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More on Hair Loss

Let’s revise

We've previously covered some of the main causes of hair loss and their treatments. Today, we will go over that information in a short overview. We will also address the emotional toll that hair loss can have and the distrust that can occur with hair loss specialists and the industry. This overview will take into account information provided in the video titled "The Dreadful Business of Balding & Hair Loss" and Dr. Gary Linkov's reaction to it. 

How common is hair loss?

Many people struggle with hair loss. It is more common in men, but women experience it too. Some people notice hair loss even in their late teenage years, but it is more prevalent in people in their mid-20s to mid 30s.
At any age, hair loss can affect a person's confidence. Of course, there is the physical appearance aspect, but that's not all. For many, this is one of the first signs that they are getting older.
Additionally, hair loss treatments require trial and error and, more than anything, time. It's frustrating for someone to invest financially and time-wise and still have clumps of hair falling out for months before they notice positive results.

Why does hair loss happen?

Hair loss can happen because of a variety of reasons; some are:
  • Androgenic alopecia – a common type of hair loss that can occur because of genetic factors and androgens, male sex hormones.
  • Alopecia areata -  an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own hair follicles.
  • Scarring - such as due to injury, surgery, or various inflammatory conditions.

If your hair is falling out, you should consult a specialist to find the root cause and appropriate treatment.

What does hair loss look like?

  • The most common appearance of hair loss in men is male pattern hair loss. In this type of hair loss, hair falls out at the temples and crown, and the hairline recedes. This type of hair loss happens because of androgenic alopecia.
  • Those struggling with alopecia areata often have their hair falling out in patches. The condition doesn't only lead to losing hair on the scalp but to losing eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair at times.
When reading about hair loss patterns, you might come across the terms: m-shaped, o-shaped, and u-shaped hair loss.
  • M-shaped hair loss - when the hairline recedes and forms an M shape.
  • O-shaped hair loss - when the thinning of the hair happens on the crown area forming an O shape.
  • U-shaped hair loss - when the hairline recedes, and there is hair loss on the crown leading to the formation of a U shape without hair. 
Something else you might have encountered is the Hamilton-Norwood scale. The Norwood scale provides pictures of 7 stages of hair loss that can help record the severity of a patient's hair loss. The scale is more relevant for research than for a surgeon communicating with a patient in a clinic. 

Can hair loss be treated?

Overall, the answer is yes. Depending on the cause of hair loss, your other medical conditions, and your preferences, there are various hair loss solutions.
There are also aesthetic tattoos such as microblading for the eyebrows and micropigmentation for the scalp. Medical treatments, such as finasteride and minoxidil, can be taken orally or used as solutions. Hair transplant surgery is also a good option for some patients. 
Oftentimes, hair loss treatment is not covered by insurance and can be expensive. Also, as much as these treatments come with aesthetic benefits, they all come with risks. 
Still, many people feel much more comfortable with their appearance when they have hair than when they embrace a bald look. A factor that can play a role is age. A receding hairline can make someone look older, and those experiencing hair thinning at a younger age often strive to restore their hair. Though there is no age limit for when hair restoration can take place.

Is there a quick fix to hair loss?

In short, no. Microblading and scalp micropigmentation give people quick results but do not result in true hair restoration. It typically takes between six months and a year to see the effects of minoxidil and finasteride. A common misconception about hair transplants is that it gives instant results. In reality, once hair is transplanted, noticeable growth takes 6-8 months, with final results at 16-18 months. 

All hair regrowth and preservation treatments require time and upkeep. Even when a person opts for hair surgery, they often still benefit from hair loss medication. This is so that they don’t lose their existing hair later on. 

What if I don't trust my surgeon?

In "The Dreadful Business of Balding & Hair Loss," it is mentioned that a surgeon suggested a non-FDA-approved herbal supplement she claimed was as effective as finasteride.
There is nothing wrong with using supplements; they can be a good addition to medical therapy. Surgeons can also have their own branded products. The issue arises when a medical specialist makes claims that run counter to the existing literature, without sufficient evidence. 
When consulting with a hair specialist, make sure that your surgeon is someone you trust and feel comfortable working with regarding your hair loss treatment. When necessary, do your own research and seek a second opinion.

The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.

Written by Aleksandra Božović | Edited by Dr. Gary Linkov
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