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Why Botox Is Being Researched As A Cure For Hair Loss

 

If you are researching different methods that are intended to restore hair, you may have come across Botox as an off-label treatment.

Most medical experts are still skeptical. While some research has supported a correlation between Botox  and its ability to reverse hair loss, the outcomes are not conclusive in verifying the injection as a cure.

Why Do Some People Think That Botox May Be A Hair Loss Cure?

A doctor in Beverly Hills was trying to treat his mother for migraines using Botox. She was a cancer patient who had lost much of her hair due to chemotherapy. As a result of the Botox injections, he noticed that her hair started to grow back.

From this experience, he performed additional tests on volunteers to see if Botox could be a possible cure for hair loss. According to his reports, Botox, (along with a regimen of vitamin supplements) was able to offer positive results for many of these individuals.

However part of the skepticism generated in response to these anecdotal claims is due to the lack of photographic evidence and publications in the form of peer reviewed articles.

Research On Botox As A Hair Loss Cure

A team in Canada organized a formal research study to learn more about the effects of Botox on hair loss. Fifty subjects were observed with different levels of baldness (Norwood scale II-IV). They were given 300 units of Botox over 24 weeks.

To see if Botox made a difference in the hair loss, researchers measured growth progress on an area of the treated scalp measuring 2cm. The loss of hair was monitored quantitatively by collecting hair from each of the subject’s pillows. The objective, of course, was to see if the number of hairs decreased over time.

Was Botox found to be a cure for hair loss? Actually, the study did show a positive correlation. Results found that the number of head hairs increased by 18%. Hair loss decreased by 39%. And the response rate to using Botox was 75%.

The researchers believe that Botox works in a manner similar to Rogaine, by enhancing the supply of blood to the hair follicles. Since Botox relaxes muscles, this would decrease the constriction around the blood vessels. The increased oxygenation helps prevent the breakdown of testosterone to DHT. DHT causes follicles to shrink in individuals whose follicles are sensitive to this metabolite.

Botox cannot be considered to be a cure for hair loss, despite the results from this research. Keep in mind that this study only found a correlation. This not the same as a causal relationship.

There are still many variables that need to be investigated further before considering Botox to be an official hair loss cure.

Botox as a Hair Loss Cure

Many people are interested in a cure for hair loss which is a progressive and permanent condition.

 

 

Is There Such Thing As A Cure For Hair Loss?

The most common type of hair loss that individuals seek a cure for is pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia.

In the truest sense, a cure would treat the root causes of baldness in order to stop the hair loss from progressing and restore the hair. With pattern baldness, the ultimate cause is genetic. Genes carry instructions for creating proteins, including the protein receptors on hair follicles.

In those who have androgenic alopecia, these receptors are structured in way that renders them incapable of defense against the follicular damage caused by DHT (dihydrotestosterone) , which is a breakdown product of testosterone and an enzyme, (enzyme 5-alpha-reductase). DHT causes these follicles to shrink and release the hair shafts.

As of now, there is no medical intervention that can cure hair loss by changing DNA programming.

The Perspective of FUE Hair Transplant As A Cure For Hair Loss

Although genetic treatment for hair loss is not currently available to patients, the next best option would be hair transplant using techniques in Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

FUE hair transplant procedures can be viewed as a hair loss cure

because of the results that are achieved. In this context, the word cure has to do with fixing the issue as it has manifested. This would be the next best approach to take for baldness since DNA treatment is currently not available to patients.

Although FUE cannot treat the underlying causes of hair loss, it can permanently restore the hair in patients whose hair loss has stopped progressing.

This is why it is important for younger patients (25 and under) to wait before seeking a cure for hair loss through a transplant procedure. If surgery attempts to treat individuals who are continuing to experience hair loss, they will end up with cosmetically unacceptable results. It will be plain to see the fully restored regions along with odd patches of missing hair. Inevitably they will need another surgery to correct this.

