The reality of hair loss is that, for many, it’s out of their control, a genetic predisposition about which they can do little. However, those who have the baldness gene can make their hair fuller and healthier, and they can slow the rate of hair loss. Typically, it takes a combined effort, including steps you can take yourself as well as medical treatment. There are even some exciting new applications that show promise in the battle against baldness.
Today, let’s look at the options you have to combat hair loss:
Hair loss and nutrition
There’s no super food you can add to your game plan that will bring back lost hair, though if you’re living on fast food, you may accelerate thinning and lost hair. A well-balanced diet with a good range of essential nutrients is as necessary for hair maintenance as it is for any other system in your body. B vitamin deficiencies, in particular, can lead to poor hair growth, since these are essential for the development of new hair cells. A diet full of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce, and lean proteins, including eggs, chicken, fish, and pork, will assure you have the B vitamin building blocks your hair needs.
The Food and Drug Administration has so far approved only two drugs to treat hair loss. Minoxidil, which is also used to treat high blood pressure, helps to slow the rate of hair loss. It can form some new hair growth, but this is typically thin and weak, as well as being limited to the crown. It’s unlikely you’ll see new growth at your hairline. Finasteride, originally developed to prevent prostate cancer, blocks production of a hormone that kills off hair follicles, causing male pattern baldness. Some men experience reduced sexual desire and impotence as a side effect of finasteride, however. Shampoos containing Nioxin show little promise in slowing hair loss.
Perhaps the best traditional method for hair replacement, transplants relocate healthy hair on your body to thinning and bald spots. Though a fairly reliable method of re-growing hair, transplants are expensive and time-consuming and require up to two weeks to recover. Some methods can leave substantial scarring, which could show through shorter hairstyles.
New rejuvenating technologies
Laser stimulation of the scalp is non-surgical, painless treatment with little in the way of side effects. The principle behind laser treatment of hair loss is that improving blood flow to the scalp helps supply oxygen and nutrients to slow the rate of hair growth, as well as thickening existing hair. On their own, laser treatments won’t start overwhelming new hair growth, but in combination with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, results often show greater promise.
PRP therapy takes a sample of your own blood and then uses a centrifuge to concentrate platelets, which contain growth factor hormones. These hormones signal to naturally occurring stem cells to start regenerative growth. When injected into areas of hair loss, PRP therapy provides additional resources for new hair growth that’s encouraged by laser stimulation. Although results vary depending on the extent and aggressiveness of your hair loss, the combination of laser and PRP treatments is the next wave in hair loss therapy.
At the Advanced Rejuvenation Center, we use the Theradome™ laser phototherapy system in combination with PRP injections for our patients wishing to improve the quality and quantity of their own hair.