Hair Restoration

How Propecia Can Help Restore Hair, But Also Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Propecia, also known as Finasteride, is often regarded as “the first line defense” against male pattern baldness. The reasoning is due to the fact that the medication targets the main chemical pathway that drives male pattern baldness. Basically testosterone breaks down into a byproduct known as DHT (dehydrotestosterone) with the help of an enzyme known as alpha reductase.


(image from Wikipedia) Propecia is a prescribed for hair restoration. But it may be related to lower alcohol consumption as well.

Besides Propecia, the other FDA approved drug for hair loss is Rogaine which works according to less clear mechanisms which increase blood flow and the supply of nutrients to hair follicles in the scalp. This over the counter solution may actually help increase the production of a prostaglandin known as PGE2 which helps promote the growth of hair.

Side Effects of Using Propecia for Hair Restoration

Like any medication, Propecia is associated with side effects. Among these include:

  • depression
  • thoughts of suicide
  • sexual dysfunction

How Propecia May Lower the Desire for Alcohol

Side effects are usually considered undesirable. But in some rare cases, they may actually achieve beneficial results.

A recent study was conducted by Michael Irwig, an assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center. 83 subjects who reported sexual side effects due to Finasteride were analyzed. Of this total, 63 reported that they regularly drank alcohol at least once a week before the hair restoration drug was prescribed to them. 41 of these men said that they consumed less alcohol after being on Propecia

  • 20 of the subjects reported no effect on their alcohol consumption
  • 2 of the participants said that they started drinking more alcohol after starting the medication

Prior to this research, there have been similar experiments conducted on rats which showed that the animal models also consumed less alcohol. Irwig’s study was the first to test the effects of Propecia on alcohol consumption in humans.

These findings were published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research on June 13, 2013.

Can Propecia Be Used For Alcoholism In Addition to Hair Restoration?

The reported findings of this study are fascinating. However, it would be difficult at this point to conclude that Propecia itself can be taken to discourage alcohol intake. This has to do with the issue of research design.

In a true scientific experiment, subjects would need to have been chosen at random. According to Dr. Garbutt, Professor of Psychiatry at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the hair restoration participants represent casual social drinkers as opposed to those with serious alcohol problems.

Ideally, there would need to be a control group that would represent a random selection of the population, including those who may be using alcohol abusively.

Nonetheless the findings published in the June issue of Alcoholism may provide the basis for developing a new drug which targets neurosteroidal systems in order to help lower a person’s drive for alcohol.

Hair Restoration Through Surgery

The issue of side effects is certainly a concern when it comes to taking medications for hair loss. As of yet, there are no fool proof drugs which can actually reverse male pattern baldness in the most seamless way possible. Hair loss is a condition with many different pathways with a lot of variance in how they affect individuals. Therefore, the physical transference of hair follicles can mitigate many potential complications while offering reliable and substantial improvements. Click here to learn more.

Human Follicular Growth On Mice Marks New Milestone in Hair Restoration Research

In the latest news on hair loss research, scientists have been able to successfully grow human hair on mice. This was part of an initiative that was co-led by Angela Christiano a professor of dermatology and genetics at Columbia University. Although the study was conducted prior to 2013, it was finally published on October 21, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The premise of the study sounds similar to the one from 2012, conducted by the Tokyo University of Science, where the results were published in Online Nature Communications. In Japan, the researchers cultivated fully functioning human hair follicles. They combined epithelial stem cells with derma papillae cells to produce a seed germ. This eventually developed into a hair follicle with real growth cycles and the ability to demonstrate the pilo erection reflex. Although created from human cells, the insertion took place within the skin of a hairless rat.

However, in the more recently published study, human skin was grafted onto the backs of mice. And these regions received aggregate clusters of derma papilla insertions. The successful growth of these hairs may have potential for hair restoration. Dr. Christiano feels that this may have promising implications for women suffering from hair loss, who cannot qualify for hair restoration procedures due to having insufficient donor follicles.


