At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we have always been committed to seeking out the newest and most effective treatments for hair loss. While many of the current non-surgical treatments for hair loss have shown significant promise, we are always on the lookout to provide better options for our patients. There are several areas of particularly interesting research that are currently being pursued that may manage to successfully control several forms of hair loss. While many of these treatments are still only in the theoretical or testing phases, they are very encouraging indications of what is to come.
Treating Male Pattern Baldness (Finasteride and Dutasteride)
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone understood to be the primary cause of male pattern baldness. High levels of DHT in the bloodstream, over many years, can cause enlarged prostate glands in men. In men with male pattern baldness, DHT acts on the scalp hair to shrink genetically sensitive hair follicles until those follicles can no longer grow hair. Finasteride (currently marketed under the brand names Propecia® and Proscar®) works to block the enzymes responsible for converting the body’s natural testosterone into DHT, thus preventing the actions of DHT on hair follicles. Dutasteride, a drug currently being sold under the brand name Avodart® to treat men with enlarged prostate glands, also significantly reduces the amount of DHT in the body. However, while the use of Propecia® has been shown to cause a 65-70% decrease in the levels of DHT in the blood, Dutasteride may be able to decrease those levels by 90% or more. Of the two, Propecia® is the only one that is FDA approved to treat male pattern hair loss.
Treating Alopecia Areata (Tofacitinib and Ruxolitinib)
In alopecia areata, the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles and prevents them from functioning correctly. The hair follicle does remain capable of producing hair, but is hampered from doing so by the ongoing action of the immune system that keeps the follicle in a continual dormant state. JAK inhibitors are a class of drugs that have been used to alleviate the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis by calming down the body’s natural immune response. It was initially theorized that, by inhibiting the natural immune response, these drugs might also be able to stop the action of the immune system against the hair follicles, allowing hair to regrow. Case reports have shown that two different JAK inhibitors, tofacitinib and ruxolitinib, have caused the significant regrowth of hair in patients suffering from alopecia universalis, a severe form of alopecia areata. Rigorous controlled trials need to be conducted to determine the efficacy, safety, and proper dosing of these medications in regard to hair loss. They are currently not approved for use in alopecia areata, but we are hopeful that more studies will be done in order to provide a new treatment for patients.
Treating Hair Loss from Chemotherapy (Vasoconstrictors)
In a recent article in The International Journal of Cancer, investigators in Madison, Wisconsin found that vasoconstrictors may be able to help reduce the hair loss that patients suffer during cancer chemotherapy treatments. Vasoconstrictors can restrict blood flow to the skin and are often used in conjunction with Novocain and similar numbing agents to keep the injected anesthetic in a particular spot. Applied topically to the scalp, these drugs could temporarily cut off the cells in the scalp from the body’s blood supply and thus prevent them from receiving the chemotherapy drugs delivered. During chemotherapy treatments, this would theoretically allow the strong medicines used during chemotherapy to move through the body and attack cancer cells, but keep them from reaching the hair follicles in the scalp and causing hair loss.
Treating Hair Loss from Stress
For many years, scientists studied the connection between stress and hair loss. In 2011, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles stumbled upon a promising cure for baldness while studying mice that had lost their hair due to an increase of the stress hormone corticotropin-releasing factor, or CRF. When researchers injected a compound that blocked CRF, the mice grew thick, luxurious coats in five days. The drug not only seemed to awaken dormant follicles and initiate a growth phase, but it also restored pigment, meaning that it could potentially reverse graying as well. Unfortunately this treatment is only in the very early theoretical testing phases, and just because it was effective for growing fur in mice is no guarantee it will work on humans. Actual clinical trials are still a long way off, but these results are interesting and hopeful nonetheless.
As board certified dermatologists at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, Dr. Edmond Griffin and I try to take every opportunity to educate patients about hair loss prevention and hair restoration treatments. To provide an added resource for those interested in learning more about hair loss, we regularly discuss various hair loss topics on our YouTube channel. Recently, I shared my thoughts on the important differences between male pattern and female pattern hair loss.
In this video, I discuss the most common form of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, or inherited pattern baldness. I address how male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss differ in presentation, explaining how both forms of hair loss progress and highlighting the distinct differences between the two patterns. I then discuss the underlying causes that lead to pattern baldness, mentioning both the genetic and hormonal components and how they seem to point to intrinsic differences between the male and female forms of the condition.
