May 11, 2015 7:56 am
Hair loss has plagued both men and women for countless ages, and the attempts to cure it can be dated back to the very dawn of recorded civilization. While most of these early attempts have met with failure, some have provided the basis for hair restoration treatments that are used today. At the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we investigate hair loss in all of its forms in order to better understand exactly what causes it as well as how it can best be treated. Here is a look at some of the hair loss remedies that have been tried throughout the ages.
The Ebers Papyrus, a medical text that dates back to 1550 B.C., suggests several potential cures for hair loss, including a mixture of fats from a hippopotamus, crocodile, tomcat, snake and ibex; porcupine hair boiled in water and applied to the scalp for four days; or the leg of a female greyhound sautéed in oil with the hoof of a donkey. Apparently these remedies were less than effective, however, since the royalty of ancient Egypt is also known to have commonly worn wigs and fake beards. More than a thousand years later, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed a topical concoction of opium, horseradish, pigeon droppings, beetroot and spices for his own hair loss. He also famously noted that eunuchs never seemed to suffer from thinning hair and theorized that castration might prevent hair loss. Since the most common form of hair loss, known as genetic pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, does result from an inherited sensitivity to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone, this particular remedy, while obviously drastic, may not be quite as ridiculous as it sounds.
More recently, many have attempted to solve the hair loss problem with technology. In the 1920’s, the Allied Merke Institute manufactured the Thermocap device, which used heat and blue light to stimulate dormant hair bulbs. Although simply heating the scalp failed to produce any real results, recent research has found that specific frequencies of red light actually can increase the energy production around the hair follicles, waking cells from dormancy into an active growth phase. Red Light Therapy with the new LaserCap® device is used today to maintain the hair on the head and prevent further thinning. Many patients even see some regrowth of hair as well. Finally, in 1939, a Japanese dermatologist pioneered a procedure for grafting hair from one part of the scalp (or from other parts of the body) onto bald spots. Two decades later, the New York doctor Norman Orentreich popularized hair transplants, which implanted small tufts of growing hair in regular rows to create an effect reminiscent of doll’s hair. This same technique was improved and refined over the years, eventually becoming the basis for modern surgical hair transplantation procedures which use much smaller individual follicular units, dissected under microscopes, to achieve significantly more natural looking results.
While these historical hair loss remedies have long since been disproven by scientific research, they have served as a basis for many of the most exciting developments in modern hair restoration treatments. If you have any other questions about hair loss or any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
May 6, 2015 3:47 pm
Hair loss and thinning can be the result of a variety of different causes. While hair loss specialists and board-certified dermatologists Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis frequently discuss with patients the role that genetics, illness, and stress can play in causing hair loss and thinning, there are also several everyday beauty treatments that can not only damage the hair but also bring about temporary or even long term hair loss. Simply avoiding these damaging hair care practices can often go a long way towards keeping your hair looking full and healthy.
Many people believe that they need to shampoo their hair every day, but this is not always the case. Shampoo is an emulsifier that captures excess oil, dirt, and product residue so that it can be rinsed out, cleaning the hair. However, the hair also naturally produces an essential oil called sebum and washing the hair too frequently can strip this oil away, leaving the hair dry and more prone to breakage. Those with very fine hair, an oily scalp, or who exercise (and sweat) a great deal or who live in humid environments, usually need to shampoo daily to keep the hair clean, but people with thicker, dry, or curly hair can afford to wash less frequently. On the other hand, certain forms of hair loss, such as androgenetic alopecia, may actually be accelerated by allowing the hair to go long periods between washings, so consulting with one of our board-certified dermatologists is the best way to determine what course is best in your individual case.
After shampooing, many go on to expose their hair to high heat from blow dryers, flat irons, or curling irons. These styling aids can boil the water in the hair shaft, leaving it brittle and fragile to the point that simply brushing it causes breakage. Moreover, the process of rubbing the wet hair vigorously with a towel and then rough combing through the tangles can be extremely damaging as well. The hair’s elasticity is significantly increased while it is wet and so it can be more prone to breakage. Detangling is often best performed with fingers or with a wide toothed pick.
Several common hair care products can also cause damage to the hair. Regular use of harsh chemical treatments, including gels, dyes, relaxers, and products containing heavy paraffin and beeswax, can ultimately weigh hair down and cause it to grow weaker and break more easily. It is safest to limit the amount of hair coloring and heat that you apply to your hair and instead use high-quality sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to allow the hair’s natural oils to provide shine and protection. Using light weight serums containing dimethicone can hydrate and protect the hair shafts from external stressors such as heat and chemicals.
