ENRICH being a dermatology clinic, hair loss assessment is aimed at working out the cause so that a strategy can be tailored and individualised for both men and women. Through proper assessment, we are able to offer a range of options to stimulate hair growth and reduce ongoing hair loss.
Depending on the cause, procedures may include topical and oral therapies, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), to activate stem cells for growth on your scalp. Whilst transplantation is the most heavily marketed way of addressing loss of locks, how we go about regrowth is not a one-size-fits-all approach and there are other options.
Male and female hair regrowth – Melbourne
- PRP regrowth
- Topical and oral medications prescribed by doctors
- Regrowth strategies
How PRP works for regrowth
Platelet-rich plasma – PRP – is injected into follicles and acts as a growth stimulant. Growth factors and stem cells are used to trigger the follicle, activating the stem cells and causing underdeveloped or underactive follicles to grow.
PRP doesn’t work for all types of hair loss, but it can work wonders in some forms in men and women.
Does PRP actually work?
PRP does work in certain circumstances, but it depends very heavily on the state of the scalp to begin with. It also depends on the cause of the follicle impairment or loss. You may expect just some regrowth after a procedure, not a full head necessarily – but, each of you is different, so results really do vary considerably.
Catching hair loss early means greater support for underactive follicles, which can be stimulated into producing hair, keeping follicles healthy and functional.
Expectations need to be managed – sometimes it’s just an impossibility or results are very limited. Sometimes, the treatment itself is worse than the hair loss, and needs to be abandoned.
The research into PRP
One study (Swapna et al 2014) offered us this: ‘PRP injection for androgenic alopecia is a simple, cost-effective and feasible treatment option for hair loss and can be regarded as a valuable adjuvant treatment modality…’ The researchers also added that it has an excellent safety profile and relatively low cost, providing ‘a promising treatment option for patients with thinning hair’.
So how did they test PRP?
The research team got together some participants who had previously tried other (unsuccessful) hair loss treatments. The schedule included four PRP injections across the scalp. Over the study period, hair counts increased from an average of 71 follicular units to 93 follicular units. That means just over 22 more hairs per square centimetre on the scalp. Not bad!
They also conducted what’s known as ‘hair pull tests’ before and after the study, finding that a mean of 10 hairs came out of each man’s head prior to treatment when pulled, but after the PRP injections, the pull tests were mostly negative. That means no hairs came out when pulled in nine out of the 11 study participants. This indicates that not only did the treatment work to increase hair count, but strengthened follicles.
The study group was small, however these results in men who had undergone previously unsuccessful procedures were impressive and encouraging. The men in the study reported an average satisfaction rating with the injections of seven out of 10.
How a PRP session occurs
The actual PRP treatment is reasonably straightforward. The doctor removes about 120ml of your own blood from your arm. The blood is then put into a special centrifuge (ours is state-of-the-art, and results in a denser PRP mixture at the end – we use the Angel centrifuge), which separates out the red and white blood cells from the plasma and platelets.
This process takes about 10 minutes.
Then, using a special injector with multiple prongs (to reduce the time it takes to cover your whole scalp) is used to inject the PRP into your scalp. Anaesthetic is used to avoid any discomfort. This process is then complete for one of your sessions. You will need multiple sessions to get any results.
Other hair regrowth strategies
We have a range of treatments at our fingertips, including medication, lasers, surgery or even management (wigs or hairpieces).
Medications and drugs
Some loss can be halted or reversed, but it will depend on the cause. Patchy loss sometimes resolves itself with no treatment over a period of months.
The idea behind all of this is hair regrowth, or to slow or hide loss. Medication-based male treatments include Minoxidil (Rogaine) or another prescription-only drug in pill form.
Minoxidil is available over the counter, and is used as a scalp rub twice daily. It can be used by men or women. Minoxidil has been shown to – in some people – reduce loss or increase growth rates. The effects are most apparent after 16 weeks, but you must keep applying the product to see the effects. Side effects include irritation, unwanted growth on nearby areas (face or hands), and rapid heartbeat.
Prescription-only medication in pill form
This prescription is only available to men and is taken as a pill. The drug in the pill can slow loss and some new growth may appear. The effects only continue so long as you are taking the pill. Side effects include the possibility of reduced libido and sexual function, and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Pregnant women should not touch crushed or broken tablets.
Medications that cause alopecia
Some medicines can cause hair loss, with the most well-known of these being chemotherapy drugs. Other drugs can cause hair loss too, however, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or immunosuppressants. Drugs include those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart and circulatory issues, and birth control.
Surgery revolves around hair transplants. A surgeon removes the hair with a tiny bit of follicle still attached from another part of your body, and implants it on your scalp. Medication may be required at the same time. Hair transplants can become quite costly and uncomfortable, with risks including infection and scarring.
We do not do hair transplants at ENRICH Clinic.
Hiding hair loss
Wigs or hairpieces are sometimes the best option for those of you who are not able to regrow your locks, no matter what you have tried. There are some beautiful pieces available, so there is no need for this to be obvious to anyone except yourself.
Male and female hair loss testing
A diagnosis must be made to make sure underlying disease can be ruled out or identified and managed accordingly.
You will be required to undergo some blood tests to rule out diseases, in particular, thyroid issues.
Elements that contribute to hair loss include:
- Genetics (family history)
Genetic male and female hair loss
Hereditary hair loss, also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness, is hair loss that follows a classic pattern. This may be a receding hairline or a bald patch in men, but usually appears as thinning in women. The age at which this occurs will also be imprinted into your DNA – you can thank your parents for that.
The rate of thinning is also predetermined in hereditary hair loss, as is how much overall will be lost. Some men will start balding as early as adolescence, while others may only start balding very much later on in life. Hair may also just become thin and soft, as opposed to falling out entirely.
Trichotillomania – compulsive hair-pulling
Compulsive pulling may cause hair loss, and over time, if the same hair is pulled out over and over, the follicles can stop functioning.
No matter the cause of your hair loss, we can help.
Contact us for a hair loss consultation.
*Results may vary from person to person
This is a specific test to see how many hairs come out when your hair is pulled. This helps figure out the rate of loss.
Biopsy of the scalp
The roots will need to be examined to see if there is any underlying infection causing your hair loss.
Hair shaft testing
Light microscopy is used to check the hair shaft for irregularities that may offer clues to the loss.
What causes male and female hair loss?
Hair loss is normal – we all lose up to 100 hairs per day off our body and scalp. The replacement rate is usually sufficient that the cycle remains stable: just as many new hairs grow as old ones fall out. Hair loss becomes an issue when the growth cycle is no longer balanced, and the follicle may not be healthy.
We don’t always know what causes hair loss, but we do understand what elements contribute more often than others.
Hormonal conditions contributing to male and female hair loss
Hormone imbalances can contribute to hair loss, at least temporarily. Many women lose hair at a great rate (scarily and unexpectedly fast!) due to pregnancy and childbirth (read more about this here), though this resolves. Menopause may also cause an increase in thinning.
The thyroid is in control of many hormones, so if the thyroid is interrupted, hair loss can be the result.
Alopecia areata – patchy hair loss
Alopecia areata occurs when for some reason, the immune system attacks your follicles. This leaves bald patches.
Ringworm or other infections can infect follicles, causing them to malfunction. Infections can be treated and hair usually regrows, unless the infection was severe and scarring remains.
Scarring conditions – lichenoid conditions
Lichenoid conditions can cause irreparable scarring to follicles, causing bald patches that cannot be repaired.