(image from Daily Mail UK) hair restoration for women currently remains a challenge

The Role of Derma Papillae Cells in Regenerating Follicles

Derma Papilla cells are located at the very base of the follicle. Many people believe that they hold the key to restoring hair.

These cells carry inductive properties, with the ability to communicate to stem cells which enables them to differentiate and play more specialized roles. So exposing epithelial stem cells to derma papillae can lead to the creation of hair follicles.

Significance of 3D Aggregates of Derma Papillae

One of the challenges of developing derma papilla cultures outside the body is that they tend to lose their inductive properties. Yet, the formation of fully functioning hair follicles in rats has been quite successful, even when the DP cells were prepared in vitro prior to their insertion.

Christiano and her team took note that the derma papillae in rats tend to form clusters which helped them retain their inductive abilities. They developed a method to create capsules of these cells before introducing them to the epithelial stem tissue. In other words, the DP cells were artificially clustered together in tiny spheres as opposed to flat, two dimensional layers on a petri dish.

This strategy proved to be effective, as (white) hair successfully grew on the human skin that was grafted onto the mice.

Whereas the Tokyo study showed that follicles induced from human DP cells could survive in the skin of rats, this research from Columbia University showed that created follicles of human cells could also survive and thrive in human tissue.

With further developments, formal treatments based on these findings would certainly offer new hope to women who are in need of hair restoration.

For more information on hair cloning, click here to read more.

Restoring Hair Growth By Treating the Thyroid

Having the genes for pattern baldness is the most common hair loss culprit. However, in some cases, medical conditions may cause hair to fall out, independently of DNA. Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels are the most common. In these situations, hair restoration can be achieved through medical treatment.

Two Types of Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid dysfunction usually takes one of two forms:

(1) hypothyroidism – an under active thyroid

(2) hyperthyroidism – an over active thyroid

The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and located in the throat region. It produces several types of hormones. The most common one is T4, also known as Thyoxin. This hormone is primarily responsible for the body’s  temperature and metabolism. It also regulates processes related to growth and development.

How Thyroid Hormone Affects Your Hair Follicles

Hair restoration efforts may involve treating thyroid conditions. The follicles on your head are either growing new hair or in a resting phase. When thyroid hormones are imbalanced in the bloodstream, more follicles will be in resting mode. And this will cause profound hair loss, baldness or thinning.


Attempts to restore hair should address the causes such as pattern baldness or even thyroid disorders












When thyroid hormone levels are higher than usual, hair will grow in much finer and wispier. When there is a deficiency of this hormone, hair loss can occur on the scalp and even body regions.

In many cases hair can also become dry in texture.

Do You Have a Thyroid Condition?

Hair restoration should always start with understanding the causes. Therefore, working with a doctor can offer this type of insight. He or she will be able to give you a blood test to  determine whether or not you have a thyroid hormone imbalance.

Besides hair issues, there are other symptoms that characterize this condition. These include:

  • lethargy or oversleeping
  • sudden weight loss or gain
  • insomnia
  • intolerance of temperature extremes
  • drastic mood shifts (e.g. nervousness and anxiety)
  • cognitive difficulties in recalling information and concentrating
  • skin dryness
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • irregular menstruation

Restoring normal hair growth can be as simple as taking medication such as levothyroxine. This will help create a balanced level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Improvements will not be instant, but can be observed after the first month or treatment in most cases.

If you are also interested in learning more about genetic and environmental causes of hair loss, click here to learn more.


Research on Vitamin D for Hair Restoration

Vitamin D for Hair Restoration

Researchers are looking closely into the biochemical pathways associated with male pattern baldness

Researchers are currently studying the chemical pathways of hair loss in efforts to develop treatments. One of these studies includes Vitamin D. There are numerous receptors for this vitamin on the hair follicles. Vitamin D is believed to activate these receptors, which spurs the process of hair growth. This is analogous to a lock and a key. Therefore, researchers are actively investigating the role of this nutrient on hair growth and possible restoration.

A study called, Vitamin D3 Analogs Stimulate Hair Growth in Nude Mice was published in a journal of medicine called,  Endocrinology Vitamin D is believed to affect the expression of DNA.

