Hair Loss Treatment

  • Treatment

    A number of creams, lotions, herbal remedies, and other products are advertised as treatments for baldness, but none have been proven effective.

    If your hair loss is not caused by hereditary pattern baldness, you may be able to prevent further problems by improving your diet, minimizing stress, or changing your hair care techniques.

    If medication has triggered hair loss, ask your doctor if you can switch to another drug.

    Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.

    You may want to try wigs, hats, toupees, or other coverings to deal with your hair loss. You also have the option of doing nothing.

    Hair replacement surgery can help regrow hair when baldness is due to hereditary thinning. The aim is to redistribute your remaining hair to cover bald spots. When an experienced surgeon performs the procedure, the results may be undetectable. The best candidates for hair replacement surgery are people who have healthy, dense hair on the sides and back of the head. These are the areas from which hair is taken for a hair transplant or hair flap. If you have limited hair, replacement surgery may not be an option for you.

    In a hair transplant, several plugs of skin are surgically removed from the back or side of your scalp. Each plug contains several hairs. The plugs are then implanted in the bald areas. You will probably need to undergo this transplant procedure several times, since hair loss continues to progress as you age.

    Scalp reduction decreases the area of scalp on your head. In this procedure, a hairless section of the scalp is surgically removed, and the area is closed with a hair-covered section. In a similar type of procedure called a hair flap, the doctor folds hair-bearing skin over a bald spot.

    Consumers and alternative medicine practitioners have proposed a number of remedies for pattern baldness. Remedies that have been suggested include green tea and saw palmetto. However, there is little reliable scientific information indicating that they are either effective or safe.

    Hereditary pattern baldness cannot be cured. As a rule, the earlier it starts, the more severe the loss will be. Treatment is effective in many cases, but not all. About two-thirds of men who use the drug minoxidil will see slight or visible hair regrowth. In about 80% of cases, the drug can reduce the amount of hair loss, even if it does not promote regrowth. In women, about one-third will have slight regrowth, one-third will have visible regrowth, and the remainder will have no regrowth. Finasteride produces hair regrowth in about two-thirds of the men who use it for at least two years. The drug also stops excessive hair lost in most patients. However, gains will be lost if patients stop using either drug.

    If you have experienced hair loss following an illness, medical treatment, a stressful incident, childbirth, or as a side effect of medication, it is highly likely that your hair will regrow. Complete regrowth can take many months.

    Follow your dermatologist's recommendations for follow-up care or examination after treatment.

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