Hair Loss Treatments for Men Compared
Approximately 50% percent of men over 40 in the United States suffer from androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. While this is no reflection on a man’s virility, many men are concerned about what that means and do not want to let natural aging and genetics take their course without some pushback. Androgenic alopecia ultimately revolves around the excess production of DHT or dihydrotestosterone, a byproduct of testosterone production on the scalp. DHT is problematic because it can eventually shrink and destroy the hair follicle, leading to permanent hair loss. Typical male pattern baldness will leave hair unaffected on the side and back but with progressive loss of hair on the front, crown, and top of the scalp.
If caught early, patients have several options for slowing hair loss, but before we continue, it is worth noting that our modern modern-day lives are stressful, which can also lead to hair loss. Anything from physical stress like rapid weight loss or overexercising to emotional stress can cause the resting hair phase (telogen) to extend and the growth phase (anagen) to decrease. This is usually reversible with lifestyle change and proper self-care. As such, today, we will only discuss hair loss options for androgenic or genetic alopecia.
If you search for how to prevent hair loss, you will likely see a multitude of online purveyors of minoxidil and finasteride. Finasteride, a five alpha-reductase inhibitor, was created to slow the spread of prostate cancer. While it had sexual health effects, the most welcome side effect was reducing hair loss and promoting hair regrowth, even in those with androgenic alopecia. Today, minoxidil and finasteride are often taken alone or together by mouth, or topically. Their benefit only lasts as long as the product is taken, and as mentioned above, sexual side effects can be significant and problematic for some.
Several herbal and natural remedies have the potential as hair loss inhibitors. These include coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil, caffeine, and more. When appropriately formulated, these oils applied to the scalp can have a beneficial effect, although the data on effectiveness is still scant. Most importantly, be sure not to use essential oils directly on the scalp, as they can cause significant irritation akin to a burn.
Of course, there is also the tried-and-true hair transplant, and while still very expensive, new technologies and techniques have allowed more natural-looking results than we expected in the past. Patients interested in a hair transplant should speak to a hair specialist about the pros and cons of their situation.
PRP for Hair Loss
However, North Atlanta Dermatology offers one of the most exciting and compelling hair and regrowth tools. Known as PRP or platelet-rich plasma, we use the body’s regenerative cells to improve hair follicle health and start regrowing hair thicker and denser than before. PRP only requires a blood draw, at which point the blood is spun in a centrifuge. Red blood cells and other components are discarded with the platelet-rich plasma remaining. We then take this PRP and inject it strategically into the scalp. The first course of treatment is usually performed in multiple stages over three months, and we recommend that patients return every six months or as needed for additional care.
While PRP can be a little uncomfortable, we are big believers in the potential results for qualifying men. However, it is essential to remember that this only benefits existing hair follicles by supporting them with nutrients from your blood. We also want to stress that PRP can and should be combined with other hair regrowth therapies for maximum results. Your dermatologist will speak to you about other therapies that may make sense, including red light therapy, microneedling, and topical, finasteride/minoxidil combinations.
It’s also worth noting that PRP can be very effective for our female patients experiencing hair loss or thinning. While the causes and patterns may differ slightly, PRP can work very well for women.
We encourage you to visit us for more information and consultation on PRP for male hair loss.