Finally, tight hair styles such as braiding, ponytails, and sew-in hair pieces can place constant tension on the hair follicles, causing a condition known as traction alopecia. In this type of loss, the hair is pulled out by the roots or breaks unevenly, usually leaving behind areas of obvious thinning along the front and sides of the scalp. Traction alopecia is most commonly seen after braiding of the hair into tight braids for months at a time and can, if left untreated, eventually damage the hair follicles to the point that permanent hair loss occurs. Fortunately, simply changing the hair style and allowing the hair to relax and grow naturally is enough to stop significant, long-term thinning.
If you have additional questions about your own hair loss, or are interested in any of the hair restoration treatments we offer at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, please contact Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
April 30, 2015 9:11 am
Dealing with hair loss can be emotionally trying for anyone. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we believe that the best way to address the fears and anxiety that hair loss can cause is by educating our patients and keeping them fully informed about their diagnosis and all of their treatment options. Hair transplant is the only treatment that guarantees new hair in areas of thinning scalp. Every day we talk to patients who have questions about hair transplantation surgery and here are answers to some of the questions we hear most.
How does hair transplant surgery work?
All modern hair transplants essentially take healthy, actively-growing hair follicles from one area of the scalp and then place them into different areas where the hair follicles have started to shrink and go dormant. This works because genetic pattern hair loss (or androgenetic alopecia, which is responsible for approximately 95% of all cases of hair loss, in both men and women) follows a predictable pattern. While the hair follicles at the front and crown seem genetically susceptible to the hormones that cause them to eventually shrink and stop producing hair, those on the back and sides of the head are not, so these follicles will continue to grow hair naturally even if transplanted into balding areas.
What is the difference between Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Grafting (FUG)?
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) removes follicular units, each containing one, two, three, or four individual hair follicles, directly from the donor area, leaving behind many tiny, circular “holes” in the skin. These heal quickly and are barely noticeable. The Follicular Unit Grafting (FUG) technique, however, surgically removes a single thin strip of skin from the back or sides of the scalp which is then microscopically dissected by our team into the follicular unit grafts. In both cases, the end result is hundreds (or thousands) of individual follicular unit grafts which can then be sorted and transplanted into the thinning or balding area. The difference is not in the area of hair growth, or in the placement of the hair follicles, but in how the donor area is harvested.
Will hair restoration surgery leave scars?
Any form of hair restoration surgery involves the surgical removal of hair follicles from the scalp, and wherever a cut or wound is made to the skin some form of scar will be left behind. Follicular Unit Grafting will create a thin linear scar where the donor strip was removed, while follicular unit extraction leaves hundreds of tiny circular scars in the same area. However, at the Griffin Center, our skill and experience allows us to minimize the appearance of these scars dramatically. Our experienced technicians carefully dissect the donor scalp under a sophisticated binocular microscope, producing a higher number of viable grafts from a much smaller section of scalp. This allows our surgeons to remove a far narrower strip of hair follicles, creating a smaller wound and leaving a less pronounced scar. Finally, Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis use a special type of closure that produces a barely visible scar and allows new hairs to grow through the scar line. Regardless of which harvesting method is used, the remaining hair on the back of the head will grow to cover the nearly invisible scars left behind after the procedure.
If you have any other questions about hair loss or any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
April 22, 2015 3:41 pm
Here at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we are interested in pursuing all the latest, most technologically advanced treatments for hair loss in order to give you the most natural looking results. While we pride ourselves on the extensive skill and experience of our dedicated medical team, we also understand that innovative technological advancements can ensure than every one of our patients has the best experience possible. Two of these recent developments involve the use of the NeoGraft® Automated Hair Transplantation System and platelet rich plasma.
Hair restoration is a constantly evolving area of medical research and ever since the very first hair transplant there have been a number of advancements to make the procedure more efficient and effective. Specifically, the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique, which requires the removal of individual follicular units, one at a time, from the donor area, can be extremely time-consuming and physically demanding. The NeoGraft® device works as an extension of the surgeon’s hand to remove these individual follicular units with controlled air pressure rather than with manual incisions, increasing the number of grafts that can be obtained in a single session and ultimately reducing the amount of time the patient has to spend undergoing the extraction procedure. Moreover, this process better preserves the integrity of the hair shafts by avoiding the pulling and twisting motions that can damage the graft prior to transplantation.
