By Dr. Ashutosh Shah, Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery
Hair loss can be a harrowing experience whether you are a man or a woman and can cause social embarrassment and cause you to lose self-esteem as well.
The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is genetics. In fact, heredity accounts for 95% of all the cases of alopecia (baldness) in this country. The remaining 5% of the cases can be due to a number of things, including diet, stress, illness, and medications.
Factors that can cause hair loss include:
- Medications, vitamins, or minerals. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, or gout; chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer patients; unusually high levels of vitamin A or low levels of iron or protein; for women, birth control pills can cause hair loss.
- Illness. Thyroid disease, severe infection, or flu; fungus infections such as ringworm of the scalp.
For women, childbirth may cause temporary hair loss due to the changes that take place in the body. In some cases, adults or children may have a condition known as trichotillomania, in which there is a compulsion to pull out scalp hair, eyebrow hair, or eyelashes.
While there are medications and surgical procedures to take care of the problem, it may not be effective for everyone. If medications do not work for you, you can opt for cosmetic procedures like hair fiber powders, wigs or hairstyles or artificial hair treatments. Some of the treatments and procedure available to treat hair loss are mentioned as follows-
- Covering up your thin hairy regions by sprinkling colored, powdery fiber sprinkles on them to give a fuller appearance.
- Use of hair pieces that are produced from human or synthetic hair.
- Hair Transplants that are used to fill in the bald areas and are often termed as the only permanent solution to baldness. Tiny strands of hair are removed from the regions with thicker hair and substituted into the bald areas.
- Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) by which concentrated blood plasma containing growth proteins are injected into the scalp. This method helps in wound healing and encourages the growth of hair in the areas where it is injected.
- Scalp reduction where the bald regions are cut off and the rest of the scalp is stitched together.
- Tissue Expansion is a process where tissue expanders are employed to increase the hair-bearing scalp to be placed on the adjacent bald area.
- Where stress plays the devil for hair loss, a stress-hormone blocker called astressin-B is used to block a hormone known as corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) to regain hair.
- A natural biological material known as Extracellular Matrix (ECM) can be embedded on the portion of damaged tissue to enhance healing.
- Hair multiplication or cloning where donor hair cells are extracted from existing hair follicles which are then multiplied in a lab and then grafted into the balding areas.