August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month, and it’s a good time for men and women who are concerned about the state of their hair to take a closer look at the many medical options available to them.
It’s also an important time for doctors to educate their patients about the real medical science behind hair loss treatment and to dispel the myths and misinformation that lead many people astray.
“Hair loss is a treatable medical condition and there’s no reason why men or women should should feel ‘doomed’ to a life of baldness,” said Alan J. Bauman, M.D., a board-certified hair restoration physician and founder/medical director of Bauman Medical Group.
“There are a wide range of scientifically proven preventive and recuperative treatment options available, and these medical options continue to grow. It’s important for consumers to find qualified hair restoration specialists and to make sure they’re being provided the most up to date treatment options available.”
Hair loss is believed to affect over 50 million men and 30 million women in the US and consumers spend over $3.5 billion per year on treatments – much of which is wasted, according to Bauman.
Here are Bauman’s top five tips for hair loss patients:
1) Screen Your Doctor –
“Over the past few years, more doctors have begun to offer hair loss services to their patients, which is both good and bad for the consumer,” Bauman said. “It can be good for patients, because these treatment options are more widely available, but put patients at risk if the procedures aren’t performed with artistry and skill.”
Consumers need to be careful when choosing a hair loss doctor. Ideally, patients should look for a board-certified hair restoration physician, someone who specializes in hair loss cases full-time.
However, at the very least, patients should make sure their doctor has undergone specialized training for the specific non-surgical procedures he or she is offering (such as platelet-rich plasma therapy, FDA approved prescription medications or low level laser therapy) and has his or her own patient testimonials to back it up.
Consumers should not undergo hair transplantation by a doctor who is not board certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. For a list of qualified hair loss specialists in your area, visit the ABHRS or ISHRS.
2) Don’t Waste Your Money –
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of outdated products and procedures still on the market and a number of totally bogus ‘cures’ that are heavily advertised as well,” Bauman said.
Consumers should not be fooled by ‘miracle cure’ ads for various pills, potions and lotions. There is only one FDA approved oral medication (finasteride, brand name Propecia) and topical treatment (minoxidil, brand name Rogaine) for hair loss.
However, it’s also important to note minoxidil may only be effective in about 38.3% of cases, as recent medical studies have found.
Other bogus treatments include special hair loss brushes that claim to stimulate follicle growth by improving blood flow to the scalp, or the various herbal supplements that claim to reverse or prevent hair loss (although biotin and marine-derived proteins and polysaccharides can support hair quality).
However, one of the biggest risks for patients is the outdated hair transplant.
Many doctors still perform the “strip-harvest” hair transplant procedure, which can leave the patient with a long linear scar at the back of the head. It also carries a higher risk of infection, post-op bleeding, discomfort and extended recovery time.
3) Best New Treatments to Consider –
“Hair loss science is progressing very rapidly and leading to a number of new treatment options for consumers, which are significantly more effective and gentler on the patient,” Bauman said.
The most advanced treatment option is the NeoGraft FUE, a no stitch, no scalpel microsurgical hair transplant procedure that removes individual hair follicles for implantation into the balding areas of the scalp.
It allows for natural-looking, 100% undetectable results and avoids the risks associated with the outdated strip-harvest procedure.
Other breakthrough treatments include Formula 82M, which is a specially compounded minoxidil treatment that is significantly more effective and user-friendly than traditional over-the-counter minoxidil; platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, also known as the “vampire” treatment, which uses growth factors in the patient’s own blood to stimulate hair growth; prostaglandin analogs; and the LaserCap, a 224-diode wearable hands-free device that uses low level laser therapy to stimulate follicle growth at the cellular level.
4) Four Myths –
“Myths and misinformation are a big problem for hair loss sufferers and in many cases they prevent people from getting the right kind of treatment when they need it,” Bauman said. One of the top myths is that baldness is passed down from your mother’s side. Actually, there are over 200 genes that regulate our hair and they are passed down by both parents.
Other myths include: hair loss is only a problem for men (actually, women suffer from it almost just as much as men); once hair loss becomes visible, it’s time to seek treatment (by the time hair loss becomes visible to the naked eye, the patient has already lost 50% of the hair follicles); and you can grow back dead follicles (there is no medication that can regrow hair from a dead follicle – the only option at that point is to undergo a hair transplant.)
5) Be Proactive –
“Between new genetic tests that can accurately predict a person’s likelihood of experiencing hair loss later in life, to the accurate and scientific HairCheck trichometer tool that can actively monitor hair loss or regrowth over time, there are a number of ways that consumers can be proactive about the healthiness of their hair follicles,” Bauman said.
Early intervention is the key to good results. The earlier a patient can get started on a treatment regimen, the more likely they are to retain their current hair line with the minimum amount of treatment.
For more information about hair loss, visit http://www.baumanmedical.com.
About Dr. Alan J. Bauman
Alan J. Bauman, M.D. is a full-time hair transplant surgeon who has treated over 15,000 patients and performed over 7,000 surgical procedures since starting his hair loss practice, Bauman Medical Group, in 1997 located in Boca Raton, FL.
Dr. Bauman received his M.D. degree from New York Medical College and surgical residency training at Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
Dr. Bauman is one of approximately 100 physicians worldwide to achieve certification from the esteemed American and International Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. He has been an active member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery as a participant and faculty member at numerous Annual Scientific Meetings and Live Surgery Workshops.
Dr. Bauman is an author of textbook chapters on the science of hair care and hair transplantation, including eyelash transplant surgery, and has been extensively featured in the world’s leading media as a medical expert and successful early-adopter of some of the most advanced technologies in the treatment of hair loss such as laser therapy and minimally-invasive NeoGraft FUE hair transplantation.
Appearances, interviews and profiles include the Today Show, The Early Show, Good Morning America, Extra, Access Hollywood, The Doctors and Dateline NBC among other TV appearances.
Newspaper and Magazine articles and feature stories include The New York Times, Newsweek, Cosmo, Vogue, Allure, O – The Oprah Magazine and Men’s Health among others.
For more information, visit http://www.baumanmedical.com.