Thinning hair is not just a problem for middle-aged men. Women, teens and children can all suffer from thinning strands and the anxiety that comes from failed treatments. Good news: There are new, proven, medical methods that can stop thinning and replace lost strands. Here’s what you need to know before you buy the next useless “miracle” shampoo.
It can happen at different times for different people: after the birth of a child, during a course of medication, at middle age, during a hormonal shift. But whenever thinning hair strikes, it’s an unwelcome event. “People are emotional about their hair,” says Dr. Rana Mays, MD FAAD. “They panic and start buying products, but hair loss isn’t one size fits all. There are approximately 120 causes of hair loss. Some may be temporary; some permanent; some are due to medications, but each one is treated differently.”
Unfortunately, the internet and beauty supply stores offer plenty of tempting remedies that promise to thicken or grow hair—and many people reach for those first. But, while you’re trying one ineffective product after another, you’re losing time that could result in less effective medical treatment later. “With male and female pattern baldness especially, the sooner you get treatment, the more effective it will be,” says Dr. Mays.
An effective treatment is no longer an elusive dream. “We really do have medical options that work,” says Dr. Mays. “People need to know that there are a lot of options available and there really is hope.” Especially promising for those with significant loss is PRP therapy or platelet rich plasma, which is essentially a stem cell treatment for the scalp. “Stem cells are extracted from the patient’s body and injected into their scalp,” she says. “Usually treatments are scheduled monthly for three to six months, but the results are dramatic and they last one to two years.”
“People are emotional about their hair. They panic and start buying products, but hair loss isn’t one size fits all. There are approximately 120 causes of hair loss. Some may be temporary; some permanent; some are due to medications, but each one is treated differently.”
More permanent solutions for permanent hair loss can be offered with refined versions of hair transplantation. While the process used to be painful, less effective and less natural, new “neo-grafting” techniques offer enhanced permanent results without the trademark long, horizontal scar at the back of the head. “What’s really new and exciting about hair transplants is how much the technology has been enhanced in the last five years,” says Dr. Mays.
Of course, most cases of thinning hair won’t require a surgical procedure. “We have effective oral and topical medications and sometimes it’s simply a matter of taking a patient off a medication,” she says. “But what’s so important for people to realize is that a dermatologist can give you answers instead of worries. We have a huge arsenal of tools and we can often turn the problem around quickly, once we get the right diagnosis. Dermatologists are not just skin doctors, they’re also scalp and hair specialists. If you’re losing hair, you should be talking to them instead of your hair stylist.”
IF YOU GO
Mays Dermatology and Cosmetics Center is located at 241 Sears Ave. and often offers same-day appointments. Call (502) 384-6544 or go to maysderm.com for more information.