Watch this video to learn more about this common form of hair loss and the individual hair restoration options that are available.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If you are interested in discussing hair loss or hair restoration options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
When it comes to the treatment of hair loss one of the most significant hurdles is determining its cause. Hair loss can be the result of many different underlying conditions and effective treatment requires knowing what specific causes need to be addressed. This difficulty can be particularly pronounced in cases of women’s hair loss; while 95% of male hair loss is the result of inherited pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, the causes of women’s hair loss can be much more varied. In some cases, the problem is related to an imbalance in hormones. Men’s hormone levels follow relatively predictable patterns, but a number of distinct disorders, as well as several common life events, like pregnancy or menopause, can cause a significant fluctuation in female hormone levels that can result in hair loss. Additionally, the hormone changes caused by the stress of an operation or severe trauma may cause hair loss in either sex.
Every hair follicle goes through a natural cycle of hair growth and shedding. In fact, at any given time, as many as 15% of the hairs on the scalp are in a dormant state, and anywhere from 50 to 125 hairs are shed daily. However, during pregnancy, the cycle is interrupted and the hair follicles do not go dormant. This is why many women experience thicker, more luxurious hair during pregnancy. However, after the child is born and the body’s hormones begin to return to normal, this shift in hormone levels can cause many hair follicles to enter the dormant stage and shed simultaneously. While this mimics the appearance of massive sudden hair loss, it is actually only the body’s return to its normal state and so is seldom cause for concern. Moreover, just as the shift in hormone levels caused by pregnancy can result in loss of hair, so can the artificial shift in hormone levels caused by birth control pills. Switching or going off or on birth control pills can be enough of a shock to the body’s endocrine system to cause telogen effluvium, a condition typically associated with increased physical or emotional stress. The change in the hormonal balance that occurs at menopause can also have much the same result.
The thyroid, a small gland located in your neck, produces many of the hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and development. Any abnormality in the function of this gland, particularly declining levels of thyroid hormone production, can contribute to hair loss. It is estimated that forty percent of American women are suffering from significant hair loss related to low thyroid hormones, or hypothyroidism, with redheads particularly at risk. Similarly, polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition wherein an excess of male hormones (androgens) leads to ovarian cysts, weight gain, and hair thinning. In both cases, bringing the hormone levels back into balance by treating the underlying condition is the best way to restore hair to normal.
At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we are committed to finding the most effective treatments for hair loss and techniques in hair restoration. One of the most recent and exciting developments in hair loss treatment is the use of platelet rich plasma as a means of stimulating hair growth in both deteriorating and newly implanted hair follicles.
Platelet Rich Plasma (or PRP) is derived from a patient’s own blood. Spinning your own blood in a centrifuge separates it into its component parts, allowing for the removal of a highly concentrated solution of platelets suspended in a small volume of plasma. These platelets have been proven to contain fundamental growth factors called cytokines that initiate all wound healing, and the plasma itself contains three proteins that are known to act as cell adhesion molecules and as a matrix for bone, connective tissue, and skin. The concentrate of platelet rich plasma, when re-injected into the body, stimulates the healing process while simultaneously accelerating the speed and degree of regeneration in the healing/injured/diseased tissue.
Patients suffering from a number of different forms of hair loss exhibit a characteristic shrinking of the hair follicles. Over time, as the follicles shrink, they produce hair that is thinner and thinner, until they reach a point where they stop producing hair at all. Injecting platelet rich plasma into the dermis of the scalp can cause the shrinking hair follicles to become healthier and larger, producing thicker and fuller hair growth. Furthermore, platelet rich plasma also speeds up the transition of the hair follicle from the dormant telogen state back to the actively growing anagen state, reducing the necessary recovery time after hair restoration surgery. We at the Griffin Center have been using PRP in conjunction with our transplant procedures for many years. Over the last few years we have also initiated using the PRP as a stand-alone treatment in men and women with specific types of hair loss. It is especially effective in treating male and female pattern loss as well as some forms of traction alopecia. In some cases, PRP has even been shown to regrow hair in areas afflicted with alopecia areata, eyebrow hypotrichosis, and chronic telogen effluvium. It has not been as beneficial for scarring hair loss thus far. Treatments at The Griffin Center generally take less than an hour to perform and the results have been promising. We generally recommend a series of 3 initial treatments 6 weeks a part which are followed by repeat treatment a year after the first in order to achieve the best results. In the future we are hopeful that using the patient’s own stem cells, harvested from the adipose tissue (fat), will help solve the problems of the scarring alopecias.
