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Best Hair Treatment
There are many causes for hair fall ranging from male pattern hair loss to thyroid disease, Iron deficiency anaemia etc. Many causes are gender specific like Androgenic alopecia in males and female pattern hair loss seen usually in females. There has been ample research that shows that losing about 100-150 hairs per day is normal for an individual. That is the normal process of cyclical shedding of hair. The hair growth cycle can be divided into 3 phases viz. Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen Phase is characterized by active growth of the hair strands. Catagen phase is characterized by fairly short phase of hair break down. While in telogen phase the hair follicle is in resting state. The hair that are shed daily are ususally in the resting phase or in the late phase in the catagen. Hairs that are in telogen phase are not growing and are in the preparation for its shedding. In our scalp about 10% of the hair follicles are in telogen phase at any given time frame.
There are many health condition like Thyroid disorders, iron deficiency anaemia etc can lead to severe hair loss as stated above, hence it is vital for us to undergo appropriate lab investigations for the same to exclude these or any other underlying disorders that might be triggering or causing severe hair loss.
Now let us elaborate a little on the most commonly seen primary cause of hair fall i.e. Androgenic or Androgenetic Alopecia
As the name suggests this type of hair fall is liked to hormone as well as genes. Therefore it has to do with hormonal as well as hereditary factors. This was first thought to be only present in males, as in case of males this type of hair loss is often faster, more extensive and has a relatively earlier onset as compared to females, but later research showed that it is seen in female as well as males. Till now the factor that triggers this type of hair loss is unknown. It seen the every male even though he does not go totally bald, has thinning of hair over time. Here unlike the hair that shed out regularly that are in telogen phase, there is no actually falling of hair seen but only eventual thinning oh hair observed as they no more come up!!
Common Hair loss Myths – Busted !!
- It is commonly thought that people with longer hair has more hair loss as it leads to straining of the roots. This doesn’t happen.
- It is thought that people who wear hats have their hair choked off hence there is deficient circulation leading to hair loss. This is incorrect.
- It is also said that one inherits from mother’s male relatives. This is incorrect, as it is possible for one to inherit it from either side i.e. mother’s as well as father’s side.
- It is wrongly thought that hair loss is due to poor circulation of blood in the scalp and hence massaging will stop the hair fall. It doesn’t.
The above was a brief on what is hair loss and its causes. Let us now outline various treatment modalities that may act as preventive or curative for hair loss.
- Having a hair wash every day with a mild and gentle shampoo.
The way it is important to wash our face every day and clean our teeth every day the same way it is also important to wash our hair every day. As it helps in removing the dust, dirt and other pollutants from our hair and scalp making it less vulnerable to hair fall. So washing hair ever day causes more hair fall is one of the biggest myths. It is rather other way round i.e. not washing hair every day will cause more hair fall. This myth has become prevalent due to the fact that people tend to notice more hair falling while having hair wash, but what they don’t know is that these hairs were anyhow going to fall off with hair wash or without hair wash.
- Following a “Treat your hair well” practices:
Though one of the most apparent things, it needs to be given attention because many of us unknowingly don’t follow them and adopt many unhealthy practices.
- Treating your hair with chemicals and so-called herbal products, which are meant to drastically change the way our hair looks (Perming, straightening, hot ironing etc.), are a big NO.
- Blow drying hair- What is does is that is dries out the moisture from the scalp and makes the hair dry, this leads to damaging of the hair follicles. Therefore it is advisable to always air dry your hair or if it is absolutely necessary to use the blow dryer then use it on lowest heat setting.
- Using hair styles that put a lot of stress or pull on the hair follicles like while making braids of tying hair tightly in a pony tails. Many a times what females do is that they tie their hair so tightly that there is enormous tug in the hair follicles making them to be pulled out from the roots. If this practice is continued for longer time it may lead to permanent hair loss from the sites at which these hairs experience the pulling the most.
- Combing or toweling it roughly when hairs are wet is a very commonly made error by most. What this does is that it stretches the hair strands and will lead to breakage.
- Following a healthy lifestyle:
Healthy hair is the outward mirroring of a healthy body. So it is a good indicator of one’s general health condition. If hairs are shining and beautiful it indicates that the person is in good health and vice versa. Therefore to have healthy looking hair one has to do everything that is necessary to have a good healthy body which includes eating all types of fruits and vegetables regularly thereby supplementing a wide range of vitamins, and minerals like iron, calcium and zinc, one should also have a protein rich diet as hair are basically made of proteins. It is also important to hydrate our bodies with adequate amount of water.
- Oil is for food, not scalp.
Oiling the scalp leads to seborrhoeic dermatitis and dandruff in the scalp. This leads to hair fall. So no matter what ever your granny says oiling your hair is not healthy for hair. If still one insists on oiling one’s hair it should be done just 45 minutes prior to hair wash, never should we oil our hair and let it stay overnight.
- Quick home remedies for hair health:
- Washing hair with a concoction of tea or lemon squeezed in the bathing water used for hair wash will help in getting rid of dandruff.
- Applying a paste of curd and egg onto that scalp and shampooing it after an hour, if done regularly, will make hair smoother and stronger.
- Treatment for androgenic alopecia:
There are many treatment options available for hair loss but very few of them are scientifically proven and approved by FDA. These treatments help in slowing down the hair loss. Starting these treatments and thereafter stopping them will not leave you at a worse stage than what you were at when you started.
