Many of you have probably heard of three stages of hair growth: anagen, catagen, and telogen. But there are actually four stages, and the fourth stage is exogen.
These stages are a cycle. The hair starts to grow, grows, rests, undergoes some follicle changes to prepare for shedding, and then falls out, and then the follicle starts the cycle anew. Every hair on your head is in a different stage of the cycle, although more of your hair (as much as 90% of it) is in a growth stage when you are younger and not suffering from any significant hair loss issues.
The anagen phase is the initial growth phase. It starts with the follicle moving down further into the scalp and getting connections with blood vessels (a capillary loop), nerves and connective tissue. A new hair starts to grow, and this hair will continue growing for between two (2) and eight (8) years (and occasionally much longer) depending mainly on your genetic profile. Some drugs like Rogaine (minoxidil) can lengthen the anagen phase. How much the hair grows is about 1 cm per month or between one-quarter (1/4) and one-half (1/2) inch per month, again depending on your genetics.
Keratin hair fibers are, well, tiny bits of fiber made of a keratin (protein) derivative. They look just like little pieces of hair.
What Are They For?
Keratin hair fibers mask areas of hair thinning and hair loss. The fibers don’t treat hair loss by making you grow more hair; they are a simple, noninvasive, and inexpensive solution to instantly help camouflage areas where you need it most. Our product comes in six different colors.
How Do They Work?
They are very easy to use. You just shake the bottle over the area where you need coverage. They stay in place with the help static electricity. After you have applied the fibers, don’t comb or brush your hair or you will brush them away. Keep in mind that they make your hair look fuller, so you need at least some hair to use them. They can’t be used in areas of complete baldness.
In this last part of our Hair and Hair Loss Treatment series, we'll discuss other causes of hair loss and treatments aside from surgical and medical (drug) treatments.
A few weeks ago, we discussed at length that Low Light Laser Therapy (LLLT) effectively treats hair loss. And just recently, we announced that have greatly improved our LLLT caps with a new design to make them more comfortable.
Aside from genetics, there are other things that can cause or at least contribute to hair loss. Illness is one. There are several illnesses including autoimmune disorders like Lupus or a skin infection like Ringworm that can cause hair loss. Occasionally a type of cancer called Hodgkin’s Disease can present as hair loss. Thyroid problems, especially hypothyroidism can manifest itself as hair loss.
Today we’ll explore medicinal (non-surgical) treatment options.
To date, there are basically four drugs that are commonly used to treat hair loss: minoxidil, finasteride, dutasteride, and corticosteroids. We will look briefly at them one by one.
Minoxidil, the generic name of the drug commonly known as Rogaine, has been around since the mid-1970’s. In a previous article, we discussed it at length. The drug was originally designed as a vasodilator when it was found unexpectedly that the drug also helped patients grow more hair.
For hair loss, it is applied to the scalp twice daily. We have a very effective 5% spray foam for men that is easy to apply and gets the drug exactly where it needs to be.
Finasteride, originally designed to treat prostrate problems, was found also to be effective in treating male pattern hair loss. The drug is taken orally, and it works by blocking the serum dihydrotestosterone responsible for hair loss in the scalp. The drug has not been found to be helpful for women with hair loss.
Depending on the dosage and the individual, the drug can have some sexual side effects. These are things you would discuss with your doctor before trying it.
Today we’ll explore the surgical treatment option called Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE has been a major player in surgical treatment for hair loss since around 2000. In this technique, instead of harvesting a strip of skin rich with hair follicles and then slicing up the strip preparing it for transplant, individual hair follicles are removed from the donor area and transplanted one by one into the receiving area.
The follicular units are extracted using a very small punch-like instrument. There is considerable skill required not only to extract hair follicles without damaging them, but also in transplanting them into the new area where the hair needs to grow in the right direction and look natural.
FUE is a longer procedure than S