While predominantly known as a symptom of age, hair loss can occur in both men and women for a plethora of reasons. It can occur as a complication of another medical condition, hormone imbalance, and from genetics. Further, it can manifest in a variety of ways, such as thinning on the top of the head, the formation of bald spots, or loosening of the hair that comes out in clumps. A genetic condition worth noting is androgenetic alopecia, otherwise known as pattern baldness. This can occur in both men and women, but is particularly known in men for the thinning of the top of the head, and the receding M-shape hairline. In women, the difference is less notable, with just a general thinning all around the head. Depending on the pattern of loss, there are a variety of treatment options available for you.
In terms of topical or oral treatments, there aren’t many that are clinically proven to have significant results. The only clinically proven topical treatment for hair loss is Rogaine (minoxidil). It is believed to help by making the hair look fuller, and lengthening the hair’s growth phase. There are two oral medications that have helped in some cases, but aren’t as well understood, or are just conditional. Biotin supplements have been shown to increase keratin production. This is important since keratin is the protein that makes up the hair and nails, and thus biotin could organically increase hair coverage. For some cases of pattern baldness, testosterone-blocking medications have been shown to be effective, but this is not always effective. If none of these options work, it is recommended to transition to more intensive procedures, such as those described below.
Another option our practice offers is the use of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells coupled with PRP (platelet-rich plasma). Now, that name is complicated, but put simply these are stem cells that are found in the fat tissue that can be used to make new musculoskeletal tissue. Like PRP, which is taken from the patient’s own blood, stem cells are taken from the patient's own fat tissue, and then injected safely into the scalp. When used in conjunction with PRP (platelet-rich plasma), adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells can then be stimulated to grow and proliferate further. While the stem cells use their variety of growth factors to control and growth and development of new hair cells, PRP enhances this growth through its own plethora of growth factors. In essence, the stem cells are a fresh seed bed, while PRP is a fertilizer.
It is important to understand balding is very common, and can crop up in many ways and for many reasons. Depending on the pattern, a hair transplant may be an aesthetically pleasing option, albeit a temporary one. While these treatments can significantly improve hair growth, if these treatments aren’t linked to the root cause, they’re all only temporary. For example, in the case of stress-induced hair loss, while biotin may help, the best solution would be to constructively decrease stress. In general, consulting your physician before making a decision on a treatment is very important to finding an optimal plan.
If you have any questions about this treatment, or want to schedule an appointment, call our office at (609) 587-9944 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Kelly Y, Blanco A, Tosti A. Androgenetic Alopecia: An Update of Treatment Options. Drugs. 2016; 76: 1349–1364.