The researchers of this study blocked a molecule called MED. MED is a compound that will interfere with the Vitamin D receptor and prevent new hair growth. By preventing the compound from reaching the receptor, the mice grew hair.

Researchers discovered another molecule which could activate certain vitamin D receptors on the body. This compound is called LEF1. It can activate these receptors, even if the vitamin is not present.  Although the data of this study suggests that the receptors were stimulated by LEF1, they have yet to demonstrate the next step of hair growth.

Researchers are now able to turn stem cells into hair follicles. Studies were done on rats which compared two groups undergoing the final stages of this transformation. One group received the vitamin. The other did not. A greater number of the stem cells made the transition to becoming hair follicles, compared to the other group.  And many of the follicles from the vitamin D group actually grew hair.

When vitamin D was added during the final stages of this transformation, this seemed to facilitate the process, compared to the stem cells that did not receive the vitamin.

Is Hair Restoration Possible Through Vitamin D Supplementation?

Findings like these seem to suggest that we need more vitamin D in our diets. While this is certainly the case for many people, a nutritional treatment program would need to be very specific to the physiological needs of the individual. Too much vitamin D, for example can lead to kidney problems.

Although a lot of attention is being placed on the potential of vitamin D for hair loss, the only reliable solution for reversing the signs of baldness is hair transplantation.

Although Dr. Umar specializes in this surgery,  he  has discussed the nutritional elements that contribute to the health of the hair follicles to help prevent or delay the process of loss.  Click here to watch his video on this topic.

Will Prostaglandin Drugs Replace Hair Restoration Surgery?

The demand for an effective baldness cure  is quite strong. Last year in spring of 2012, the media reported a new research study which suggested that a particular protein known as PGD2 is responsible for hair loss. Therefore, a drug that can block this protein within the appropriate biochemical pathway may actually offer promise for reversing baldness. But will this actually replace the need for hair restoration surgery?

Background on the Research Study

The research study was performed by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 25,000 genes were analyzed. And only one of them coded for an enzyme responsible for producing PGD2.  Tissue was taken from bald areas and compared to samples from regions of the head with hair. And this protein was found in higher quantities within the regions affected by hair loss.

The researchers took hair follicles and placed them in a petri dish. They exposed these structures to PGD2. As a result, hair growth was actually inhibited as the follicles miniaturized.

Therefore if a drug were to block this protein, then perhaps the opposite effect may take place, where hair loss could be prevented or even reversed.

Understanding A Broader Picture of Prostaglandins 

While this research study illustrates one particular dynamic of prostaglandins and hair growth, there is a larger perspective to consider.  According to Dr. Umar, there are numerous types of prostaglandins in the body. And some of them actually promote hair growth. Here are two examples:

(1) Latisse is a drug used to grow longer eyelashes. It’s active ingredient is a synthetic prostaglandin (bimatoprost) that mimicks PGF2. This works to prolong the hair growth phase, so that the longer lashes can develop.

(2) Rogaine is believed to prevent hair loss (and even promote growth) due to the prostaglandin PGE2

Hair Restoration Through the Development of New Drugs?

Many hope that the Perelman study can provide the basis for the development of new drugs to treat baldness.  Based on the findings, it would seem that a drug would need to block  PGD2.

However, Dr. Umar also points out that steroids and antianflammatory drugs (non steroidal) also block PGD2. But hair growth did not occur consistently.

In all likelihood, multiple prostaglandins are involved in growing hair and inhibiting it. So the solution to stopping or even reversing baldness is more complicated in reality.

Dr. Umar believes that  prostaglandins may be considered as part of a comprehensive hair restoration treatment plan.

To read more about the possible use of prostaglandins to grow hair, click here.


The demand for effective hair restoration options is quite strong. However, a comprehensive treatment approach may be the best option


Is It Ever Too Late To Get A Hair Restoration?

Male pattern baldness starts at the hairline and advances further towards the back of the head.  The most advanced stages (Norwood 6 and 7) are often referred to as the “power donut,” where hair is only present along the lower back part of the head and the sides.  But should patients rush to choose a hair restoration specialist simply to avoid reaching a state that might be too late to fix?

