By Dr. Glenn Charles
You’ve seen it on your favorite blog, on the grocery store checkout line magazine covers, on TV. Naomi, Rihanna, Kim K., Tyra — all hair icons. All experiencing hair loss.
Having been in the hair health and restoration industry for close to twenty years I have seen it all – or close to it. Braids, plaits, locks, wigs, weaves, extensions, colors, cuts, relaxers, perms and everything in between. While these trends may all be quite different, the one thing that holds unfortunately true is the damage or potential damaging effect they can have on the hair – Traction Alopecia. Traction Alopecia is defined as non-scarring alopecia due to prolonged tension exerted on the hair.
While my practice used to see 10-15% female patients, in the past decade that number has soared to upwards of 30%. I do not necessarily believe that more women are experiencing hair loss – I do believe women have always suffered through it silently. With the growing number of publications and blogs accessible to most everyone, women are now empowered with the knowledge that there are steps that they can take to address and hopefully reverse the damage. I have outlined some of my favorite remedies to strengthen and lengthen hair below:
Laser Therapy: There are several Low Level Laser Therapy (or LLLT) products on the market. These ultra-modern, take-home devices are used for approximately thirty minutes every other day to promote blood flow to the scalp as well as increase cellular regeneration. They are used to strengthen the hair follicle therefore producing a thicker, healthier hair. The best case scenario? You start using a laser device when the hair follicle is still alive but laying dormant and wake up some sleeping follicles. Worst case? It adds some life and volume to the dull or lifeless existing hair on your head. We have seen some remarkable results on female patients in our practice.
Supplements: My philosophy in treating hairloss is one of overall health and wellness – the healthier a person is, the healthier their hair is. There are several over-the-counter supplements that can be taken to aid in achieving this.
Biotin: AKA Vitamin H, a vitamin of the B complex, is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids and glucose. Biotin helps keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy.
•Selenium: A trace element, Selenium functions as an antioxidant helping counter the effects of the environment and sun exposure. It also boosts your immune system helping prevent hair loss.
•Zinc: A vital mineral for hair health, zinc deficiency can lead to a deterioration of the protein structure that makes up the hair follicle. Zinc is also believed to play an important role in the DNA and RNA production leading to healthier hair.
Hair Restoration: While female hair loss caused by Traction Alopecia can sometimes be reversible with the use of Laser Therapy and Supplements, we also see patients who are better candidates for hair restoration. A simple procedure that is performed under local anesthesia while you watch TV or nap, hair restoration is the only way to bring hair back once the follicle has been permanently damaged with traction or chemicals.
Gone are the days of a noticeable, pluggy look. These days we move individual hair groupings, or follicular units, consisting of one to three hairs from the back of your head to the front mimicking the way your hair naturally grows. This is all done in a few short hours and patients report little to no discomfort afterwards. You can wear a head wrap, scarf or hat immediately afterwards and return to work the very next day. While the results can take up to a year to be fully visible, the hair we transplant to the hairline is completely natural in appearance and best of all permanent. Post-operatively we coach our patients on the best way to avoid further traction and how to best care for their improved hairline. Be sure to do your homework and due diligence – while the laws vary state by state, make sure you consult with and select a Board Certified Hair Restoration Surgeon to ensure best results.
Dr. Glenn Charles of the Charles Medical Group is a surgeon in the top tier of professional hair transplant doctors in the United States. Dr. Charles’ experience and leadership in the hair restoration field has made him remain as one of the most sought after surgeons for hair restoration.