If you have questions about platelet rich plasma therapy or other treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ .
For years, hair loss was considered an exclusively male issue. However, as we have come to understand the mechanisms involved in hereditary pattern hair loss, and as more and more women have sought treatment, it has become clear that women’s hair loss is a much bigger issue than any had previously considered. In fact, approximately 21 million women in the United States are experiencing some form of hair loss right now, and it is believed that as many as 80% of all women will experience noticeable hair loss by the time they reach 60. While most women don’t notice the hair loss until they are in their 50s or 60s, it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.
In addition to hereditary female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, the hair’s growth cycle can be interrupted by anything from the hormonal variances of pregnancy or thyroid disease, to autoimmune disorders and overly tight hairstyles. Even seemingly unrelated issues like emotional stress or anemia can play a role in hair loss. Because the causes of women’s hair loss can be so varied, developing an effective treatment plan must be tailored specifically for each unique case. However, at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis consult with each patient and carefully examine each individual case to determine which specific form of hair restoration treatment will be the most effective.
While there are a number or non-surgical hair restoration treatments available at The Griffin Center, sometimes the most effective solution for women experiencing hair loss is hair restoration surgery. Women are often excellent candidates for the follicular unit grafting (FUG) technique. The process involves the removal of a very narrow strip of hair follicles from the back or sides of the head, which is then carefully dissected under a microscope into individual follicular units which can be surgically grafted into balding areas. As the progression of androgenetic alopecia in women generally leaves the back and sides of the scalp with more than adequate coverage, there is seldom any difficulty in locating a donor region from which follicular grafts can be harvested. Moreover, the linear scar left behind is easily hidden by hairstyles that keep the hair long and thick in the back. An alternative technique, follicular unit extraction (FUE) with NeoGraft, which uses an automated device to facilitate the follicular extraction process and minimize scarring, has also become increasingly popular. We will carefully evaluate your individual requirements and treatment goals in order to determine the best technique for you.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments, please contact The Griffin Center today. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more hair loss information.
As board certified dermatologists at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, Dr. Edmond Griffin and I enjoy getting an opportunity to educate patients about hair loss prevention and hair restoration treatments. To provide an added resource for those interested in learning more about hair loss, we regularly discuss various hair loss topics on our YouTube channel. Recently, I shared my thoughts on how various hair care practices can affect hair and hair loss.
In this video, I recommend the use of loose, natural hair styles to prevent traction alopecia, a condition that arises when constant tension is placed on the hair follicles by tight hairstyles like cornrows or tight braids and pony tails, or sew-in hairpieces. This constant tension can cause damage to the scalp, resulting in an overall thinning of the hair. I further discuss specific products and techniques that you should use, and avoid, in order to control hair dryness and breakage so that your hair can remain thick and healthy looking.
Take a look at my video below to learn more about how you can care for your hair.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ . If you are interested in discussing hair loss or hair restoration options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we realize that hair loss can result from a wide variety of different causes and that every individual cause should be treated differently. That’s why every case of alopecia needs a diagnosis; there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” treatment. Even though the majority of cases may be the result of androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, it is important to understand the many other potential causes of hair loss. One such cause is alopecia areata, a common auto-immune disorder that affects an estimated 6.5 million people in the United States alone.
Those suffering from alopecia areata begin losing hair in one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp. This can progress to total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or even the complete loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis). While the disease can affect men and women of all ages, it does seem to present more often in the young. Up to 66% of patients are younger than 30, while only 20% are older than 40. Alopecia areata is highly unpredictable and cyclical. Hair can grow back in or fall out again at any time, and the disease course is different for each person.
Typically, alopecia areata interrupts the natural process of hair growth. The body’s natural immune system (white blood cells) attacks the base of the hair follicle during the anagen, or growth phase, as though the hair was an invading disease. This pushes the follicle prematurely into the catagen phase, where hair stops growing. Additionally, the natural inflammation caused by the body’s immune response further weakens the hair shaft in the hair canal, allowing it to be even more easily shed. All this results in the sudden and rapid loss of hair in the areas affected.
