Kenneth J. Washenik: Hi! I'm Ken Washenik. I'm a Volunteer Physician and Vice President of the Hair Foundation Board. Today I am going to discuss different medical treatments for hair loss and some of the medical advances in the field. Treatment options for hair loss continue to grow thankfully and advance. Once you've been evaluated by a physician and concluded you have hair loss, you have options for restoring your hair, slowing the rate of hair loss or camouflaging your hair loss, so you've got medical options, and you've got cosmetic options.
Some individuals are not as bothered by their hair loss as others and they decide to accept it and just change the way they cut their hair, the way they style their hair disguise the fact that it's thinny. However, depending on the severity or type of hair loss and your lifestyle, there are many different things you should look at, both non-surgical and surgical treatments that might be right for you. New drugs are constantly being tested and developed, some make it to the marketplace, some don't, but it's not always easy to be clear as to which approach is the best one gives you the best chance for success. So you should see a physician, someone knowledgeable in hair loss to help pick your way through this.
From a non-surgical standpoint, there are three treatments that you could utilize that have been reviewed by the FDA; one is a topical medication Minoxidil that is a direct hair growth stimulator. That's been approved for a couple of decades now so it's a tried-and-true treatment for hair loss. The main side effects you might see with that would be any sort of sensitivity, or irritation you might get on your scalp which is what you could say for anything that's topically applied.
For men we also have another option which is a pill Finasteride that you can take daily to reduce hair loss and even reverse the hair loss miniaturization process and grow some hair back. The other option we have is a laser light therapy which works completely differently. So we have a topical solution, that's direct stimulator, we have a pill Finasteride that actually works by lowering dihydrotestosterone and a low-level laser therapy works from an energy standpoint to help encourage follicle growth.
Then we have surgical treatments. Surgical treatments are based on a very interesting scientific finding and that is called doner dominance where we know wherever we take the hair from and that's usually taken from the back or sides where you don't go bald, the hair doesn't know you removed it essentially. So we call it donor dominance; the area of donation dominates or determines the way the hair will grow in the recipient area. So that's how hair transplantation works. The hair is transplanted into the new area where you've lost hair, and it continues to grow in that new location as if it was still in its original location.
Remember importantly, consult with your physician, find a doctor who is knowledgeable in this area and explore the different treatment options that are available, both non-surgical and surgical or which is often the best answer both, you may benefit from using both types of treatments. If you have further questions, I recommend you go to the Hair Foundation website, hairfoundation.
org to get additional information.