Hair restoration surgery has also had to overcome the difficulties involved in preserving the viability of the grafts awaiting implantation. Any form of hair restoration surgery, whether accomplished through follicular unit grafting or follicular unit extraction with NeoGraft®, requires that the individual follicular units removed from the scalp spend time in transit before they are placed into a recipient area. During this in-transit time, they may be exposed to any number of conditions that can potentially affect the viability of the follicles and inhibit their ability to produce new hair at the recipient site. The NeoGraft® system addresses this concern by drawing the grafts directly into a sealed chamber, preventing them from drying out and ensuring that they remain fresh and vital while awaiting implantation. However recent research into the use of Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, has found that soaking the grafts in this specially concentrated solution of the patient’s own blood platelets and growth factors improves follicle viability during and after transplantation, enhances post-transplantation tissue healing and promotes hair growth in transplanted follicles. Many researchers even advocate bathing the donor hair follicles in activated Platelet Rich Plasma just prior to transplantation.
The addition of new treatment methods like platelet rich plasma in combination with the latest surgical techniques have greatly enhanced the overall effectiveness of all of our hair restoration methods. If you have additional questions about your own hair loss, or are interested in any of the hair restoration treatments we offer at The Griffin Center, please contact Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
April 10, 2015 8:51 am
For many years it was believed that hair loss was a distinctly male problem, so much so that hair loss in women was seldom even discussed. However today we know that approximately 40% of the estimated 56 million people suffering from hair loss in the United States are women. As more and more women come forward to seek hair restoration treatment, our team at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research is gaining an ever expanding understanding of different underlying causes that contribute to hair loss. While the forms of hair loss in men and women do share many similarities, it is their distinct differences that are most important in shedding light on this all-to-pervasive condition.
Both male and female pattern hair loss appear to have a genetic component, meaning that it is possible to inherit a predisposition for this form of hair loss from your relatives. Contrary to what was once thought, this inheritance is not based solely on the female parent. In fact, according to the most recent research, the genetic backgrounds of both parents seem to play a significant role in pattern hair loss. Until recently, scientists believed that androgenetic alopecia was caused, in both men and women, by hormones, particularly the predominance of the male sex hormone, testosterone, which women normally have in trace amounts. Further investigation determined that a derivative of the male hormone testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) is actually at the core of the balding process. When DHT binds to certain receptors in the hair follicles of the scalp it causes them to shrink. Over time, this results in the production of hair that is both shorter and finer than before. Eventually, the affected scalp follicles go from producing large, thick, pigmented terminal hairs to thinner, shorter, indeterminate hairs and finally to short, wispy, non-pigmented vellus hairs before they ultimately stop producing hair altogether.
While this reaction to DHT is almost always present in cases of male pattern hair loss, it is sometimes noticeably absent in female cases, suggesting that more research needs to be done before the underlying cause of female pattern baldness can be conclusively determined. Still, the most obvious difference between the male and female versions of androgenetic alopecia is the presentation and progression of the symptoms. In men, the pattern begins at the hairline. Hair loss at the temples causes the hairline to gradually move backward, or recede, to form an “M” shape. As the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, hair loss increases at the crown, eventually leaving only a U-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head. Female patients, on the other hand, generally lose hair diffusely over the crown of the head, producing a gradual thinning of the hair rather than an area of marked baldness. This usually begins with a widening of the midline part in the center, which leaves very good density in the back and fairly good density on the sides while preserving the frontal hairline. If left untreated, the thinning often spreads to the side areas of the scalp in the temples and above the ears, but it is very rare for women to experience complete baldness. Of course not everyone is the same, and different patients may exhibit different patterns of hair loss.
If you have questions about your individual hair loss or any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
April 6, 2015 8:18 am
Hair loss, resulting from any of several different causes, affects more than 50 million people world-wide, and more than 60% of men and women can be expected to experience some form of noticeable hair loss by the time they are sixty years old. While for many, hair restoration surgery is the best option for regaining a fuller, natural looking hair line, this is most definitely not the only option available. There are currently two medications that have been proven to slow or even reverse hair loss, minoxidil and finasteride. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we are devoted to exploring all avenues to treating hair loss, and feel privileged to have the opportunity to educate our patients about all of the options at their disposal.
