Many hair care products claim to be able to give you thicker and fuller hair, implying that their new topical solutions are some sort of hitherto undiscovered cure for hair loss. Unfortunately, they seldom live up to their claims. While some of these products may, in some cases, be able to create the appearance of thicker hair, they can seldom do anything to address the underlying causes of hair loss and can frequently even dry-out or damage the hair to such a degree that breakage and thinning become worse.
While many different factors and conditions can contribute to hair loss, the vast majority of cases, as many as 95%, can be attributed to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, a natural by-product that occurs in the body when the enzyme 5 alpha reductase combines with the hormone testosterone. In patients who are genetically sensitive to DHT, rising DHT levels in the scalp can cause hair follicles to begin to fall out faster and regrow as small miniaturized hairs. The result is gradually thinning of the hair shafts and eventual hair loss. Contrary to widespread opinion, this process can occur in both men and women, causing the condition known as androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness.
There are, to date, only two non-surgical remedies that have been clinically proven to treat androgenetic alopecia and reduce hair loss or regrow hair: finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia®, and minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine®. Propecia® works by inhibiting the enzyme 5 alpha reductase to decrease DHT production, while Rogaine® seems to swell the follicle’s tiny microvascular structures, counteracting the shrinking that DHT can cause. Other cosmetic, over-the-counter treatments without these ingredients can provide, at best, temporary relief of the most superficial symptoms. For example, concealers, whether in powder, spray, or sprinkle form, work by coloring the skin of the scalp to match your hair color, camouflaging balding areas. The most effective also add chemicals that bond to the hair shaft, making the hair appear thicker and fuller. Several commercial shampoos and conditioners also use these same thickening compounds to achieve a similar effect, but these products do not address the underlying problem occurring in the hair follicle underneath the surface of the scalp. Moreover, many of these hair care products can damage hair, as the complex silicones and polymers used to coat the hair can strip the hair of its natural oils and lipids, leaving it dull, dry, and prone to substantial breakage.
The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research is constantly exploring the latest developments in the field of hair restoration so that we can pass along the most effective treatments to our patients. We have achieved a great deal of early success with recent innovations like LaserCap”¢ Red Light Therapy, or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments with and without Acell, and offer the most advanced options in hair transplant surgery as well.
If you have questions about the causes of hair loss 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.