As a cure for hair loss, Follicular Unit Extraction can result in outcomes that permanently reverse the manifestations of baldness, almost as if it had never occurred at all. Please keep in mind that the quality of the end results really depends on the expertise of the hair restoration surgeon, and not the fact that they offer FUE. There are many cases of patients who have received less than ideal results as well as those who received the best outcomes possible.

Follicular Unit Extraction can even help hair loss patients as a cure, so to speak, for severe baldness and those with limited donor supplies. With new techniques in body hair transplant, the doctor is able to carefully select each hair graft from areas such as the beard region, chest, arm, leg, nape and hairline around the ears.

 

Hair Loss Restoration

Severe forms of hair loss can be treated with FUE which offers the results of a cure for the condition

 

In searching for the right hair loss cure, always consider the probability of the end results instead of the initial allure of different claims and

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogaine and Propecia- Do They Grow Hair?

Rogaine and Propecia are both well known pharmaceutical products that many people turn to, mainly  when the causes of hair loss are genetic.  They are not cures for baldness. So it is important to understand what to reasonably expect if your objective is to grow hair.

Rogaine

Hair Growth with Rogaine

Rogaine has been shown to grow hair in clinical studies. But growth is not guaranteed across all individuals. (image courtesy of www.drugstore.com)

 Rogaine is also known as Minoxidil.  It is available over the counter as a topical solution which must be applied morning and night.  Full effects are usually evident within a four month timeframe.

Rogaine is a vasodilator that helps increase blood supply to hair follicles. It can be used for androgenic alopecia (pattern baldness) and alopecia areata (caused by autoimmune disfunction).

The exact mechanism behind how the medication works is not clear. It was originally intended to treat high blood pressure. However, one of the side effects noticed in clinical studies was hair growth.

The ability of Rogaine to help grow hair  is not consistent across everyone. 85% of the male subjects in a 16 week study experienced hair growth. 60% of female subjects were able to grow hair after 32 weeks.

Hair growth from this product only occurs in the crown area and not the hairline. However Rogaine’s effectiveness is in preventing further loss.

Propecia

Propecia and Hair Growth

Propecia is available by prescription. It’s ability to grow hair differs across individuals.(image courtesy of: www.franklindrugcenter.com)

Propecia is also known as Finasteride, which is available as a prescription in pill form.  Effects can be seen in 3 months to about a year. This medication works by inhibiting DHT, which is a breakdown product of testosterone. Patients with androgenic alopecia, or pattern baldness have hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT. Their hair shafts fall out as a result.  Propecia cannot be taken by women.

Like Rogaine, Propecia can only grow hair in the crown area, if at all. However it also prevents the progression of baldness.  So discontinuing either product will worsen the condition of hair loss.

 

Using Supplements to Help Grow Hair

 

 

Hair Growth Supplements

Image courtesy of www.fitness.com-Vitamins and minerals can optimize and regulate body functions that help hair grow

 

Individuals suffering from loss of hair might be interested in the topic of using supplements to grow hair. However this may or may not be a viable solution for everyone. The effectiveness of supplements depends on the causes behind the loss of hair.

Genetic and Environmental Causes of Hair Loss

1)      Androgenic alopecia  (pattern baldness) is primarily hereditary. This is when follicles are sensitive to the presence of androgen hormones in the blood stream, causing the hair shafts to fall out. With a genetic condition using supplements to grow hair will probably not result in the type of hair restoration that the individual hopes to see.

2)      Environmental causes of hair loss can include stress, malnourishment, iron deficiency reaction to medications. According to Dr. Umar, Hair follicles can be one of the first areas of your body to respond to stressful life situations.  They enter a resting phases which can precipitate the loss of hair. If stress or medication is the primary cause of hair loss, limiting the exposure to these factors can be helpful.  If nutritional deficiencies are the main reason, then vitamins and supplements can certainly be used to grow hair.

Nutritional Supplements To Grow Hair

If you are wondering what types of vitamins and minerals can be taken to make hair grow, here is a list to consider.

