phase for a prolonged period of time.
Female Hair Loss Treatments
Minoxidil is the only topical medication approved by FDA for female hair loss. It works by prolonging the growth phase of hair and takes about 3 to 4 months to show results if used once a day. Female hair loss may also be due to hormone abnormality such as excess male hormones called androgens which may be caused by PCOS, obesity, acne and irregular menstruation. It is treated with prescription medication such as spironolactone or oral contraceptives containing the synthetic progestin, drospirenone. However, it is best avoided during pregnancy as it can harm the foetus. Hair transplant again is a viable solution for more permanent and better results.
So, in case of both male and female hair loss, time is of critical importance. The sooner the causes and conditions are identified and appropriately intervened with, the better the results! For any further information and queries related to Hair Transplant, you can contact a specialist from ‘MedLinks as it is the best center for hair transplant in India.