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Q. What steps can I take to stop my hair from thinning?
A. There’s a whole host of things that people can do, especially men, to grow back their hair.
The first thing I would say to someone who’s worried about losing their hair is that they should go to a dermatologist. When I see patients who are losing their hair, I go through a detailed history and physical exam with routine blood tests. Is it hair that’s falling out in full clumps? If it’s discrete areas of hair loss, then it could be alopecia areata, which has an autoimmune cause. Is it hair loss with red plaques, or is it psoriatic? There are a lot of medical reasons, so you have to rule those out.
If it’s a typical case of male pattern baldness, there are a few options. You can take a medication called Propecia (finasteride), which is a pill that helps men grow back their hair. You can try the topical treatment Rogaine (minoxidil), which you apply every night or twice a day to the scalp.
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Then there’s a procedure called PRP, which is injections of your own blood into the scalp. That’s really effective. We take blood like a regular blood test and spin it to separate the platelets. Those platelets have wound healing and growth factors in them, and we inject them into the scalp. It takes at least four treatments. I’ve had patients just grow back their hair. It’s pretty remarkable.
And then there’s something called the laser cap, which we recommend to patients too. The theory is that the light reduces inflammation and helps hair to grow.
In terms of the most effective remedy, it really depends on how progressive the hair loss is. Some people have a little bit of hair loss, and I’ll put them on Rogaine to start. There are people whose hair is going fast, and you can tell it’s a slippery slope; I’ll put them on Propecia. A lot of people don’t want to take medication, unfortunately, because they just don’t. For those patients, I’ll do PRP. But I find there’s really not one thing that’s most effective. It’s a combination.
And if those don’t work, there is hair transplantation, which is much more sophisticated than it used to be. You still have to be very careful, because, like any plastic surgery, some doctors don’t have the skill that others have. But I would absolutely tell people to look into it because it works. It really can camouflage hair loss, as long as you have a good amount of donor hair.