Alopecia areata occurs in two forms: a mild patchy form where less than 50 percent of scalp hair is lost and an extensive form where greater than 50 percent of scalp hair is lost. These two forms of alopecia areata behave quite differently, and the specific treatment depends on which form is present. There is no cure for alopecia areata; the current treatments do not turn alopecia areata off but simply decrease the inflammation around the hair shafts and stimulate the follicle to produce hair again. There are numerous reported treatment options for alopecia areata, ranging from topical cortisones and cortisone injections to oral medications and even light treatments. Initial treatments, typically involving cortisoneinjections or topically applied minoxidil, need to be continued until the disease naturally goes into remission. Fortunately, no matter how widespread the hair loss, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. Hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and as many as 75% of cases resolve spontaneously within a year. However there are cases where the hairs do not respond to the many treatment options available and therefore remain dormant without regrowth.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments, please contact The Griffin Center today. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more hair loss information.
The experience of losing one’s hair can be emotionally difficult for anyone, even when they happen to be children suffering from hair loss. Children often do not understand what is happening, and other children may subject the child to teasing and bullying as a result of the condition. Hair loss in children is often difficult to diagnose. While the vast majority of hair loss in male adults, for example, is caused by male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, the causes of children’s hair loss can be much more varied. However, since treatment needs to be specifically tailored to the cause of the hair loss, proper diagnosis is extremely important. Fortunately, while there are a number of possible causes for children’s hair loss, some of the most common are easily remedied.
The most common cause of hair loss in children is tinea capitis, a disease caused by a superficial fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Also known as ringworm of the scalp, this form of superficial mycosis is becoming increasingly common in the US and other regions of the world. Children with tinea capitis usually have itching associated with hair loss in round or oval patches, with some broken-off hairs visible just above the surface of the scalp. In some cases, gray flakes or scales can be seen. Tinea capitis is treated with anti-fungal medications. Early identification and treatment of tinea capitis can prevent permanent hair loss and scarring on the scalp. Another common cause of hair loss in children is the autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata. This can come on rapidly, resulting in a circle of complete baldness with no itching or scaling.
Children can also suffer from hair loss as a result of direct damage to the hair itself. Wearing the hair for long periods of time in tight hairstyles that pull on the scalp (like pigtails or braids) can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Moreover, some children damage their own hair as a result of an obsessive-compulsive disorder called trichotillomania, the habit of twirling or plucking the hair. In these cases, the hair loss is patchy, and characterized by broken hairs of varying length. In all of these cases, as long as the hair trauma was not severe or chronic enough to cause scarring, the hair will eventually regrow when the trauma is stopped. In cases where it does not grow back, hair restoration may be an option. It is important to educate parents to avoid tight hairstyles in children in order to prevent hair loss as an adult.
Telogen effluvium is another common cause of hair loss in children. During the normal life cycle of a hair follicle, it goes through several distinct stages, eventually reaching a resting, or telogen stage, where it sheds its hair and lies dormant before starting a new growth cycle. At any given point in time, 10% to 15% of a person’s hair is in the telogen phase. However, in telogen effluvium, some unexpected stress on the body interrupts this cycle, throwing a large number of hair follicles into telogen phase all at once. As a result, hair begins to shed in large amounts. Extremely high fevers, surgery under general anesthesia, severe prolonged emotional stress (such as a death of a loved one), severe injuries and even the use of certain prescription medication can all cause sufficient shock to the body to cause telogen effluvium. Fortunately, since the growth cycle is only interrupted, not stopped, hair usually regrows within six months to a year.
Although much less common, children can also have congenital forms of hair loss as well as hair loss due to vitamin or mineral deficiencies. It is important to have a full evaluation by a physician who specializes in hair loss to accurately diagnose and treat the condition.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ .
For almost forty years, The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research has been on the cutting edge of research into the prevention and treatment of hair loss. Recently there has been a great deal of talk about how Xeljanz®, an anti-inflammatory drug used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, may be able to cause significant hair regrowth in patients suffering from some forms of hair loss.
