August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month, the perfect time for men and women who are experiencing hair loss to learn about the treatment options available.
Hair Loss Facts and Statistics:
- Hair loss affects over 50 million men and 30 million women in the US alone
- The American Hair Loss Association says over 95 percent of hair loss patients are men
- Upon reaching the age of 50, about 85 percent of men show obvious signs of thinning, some may start to lose hair as early as 21
- 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will experience some degree of hair loss or hair thinning in their lifetime
- According to an ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery) study, 112,409 surgical hair restoration procedures were performed in the United States in 2014
- The average age of respondents in the ISHRS study in 2014 was 49 years old
The annual campaign is designed to increase understanding of hair loss and provide advice and support on the complete range of ways to manage it, including hair loss treatments.
Men’s Hair Loss
Androgenetic alopecia or common male pattern baldness (MPB) accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of thirty-five two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of appreciable hair loss, and by the age of fifty approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. Approximately twenty five percent of men who suffer with male pattern baldness begin the painful process before they reach the age of twenty-one.
There are hundreds of products and services being sold to the vulnerable hair loss consumer, but currently there are only two FDA approved products that have been clinically proven to stop or prevent hair loss and only one of those two products is known to have with less adverse effects.
Although there are a number of hair loss conditions that can affect men, the most common is Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). Other names for this condition are androgenetic alopecia and genetic hair loss.
What is MPB or Male Pattern Baldness?
MPB or Male Pattern Baldness is the onset of a receding hairline and thinning crown. This pattern eventually progresses into more apparent baldness throughout the entire top of the scalp, leaving only a rim or "horseshoe" pattern of hair remaining in the more advanced stages of MPB. It is a condition caused by a by-product of testosterone named Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT attaches to the hair follicles and causes them to shrink over time, which causes the hair to become thinner and thinner until some men become totally bald on the top of the head.
Do Not Ignore These Signs:
- Noticing the appearance of thinning hair or a receding hairline yourself
- Other people informing you that you are losing your hair (you may not notice yourself)
- Excessive hair fall on your pillow, in the shower when shampooing your hair, or on your hands when styling your hair
The good news is that the earlier you identify that you have thinning hair or hair loss, the greater chance to seek treatment that works for you. Early intervention is the key, it is critical to begin treatment with an effective product as soon as you notice the onset of hair loss.
Treating Male Pattern Baldness
According to American Hair loss Association, the only truly effective medically proven way to arrest the hair loss process is to lower DHT levels.
The following two treatments have been clinically proven to successfully treat hair loss in men to varying degrees.
Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness. For many years, minoxidil, in pill form, was widely used to treat high blood pressure. Researchers discovered a very interesting side effect of the drug. People taking the medication were growing hair in unexpected places like on their cheeks and the back of their hands, some even grew hair on their foreheads.
Minoxidil is clinically proven to treat hair loss for both men and women. It is medically proven for androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern hair loss) but is also known to be effective for various hair loss conditions. Minoxidil is a topical solution that can be applied once or twice a day depending on the formulation prescribed. However, the most effective solution to regrow hair is the extra strength 5% Minoxidil and is considered revolutionary. Minoxidil has no effect on the hormonal process of hair loss since it is applied topically and is known to have less side effects.
Finasteride is the generic name for the brand name drugs Proscar and Propecia. Finasteride was originally developed by Merck as a drug to treat enlarged prostate glands (Proscar). Propecia is the first drug in history to effectively treat male pattern baldness in the vast majority of men who use it.
While Propecia is generally well tolerated, some serious adverse effects were noted such as: impotence, loss of interest in sex, trouble having an orgasm, abnormal ejaculation, swelling in your hands or feet, swelling or tenderness in your breasts, dizziness, weakness, feeling like you might pass out, headache, runny nose, or skin rash. In addition, it was noted that with discontinued use, hair growth results may not be maintained.
Hair Transplantation - Hair loss can also be treated by hair replacement procedures, such as hair transplantation methods (micro-grafting, slit grafting, punch grafting), and by scalp reduction. The type of hair loss as well as the patient's circumstances and desires determine which hair replacement procedures are most suitable.