Vitamins To Help Grow Hair

  1. Vitamin A is used to build new red blood cells which are needed to carry oxygen and nutrients to areas like the hair follicles
  2. B Vitamins contribute to circulation, metabolism and cell division. In particular Biotin and folic acid (synthetic form of folate) are particularly helpful for hair growth.
  3. Vitamin C supports collagen synthesis which is needed for healthy scalp tissue.  It also protects from free radicals
  4. Vitamin E supports blood circulation and the absorption of oxygen

Minerals To Help Grow Hair

  1. Iron is found in a structural protein within your hair follicles called ferritin. When your iron intake is low, your body will attempt to use iron sources from “less essential” regions like the hair follicles.
  2. Zinc helps with basic functions of the body that are needed to grow hair. These include cell production, proper balance of hormones, protein synthesis and vitamin absorption.
  3. Copper plays an important role in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color. It also stimulates the follicles to function at its best.
  4. Silica is needed for the overall health of the follicles and scalp. It also contributes to hair length and strength.
  5. Selenium is a micronutrient that enables the body to metabolize certain proteins, which are processes important for hair growth.

 

Vitamins and supplements are not a cure for baldness, but contribute to the healthy functioning of your body. This helps to optimize the ability of your hair to grow at a healthy rate. Ensuring an abundant supply helps to encourage and maintain this process.

If you are interested in taking vitamins and supplements to help grow your hair, be sure to speak to your doctor about which ones to take as well as dosages.

 

 

 

 

FUT, FUE, BHT: What Do They All Mean?

If you’re planning to undergo hair transplant, the first place to start is to research the various techniques currently practiced. This can seem like an overwhelming sea of acronyms, with mixed reviews and feedback about each one mounting the confusion you already feel. Start by breaking down the building blocks of each technique to find out if it is the right one for you.

What is FUT?

FUT stands for follicular unit transplant. This hair transplant technique came about in the 1980’s, with major development in the 1990’s. It is considered the “traditional” method of hair transplant because it is the oldest of the existing techniques and it removes hair from the safe donor zone only.

FUT is also known as strip harvesting. Procedurally, the surgeon excises a strip of flesh from the mid-rear scalp (the safe donor zone). This strip is dissected into follicular units (grouping of one to four hairs) to be implanted into the recipient area. This method requires stitches or staples to close the wound in the donor area. This method is known for its linear scar and is limited in hairline design due to the texture of hair in its confined donor supply.

What is FUE?

FUE stands for follicular unit extraction. This microsurgical method was also conceived of in the 1980’s but it’s development came largely after the growth of FUT. FUE harvests grafts in individual follicular units, instead of in a strip of flesh. These follicular units are excised with a punch tool anywhere from .8 to 1.2mm in diameter.

There is no need for wound closures with follicular unit extraction, since each wound made is so small. This also abates much of the noticeable scarring. In addition, FUE does widens the scope of viable donor hair. An advanced surgeon might take hair from the nape of the neck to craft a natural-looking, soft hairline. Procedurally, this method takes much longer and tends to cost more than FUT, but can offer superior results.

What is BHT?

FUT FUE BHT

Hair transplant repair using body hair transplant.

BHT stands for body hair transplant. This highly advanced technique is still considered relatively new and is not yet globally practiced. It is derived from FUE, and makes use of donor hair from all over the body, to include the beard, chest, stomach, arms, shoulders, and legs. The purpose of widening the donor pool to such areas is for hair restoration of the severely bald; those who’ve suffered an accident, those whose scalp is depleted and scarred from prior surgeries, or those who have reached an NW 6 or 7 on the scale.

Body hair transplant tends to be a long a laborious procedure, generally requiring several thousand grafts for a complete restoration. Thus, it tends to be more expensive and require an FUE surgeon with unmatched skill. The major drawback of this method is that the long term graft survival rates are not as high as they are with head hair, though they are consistently above 80%.