Xeljanz® (tofacitinib) is a medication that calms down the immune system. Normally, our immune systems do a good job of protecting our bodies from foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. It recognizes its own cells and does not see them as foreign. When individuals suffer from an auto-immune disease, however, the body’s own immune system essentially begins attacking itself. In rheumatoid arthritis this causes pain and swelling at the joints; in alopecia areata the inflammation occurs in the scalp, shutting down the generation of new hair and causing existing hair to fall out.
Xeljanz® is a JAK inhibitor, which means that it interferes with cell signaling that causes inflammation. Previously, Xeljanz® had been used to treat the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and so it was theorized that, since alopecia areata is also the result of inflammation caused by auto-immune response, the drug might be able to treat this condition as well, even though it is currently not FDA-approved for this purpose. When Xeljanz® was used on a patient who had suffered from alopecia universalis, a severe form of alopecia areata that results in the complete loss of hair all over the body, the patient experienced full regrowth of hair on his head, as well as the return of the eyebrows and eyelashes he had lost, in just eight months. This treatment was using the oral form of Xeljanz for over 6 months costing about $2000 per month. Topical Xeljanz does also work for psoriasis and we are looking at ways to keep the costs down for a topical formula.
In alopecia areata, the hair follicle does remain capable of producing hair; it is only the ongoing action of the immune system that keeps the follicle in a continual dormant state. Many patients can experience remission, or periods of time when the disease stops acting on the body and the immune system behaves normally. During these periods, hair regrowth typically occurs. By inhibiting the immune response, Xeljanz® seems to have allowed the natural growth of hair to resume. It is, unfortunately, unclear whether the effects will remain if the drug treatment is discontinued, or if the disease will simply resume once more. It is also important to note that alopecia areata and its related conditions affect only about 2% of the population. Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness associated with age, affects approximately ten times as many people and is not caused by auto-immune response. So it will not benefit from treatment with Xeljanz®.
Further studies on Xeljanz® and its role in the treatment of auto-immune hair loss need to be conducted, but this is a promising advance in the hair restoration field. Peony extract has also received press regarding its use in this autoimmune problem, as well as other problems with the same mechanism. Several of our patients are now trying the extract, which costs much less than Xeljanz. If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments, please contact The Griffin Center today. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more hair loss information.
Hair loss can be an emotionally troubling experience for any man or woman. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we continue to make many advances in hair restoration, and pride ourselves on achieving the most natural-looking results for all of our patients. Still, we realize that most people would rather their hair had never fallen out in the first place. That’s why Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis are constantly exploring every option in hair loss prevention so that they can offer our patients a variety of choices to suit their individual treatment needs. While treatment varies by each patient, there are numerous options that have proven effective in today’s hair loss research.
The oral medication finasteride inhibits the production of an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which shrinks the hair follicles and is a leading cause of baldness. In clinical trials, finasteride stopped the progression of hair loss in 86% of men, and 65% had a “substantial” increase in hair growth. Many patients have reported that this single daily pill, available commercially as Propecia® (a 1mg daily dose) and Proscar® (a 5mg dose), was enough to keep their hair loss in check. Another DHT blocker has now been proven to stop the progression of hair loss and even stimulate new growth is Avodart, also known as dutesteride. It has the same safety profile as finesteride and is slightly more effective than it. Keep listening and you will hear more about this newcomer.
The topically-applied medication Extra-Strength Rogaine® (5% minoxidil), has also been shown to help patients keep the hair they have. By increasing the size of shrunken hair follicles and keeping them in the growth phase longer, it has proven to slow the progression of hair loss and, in some cases, actually help re-grow small amounts of hair. An estimated 30-60% of men have seen decreased hair loss or some amount of re-growth. Continued regular application is required and can be easily fit into a daily routine. In addition to minoxidil, Dr. Griffin and Dr. Curtis can formulate their own custom blends of topical prescription medications to meet specific needs.
A relatively new advancement in hair restoration is red light therapy, which exposes the patient’s scalp to focused, red-spectrum light, increasing the energy production around the hair follicles and waking cells from dormancy into an active growth phase. Red light treatment is used primarily to maintain the hair on the head and prevent further thinning; however some patients experience re-growth as well. We offer two forms of red light therapy at the Griffin Center, a hood-type device (similar to the commercial hair dryers you might find at a hair salon) and the LaserCap™ that can be worn under an ordinary baseball cap. In either case, treatments typically last 15-30 minutes, two to four times per week.
If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more exciting announcements.