It’s one of the first things we see in the mirror each day and defines everything from our personal style to self-esteem. Having a love-hate relationship with our hair is common, but unexpected or premature hair loss is never an easy goodbye.
Facing hair loss? You’re not alone. This year, the global hair market is projected to make $87.73 billion in product revenue. Despite this number, millions of Americans still experience hair loss. According to the American Hair Loss Association, over 66 percent of men will experience some form of hair loss by the age of 35, and women account for over 40 percent of all active hair loss patients.
While there’s no easy way to accept hair loss, fortunately, there are solutions. Here are five of the most popular options:
Hair restoration procedures vary, but one of the most popular options is Follicular Unit Extraction, also known as a FUE hair transplant. The minimally invasive treatment removes individual follicular units directly from a patient’s donor site, which are then replanted into the scalp. A small “punch” is used to harvest single hair grafts one at a time.
The result is hundreds or thousands of round “holes” where the donor hair follicles are taken.“This procedure has very little pain associated with it and a high success rate as well,” said Dr. Pramit Malhotra, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based plastic surgeon. “The results look either very natural or undetectable, and patients are not limited by what hairstyles they can have in the future.”
FUE produces minimal scarring and produces real results. There are several different types of FUE devices on the market, including NeoGraft, ARTAS and SmartGraft. Your hair restoration expert will help you determine which FUE treatment is best for you.
Worth It Rating: 95%
Average Price: $4,825
Related: FUE Hair Transplant FAQ
Yes, even our own blood can be repurposed to help stimulate hair growth. Platelets circulate in the plasma component of our blood and contain growth factors. These growth factors can be concentrated and used to grow hair. Platelet-rich plasma injections involve withdrawing the patient’s blood, processing it so only the enriched cells remain, and injecting it back into the person.
“Hair grows slowly [1.25 cm a month]. To see the maximal results, we recommend three sessions of PRP spaced every four to eight weeks,” said Dr. Benjamin Paul, a New York City-based plastic surgeon. “The results of PRP are continually evaluated, though are best judged after six months. If you are a ‘PRP responder,’ then you will receive PRP maintenance two to three times per year. Roughly 70 percent of patients respond to PRP.”
Dr. Paul adds that PRP injections are exceedingly safe because the patient is using his or her own blood and avoiding foreign substances. Downtime is typically less than a day, and most people can return to work after a PRP session.
Worth It Rating: 96%
Average Price: $1,275
Hair transplantation transfers hair from the back of the head (donor site) to the area of loss (recipient site). This can be done by removing a single strip of skin and hair, or removing the follicles individually (see FUE above). The number of grafts needed depends on the patient and the size of the area being treated, and your doctor will determine which method–strip or FUE–is best for your individual case.
“Modern techniques allow our team to transplant a larger number of grafts, greatly reducing the number of procedures needed to complete the result,” said Dr. Paul. “In the past, many hair loss patients were not suitable candidates for hair transplant surgery, but our techniques have advanced the art of hair transplant surgery so that most patients are candidates. Though each patient will have a beautiful result, some patients may wish for additional transplant procedures for increased density.”
Worth It Rating: 95%
Average Price: $7,050
In addition to treating hair loss, there are a number of non-surgical options that help prevent it.
According to Toronto-based plastic surgeon Dr. Cory Torgerson, some of the best treatments for preventing the most common form of hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia (male/female pattern baldness), are Finasteride and Minoxidil plus PRP. Finasteride is a prescription medication (a popular brand is Propecia), that a patient takes once per day. It works by blocking the conversion of the male sex hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and helps prevent, or at least drastically reduce, hair loss.
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication, aka Rogaine, that a patient applies two times a day to reverse the effects of miniaturization on the hair. Minoxidil coupled with PRP can help keep follicles at their best.
“These treatments work best for hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia,” said Dr. Torgerson. “Other types of hair loss, such as traction alopecia, can be prevented by not wearing your hair in tight braids that put tension on the scalp and hair follicles.”
Worth It Rating: 93%
Average Price: Varies
Find a hair loss expert near you.