It is normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs every day. The average head of hair has so many individual hairs that this loss is not noticeable. It is only when the pace of hair loss outpaces the pace that new hairs grow in that thinning hair and baldness become noticeable.
There are a variety of treatments that can be used to regrow hair. The success of each method depends on the individual, the reason for the hair loss, and the patient’s compliance with the treatment method. The main drawback to each of these methods is that it can take some time to see any positive results. This can lead the patient to believe the preparation is not working, and they discontinue treatment.
Minoxidil is an over the counter preparation. It is available as a foam or a liquid. The patient massages minoxidil into the scalp twice a day. This preparation has been shown to both regrow hair and prevent further hair loss. It may be three months before patients see new hair growth from minoxidil. If, after six months, the patient does not see any results, the product is probably not going to be effective for that particular person.
Anthralin is a prescription medication originally developed for use on patients with psoriasis. It is available as a cream or an ointment. It can stimulate the hair follicles to regrow hair. Results from this medication take about twelve weeks to appear.
Corticosteroids are available from a physician. The most effective way to use this medication is through monthly injections into the scalp, although it is also available as a cream and in pill form. This treatment produces rapid results, with new hair growth often visible within one month.
Finasteride is a prescription medication that is used to treat male pattern baldness. It is taken orally. Not only does finasteride regrow hair, but it also slows the rate of existing hair loss. It is a highly potent medication and should not be handled by women who are or may be pregnant. It can also lead to a reduced sex drive or sexual function problems.
There are surgical ways to reduce the appearance of hair loss. While they do not regrow hair, they are effective ways to treat baldness. Scalp reduction surgery is when a surgeon removes the skin on the scalp that has stopped producing hair. The doctor then pulls the remaining skin tightly over the skull and stitches it into place.
Hair transplants are another surgical treatment for hair loss. The patient’s own hair is removed, along with tiny pieces of skin, from the back and sides of the head. The surgeon reattaches the hair pieces on the bald areas. It may take several surgeries to complete the look. Both of these surgeries should only be performed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.