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The Truth About Thinning Hair

bald man scratching his head

While a quick Internet search produces varying facts regarding hair loss, it’s difficult to know the truth when it comes to thinning hair. For instance, is there a genetic component? Is hair loss related to hormonal changes and/or a significant life event? What products or treatments actually work?

Covering topics such as food, nutrition, workouts, beauty and cooking, Prevention Magazine has recently interviewed Atlanta-based facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration expert, Dr. Benjamin Stong on the unique mechanisms of thinning hair. Dr. Stong is part of an elite group of plastic surgeons in the country that are double-board certified and fellowship trained. As such, Dr. Stong explains that hair loss is exceedingly common, affecting more men than women (60% to 40% respectively). More than half of men are affected by hair loss by age 35, and nearly 85% are affected by age 50. Genetic androgenic alopecia is responsible for more than 95% of hair loss and is the result of a susceptibility to a byproduct of testosterone breakdown known as DHT. In essence, DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) causes hair follicles to miniaturize, fall out and eventually die (when left untreated). Ultimately, once a hair follicle is dead, it cannot be revived.

While androgenic alopecia is a genetic form of hair loss, there are other conditions that might lead to thinning hair. These include low thyroid levels, autoimmune disease and anemia. However, when a person experiences hair loss and these conditions are excluded as possible causes, specialists typically land on androgenic alopecia. Interestingly, this form of hair loss involves the same mechanism for both men and women, which is a genetic susceptibility to DHT. To date, there is no specific test to determine one’s genetic predisposition to thinning hair.

When it comes to hair products, solutions and over-the-counter promises, Dr. Stong urges consumers to use caution. Generally speaking, hair loss prevention and restoration products seen on television and other advertisements are not as effective as treatments delivered by a qualified specialist in a clinical setting. Even so, Dr. Stong lists Rogaine with minoxidil (5%) as the best topical hair loss medication available in stores, as it increases blood flow to the scalp and can reverse the miniaturization process. As a rule, he suggests that patients steer clear of formulas containing propylene glycol, as it can cause irritation.

Providing moderate benefits in clinical studies, laser light therapy is another option. Consumers may purchase laser light caps or combs over the counter, and perform treatments at least 3 days every week (each treatment is approximately 8 minutes). Of course, popular treatments using biotin, zinc, multivitamins, saw palmetto and emu oil are regularly used for hair loss. Dr. Stong explains that while the effectiveness of these remedies is anecdotal and not supported by clinical studies, there is no harm in trying them.

Leading-Edge Solutions And Tips For Thinning Hair

Renowned for his extensive knowledge and insight into the latest techniques for hair restoration and transplant techniques, Dr. Stong discusses leading-edge solutions and tips for those with thinning hair. Having demonstrated efficacy in hair regrowth, Dr. Stong first speaks about oral supplements such as Viviscal Professional, which can only be purchased at a doctor’s office. He also highlights Propecia and Finasteride as the best oral medications for hair loss prevention and regrowth. However, these are currently only approved for men, and with undesirable side effects, patients must be well-informed in order to determine if these side effects are acceptable.

Considered a premier method for nonsurgical hair loss prevention, particularly for younger patients, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections begin by taking a small sample of a patient’s blood. The blood mixture is spun and separated in a centrifuge machine. Concentrated growth factors and platelets are then injected into the scalp. Mixed with ACell, which is a powder derived from pig intestines that stimulates stem cells in hair follicles to regrow, individuals can achieve the best results possible.

Similarly, fat stem cell injections involve extracting a small amount of fat from a patient’s hip. Once the fat is broken down into liquid form, the separated stem cells are injected into the scalp to signal the production of hair follicles and reverse hair loss. According to Dr. Stong, further evidence is needed regarding this treatment, and the effects of PRP and fat stem cells (in regards to hair loss) are not permanent. In other words, treatment might need to be repeated for continued hair loss regrowth and prevention.

Finally, as a permanent solution and gold standard for hair loss and replacement, Dr. Stong speaks of a revolutionary hair transplant technique using FUE (follicle unit extraction). The procedure involves taking individual hair follicles from the back of an individual’s head and placing them in an area on top of the head where new hair growth is needed. While the newly implanted hair is immune to the genetic effects of hair loss, existing hair is not. For this reason, a person might seek nonsurgical methods or additional hair transplantation over the course of his or her lifetime.

Having invested the time, money and resources necessary to provide precise, superior results in hair transplantation, Dr. Benjamin Stong remains on the forefront of the latest advancements in hair loss solutions and techniques. As the only plastic surgeon in the Atlanta area to offer NeoGraft, an innovative hair restoration system, Dr. Stong demonstrates his continued commitment to providing unrivaled results in hair transplanting.

Posted on behalf of Kalos Hair Transplant
5670 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd NE, #910
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 963-0871

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