Bald and Proud: Embracing Hair Loss

In a world that seems more and more obsessed with youth and beauty, it’s hard to accept the distinctive signs that come with aging. One of these distinctive signs is hair loss. While many are still able to accept the wrinkles and sunspots slowly creeping across their countenance, it is decidedly more of a challenge to “age gracefully” with thinning hair. But hair transplant is not for everyone. Even over-the-counter hair restoration treatments like Rogaine may not be worth the hassle nor the side effects for those who’ve embraced their age, baldness included.

Why Some Embrace Hair Loss

Obviously, this is an easier feat for men than it is for women. Hair is a much larger part of cosmetic self-acceptance for women, dating back to the dawn of time. Nonetheless, there are both women and men out there dealing with different types of hair loss, from pattern baldness to alopecia areata, who’ve decided to shave their heads and get on with their lives.

Perhaps a hair restoration drug like finasteride is not worth the health risks, or a hair loss sufferer can’t afford hair transplant. Maybe certain cultures are less focused on external beauty, or someone in a cosmetically self-indulgent society looks to a bald celebrity for reassurance. In any case, having a positive self-image and being in a healthy mental/emotional state is the most important part of leading a happy life.

Suggestions on How To Embrace Hair Loss

Most people who struggle with hair loss also suffer psychologically. Embracing your situation may begin with recognizing and facing your inner turmoil. The following are some common emotional responses to hair loss and/or failed hair restoration.

  • Mood swings
  • Avoidance of social gatherings
  • Dodging meetings at work
  • Sabotaging interpersonal relationships

While it is expected that frustration, anger, and even depression may come with the territory, a hair loss sufferer can be cognizant of sudden mood changes; he or she can make a conscious daily effort not to avoid friends and not to push loved ones away. If embracing hair loss sounds impossible for you, that’s okay, too. However, it is always important to pursue inner wellbeing while pursuing any hair restoration method.

A Look At The Pros and Cons of the Artas Robotic Hair Transplant System

 

Artas is a robotic technology for hair transplant designed to improve the speed, precision and consistency of Follicular Unit Extraction procedures.

Why Was Artas Developed For Hair Transplant Procedures?

It is estimated that there are about 35 million hair transplant candidates in the United States. And the demand for FUE procedures has grown about 40% in the last year.

However the number of physicians who can successfully perform FUE hair transplant is not enough to meet these needs.  FUE is time consuming and FUE surgeons easily become fatigued from the lengthy process, which can increase the risk of errors.

As an FUE technology system, Artas offers some new hope for helping more doctors meet the growing demand for hair restoration.

What Are the Pros of Using Artas In Hair Transplant Surgery?

1) Artas uses algorithms to speed up the process of analyzing and identifying characteristics of hair grafts for selection such as:

-angle

-orientation

-direction

-density

-distribution

2) Using well defined algorithms to characterize hair follicle grafts enables a certain level of precision, efficiency and consistency in extracting each hair graft.

3) Artas offers some relief from the fatigue and tedium that is inherent with performing FUE hair transplant procedures. Surgeons may be less likely to commit errors and can concentrate on the artistry that is required in the second half of the procedure where the grafts are reinserted into the recipient area of the scalp.

What Are the Cons of Using Artas in Hair Transplant Surgery

1) Candidacy is restricted to straight haired patients with dark brown or black hair

2) Artas can only perform hair transplant extractions on the back and sides of the head. Many hair loss patients require finer caliber hair and/or an expanded donor supply. While this need can be met through nape, beard and body hair, Artas cannot be used to extract follicles in these regions.

 Artas Robotic Hair Transplant System

Artas cannot be used for light haired patients or those with depleted donor supply in the back of the head. This patient benefited from a facial hair transplant which cannot be achieved with any type of FUE machine.

 

3) Only a skilled doctor can determine additional characteristics for suitable hair grafts behind the basic quantifiable criteria. The doctor must have a vision of the final results to achieve for the patient. This is another element to be used in selecting  the right hair grafts in order to create natural looking aesthetic outcomes.

