There are many different treatments for hair loss, ranging from safe and convenient prescription medications to full hair transplantation surgery, but they all have one thing in common: the need for ongoing maintenance to prevent further hair loss. Most forms of hair loss are progressive, and at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we place a great deal of emphasis on hair loss prevention, because we know that only through ongoing vigilance and diligent effort can we keep the progression in check so that we can achieve the best possible hair restoration results.
Nearly 95% of all cases of hair loss in both men and women result from genetic pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. This condition occurs when hair follicles in certain specific areas of the scalp react negatively to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, a common by-product of the hormone testosterone that is found in both men and women. Over time, the follicles that are sensitive to DHT produce thinner and thinner hair strands with each successive cycle of hair growth, until eventually they stop producing new hair altogether. While a hair transplant procedure can replace the poorly performing follicles with healthy ones taken from other the areas of the scalp that are naturally resistant to pattern hair loss, it does not reverse the pre-existing genetic condition itself and so does not actually stop the hair loss from progressing. This is why patients who fail to follow a hair loss maintenance plan that incorporates some form of hair loss prevention are often dissatisfied with their hair restoration results. Even once the new follicles begin to grow, if something is not done to prevent the old follicles from failing there will either be no improvement or a noticeable loss of overall thickness.
Fortunately hair loss prevention and maintenance is usually relatively simple. At The Griffin Center, we generally recommend, at minimum, that patients adhere to a regular regimen of 5% minoxidil (in the form of topically applied Rogaine®) and/or finasteride (in the form of an oral dose of Propecia® or Proscar®.) In some cases, patients who are uncomfortable taking oral medications can even benefit from custom blended topical solutions. While these hair loss medications can be used independently, it has been our experience that they complement one another very effectively, consistently getting results together that neither would be able to achieve alone. Moreover, there are also additional non-surgical hair restoration treatments that can be used to further enhance results, or to treat patients who are unable to tolerate one or both of these medications for any reason. Red light laser therapy, for example, exposes the scalp to a certain frequency of red light that has been found to reduce inflammation, accelerate healing, and stimulate dormant hair follicles into an active growth phase. Further, injections of platelet rich plasma, a concentrated solution of platelets and growth factors derived from the patient’s own blood, can cause shrinking hair follicles to become healthier and larger, producing thicker and fuller hair growth.
Every patient is unique, with their own individual requirements and health concerns, and so a thorough and detailed examination and hair loss consultation is necessary before we will be able to determine exactly which treatment options will give them the best hair restoration results. If you fear that you may be starting to experience hair loss, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research or the Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on the Griffin Center Facebook page, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.