While hair loss is not dangerous and does not pose any threat to your overall health, it can be frustrating. Hair loss is often caused by an underlying disease which will need to be treated in order to restore the hair which has been lost. In the case that a medical treatment such as chemotherapy is causing the hair loss, you will need to wait until this treatment has passed through your system before your hair will regrow.
Medication Treatment for Hair Loss
In the case that a disease is causing hair loss, medication can often be used to help restore the follicles. These medications are designed to reduce inflammation and reduce the reactions of the immune system which can cause the hair to fallout.
Minoxidil. One of the most common drugs used for this purpose is minoxidil which is commonly sold under the brand name Rogaine. There are two strengths of this medication available on the market, so read carefully to ensure that you are choosing the medication that is intended for the type of hair loss you are experiencing. This liquid is rubbed into the scalp twice a day to stimulate the follicles so that hair regrows.
Finasteride, sold under the brand name Propecia, is another common medication sold to treat male pattern baldness. This pill is only available via prescription in most areas. Similar to Rogaine, this medication stimulates the hair follicles so that hair will regrow. Those using finastride should take caution as this drug is known to decrease sex drive, sexual function and in some cases increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. Finastride is also unsafe for women of childbearing age to use as it increases the risk of infertility.
Aldactone. Women experiencing hair loss can also use aldactone, a diuretic which reduces the amount of fluid in the body. This allows the body to retain potassium more effectively so that it is easier to regrow hair. This will help stimulate the adrenal glands and prevent the binding of dihyrotestosterone so that hair can grow more easily. This is a common treatment for those suffering from hyperaldosteronism.
Tagamet or cyproterone. Women may also use Tagamet or cyproterone when they are suffering from hair loss. These are histamine blockers that block the binding of dihydrotesterone. These drugs are not as commonly used because they have an increased risk of side effects. Tagament increases the risk of sexual dysfunction or hair growth on the face and cyproterone is banned in some countries including the United States for its risk that long term side effects may occur.
Surgery Treatment for Hair Loss
In the case of extreme, permanent hair loss which is only affecting the top of the head, surgical procedures can help replace the hair.
Hair transplants can be used to replace hair on the body. This type of surgical procedure is more effective if you are missing hair from a small portion of the scalp rather than those who have gone completely bald. When undergoing a hair transplant, sections of hair will be harvested from other parts of your body such as the leg or back and implanted on the scalp. If your baldness is still progressing, you may need to have additional transplants over time to cover the growing hair loss across the head.
In some cases donor hair can be taken from another source to complete a hair transplant. In order for your body to accept this hair you will need to take immune suppressing drugs so that they will not be rejected. It is important to select a donor that has similar hair and skin color to you in order to have the best possible results. You should also consider the texture of the hair. If your hair is straight or curly, you want to find hair that matches so that it will blend nicely with your own follicles.
Scalp reduction. Patients can also have a scalp reduction performed to help address baldness on the head. This procedure involves removing the skin on the head to tighten the scalp. This will shrink the spaces between bald patches to give the appearance of a hair covered scalp. In some cases, the doctor will fold hair-baring skin over bald areas to give the appearance of a full head of hair. This surgical technique can be combined with hair transplants to cover the head with hair more completely. Your doctor will evaluate your hair loss to help you decide which techniques offer the best hair replacement options for your situation.
If surgery or medication treatment for hair loss is not having an effect on your hair loss you can use wigs or toupees to cover the missing hair. Hairpieces can be a temporary solution for hair loss or can be used on a more permanent basis to cover the area which has no hair. Wigs are available with synthetic hair or real hair. It is important to talk with a boutique about what type of hairpiece would be the most appropriate. You want to cover the area that has been affected by hair loss without putting stress on the remaining follicles.