4) The Artas hair transplant system uses larger diameter punches (1.65mm versus 0.8-1.2mm to extract each hair graft) There are two types of risks associated with this

i. Larger punches entail larger wounds and scars. Healing complications may also occur.

ii. Larger punches can also damage adjacent follicles, creating a “moth eaten” appearance in the donor area.

5) The extraction phase of the Artas hair transplant technology uses a two needle system. The sharp inner needle extends to create the initial score. Then a round punch structure around the inner needle creates a circular deeper score. This technique has been known to bury grafts. Cysts can develop from this.

 

Although the Artas hair transplant  technology has received FDA clearance and many experts believe in its potential to redefine hair restoration, it requires further refinements before it can fully replace the discernment of a skilled hair restoration surgeon.

 

 

How Does the Robotic Artas System Work For Hair Transplant?

 

Because Follicular Unit Extraction   involves scoring individual follicles directly from the scalp, it can be a time consuming procedure.  To help address this, FUE technology is being developed in efforts to speed up the process as to improve accuracy and precision in harvesting each hair graft.

One such example is the robotic Artas hair transplant  system which has been designed  for two main objectives:

1)      Selection of follicles

2)      Scoring of follicular units

 

Mechanical Elements of Artas

The Artas system is mainly characterized by the following mechanical elements:

1)      Digital imaging system that uses algorithms to identify follicular units and pinpoint the best ones through mapping and tracking technology. It is programmed to identify properties like:

-           Angle

-          Orientation

-          Distribution

-          Direction

-          Density

2)      Robotic arm of the Artas hair transplant system processes the information of the digital imaging system to perform the extractions using a 2 needle system

i. inner sharp needle to score the skin

ii. outer blunt dissection punch to execute a deeper punch and excise the hair graft.

 

How the Artas Procedure is Performed in A Hair Transplant Procedure

The patient is seated with their face down on a supporting structure. After the donor area is anesthetized, a skin tensioner is placed on the surface to gather information about the location of follicular units and decides which ones to score.

The robotic arm performs the extractions and uses light suctioning to elevate each hair graft from the surface. Forceps are then used to remove the grafts.

The surgeon reinserts the grafts into the donor area for hair replacement and restoration.

Is Artas FUE Technology The Best Choice For Hair Transplant?

The Artas system is considered to be physician controlled and robot assisted. However the process of choosing the best follicular units for grafting cannot be defined exclusively by algorithms and a five criteria system. Choosing hair grafts requires having a vision for a specific hairline and various nuances that are needed to achieve the best looking results for the patient.

Also the Artas system uses punches that are much larger than manual FUE devices. This entails larger scars and risks of complications during the healing process.

Artas technology for hair transplant purposes is also limited by the obvious:

  1. Patients with dark brown or black hair
  2. Patients with straight hair
  3. Only hair on the back or sides of the head can be extracted. It therefore cannot be used for nape, beard or body hair. These types of extractions represent one of the latest advancements in FUE technique which has shown excellent results among patients who require an expanded donor supply.

Although engineers have managed to improve transection rates, there is still substantial risk of the grafts being buried and forming cysts.

With robotic and digital imaging technology, the Artas system may seem very cutting edge and impressive. However upon further inspection, it still requires additional refinements and development before it can be considered as the best choice for hair transplant.

 

Before Artas Hair Transplantation

FUE hair transplant patients often require techniques to meet needs such as: lighter shades of hair and a greater donor supply through other areas like the beard region. Artas is not able to accommodate these needs.

 

 

Automation FUE Still Not Ready For Primetime

FUE, or follicular unit extraction, is an ever-growing hair transplant method. It is not only gaining popularity, but also seems to be constantly developing in technology to improve surgical hair restoration capabilities overall. By nature, its individual follicle extraction was an improvement from other methods in invasiveness, recovery time, scarring, and hairline design. Of course, FUE has also seen somewhat of a tools race—the development of various extraction tools to get the job done as quickly, safely, and efficiently as humanly (or robotically) possible.

