There is so much meaning connected with our hair— whether we wear it long, short, natural, of varying textures, or treated with color, there’s a reason why we call it our crowning glory. Even though we attach so much meaning to our hair, nearly 30 million women live with hair loss or deal with hair that’s thinning. For many, genetics plays a role in hair loss, factors such as diet, illness, stress and time can worsen the problem. Instead of letting this issue affect our self-esteem and whereby we see ourselves, there are now several options for restoring our hair back.
Options for getting thicker hair
Hair growth can greatly decrease due to many circumstances and factors, which produces thinning and hair loss. When hair follicles temporarily stop growing and start to shed, it’s ordinarily because they’ve been presented to particular stressors. As hair becomes thinner over time, it’s owing to the follicles producing finer hairs over sequential cycles. The diameter of hair then grows thinner and the growth cycle grows shorter. Here are four methods top hair-restoration specialists are using with patients fight the problem.
At-home light treatment caps give low-level laser therapy (LLLT) by using light at particular wavelengths to increase blood circulation in the scalp.
Who It’s Meant For: Those seeking a progressive solution
Who It’s Not Meant For: Pregnant women and patients with such conditions as epilepsy, thyroid gland disorders, diabetes or cancer.
What to Expect: LLLT brings extra oxygen and nutrients to the head area to support it at the follicular level, encouraging new hair growth and thicker hair. Handheld devices can be done at home, but it is always desirable to undergo light therapy under the guidance of a hair-restoration specialist.
The Au Naturale Way
The demand for using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to manage hair loss is mostly due to the protocol’s minimally invasive method of making use of the patient’s own growth factors and body nutrients.
Who It’s Meant For: Anyone experiencing androgenetic alopecia for less than 3 to 5 years,
Who It’s Not Meant For: Patientswith underlying medical causes of hair loss such as involving autoimmune disease, iron deficiency, anemia or a hormonal abnormality. Additionally, people who have a scalp disorder such as scarring alopecia.
What You Can Expect: PRP involves drawing 11 or 22 milliliters of blood, whirling down the plasma in a specialized centrifuge, removing the PRP, and then injecting it inside the subdermal areas of the scalp. “I combine this treatment with an oral supplement, Nutrafol, and a proprietary topical and low-energy laser treatment,” says Dr. Shamban. After the treatment, Dr. Rapaport suggests patients “go home and take a warm shower, shampoo and caress the scalp, and avoid using chemicals, coloring or hair fibers for 24–48 hours after.” While some published results seem promising, there can be variability in method and result. According to Dr. Ziering, “I blend PRP with Acell, with my clientele, and when performed every 12 to 18 months, PRP decreases shedding, stabilizes hair loss and encourages overall hair condition and strength.”
Use of RX or OTC
Hair-loss medicines work to hinder the hormones that cause hair miniaturization.
Who They’re Meant For: A doctor will suggest whether prescription birth control pills, for post-menopausal women, finasteride (aka Propecia), is sufficient. Topical minoxidil (found in Rogaine) up to 5 percent has been approved for OTC treatment for women.
Who They’re Not Meant For: Finasteride isn’t approved for women who haven’t gone through menopause; topical minoxidil can produce scalp inflammation.
What to Expect during the first few weeks: Additional shedding may happen as hair switches from an inert to active state. Best results can be observed by 12 months. “I always advise patients to continue using Rogaine and Propecia, even following a hair transplant, because it will simply further supply the other native hairs with nourishment that may have a proclivity to thin and miniaturize,” says facial plastic surgeon Natalie Attenello, MD.
A Modern-Day Transplant
Hair-restoration surgery is the only sound option to manage hair loss. Whereas other treatments operate to slow hair loss, surgery helps place hair wherever there isn’t. “Surgery should be the final resort if all other efforts to manage the progression of hair loss have been tried,” says Dr. Ziering. “It’s also necessary to note that nonsurgical methods can be coupled with surgical protocols for a further integrated approach to managing hair loss.”
Who It’s For: Those with hair loss attributed to genetic/hormonal issues, or from scarring or surgery
Who It’s Not For: Those with severe keloid scarring or scarring alopecia
Procedure Duration: Around eight hours, which varies by procedure
Time of recovery: About a week
What to Expect: The donor site (behind the scalp) is anesthetized and a piece of hair holding the follicles is extracted, which are then collected under a microscope and the hairs are separated into follicular units, or groups of one, two or three; or the donor site can be shaved and follicles extracted one by one. The regions where the units will be grafted are also anesthetized and the hair is laid.
Post-Surgery Expectations: A little discomfort and swelling may happen, but wanes after a few days. Scabbing at the transplant site is normal. “The first few days post-op, I suggest using ice, massaging regularly and sleeping at a 45-degree angle as a precaution against forehead edema,” says Dr. Ziering. “Also, no sun exposure for at least 3 months to avoid the risk of hyperpigmentation.” Some growth can be observed at 3 months; further growth will be apparent in 6 to 9. “The grafted hairs quickly become ‘rooted’ into the scalp, and following a short rest period of several months, they begin to grow for the rest of your life,” states Dr. Attenello.
The Hair Growth Life-Cycle
Stage 1: Hair Starts Growing
Recognized as the anagen phase, this is while cells in the root divide and generate new hair at the root of the follicle, which drives the previous strand out. Hair grows near to the scalp and lengthens down as it proceeds to grow.
Stage 2: Hair Gets a Break
The catagen phase is when hair starts to transition following maximum growth capacity and takes a break. At this stage, it’s still connected to the root, although it finishes growing and prepares to fall out and replenish itself.
Stage 3: Hair at Rest
Designated the telogen phase, this is when hair is resting, and then finally it is discharged and falls out. Ultimately, the follicle remains inactive for 3 months and the entire cycle starts again.
Desirable Lashes and Eyebrows
It just takes one cursory look at Instagram to observe that long lashes and thick brows are a couple of the most desirable features on the face. However just as the hair on our scalp start to thin, so too can our lashes and eyebrows.
Whether the reason for thinning brows is years of plucking, waxing, tweezing or the like, or they’re just thinning out on their own, there are answers. To forever improve sparse eyebrows or bald spots because of a medical condition, medication or the natural process of aging, an eyebrow procedure may be the best choice. During the operation, the doctor will use local anesthesia to extract donor hair from the back of the scalp before transplanting to the eyebrows. Once the region has fully healed, it will be almost impossible to notice the scar.
Expectations: Post-surgery, the region may be sensitive or swelled. For the first few days, scabbing or crusting may happen near the hair follicle in the brow line. Stitches at the donor site will be removed after 1 week.
Duration of procedure: Around 2 hours
Time of discovery: 3 to 7 days
Aging can make eyelashes grow weak and inclined to breakage, causing them to seem short, thin or scattered. An eyelash transplantation can forever restore the hair. Eyelash restoration surgery can enhance lashes and restart a healthy growth cycle, but it can’t get lashes to be thicker or fuller like mascaras and fake eyelashes. It’s more for restoring what’s lost.
Expectations: The surgery, which may only be performed on the higher lashes, uses tiny grafts of donor hair from the head. OVer the first several day post-surgery, the areas may crust, swell or grow pink. It can take 2 months for hair to start growing and one year to observe the ultimate outcome.
Time of procedure: 2 to 4 hours
Time of recovery: 3 to 7 days
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