Recently in July actor Jude Law performed in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night for a charity event to benefit autism.  Although his receding hairline and temples have been the subject of a lot of attention in recent years, his hair loss seemed to have progressed even further to about a Norwood 3 level.

According to Daily Mail, “he’s been embracing the balding look.” And the site also posted these photos showing a significant contrast in his appearance at present, compared to his image during his younger years.

When to get Hair Restoration

images of Jude Law from

















Some feel that he should get a hair transplant before he loses the rest of his hair. Although it is advisable to take action during the earlier stages of pattern baldness,  it is also important to be aware that surgery is now possible even when most of the hair has fallen out.

Hair Restoration With Body Follicles

Conventional transplant procedures use hair from the head.  Grafts are extracted using strip surgery or Follicular Unit Extraction. Slits are created into the regions affected by hair loss. And the follicles are inserted into these tiny incisions. If the procedure relies on methods that only extract hair from the head, then patients within the Norwood 6-7 category would not be able to benefit.

However the use of hair follicles from other regions on the body changes this paradigm.  In fact, abundant quantities of follicles can be harvested by relying on areas such as the beard region, chest, abdomen, back and even the arms and legs. However, patients would need to have enough hair in these regions.  And the thickness of these hairs must be appropriate for use on the head.

Here is an example of a Derm Hair Clinic patient who was able to reverse his severe baldness with a total of 12,000 grafts. Most of these were extracted from the beard areas of his face.

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Doctor

Severely bald patient who underwent a series of two hair restoration surgeries with grafts extracted from the head and body












To watch this patient’s video and learn more about his procedure, click here.

Hairline Advancement With Follicular Unit Extraction 3000 uGrafts

Hairline recession changes how the face is framed.  And this profoundly affects a person’s overall appearance. This patient started noticing the signs of hair loss during his late twenties. However, after twenty years he finally decided to take action through a Follicular Unit Extraction procedure.

Some people will reach the state of severe baldness (Norwood 6 or 7) within a relatively short time frame. However, with this patient,  his hair loss stabilized even after many years had gone by.


Follicular Unit Extraction 3000 uGrafts

Patient showing receded hairline prior to his transplant procedure


















In this case, there is an abundance of head hair.  As a result, Dr. Umar was able to harvest a donor supply consisting of 3000 uGrafts. Some of these were derived from the nape area and used as detail for the outer edge of the hairline.  Nape hair is thinner than regular hair which grows on the head.  This makes it a good choice for replicating the soft outer edge of natural looking hairlines.

The temple points were also addressed in reversing the signs of hair loss in this patient.

Follicular Unit Extraction Los Angeles

Patient’s procedure had filled in his temple points and created a more youthful looking hairline














The temples need to be reconstructed to create a contour that is properly balanced with the hairline.  As these pictures show, a subtle angle was created. Prior to this, the original border ran vertically downward.

FUE 3000 uGrafts Los Angeles

side view of temples and hairline before and after the FUE procedure














Here is a frontal view of the patient’s hairline before and after his FUE procedure.

FUE Hair Transplant

Patient looks considerably more youthful after his hairline and temple restoration















The patient was very happy with his results and stated that this procedure was the best investment he had ever made in himself. His appearance improved greatly due to his new hairline. He also received positive feedback from other people.

With Follicular Unit Extraction,  grafts are harvested with punches. Therefore there is no linear scar.  And great care was taken to produce extremely natural looking results. Because of these factors, his own hair dresser was surprised to learn that he had undergone a restoration surgery.

To learn more about this patient’s experience, click here to watch his video.

BHT Versus The Power Donut or Shaving Your Head Completely

You may have  seen some of our articles, blog posts and videos on BHT (body hair transplant) procedures used to reverse severe baldness.  The days of being rejected as a hair restoration candidate are now gone. With the proper technique using body follicles,  it is quite feasible for someone with practically no hair on their head to actually have real hair growth. 