Minoxidil, better known under the trade name Rogaine®, is a topically applied treatment designed to increase the size of shrunken hair follicles and can keep them in the growth phase longer. This slows the progression of hair loss and in some cases stimulates regrowth. An estimated 30-60% of patients see decreased hair loss or some amount of regrowth. At The Griffin Center, we can formulate special blends of prescription topical medications to specifically address individual patients’ particular needs. Because Rogaine® works by stimulating and enlarging existing hair follicles, it has proven to be most effective with those who are just beginning to lose their hair. In advanced cases where the hair cycle has halted, Rogaine doesn’t regrow much hair but can halt the progression of further loss.
Finasteride, on the other hand, works directly on the source of androgenetic alopecia, the most common form of hair loss in both men and women. By inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, the key to converting testosterone to the follicle-destroying dihydrotestosterone (DHT), finasteride has been clinically shown to successfully halt the progression of hair loss in 86% of men, with 65% of those experiencing a “substantial” increase in hair growth. Finasteride needs to be taken orally only once per day, making it potentially more convenient for patients than a topically applied remedy. However, finasteride is not approved for women, as it is unsafe for those who are pregnant or trying to conceive, and it may, in fewer than 2% of cases, cause some sexual side effects in men.
Both Rogaine® and Propecia® have been shown to be safe and effective methods for fighting hair loss, however, many hair loss patients have found the best results come from using both treatments together. In many cases, specially made compounds containing combinations of different medications work best. Non pharmacological treatments such as red light and PRP are other options as well. Ultimately, you should discuss your individual case with an experienced expert in the field of hair loss and restoration, like Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis, in order to determine what course of treatment is best suited to your specific needs.
If you have questions about hair loss or any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
March 30, 2015 2:55 am
The hair that covers the body and scalp is a fascinating and vital part of human anatomy. It plays a major role in temperature regulation and contributes significantly to our sense of touch. But even though it represents one of our most obviously identifiable physical features and literally covers the vast majority of our body surface, most don’t really know everything that our hair can do. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we devote all of our time and energy to the study of hair so that we can better understand and treat the conditions leading to hair loss. Here are some intriguing facts from the world of hair research.
- Hair is composed mostly of keratin, the same protein that makes up animals’ horns, hooves, claws, feathers, and beaks.
- Aside from bone marrow, hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body; a single head produces an average total of ten miles of hair each year.
- Hair growth occurs at a slightly faster rate in warm weather, because heat stimulates the circulation that encourages hair to grow.
- Hair can grow anywhere on the human body with the exception of the palms of hands, soles of feet, eyelids, lips, and mucous membranes.
- Each strand of hair can support up to 100 grams in weight, which means that an average human head, with between 100,000 and 150,000 strands, could support the weight of two elephants.
- Healthy hair can be stretched up to an additional 30% of its length when it is wet. Hair lacking protein will fail to spring back to its original state.
- The human body has approximately 5 million hair follicles; on average, blondes have the highest number of hair strands with 146,000 and redheads the lowest with 86,000.
- In 1950, only about 7% of American women dyed their hair. Today, approximately 75% do so. In ancient Rome, women dyed their hair blonde with pigeon dung, and in renaissance Venice women used horse urine for the same purpose.
- Goosebumps from cold or fear are the result of hair follicles contracting, causing the surrounding skin to bunch up and the hair to stand on end.
- Approximately eighty percent of Americans wash their hair twice a day, a potentially damaging hair care practice which could contribute to over-drying and hair breakage.
If you have questions about your own hair loss, or are interested in any of the hair restoration treatments we offer at The Griffin Center, please contact Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
March 25, 2015 10:08 am
There are literally dozens of different types of hormones traveling through the human circulatory system at any given time, all playing vital roles in maintaining the activity of the various organs and processes of the body. Of particular interest to our researchers here at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research are those hormones that have significant effects on the hair’s growth cycle. Here are five of the hormones that most commonly contribute to hair thinning and loss.
Androgenetic alopecia, or genetic pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss in both men and women, is believed to be caused by an inherited oversensitivity to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, a byproduct of the breakdown of testosterone in the body. When testosterone levels rise, the body’s levels of DHT rise as well, increasing the rate of hair loss in people with this natural sensitivity. In women, the extent that DHT plays a role in female pattern hair loss is controversial, as studies on the use of DHT blockers in this population have produced mixed results. We are certain, however, that DHT absolutely contributes to hair loss in women with elevated androgens.
