If your hair is thinning or you’re going bald, you’re probably on a desperate search for answers. But before you turn to the allure of a hair loss surgical procedure, you may want to consider a few alternatives.
The Basic Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss (alopecia) can be brought on by any number of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions, and other external conditions. It’s most commonly seen in men, but can also occur in women as they age.
While some hair loss/thinning is normal, excessive hair loss – a.k.a. baldness – gives many men cause for concern.
“Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness,” Mayo Clinic explains. “Some people prefer to let their hair loss run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss or restore growth.”
Balding is most noticeable at the crown of the head, on the temples, and on the hairline. Most men first start to notice hair loss in their 30s, though it can start as early as ages 18 to 20. Thankfully, it tends to happen gradually. This ensures you have ample heads up to take preventative action.
3 Non-Surgical Hair Loss Treatment Options
Hair loss can be stopped and reversed – though it requires an intentional and proactive effort. And while surgery is an option, it comes with numerous risks, side effects, and costs.
Here are a few safer and more cost-effective hair loss treatment options.
1. Low Level Laser Therapy
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is one of the most effective hair loss treatment options on the market. Originally discovered in the 1960s (and used for decades in clinical settings by top doctors and hair restoration specialists), LLLT is now FDA approved for in-home use.
Also known as photobiomodulation or cold laser therapy, LLLT uses safe LED lights to stimulate hair follicles, increase circulation to the scalp, and jumpstart the hair growth process. It’s typically administered using a laser cap system that’s worn for short daily treatment sessions.
LLLT begins working right away, but can take several months for the effects to be fully realized.
The FDA has given full approval to two different medications that are known to slow down and possibly even reverse hair loss. They are minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (propecia). They can either be used independently or together as part of a doctor-prescribed regimen.
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter formula that’s designed to prolong the hair growth cycle. It can be purchased in a cream or foam form. Finasteride is a prescription pill that proactively blocks the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a key factor in the development of male-pattern baldness.
Minoxidil is primarily designed to stop hair loss, while finasteride is usually able to help men regrow hair within as little as 12 to 18 months. Both are considered very safe and have few side effects.
3. PRP Injection Therapy
While not quite as painless or convenient as the other two options, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection therapy is still a very effective and safe option. It uses PRP, which is a concentration of plasma and platelets derived from a sample of your own blood, to encourage hair growth and healing. The PRP, which is a rich source of specialized proteins and growth factors, is injected directly into targeted areas of the scalp.
PRP injection therapy sessions usually take just 10 to 15 minutes (and there’s no post-treatment downtime). You’re able to return to normal activities immediately. For best results, specialists recommend getting three to four treatment sessions per year.
Adding it All Up
The sooner you can catch your hair loss, the better. Sometimes hair loss can be reversed, while other times it can simply be halted. Either way, proactively addressing the issue doesn’t have to require a painful and complicated surgical procedure.
Whether it’s LLLT, medication, PRP injections, or some combination of the three, there are plenty of ways to safely address hair loss and preserve your youthful appearance.
When combined with a healthy diet and other positive lifestyle factors, you’ll find that surgery really isn’t necessary.