DEMYSTIFYING HAIR LOSS TREATMENT
Hair loss affects roughly 35 million men and 21 million women in the United States. Forty percent of men will have noticeable hair loss by age 35 and 65% of women will have noticeable hair loss by age 60. While hair loss mostly has cosmetic implications, there are many other conditions that manifest symptoms via hair loss. Hair loss definitely affects the life of its sufferers. The scalp and hairline play an important role in facial aesthetics. Receding hair lines or hair loss imparts a loss of youth, health, and attractiveness and results in a great degree of self-consciousness regarding the condition.
Possible cause of hair loss include sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone; additionally hormonal changes brought on as a result of medications, disease, and so on; injury to hair follicles as a result of chemotherapy and trauma that alters hair growing and shedding phases.
HAIR LOSS DISORDERS
The most common hair loss disorder affecting man is male androgenetic alopecia. Male pattern baldness is a genetically determined disorder characterized by the decrease in the size and activity of scalp hair follicles as well as an atypical pattern of hair loss. Androgens, that is testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, are responsible for male pattern baldness. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone by an enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Dihydrotestostone acts on genetically susceptible hair follicles causing them to miniaturize, leading to hair follicle death.
The gene can be inherited from one’s mother’s or father’s side. The onset, rate and severity of hair loss are unpredictable. The disease severity increase with age, and the condition is progressive. The male pattern baldness follows a pattern as illustrated by the Norwood classification system. This is classified from class 1 being no hair loss to class 7 being complete hair loss.
Female pattern hair loss
is a common condition that refers to decrease in the central scalp density that occurs in females. Female hair loss affects more than 50% of women over 50 and is emotionally devastating for its sufferers. Patterns of female androgenetic alopecia vary in appearance.
Patterns that occur include diffuse hair thinning over the scalp with more noticeable thinning towards the back of the scalp, diffuse hair thinning over entire scalp with more noticeable thinning toward the front of the scalp but not involving the frontal hair line, and diffuse hair thinning over the entire scalp with more noticeable thinning toward the front of the scalp involving and/or reaching the frontal hair line. Unlike male pattern hair loss, women experience minimization of hair all over the affected areas of the scalp.
HORMONE BALANCING AND DETOXIFICATION
The hair follicle is an important site of hormone synthesis and metabolism. The hair follicles are able to regenerate new hair as well as different types of hair via hormone regulation. As mentioned previously, the main hormones affecting the hair follicles are the androgens. The androgens are capable of affecting the hair follicles in different ways, by stimulating hair growth, inhibiting hair growth or causing no action. Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 have an effect on hair follicle function such as cell turnover, pigmentation, and hair follicle cycling.
Estrogens also alter hair follicle growth and its growth cycle by binding to estrogen receptors. Because of this, it is important that serum laboratory panels are obtained to check hormone levels as part of this consultation for hair loss treatment.
OTHER REASONS FOR HAIR LOSS
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE CAN CAUSE HAIR LOSS. . TOXINS LIKE MERCURY CAN ALSO CAUSE IT. I ALSO LOOK FOR SECONDARY BACTERIAL OR FUNGAL INFECTIONS. ALSO LOW VITAMIN D, LOW ZINC AND LOW IODINE CAN CAUSE IT
I DO A COMPLETE METABOLIC TEST TO MAKE SURE YPU DON’T HAVE ANY OF THESE.
HAIR LOSS DIAGNOSIS BREAKTHROUGH; HairDX
Are you at risk for baldness? Will you respond to medical treatment? There is now a new breakthrough in medical evaluation and treatment of hereditary hair loss that answers the question “What is my risk for developing pattern baldness? Will I respond to treatment?” This quick noninvasive DNA test is a reliable way to determine if you are at high risk or low risk for the hereditary form of hair loss and whether you are a good candidate for medical treatment. As simple and painless as using a toothbrush, your genetic risks and chances of responding to FDA-approved treatment can be determined by the lab at HairDX. As seen on NBC Today and other shows, HairDX predicts your response to medical treatment with finasteride/Propecia.
The HairDX genetic test for androgenetic alopecia (hereditary male and female pattern baldness) is a medical test and is performed on all my patients to determine which treatment option is best for my patient.
HAIR CHECK ; MEASURE YOUR GROWING HAIR
Hair Check is a quick noninvasive way to measure and track the number of hairs growing in a given area of the scalp (called the hair mass index or hair number).
The Hair Check device is a highly sensitive hand-held trichometer which scientifically measures hair caliber and hair density together and expresses them as a single number by compressing and measuring a defined hair bundle. It can also measure the percentage of hair breakage which is a common cause of hair loss. Tracking these numbers can help determine the extent of hair loss and/or breakage, and over time allow to track results from treatment.
With this new revolutionary device, I can now show my patients scientific evidence that they are losing their hair. Traditionally treatment of thinning hair starts when balding is visible to the naked eye, but by then nearly 50% of the hair is already gone. Hair Check gives me the information that I need to begin the hair growth treatment years before balding begins to show. I can evaluate hair loss or regrowth measurements and hair breakage measurements.