The thyroid secretes thyroxin, a hormone responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism and maintaining the energy it needs in order to function. Underactive hormone production, a condition known as hypothyroidism, can cause many abnormalities, including fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss. Patients with hypothyroidism often complain of dry, lackluster hair that breaks easily. Interestingly, too much thyroid hormone, or hyperthyroidism, can cause the hair on the head to become thinner as well.
While balanced estrogen levels can help keep a woman feeling energized, help keep moods stable, and contribute to a healthy sex drive, either too much or too little can lead to thinning hair. Estrogen levels may fluctuate as a result of weight gain, perimenopause, as well as certain medications, and hair follicles do have estrogen receptors that are sensitive to fluctuations in this hormone. In addition, estrogen levels frequently peak and then dip during and after pregnancy, causing sudden hair shedding, or telogen effluvium for many women.
A hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels, insulin affects a number of different body processes, including fat storage, heart health, and hair growth. One study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Risk found that women with some markers of insulin resistance have a greater risk for androgenic alopecia (AGA), or female pattern baldness.
When under stress, the body produces cortisol, which converts proteins into energy, releases glycogen and counteracts inflammation. This super-charged “fight or flight” state is ideal for dealing with short term threats, but when sustained for long periods can gradually tear the body down, destroying healthy muscle and bone and slowing down normal cell regeneration. Over time, this can lead to many unpleasant symptoms ranging from acne to hair loss.
If you have questions about your individual hair loss or any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
March 17, 2015 10:37 am
Here at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we understand that properly diagnosing and treating any of the myriad causes of hair loss requires a fundamental understanding of every aspect of hair growth. In our last blog, we talked about the anatomy of the hair follicles, the tunnel-like segments of the epidermis that are the source of all of your body’s hair. This week, we’ll delve more deeply into the hair growth cycle itself and explain just how your hair comes into being.
About 5 million tiny hair follicles cover your body, lying just underneath the outermost layer of your skin, with about 100,000 on your scalp alone. At the base of each follicle is the papilla, which contains the tiny blood vessels that nourish the growing cells in the hair bulb. These cells divide every 23 to 72 hours, significantly faster than any other cells in the body, to form long chains of a fibrous protein called keratin. These fibers form the shaft of the hair, which slowly pushes up through the skin as it grows, passing the sebaceous (or oil) gland along the way. This sebaceous gland is vital because it produces sebum, which conditions the hair, keeping it shiny and soft.
By the time the hair has grown long enough to poke through the skin, the emerging shaft itself has died, but the bulb deep inside the follicle continues to grow and nourish new hair. This growth, however, does not occur all at once. Instead, at any given time, a random number of hairs will be in one of three distinct stages of hair growth called the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. During the anagen phase, the cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly and new hair is growing at a rate of about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for two to six years, while the hair on the arms, legs, eyelashes, and eyebrows have a very short active growth phase of about 30 to 45 days, explaining why they are so much shorter than scalp hair. After the anagen phase comes the transitional catagen phase, a relatively short (two to three week) period when growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair, forming a “club hair” which is easily shed. At this point, the hair enters a roughly 100-day telogen phase, where the hair is completely at rest. During this time the follicle begins producing a new anagen hair shaft, which pushes out the fully formed club hair still resting on the surface. Anywhere from 50 to 100 telogen hairs are naturally shed each day. However, in a process referred to as telogen effluvium, an abnormal amount of hairs enter the telogen phase prematurely and are shed simultaneously. This is caused by external or internal stressors on the body and hair, such as hormone changes, thyroid problems, and even extreme mental stress.
If you have additional questions about your own hair loss, or are interested in any of the hair restoration treatments we offer at The Griffin Center, please contact Dr. Griffin or Dr. Curtis to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
March 11, 2015 3:48 am
Here at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we work to understand every aspect of hair, from its growth cycle to its basic care, so that we can educate our patients on all of the options for combatting hair thinning and loss. Whether your specific hair restoration treatment involves a customized blend of prescription medicines, minimally-invasive approaches like platelet rich plasma or red light therapy, or full hair transplantation surgery, the first step must always be a thorough diagnosis of the underlying issues. But in order to properly understand how hair grows, it is necessary to first understand its basic anatomy. In this handy illustration, we explain the fundamental parts of the hair follicle, in order to give you a better understanding of what hair loss really means.
If you have questions about your individual hair loss or any of the hair restoration treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation. Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
"Dr. Griffin specializes in several areas, but he is best known for his ability to treat patients with hair loss. I have been seeing him for nearly 3 years and have seen