Over-the-Counter Treatment Minoxidil

When it comes to dealing with hair loss, the drug that usually comes to mind is Minoxidil. It is the leading over-the-counter treatment for androgenic alopecia and other types of hair loss. The drug was initially made to treat hypertension, but was later on discovered to promote hair growth.

Minoxidil is the drug of choice for people who want to slow down their balding and stimulate the growth of their hair. The drug is said to work best on users not over forty years old with recently detected balding. Although it is strongly effective in hair growth stimulation, the drug does not work on receding hair lines. When Minoxidil is discontinued, the rate of hair loss will be back as before within a month or two.

The drug comes in topical form, usually a liquid, which is applied on the scalp two times a day. To apply to the scalp, you can choose from the three applicators that come with packaging: a metered spray applicator meant for large areas of the scalp, an extended spray applicator for smaller areas and rub on applicator.

Minoxidil does not produce results instantly. Be patient as it may take four months to a year for you to see any changes. Do not attempt to apply more than what is needed. If you think spreading large doses to your scalp will make your hair grow faster, you are wrong. This will only increase the side effects and can put your health at risk. Apply the drug onto your scalp according to package instructions or as prescribed by your doctor. If you forgot to apply a dose, do not double the next dose to make up for the missed one.

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As mentioned above, Minoxidil has several side-effects. While taking the medication, you may notice signs of irritation on your scalp including itching, flaking, scaling and even a burning sensation. These are just minor side effects but should be reported to your doctor if it becomes severe. Signs you should not ignore include lightheadedness, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, increased heart rate, weight gain and swelling in your face and extremities. If you notice any of these symptoms, inform your doctor immediately.

Just like all other drugs, there are some precautions you should follow before you take Minoxidil. Before getting a prescription for Minoxidil from your doctor, inform him if you have any drug allergies. Also inform him of the medications you are taking presently because some drugs, like high blood pressure pills for example, can interact with Minoxidil and create unwanted reactions. It is also best to give your doctor your medical history indicating if you have diseases involving your liver, kidney or scalp.

Once you apply Minoxidil to your scalp, stay away from unnecessary or extended exposure to the sun. This drug can increase your sensitivity to sunlight so always have hats, sunscreen and sun glasses with you when you go out.

Despite the side effects and several precautions you have to take, Minoxidil is still considered to be the hair loss wonder drug. If you want to regain your lush locks, this is the drug to have.

Surgical Scalp Reduction for Bald Spots

Having a bald spot is no doubt embarrassing and can affect your self-esteem.

Causes

There are various causes for bald spots, big or small. Two of the most common causes are aging and genetics. The National Institutes of Health have stated that an estimated twenty-five percent of men over the age of thirty experience male pattern baldness. Women are also affected by pattern baldness, though it is usually noticed later in life. Pattern baldness in men and women is usually caused by genetics and is hereditary.

People who have certain diets are more prone to having bald spots. Anyone that doesn’t get enough of certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, are more likely to develop hair loss and bald spots.

Surgical Scalp Reduction for Bald Spots
By: Marc Wathieu

Hormonal changes can also play a big role in hair loss for both men and women. For women it is usually menopause or pregnancy, and in men it is usually from the decrease in testosterone.

In addition to natural causes, there are also medical conditions and certain drugs that can cause hair loss and bald spots in men and women. You would have to consult a physician to determine the exact cause of your hair loss.

Scalp Reduction Surgery

Luckily, there are a lot of treatments and options available to anyone that has a bald spot. A surgical scalp reduction is a popular method for men and women who have exhausted other traditional methods of hair loss treatment. This surgery is also commonly called a hair lift or a scalp lift.

A scalp reduction is a surgical procedure in which the amount of balding skin is reduced. The surgeon would remove the bald spot, usually up to two inches, by cutting out that area of scalp. Healthy non-balding areas of the scalp are pulled together and then sutured closed.

During a scalp reduction you would be completely sedated and under anesthesia. The average length of the surgery is 1.5 to 2 hours. There is mild to moderate pain after surgery, depending on how large of an area was removed. There is only minor swelling and bruising with this surgery. Majority of people that have the surgery are able to return to normal activities in as little as three days.

A scalp reduction is a little pricey. The cost ranges on average from $2,000 to $3,000. This price varies depending on the surgeon, the location, and how extensive the surgery will be.

Who is a Candidate?

Men and women who have a noticeable bald spot are candidates for this surgery. You would have to have a healthy growth of hair surrounding the bald spot. If you suffer from certain types of illnesses or conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, you may not be a candidate. You would have to undergo a consultation and physical evaluation to be sure you are suitable for surgery.