- Minoxidil: IT is a topical medicine. It helps in decreasing the hair fall, but doesn’t help in increasing the hair growth. It is available over the counter without the need for any prescription from the doctor. It can be used by both males as well as females. Its action is seen best over the crown area of the head. It’s less effective over the frontal area. It is available in the form of lotion, foam and mousse in 2%, 4% and extra-strength 5% solution.
- Finasteride: It is a medication belonging to 5-alpha reductase inhibitor class of drugs. It is approved by FDA to be used only in males with androgenic alopecia, but it is also used in females “off-label” who are suffering from androgenic hair loss, and who are not pregnant while on medication. It is available in the form of 1mg tablets. It helps in promoting hair growth and makes hair thicker in some people. But its main purpose is to maintain the hair that are still present on the scalp. The possible side effects include lowering of libido or impotence.
- Dutasteride: It is FDA approved medicine for treatment of enlarged prostate in men but it is used as “off-label” medication for treatment of hair loss in men. The action of dutasteride is very similar to finasteride.
- Recently there is research going on Prostaglandin analogues as topical applications for treatment of hair loss in both males and females. It has a scope for potentially acting as a hair regrowth agent, but till now it hasn’t received FDA approval for it use for treatment of hair loss. One of these newer medication is called by the name Bimatoprost. These are currently used for the purpose of eye lash enhancement.
- Other alternative treatment options available for hair loss:
- Hairpieces and hair weaving: It is one of the quickest and tried and test methods to add or enhance hair. It is a temporary method in which a mesh is applied on the patch of scalp which has hair. And over that natural human hair or artificial hair are attached to this by weaving them with the existing hair. The hair that are weaved are selected is such a way so as to match the color and texture of the hair that are existing. Over a period of time there may be oxidization, stretching or loosening of weaved hair.
- Hair fiber powders: These are used to cover up patches of hair which has undergone thinning. These powders are nothing but colored fibres that are powdered and are such that they attach easily to the existing hair when they are sprinkled on them. This results in a scalp having an appearance of one having fuller hair growth. Toppik is one of the leading manufacturers of these products and it can be ordered via internet portals. It is safe and is pretty cheap about $20-$40.
- Surgical hair restoration: This includes many versions of hair transplantation procedures like harnessing hair from back and then transplanting them in the front or it may include surgical procedures like scalp reduction where the bald areas are cut away and are stitched together. Over the years the procedures for hair transplantation has undergone major improvements. Of them the latest technology is harnessing of micrografts in which grafts containing only one to two hair follicles are removed from the donor sites and are successfully transplanted to the sites that has bald patches. It is a fairly expensive and time consuming affair. The cost depends on the number of grafts transplanted. The cost may go in the range of $1000 – $20,000.
- Stem Cell Therapy for prevention of hair loss and regrowth of hair.
This is one of the areas in which there is active on-going research. Like in other parts of the body hair follicles too have stem cells. The researchers are trying to activate the stem cells progenitor cell. By this the already present stem cells will become active and send chemical signals to the hair follicles nearby which might have become inactive due to aging process. This would ultimately lead to regeneration of healthy hair.
- PRP injection therapy for hair loss:
PRP is nothing but Platelet Rich Plasma that is derived from patient’s own blood. PRP activates the follicular progenitor cells (adult stem cells) thereby causing the hair follicles that have shrunken to become larger and healthier. This enhances the hair growth. Also there are lots of growth factors loaded in PRP so this promotes a rapid hair growth. This method can be applied for both male and female. It can be used for scalp and also over eyebrows in case of hypotrichosis of eyebrows. The treatment procedure requires about 80 minutes to complete Here what is done is, patient’s blood sample is collected and is then processed to extract PRP. This is then introduced in the scalp fully or in localized areas.
- QR 678 Hair Growth Factor injection treatment for hair loss.
This growth factor was developed after a lot of research conducted by top medical centers. It is by far one of the latest treatments for hair loss in India. It is much advanced then PRP treatment and stem cell therapy treatment. This treatment was first reported as a cover story in Times of India newspaper in 2010.QR 678 consists of combination of 6 hair growth factors. They are known to stimulate a significant hair growth when injected in to the scalp. It is more advanced than stem cells therapy for hair fall because here QR 678 injection consists of targeted growth factors that are directly injected in the patches which has hair loss, whereas in case of stem cell therapy the stem cells are reactivated which in turn will lead to production of growth. Hence QR 678 therapy is more specific, selective and advanced. The treatment consists of about 8 sessions of injections of QR 678, each of these sessions are repeated after an interval of 4-6 weeks. There are no side effects to this treatment. The approx. cost for each QR 678 injection sessions is about $100. The Indian patent is already been awarded, the global patent is still being awaited.
- Hair Cloning:
This treatment modality is still at research stage. What this treatment will consist of is that your own hair will be cloned and there after more hair will be produced from the existing cloned hair by themselves, by the help of genetic engineering.
So now to sum it up we can say that alopecia is a very much treatable condition and there are multiple temporary as well as permanent treatment options, both medical as well as surgical, available to us. Therefore it is not very early to say that with the constant advancement and research in this field, baldness will be the thing of the past.
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