What Are Your Choices When Faced With Severe Baldness

When you first start to go bald, there are still quite a few hair styling options available to help make your hair loss look less obvious.  But without any intervention, mild baldness will eventually turn into severe baldness.  This is when most of the hair is gone except for a ring around the back and sides of the head. Hair restoration doctors call this a Norwood 6 or a 7. But others refer to this look as a power donut.

With advanced baldness a person’s options include the following:

  • Shaving the entire head. The idea behind shaving the whole head is that it looks more clean and sleek, as opposed to leaving the ring of remaining hair.  Bruce Willis is  often used as the role model who wears this look well.
  • Doing nothing. In 2008, GQ published an article which entertained the notion of bringing back the power donut.  The authors argued that shaving your entire head makes it look obvious that you are trying to make the best of your hair loss.  Furthermore, they  used examples of famous men  such as Ron Howard and Winston Churchill as examples where the power donut  carries distinction and dignity.
  • Wearing a hairpiece. Although wearing a hair piece offers a way to conceal baldness, many individuals feel inauthentic about this option.  However, others are quite comfortable with their toupee.
  • Getting a hair transplant. A BHT hair restoration is now added to the list of options for those with severe baldness.  Of course, this can only be possible if you have copious hair growth on other areas of your body, such as the beard region.

Example of a Body Hair Transplant (BHT) Procedure

Not everyone is comfortable with the leaving their baldness as is.  Nor do they completely resonate with shaving their head completely, no matter how tough, masculine or cool men like Vin Diesel or Bruce Willis make it seem.

Our clinic developed the uGraft surgical system to safely and successfully harvest body hair follicles.  It is no longer far fetched for someone with severe baldness to benefit from a hair transplant surgery.

Here is an example of a patient who relied on a comb over to help disguise his severe baldness.  But this was no longer necessary after his body hair to head procedure.

BHT Versus Shaving Your Head Completely

Patient before and after his BHT procedure














To watch his video, click here.

Evaluating Your Options For Hair Loss

According to the Washington Post, Americans spend approximately three and a half billion dollars a year on hair loss products and procedures. Losing one’s hair can feel emotionally stressful. And therefore, many people have a strong sense of urgency when it comes to finding ways to solve this issue.

However, there are so many purported solutions! Here is a look at some common options that are available. Some, of course, are more sensible than others.

Currently Available Medical Based Treatments For Baldness

 FDA approved drugs

Of the countless products available to help treat hair loss, only two are FDA approved: Rogaine (Minoxidil) and Propecia (Finasteride).

Rogaine helps stimulate blood flow to the follicles, increasing their supply of oxygen and nutrients. Propecia blocks the action of an enzyme which breaks down testosterone into DHT (dehydrotestosterone). DHT is what causes the follicles to miniaturize. Hair loss then occurs as a result

Both medications can serve as useful means for controlling the progression of baldness. Although hair will regrow in some people, not everyone will experience this effect

hair restoration procedures

Hair transplant surgeries involve transferring healthy, growing hair follicles from one area of the body to another. These grafts may come from the head or the body.

Follicular Unit Extraction Surgeon in Los Angeles

Hair transplant procedures can be chosen to help repair the results from previous surgeries. The conventions of natural hair growth patterns need to be adhered to.

The results of these procedures depend on the expertise of the doctor. Well executed surgeries can result in excellent fullness and natural looking outcomes.  On the other extreme, bad hair transplants may culminate in poor growth and misplaced grafts.

What about laser combs?

Many people have probably heard about laser combs which have received FDA approval.  However, they are approved for safety, not effectiveness.

Hair growth has occurred in some people as a result of their laser hair removal procedures. It may be possible that this energy helped stimulate the activity of the hair follicles. Result remain unpredictable on an individual basis, however.

Non-FDA Approved Solutions For Hair Loss

The fight against baldness has been a timeless endeavor. There is even a book written about this subject called, Hair! Mankind’s Historic Quest To End Baldness by Gersh Kuntzman.

The search for hair loss remedies has led to numerous treatment claims. Examples include:

  • tinctures
  • shampoos
  • vitamin and mineral supplements

There are even more outrageous products made from exotic ingredients like hippo fat and urine from young horses.

