Category Archives: Hair Loss Treatments

Minoxidil is one of the most commonly used treatments for hair loss in women and men, and it is widely available in various forms all over the world.

The drug was originally used to treat high blood pressure, but was found to have the side-effect of increasing hair growth and thickening hair in some of the people who took it. It is now available over the counter as a lotion, under brand names including Regaine, Rogaine, Mintop, Loniten and Avacor.

Unfortunately, the exact way in which minoxidil works to restore hair and promote re-growth is not definitively known. However, it has been shown to have visible effects in some patients.

How well does it work?

Studies have shown that minoxidil is effective at producing moderate regrowth in around 20 per cent of women aged between 18 and 45. A further 40 per cent of this age and gender group reported minimal regrowth.

Will the effects of minoxidil last?

Whilst minoxidil has proven to be effective for some people, its visible results tend to disappear within months of stopping treatment. Therefore, it needs to be used indefinitely until the hair can grow back by itself.

There are many different things you can try to treat hair loss, including medication, hair replacement and cosmetic solutions to disguise bald patches or thinning hair. Some people choose hair transplantation surgery as a viable option for improving the appearance of their hair.

Hair transplantation surgery has come an awfully long way in the last few years. The procedure used to be incredibly painful and take a long time to heal, with fairly unnatural-looking results. However, there are many new procedures available nowadays which produce very natural results with the minimum of pain, discomfort and inconvenience.

One of these new methods is Follicular Unit Transplantation, a refined and minimally invasive procedure in which stereoscopic dissecting microscopes are used to restore hair to all areas of the scalp. It can even be used to improve the appearance of eyebrows and eyelashes, beards and pubic hair.

How it works

Hair roots are taken from donor areas (usually at the back or sides of the scalp) and placed in balding or thinning areas of the scalp. The transferred hairs are placed at the same angle and in the same direction of the rest of the hair, so that the results are realistic. The procedure takes between 2 and 8 hours to complete, and patients can usually head home within around 30 minutes of finishing treatment.

One of the reasons that the Internet is literally jam-packed with ‘miracle’ hair loss pills, injections, creams and other products is that people with hair loss are usually desperate for a cure.

A lot of hair loss sufferers wish their hair would stop shedding and grow back, so that they can resume their ‘normal’ lives. Opportunistic businesses and individuals seek to capitalise on this by offering hair loss cures, which unfortunately hardly ever work.

The only reliable way to get proper treatment for hair loss is to visit your GP, dermatologist or hair loss specialist (also known as a trichologist), who will recommend or diagnose treatments known to have shown some effectiveness in other patients.

When undergoing any of these treatments, however, it is absolutely vital that you try to maintain realistic expectations on the outcome of the treatment. Hair loss is a very emotional condition, so it can be devastating if you build yourself up to believe you will quickly regain a thick, full head of hair only to see little or no results.

Some hair loss treatments may slow shedding, encourage a little regrowth or slightly improve the appearance of hair. Some may do nothing at all. As far as research has shown, no treatment has yet been developed that will offer a ‘miracle’ cure for hair loss.

Although there are many genuine sources of help out there for women with hair loss, there are unfortunately just as many individuals, companies and websites looking to exploit desperate people by offering ‘miracle cures’.

The truth is that a huge amount of these products and techniques simply don’t work, promising lightning-speed regrowth of hair which just doesn’t happen. The people who sell these products aren’t usually trained or experienced hair loss specialists; they are solely interested in making money by taking advantage of your desperation and desire to regrow your lost hair.

If you want proper treatment for your hair loss condition, you need to go to a medical professional rather than wasting your money on these so-called ‘miracle cures’. See your GP for a formal diagnosis, then visit a dermatologist or trichologist (hair loss and growth specialist) for a further consultation and treatment options.

You can also look for hair management and replacement options, from organisations with actual experience of treating female hair loss. Use a reputable company known for its expertise, knowledge and sensitivity, and spend your money wisely on hair loss solutions that actually work.

Once you have been diagnosed with female hair loss, the next step is to find a treatment that works for you. There are many options available nowadays, from medication and surgical procedures to more natural hair replacement techniques.

In terms of medication for hair loss, you may be prescribed:

Minoxidil (also known by the brand name Regaine)
This is one of the most commonly used non-prescription medications for female hair loss, particularly the condition known as alopecia areata. It comes in the form of a foam or liquid that you frequently rub into the scalp. Around 30-40 per cent of people using minoxidil experience some form of regrowth, although any improvement can take up to 12 months to become noticeable.

Corticosteroids
This medication, often used to treat alopecia areata, comes in the form of injections or oral pills. Results can take up to a month or more to be noticeable, depending of course on the patient and the condition.

Hormonal modulators
These come in the form of oral contraceptives or something called spironolactone and is often used to treat androgenic alopecia (female pattern hair loss) associated with hyperandrogenemia.

A new device designed to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy treatment for cancer has been successfully tested and approved for use in Europe, as well as in Canada and Japan.

The Dignicap system has been developed by a Swedish firm called Dignitana, who claim that the cap is able to limit hair loss for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The cap, consisting of a form-fitted silicon cap, a mobile cooling unit and a neoprene outer cap to keep everything in place, works by chilling the scalp and shrinking the blood vessels. This reduces the dose of chemotherapy that reaches the hair follicles, thereby limiting hair loss whilst still allowing the treatment to work properly.

The Dignicap system has not yet been FDA approved in the USA, but it is in clinical use in some other parts of the world. Trials have shown a number of positive results; namely, that the cap helps to decrease hair loss during chemotherapy, is safe to use and is well-tolerated by patients.

Susan Melin, breast cancer specialist and Wake Forest Baptist associate professor of internal medicine-haematology and oncology, commented on the device, saying:

“One of the first questions my patients ask is whether they will lose their hair with the chemotherapy recommended for their breast cancer.

“Preventing chemotherapy-induced hair loss by using the scalp cooling cap may relieve severe psychological and emotional stress and improve the patient’s quality of life.”