Dr. Angela Sturm, our facial plastic surgeon/contributor has been speaking to us about all of the attention and care that has been taken to our hair.
What’s new in the world of hair?
Full, thick hair is associated with youth, vitality and health, as well as an expression of our masculinity or femininity. So, when we notice that it is not as thick as before or the hairline changes, this can be a very stressful situation. Luckily there are a number of new and exciting treatments, as well as advancements in the established treatments!
There are a slew of products that are marketed to increase hair growth. Unfortunately, if they are not “medications” they are not subject to the scrutiny of the FDA. So, they may work or may not. Usually they are pretty safe but not very efficacious. So, the worst case scenario you have purchased a product that doesn’t work. I have seen some good results with at home systems that incorporate microneedling with a handheld device and organic serums, like HairMedica.
Prescription and over the counter medications
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a foam or serum that can be applied directly to the scalp that increases the blood flow to the hair to increase growth. Now, the 2% and 5% solution are both available over the counter. The 2% solution can be used by women and men and the 5% solution should just be used by men. This does increase hair growth. However, it does take about 3-4 months to see a result. It works best for men and for hair on the crown of the head, but will work anywhere. Since it will work anywhere, you may notice increased facial hair while you are using it. Usually not a big deal for a guy, but a really big deal for a woman! So be careful. The hair will go back to the way it was before using the medication once it is stopped.
As skeptical as I was about light treatments, there are actually scientific studies showing that they can help. You sit under a light panel or wear a helmet-like appliance with lights for a few minutes several times a week. The hair follicles are stimulated to grow. You should see thicker, denser hair in a few weeks to a month or two. The treatments can be for about 6 months with maintenance treatments after that. The treatments have very few risks and are very safe.
Have you heard of the vampire facial? The same substance used in that, platelet rich plasma, has been used in orthopedics, oral surgery and plastic surgery for many years to help stimulate healing and regeneration of tissue. This treatment uses your own body’s ability to heal itself and reverse some aging changes. It has been shown in scientific studies to stimulate hair growth, also. With this treatment, your blood is drawn, spun down and the growth factors are taken out. The growth factors are injected into the scalp to increase blood flow and stimulate the follicles to grow hair. Studies have found PRP to be safe and effective in both men and women. Most people saw increased density even with one treatment, but you may require a few to see the optimal results.