There is no evidence which supports the effectiveness of these items. However, people will often give them a chance because they are cheaper than hair transplants and FDA approved drugs.

Hair Pieces

Hair pieces used to be called rugs. Today’s versions are more sophisticated “hair replacement systems.” They are applied at specialty salons.

Celebrities sometimes rely on hair pieces, which can look undetectable at a distance from behind the camera. However, the average person (around 70%, according to The American Hair Loss Association) is usually not satisfied with the experience of wearing one.

Hair Concealers

Hair concealers are cosmetic products made of fibers. These products are sprayed onto the bald scalp, helping to hide the exposed areas of skin.

Will Hair Cloning Be Available Anytime Soon?

Hair cloning (creating new follicles in a cultured environment and injecting them into the scalp) is still in its beginning stages. There are still many details that need to be ironed out, so to speak. For example, researchers have yet to figure out how to create natural growth patterns through the process of hair cloning.  To learn more about this subject area, click here.

Doctors Are Recognizing the Link Between Hair Loss and Psychological Issues

According to a recent study at the Charite Unicersitatsmedizin in Berlin, researchers found a very strong correlation between hair loss and poor psychological health.  However, this probably comes as no surprise to many people. Yet  it is always helpful to  learn about the validity of certain beliefs and notions through formal research studies which rely on data and analysis.

Many men feel helpless and devastated when they lose their hair.  The study described this as an “enormous emotional burden.” Possible manifestations include:

  • a diminished sense of confidence and self esteem
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • possible mental disorders

The study pointed out an interesting phenomenon. In some individuals, male pattern baldness can result from a psychological disorder known as Trichtillomania. This is characterized by an “irresistible urge” to pull out one’s hair.

Another type of mental disorder that can result from losing hair includes body dysmorphic disorder. With this condition, patients develop fears due to distorted perceptions in how they look.

Changes In Society’s Perception of Male Attractiveness

Many people realize that that hair loss in men can be stressful. But the results of the Chirite Universitatsmedizin study points to a larger picture that involves an increased sense of value placed on how men look.

Back in the 1930’s a sociologist named William Waller conducted a study on what women wanted from a marriage partner.  At this time, the top priorities included financial stability and even the potential for upward economic mobility.

Now that there is greater equality in the workforce between men and women, priorities have shifted. Since more women have the ability to provide for a family,  other traits have taken importance. This includes attractiveness, friendship and emotional closeness.

According to another  expert, Ashley Mears,  the modern man has become more concerned with their body image. She cites an increased number of magazine advertisements targeted at men, starting around the 1980s.

The issue of body  image in men doesn’t just involve having a full head of hair.  In fact, early this year in January, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published research findings which show that more men are struggling with eating disorders such as bulemia and anorexia. In fact, males comprise 10-15% of patients who are diagnosed with these disorders.  The media has coined a new term, Manorexia to describe this.

There are many options that men  can utilize feel better about how they look. These include:

(1) cosmetic procedures like hair tranplants

(2) positive lifestyle choices (including appropriate dietary options and exercise)

(3) professional counseling

(4) self help books and information

(5) personal endeavors to focus

Concerns about attractiveness has been stereotyped as a female issue. So many men hide their feelings and are reluctant to seek help. But attempts to find outlets and solutions for personal healing should never be ignored.

Here at Derm Clinic we  have seen many rewarding examples of patients who regained their confidence and self esteem after their hair restoration. Here is a patient with diffuse thinning.  His strip procedure caused many of his follicles to go into shock, resulting in more hair loss.

Hair Loss Surgeon in Los Angeles

Patient with diffuse thinning before and after his Advanced FUE hair transplant by uGraft



He discusses the effect that his hair loss had on his educational and professional goals. Click here to view his video.

However, we encourage patients to also strive for positive inner growth. The relationship you have with yourself should always be a priority. While we cannot ignore the effect that personal attractiveness has in our society, individuals should work to find a balance between a healthy self concept and how their appearance contributes as a secondary role to this.