If your hair seems to be thinning or your forehead looks a little higher, you may be seeing the earliest symptoms of hair loss. This is the right time to seek help and advice from a hair restoration professional. There are two main reasons why it is always better to seek advice early rather than hoping that the problem will go away.
Firstly, you may have an underlying medical condition. For example, Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes your hair to become patchy. Sometimes this issue fixes itself, but there are times where it continues to get worse and you lose all of your hair. Fortunately, this is now a treatable condition with the greatest success rates occurring when it is caught early. The same is true for other medical conditions – the earlier they are found, the better chance there is of treating them successfully.
Alternatively, hair loss may be caused by genetics or excessive stress. In both of these cases, starting treatment sooner rather than later grants much higher chances for success. The best way of monitoring your hair and checking for these issues is regular self-examination.
Symptoms you should keep an eye out for:
- Your hairline is receding.
- The natural part in your hair is growing wider.
- You are losing more hair than normal when washing or brushing it.
- Your hair feels different, but you are not treating it differently.
- Your hair has become noticeably less shiny.
If you have noticed these symptoms, it is time to consult a specialist. They will be able to determine the most likely cause of the problem and may recommend one of the following treatments.
Finasteride is a drug that has been commonly used to treat hair loss for about 15 years. The drug operates by blocking your body’s production of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the prostate, which can be responsible for your hair loss.
Unfortunately, this is not an over-the-counter treatment, and you will need a prescription from a doctor before you can obtain this medication. Your doctor is responsible for outlining how this drug works as well as informing you of any potential side-effects and ensuring that there will be no adverse reaction with any other medical conditions you may have.
The good news is that if you are prescribed this drug as soon as you notice signs that you are going bald, the symptoms will stop progressing. Additionally, it reduces the chance that men will develop prostate cancer. Finally, it does not have any adverse reactions with any other drugs.
As with all medicine, there is a small risk that you will experience adverse side-effects. These can include erectile dysfunction, a reduction in your libido, and problems ejaculating. These can be mitigated or managed with the oversight of an experienced physician.
Minoxidil did not start life as a drug designed to help people who lose their hair. When it was developed in the 1950s, it was intended to help combat high blood pressure, but it failed because it caused unwanted hair growth. Over the course of almost 40 years, this detriment was turned into a benefit and Minoxidil was remade into a lotion that could be applied directly to the scalp and has since been popular worldwide.
Unlike Finasteride, Minoxidil does not require a prescription and can be bought from most high-street pharmacies. The price varies depending on the brand. While a prescription is not necessary to obtain this medicine, it can still interact with other medicines or medical conditions. For this reason, it is always recommended that you talk to your pharmacist before purchasing this product to ensure that there will not be any adverse effects or reactions.
Finasteride and Minoxidil
Finasteride’s primary purpose is to halt the progression of baldness. However, some men will find that their hair actually returns once they start taking the drug. The sooner you start taking this medicine, the more effective it will be.
By comparison, Minoxidil works to stimulate new growth but does nothing to prevent the progression of baldness. However, despite this fact, Minoxidil also works better when used early. Having more hair causes more to grow, and so like Finasteride, Minoxidil works best as a preventative measure.
These medications can actually be used together. Finasteride is the best way to stop the symptoms of hair loss from progressing, and Minoxidil is the best way of recovering what has already been lost. When these medicines can be taken together, if none of the side effects of Finasteride manifests, they become the most effective way of both preventing baldness and encouraging new hair growth.
Hair Transplant Surgery
In the event that too much hair has been lost for the above tablets and lotions, hair transplant surgery is the most viable alternative. This is a cosmetic surgical procedure that has seen significant improvements to its performance and success rates in recent years.
There are various ways of performing this surgery, but they all involve removing hair-bearing skin from one part of the scalp and then grafting them onto the thinning areas. This traditionally means removing skin from the lower part at the back of the head.
There are two major downsides to this procedure. The first is that while it has improved dramatically over the last few years, it remains the most expensive method for treating thinning hair. The second is that it leaves a scar where the skin was removed from the transplant, which is usually covered by allowing hair at the back of the head to grow out a little.
A different surgical procedure is follicular unit extraction. Instead of removing a strip of skin and leaving a scar, donor tissue is made up of lots of tiny punch grafts that will heal without a scar or mark of any kind. By further dissecting these grafts, single hair follicle units can be implanted one at a time into a bald scalp to recreate a normal, healthy hairline.
The only factor that limits the use of this technique is the availability of donor hairs for transplantation. Sometimes, it is possible to use chest or other body hair instead of hair taken from the head, and sometimes it is even possible to use artificial hair implants.
Using other hair from the scalp remains the most natural-looking method, and so like the other methods described above, surgery is best used to combat baldness as early as possible.
Some people claim that it is possible to reverse the symptoms of balding through changes in diet, taking vitamin supplements, special laser therapy, or other unusual techniques. The most generous interpretation of these techniques is that they are unproven and unreliable at best.
In the end, the best way of fighting the onset of baldness is to diagnose and treat it early. The more hair you have to regrow, the harder it becomes. Just keep an eye on your hairline, and do not hesitate to seek out professional advice if you are ever concerned about the potential loss of hair.