Efforts to stop hair loss or keep baldness at bay for as long as possible date back to ancient times. While some of the techniques used back then, such as spreading hippo fat on the scalp, are very ineffective, the search for a miracle hair loss treatment remains ongoing. Some people have gone so far as to buy into seemingly ridiculous “cures,” that promise fast results. While most gimmicks are ineffective, there are a number of real hair loss treatments available today.
Gimmick: Scalp Vacuum
Back in the early 20th century, people didn’t really understand the cause of hair loss. They didn’t know that hormones played a part. One assumption was that people lost their hair because of a lack of circulation to the scalp.
A solution to the problem of hair loss was thought to be applying suction to the scalp, to improve blood flow and keep the hairs from shedding. The big drawback of most scalp vacuums was that they were uncomfortable to use and left people with bright red scalps. The Crosley Xervac sought to fix the problem by alternating suction with blowing air.
Of course, that didn’t solve the major issue with any type of scalp vacuum. They didn’t get to the root of the hair loss problem and weren’t effective.
Real: Laser Treatment
Flash forward almost 100 years and there’s a new treatment for hair loss available that sounds as gimmicky as a hair loss vacuum but actually works. Laser light therapy for hair loss can help thicken miniaturized follicles and reduce hair loss.
The treatment, which is performed in a doctor’s office over the course of nearly a year, helped slow the progression of hair loss in about 85 percent of patients. About 40 percent of patients had greater hair density after just 16 weeks of treatment.
During treatment, a patient sits under a hood that loosely covers the scalp. The hood contains 30 laser diodes, which project cool laser beams onto the scalp. A patient usually goes in twice a week, for 12 weeks, then once a week for 12 weeks, then every other week for 24 weeks.
While laser treatments can work, they aren’t effective in every patient. If the hair follicle is completely miniaturized or gone, laser treatments won’t bring it back.
Gimmick: Hot Sauce for Hair Growth
Even all these years later, people are still looking for miracle cures for hair loss. One such cure is probably not going to be found in a bottle of hot sauce, but that doesn’t keep people from trying.
The thinking behind hot sauce as a hair growth treatment is that the substance that makes the peppers hot, capsaicin, can also improve blood flow. Rubbing it on the scalp is thought to increase circulation and keep hair from falling out. Most doctors are pretty convinced that all rubbing hot sauce on your head will do is make you smell like dinner.
Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a topical hair loss treatment that does actually provide some results. While it can be effective, it’s nowhere near a miracle cure for balding. The product is applied directly to the scalp, in the area that is seeing some hair loss. It needs to be applied twice a day, everyday.
It can take up to a year for you to see results from the treatment. A big drawback of Minoxidil is that results are usually not very impressive and since it’s not a cure for hair loss, once you stop using it, any hair regrowth you get will stop or fall out again.
Real: Hair Restoration
Hair restoration or hair transplants offer a permanent, real solution to hair loss. The surgery involves removing hair from one area, usually the back or side of the scalp, and transplanting it to another, usually the top of the scalp. The surgery can also be performed to help with facial or body hair loss, if needed.
While a real, effective treatment, hair restoration surgery isn’t for everyone. It’s best for patients who are dealing with male pattern baldness and who have an adequate amount of hair to transplant. Results do take some time to appear, as the transplanted hair typically sheds, then regrows. It can take a few months for the results to be visible, but for many patients who have been dealing with hair loss issues for years, a few months waiting is well worth it.
If you decide to explore your treatment options when it comes to hair loss, it pays to see an expert. Dr. Jeffrey Epstein at the Foundation for Hair Restoration and Plastic Surgery, is one of the most well-respected hair restoration surgeons in the country. He sees patients at his practice in New York and Miami and can help you determine the best course of treatment. Call (212) 759-3484 to schedule an appointment at the New York office or (305) 666-1774 for an appointment in Miami.