However, many of these new FUE machines are not yet advanced enough for the most advanced niche of FUE—body hair transplant (BHT). In recent years, follicular unit extraction paved the way for the development of BHT, a hair restoration technique that expands the donor supply to include almost all hair on the body. This advanced method still requires the use of a handheld tool.

Different FUE Machines

All FUE machines work on a punching mechanism, anywhere from .8mm to 1.2mm in diameter. Classic tools are handheld and rely on the steady, trained hands of a skilled surgeon. Handheld tools can be manual, with a rotary punch, or electrically powered. This is the only type of FUE machine currently available for use in body hair transplant. uGraft is one example of such a tool.

 

FUE Procedure Tools

Powered handheld FUE tool.

Other tools growing in popularity and use include ARTAS and NeoGraft. These FUE machines are both largely mechanized, with ARTAS being entirely robotic.

These systems can only be used on the scalp. At the moment, they  are not yet ready for the extremely advanced nature of body hair transplant, since they are unable to extract hair outside the traditional donor zone.

Why Handheld FUE Machines Are Ideal for Body Hair Transplant

BHT enables the use of hair from the nape of the neck, beard, shoulders, chest, stomach, arms, and legs. Surgeons using handheld FUE machines like uGraft are able to navigate these areas with minimal invasiveness and minimal scarring. In addition, with body hair follicles often being more curved in nature than scalp hair, keeping each graft in tact necessitates the eye and precision of a human hand.

Hair Restoration Through Scalp Reduction

Scalp Reduction  is a procedure that hair loss patients will often hear about in their search for the best restoration treatment.

Scalp reduction involves reducing the surface area of the bald region through surgery.  Here is an illustration of several ways this can be done.

 

Scalp Reduction

Diagrams of four ways that scalp reduction can be performed for hair restoration

 

In a scalp reduction procedure, bald sections of the scalp are removed. The part of the skin that has hair is then pulled to reduce the size of the bald area. The edges of the wound are then closed.

Is Scalp Reduction A Good Choice For Hair Restoration?

Scalp reduction is now considered to be an outdated procedure for addressing hair loss. It incurs high risk of complications and deformities.

Overall its disadvantages outweigh the potential benefits of the procedure. These include:

1)      Risk of necrosis, or tissue death due to a lack of blood and oxygen.

2)      Abnormal elevation of the periauricular hairline caused by pulling the scalp area inwards

3)      Reduced hair density in the donor region caused by stretching

4)      Possibility of the skin stretching in the opposite direction, restoring the original surface area of baldness. This of course defeats the purpose of hair restoration

5)      Formation of a slot, where a visual dichotomy is evident as regions of hair with opposite growth patterns are placed side by side. (figure 1A) This is more likely to occur in the of patients with a relatively small balding area in the crown.

6)      Expansion of the scar

7)      Hair loss, or alopecia around the scar

8)      Loss of feeling due to damaged nerves (hyposthesia)

 

Scalp reduction procedures are no longer considered to be viable treatment options in hair restoration. Follicular Unit Extraction is able to give results that do not include any type of linear scarring. And advanced techniques (e.g. body hair transplant) can be customized to address a wide range of hair loss challenges to give excellent results without the risk of cosmetic disfigurement.

However, scalp reduction can be performed for accident patients, burn victims and individuals with certain types of congenital birth defects.

 FUE Instead of Flap Surgery For Hair Restoration

Temporoparietal Occipital flap surgery tends to have high complication rates and results are cosmetically unacceptable.  Follicular Unit Extraction for the restoration of hair can be used as an alternative to the flap surgery. Or it can be customized to repair the outcomes of this antiquated form of hair replacement.

The newer technique of extracting follicular units (natural groupings of hair) has a wide range of applications. For example, finer hair from the nape and other parts of the body can be artistically used for detailed hairline transplant purposes. FUE can also offer severely bald individuals excellent results through body hair transplantation, as Dr. Umar has demonstrated.  The extraction of individual hair grafts leaves small round wounds in the donor area that eventually heal. There are no linear scars to hide or worry about.