"God made only a few perfect heads; the rest he covered with hair." If you are bald or experiencing hair loss you have likely heard this comical statement, and if you are not fond of your current situation then you are probably not too keen on this "perfect heads are bald" concept. What are my options?
It is important to note that your best treatment option depends on the stage of hair loss that you are currently experiencing. If you are only beginning to see extra hair in the shower drain then you do not need or want the same treatment as the guy next to you who has resorted to saving his losses in a box hoping to sell it for a wig. A discussion with a qualified hair restoration expert can help you determine what treatment is best for your hair type and your goals.
You can choose surgical methods as well as over the counter and prescription medications. Again, think before you jump so you don't waste valuable time and money on something that might not work and will only add to your follicle-free frustration.
Hair restoration can benefit ladies, too, not just men. Women are just as susceptible to hair loss although the occurrences are less common and often less noticeable thanks to quality wigs and other methods.
Surgical Hair Restoration
If you want a treatment that is sure to work and sure to last, then you might be a good candidate for hair transplants. This is the most aggressive way to fight hair loss and restore lost growth permanently.
This treatment is performed by a highly skilled surgeon who painstakingly places donor hair follicles into the scalp so that the end result is natural in appearance and built to last. During this procedure, hair follicles are grafted from more populated areas of the scalp and then "planted" into the areas lacking hair. This is because these hairs are genetically programmed not to fall out.
The treatment takes several hours and the results are usually complete in about 7 to 8 months. The reason it takes so long for results is that the new follicles will grow at the same speed as any other hair. They need time to grow and become strong. Some patients can see optimum results after one treatment while others require additional grafts and transplants in order to reach their desired expectations.
Over the Counter Considerations
Although it might come in different boxes with various brand names plastered across the fronts, the primary option for over the counter hair loss treatment is the drug called Minoxidil.
Minoxidil comes in various strengths, though the most popular is 2%. When Minoxidil originally became available for medical treatment, it was intended for lowering blood pressure and resulted in increased blood flow to the scalp. However, when used consistently for a period of months, this chemical has been shown to slow the rate of hair loss in men and women.
Minoxidil is cheap (about $5 a month for the generic form), non-irritating, and it does work to an extent. However, it disappointingly works only on the crown of the head despite the fact that the scalp is often the area most in need. Furthermore, you have to use it forever, or the hair you would have lost without the drug will simply fall out.
If you are just beginning your battle against hair loss, this might be a good place to start. If nothing else, you can use that borrowed time to consider what other options meet your time and budgets constraints.