Negative Effects

As with any surgery, there could be complications and negative side effects, though they are not too common. Possible negative side effects:

  • painful scars
  • large, noticeable scars
  • damage of the occipital nerve, causing numbness
  • indentation deformity on the head, causing unnatural hair flow direction
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • poor healing
  • tissue death

Having a scalp reduction is usually a last resort for those that have tried everything. While the surgery is minimally invasive and has proven results, the outcome does not always last forever. Eventually the healthy hair growth may also begin to bald.

African American Women and Hair Loss

Hair loss can be upsetting, or even devastating, to anyone. Hair loss in an African American woman can be even more worrisome because there are not a lot of hair loss treatments directed towards black women. African American women take a lot of pride in their hair, whether they wear it au-natural or in a weave. So it is understandable when a black woman feels not only upset, but confused on what she can do about her hair loss. The first step is to determine what is causing the hair loss, sometimes with the help of a doctor. Once the cause is pin-pointed treatment can begin, if possible.

CCCA

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (what a mouthful!), or CCCA, is a type of hair loss common in black women. CCCA is usually caused by excessive use of chemicals and heat. Women who get a lot of relaxers in their hair are prone to get CCCA, and it used to be referred to as hot-comb alopecia. This type of hair loss is characterized by starting on the top of the head at the crown and usually spreads. The best types of treatment for CCCA are obtained from a doctor. Usually a physician will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications since the skin becomes inflamed with CCCA. They will usually also require you to take other medications that can be applied right on the scalp, and vitamins.

Hormones and Hair Loss

Hormones can wreak havoc on a woman’s body and contribute to hair loss. Some causes of hormonal change that can bring about hair loss include pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid issues.There could possibly be treatments available for hormonal hair loss, depending on what exactly is causing the hormones to be out of sync. Occasionally doctors will use hormone treatments to attempt to balance the hormones to their normal state, which will cause the hair to grow as normal.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is hair loss that originates around the hairline. Usually the first signs of it are thinning or hair loss above the ears and in the area of the temples. This type of hair loss is most common in black women and is usually caused by the tightness and pulling, or traction, of the hairstyles that are popular with black women. Treatment is possible and almost never requires a visit to a doctor, if caught and treated early enough. First you should stop wearing the type of hairstyles that are causing the traction alopecia. There are over the counter supplements and vitamins that can be taken to help strengthen the hair and support new healthy growth. These include Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin B complex.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic Alopecia is the official medical term for female pattern baldness, the opposite of male pattern baldness. With androgenetic alopecia, women usually begin to see thinning and hair loss at the crown of the head, which begins to spread over time. This type of hair loss is genetic. Medicationssuch as Rogaine or those prescribed by a doctor are the only treatment for this type of hair loss.

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Clogged Follicles

African American Women and Hair Loss
By: Powell Burns

It isn’t too common, but occasionally hair loss can be a result of hair follicles becoming clogged. Black women who use a lot of hair product are particularly prone to this. Your risk factors for clogged follicles increase if you use greasy or heavy products and do not wash your hair frequently. Clogged follicles aren’t exactly a cause of hair loss, but they do prevent new hair from growing. If the follicles get infected, it could lead to permanent damage of the follicle, in which no hair would be able to grow. If you are a black woman and concerned about possible hair loss down the line, there are preventative measures that can be taken. You should first take vitamins and minerals daily that assist in hair health. Reduce the frequency in which hot treatments and chemicals are used on the hair, and try hairstyles that do not tightly constrict and pull the hair. If you begin to experience hair loss that you believe needs medical attention, see a doctor right away. The sooner it is treated, the sooner you will have your natural beautiful hair back.

RepliCel Sending Shockwaves with Hair Loss Research

New technology is making headway for groundbreaking treatments in hair loss. The company RepliCel Life Sciences, Inc. is in the process of developing a new treatment for hair loss in both men and women. RepliCel intends to be the first ever permanent answer for hair loss in the world.

How Does It Work

Replicel works by taking dermal sheath cup cells from a patient’s hair follicles that are healthy. These healthy cells are then cloned over three months into millions of healthy cells. Once the healthy cells are ready, they are then acquainted to the areas of the head that have experienced hair loss.

The hopeful result is that new hair follicles will develop and grow new, healthy hair. This process is called cell replication.