ADVANTAGES OF THE HAIR CHECK
By identifying and treating hair loss before it shows, I can protect my patients’ hair loss in the future. I can then also choose the best treatment for my patients and follow them over time.
Currently there are two medications that are FDA-approved for androgenetic alopecia.
One is minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia). Minoxidil is a liquid that is applied to the scalp where the hair loss occurs. Minoxidil was originally licensed as a drug to treat hypertension. Minoxidil slows the progression of hair loss and causes fine hair regrowth in 25-40% of males and up to 20-40% of females. The exact mechanism of action is unknown, but it is thought by working to improve circulation around the hair follicle or binding to the DHT receptor in the hair bulb. It is available over-the-counter and comes in a 2% and 5% formulation.
Finasteride, otherwise known as Propecia, is a prescription medication that is FDA-approved to treat male-pattern hair loss.
Propecia works by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which stops the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Finasteride has been shown clinically to reduce dihydrotestosterone levels in the blood in the scalp by up to 70%. Dihydrotestosterone is the hormone responsible for the miniaturization of hair. Benefits of Propecia include slowing and/or cessation of hair loss and hair regrowth. Propecia should not be used in pregnant women. Both finasteride and minoxidil are commonly used in combination for best results.
\There are a lot of nutraceuticals and botanicals on the market claiming to either promote hair growth or slow the loss. Natural plant ingredients such as green tea, aloe vera, licorice root and azelaic acid can be beneficial. Vitamins and minerals can also be beneficial in hair conditioning, hair growth, stimulation, as well as scalp dermatitis. There are other natural products that are antiparasitic and antimicrobial.
Nutraceuticals used as hair growth stimulants claim to promote hair growth via increased blood flow and circulation, increased nutrition, inhibition of dihydrotestosterone, and anti-inflammatory effects. Vital nutrients that may promote hair growth include ginkgo biloba, Chinese herbs, ginseng, biotin, and marine proteins.
Phytonutrients that may inhibit dihydrotestosterone include saw palmetto, zinc, and B6. There is very little critical research to substantiate the use of these since they are not under jurisdiction of the FDA, meaning that clinical trials proving their efficacy are not required.
Biotin is a vitamin commonly recommended for hair health. There is clinical evidence that biotin might benefit those suffering from alopecia areata. The theory of biotin as a hair supplement stems from the fact that biotin deficiency manifests in thinning of the hair and loss of hair color.
There are other popular supplements which are a proprietary mix of marine proteins, vitamin C, and horsetail extract. These ingredients are absorbed by the core of the hair follicle, strengthening the hair from the inside. There have been medical studies that show that some of these products result in dramatic improvement in hair density, thickness and length within three to six months.
LOW LEVEL LASER LIGHT THERAPY – FDA APPROVED AVAILABLE NOW
A newer FDA-approved treatment modality for hair loss is low level laser light therapy. This treatment has been found to have a biomodulating effect on human hair and hair follicles. Clinical studies have shown that low level laser light provides cosmetic as well as physiologic benefits in hair restoration. Cosmetic benefits include increase in hair strength and overall improvement of hair fullness. Physiological benefits include the prevention of hair loss and stimulation of hair regrowth in the areas of hair loss.
It is suspected that the interaction of low level laser light therapy causes changes observed at the cellular level.
The light is absorbed by the cells, stimulating energy production at the cellular level and improving cell function. The treatment is not invasive and is pain free. It can be used in a medical office setting or home use device. Results of low level laser therapy include increased blood flow to the scalp, hair caliber, and hair density as well as improved hair texture and pigmentation. Also, there has been decreased hair shedding and increased hair growth noted. In my practice, I use a 224-diode low level laser with a 650-nanometer wave length with an energy of 5 milliwatts.
I hope I have demystified the nonsurgical treatment of hair loss. I evaluate each patient with the HairDX as well as the Hair Check. All patients are evaluated for hormones AS WELL AS HEAVY METALS AND I CHECK ALL VITAMIN AND MINERAL LEVELS. as well as baseline laboratory values. All factions are controlled. I believe that all patients should undergo internal as well as external detoxification. I use pharmacologic treatments which have been shown to work. In addition to this, I use many nutraceuticals and botanicals where studies have shown them to be effective. I believe that everyone with hair loss should have low level laser light therapy which is now approved by the FDA for hair loss. Hair loss is a psychologically devastating condition for its sufferers. Androgenetic alopecia does not discriminate among sex, age or race.
Medicine has advanced to the point that many effective treatments are now available that can be used either alone or in combination to slow the process of hair loss. I feel patients should seek medical treatment for hair loss as soon as they notice hair shedding or hair thinning to diagnose and treat the problem. As with most medical conditions, only detection and prevention are the key to successful outcome. If you are suffering from hair loss and wish a nonsurgical intervention, please contact my office for a consultation.
Best in Health