Grow hair. Two simple words that, when put together, might seem impossible for some people, like an evasive dream. You may be one of them; a sufferer of the many causes of hair loss. Pattern baldness, iron deficiency, stress, illness, drug use, thyroid dysfunction, traction alopecia, telogen effluvium, pregnancy, malnourishment, hormone imbalance. All of these cause hair loss to some degree, be it temporary or permanent. And all of these make it difficult to do an otherwise natural, easy, mindless thing: grow hair on your scalp.
Of the countless reasons for hair loss, the most common cause is pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia. This genetic condition accounts for 95% of all hair loss in men, affecting almost 40 million, and affecting another 21 million women. Receding hairlines and balding crowns can wreak havoc on a person’s quality of life. While seeming a trivial thing to an onlooker, the sufferer experiences deep emotional and psychological turmoil as the condition worsens. The desire to grow hair, to have a youthful stock filling the scalp front to back, becomes an inner battle as social anxiety causes interpersonal relationships to slip away.
The good news: growing hair is not impossible, even in the case of severe pattern baldness. There are various solutions to hair loss, and with today’s technology, many are effective. The following solutions take pattern baldness into consideration as well as hair loss from other causes.
A DAILY MULTIVITAMIN/B VITAMIN/IRON SUPPLEMENT/FOLIC ACID
These simple ways to grow hair might come as a surprise. For people who suffer an unknown cause of hair loss and seem to have no family history of pattern baldness, probable culprits are malnourishment, stress, anemia, and pregnancy. This means you’re not eating a healthy diet, you’re struggling with some tumult in life, you don’t have enough iron in your blood, or you’re with child. All of these things lead to your hair being deprived of vital nutrients. When the hair is starved, it cannot thrive and grow as it should. These supplemental remedies help to grow hair by restoring a nutritional balance to the body.
FDA-approved drugs such as minoxidil and finasteride have been proven effective at preventing hair loss due to pattern baldness. Minoxidil, a vasodilator, is available over the counter under the well-known brand, Rogaine. This medication is applied topically to the affected area twice per day. Finasteride, a DHT-inhibitor, is available by prescription only as Propecia. This 1mg pill is taken orally once per day and is contraindicated in women and children. Both of these drugs are effective at the crown of the head only (not the hairline). While they do stop hair loss, they do not always work to grow hair back. Hair growth varies on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, minoxidil and finasteride must be used indefinitely in order to work—once used is discontinued, hair loss will most likely progress.
This is the most effective solution for permanent hair loss, which includes various alopecias such as pattern baldness and traction alopecia. Hair transplant removes donor follicles from a viable source on the patient (typically the rear of the scalp) and implants them to the balding recipient site. When done correctly, the transplant will begin to grow hair in the recipient area after four months. Advanced technologies like follicular unit extraction (FUE) allow for the transplant of head or non-head hair—called body hair transplant—with a matchless outcome. The nature of FUE’s single follicle extraction makes for less scarring, better yield, and a more natural-looking hairline than other methods. FUE hair transplant is the premier way to grow hair again without detection.