Clinical Trials

RepliCel Sending Shockwaves with Hair Loss Research
By: Andrew Magill

Replicel has been in development since 2003, and is making huge strides in 2012. Pre-clinical trials proved that the process was safe for human use and deemed to be an effective treatment for hair loss in humans. Phase 1 of Replicel’s clinical trials began in December 2010 and included a total of 19 patients, 10 that were men, and 9 women. From December 2010 until August 2011, patients underwent Replicel treatment, with the final injection being in August 2011.

Results from Phase 1 were released May 2, 2012. Results showed that patients experienced an average of 6.1% increase in total hair density. There was an increase of 12.5% density of small hairs, and 3.2% increase in thick hairs. Overall thickness of hairs increased by 4.3%.

Phase 2 of RepliCel’s clinical trials are slated to begin at some point in 2012. Phase 2 will closely study a larger patient pool. It will experiment with higher dosages of RepliCel and will continue to observe safety of RepliCel.

There are no known long-term side effects of RepliCel. Possible immediate side effects include itching, burning, and light bleeding at injection sites. The cost of RepliCel is also unknown, but has been promised to be competitive to other current treatments.

It is unclear when RepliCel would be available to the public. This is definitely a treatment to be excited about. Positive clinical trial results have indicated that this could possibly be the only permanent solution to hair loss available in the entire world. Good news for anyone suffering from hair loss.

Treating Hair Loss with Prescription Propecia

Propecia is a prescription medication for men that is used for treating hair loss related to male pattern baldness. It is meant to treat mild to moderate hair loss. Propecia is only intended to treat hair loss on the top of the head and hair loss on the mid-scalp area of the head. Propecia is made by the drug company Merck.

How Propecia Works

Propecia works to treat hair loss in men by preventing testosterone from converting into the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. The hormone DHT works naturally to reduce hair growth and shrink hair follicles, leading to baldness and hair loss in men.

When propecia prevents DHT from being produced in the body, the hair can stop thinning, and normal hair growth can resume.

How You Use It

Treating Hair Loss with Prescription Propecia
By: ryan

Propecia comes in pill form that is prescribed by a doctor. There are different dosage requirements for different people. You should follow the directions of your doctor and take the proper dosage that is on the prescription label. The average dosage for Propecia to treat hair loss is 1 mg a day.

You are only required to take the pill once a day, at the same time each day. It can be taken with or without food, but should be taken with an entire glass of water. If you ever miss a dose you should always skip it and start taking it again the next day. You should never double up on a dose because you missed one.

Propecia has to be taken long-term to get the desired effects. If you stop taking Propecia, you will lose the hair you gained in up to 12 months.

Who Is Propecia For

Propecia is only for men. This medicine is absolutely not for use in women or children. Women who take Propecia could have serious health complications. Women who are pregnant should not even handle the medicine. If they have to come into contact with Propecia, they should wear gloves when handling.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of Propecia ultimately lies with the pharmacy or organization where the prescription is filled. Propecia can cost anywhere from $90-$300 on average for a one month supply.

If you have health or prescription insurance, you should check to see if your plan will completely or partially pay for the prescription. Often insurance plans will not help with hair loss prescriptions since not having hair is considered a cosmetic problem, and not a health problem. You may have to fully fund it out of pocket.

There is some good news, though. If you have taken Propecia for an entire year and have taken a full 360 pills during the year, you can get a full refund from the drug company Merck if Propecia does not work for you. You would have to fill out an enrollment form at the beginning of your course. If after taking the medication for a year, it didn’t work, you would only need a statement from your physician that you took the full course and it did not help.

Clinical Trial Results

There have been various clinical trials on Propecia. One 5-year trial gave the medication to a group of men that were suffering from mild to moderate male pattern baldness. Two-thirds of those men had new hair growth, with forty-two percent of the men experiencing significant and visible new hair growth.

Propecia is known to be most effective for new growth in the crown area of the head. It was also found that propecia only works for as long as it is taken. If you stop taking it, your baldness will return within 6 to 12 months.

Possible Side Effects

There have been a number of adverse side effects reported by people that have used Propecia.

Some possible side effects are:

  • erectile dysfunction
  • diminished sex drive
  • testicular pain
  • headache
  • swelling in feet or hands
  • breast tenderness
  • runny nose
  • dizziness or weakness

If you are thinking about taking Propecia, you should speak with your doctor. Sometimes you will have to undergo a few tests to be sure you are in a good state of health to take it, since it can cause serious complications if there is an already existent health issue. Propecia also can react negatively with other medications, so you should be sure to tell your doctor of all meds you are on, as well as the dosage of each.