Everything You Need to Know About Hair Loss
By: Dr. Kate Z. Holcomb, Pure Dermatology
August is hair loss awareness month, so we wanted to do a little educating about what treatments for hair loss we offer in Metairie and New Orleans from our team at Pure Dermatology. Alopecia, simply put, means “hair loss,” and it encompasses various types of hair loss conditions. Among them, male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, are the most common and are influenced by genetics, becoming more prevalent as people age.
There are 4 main types of treatment that we use for hair loss at Pure Dermatology. Prescription oral medications and topical treatments are considered first line. Studies show that combining topical and prescription treatment has a better outcome than using either alone. Because pattern hair loss is lifelong – you must commit to doing these for as long as you would like to keep the wonderful hair that you have grown! There is no medical cure for pattern hair loss, only treatments that must be continued.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG TREATMENT: The common oral medicine prescriptions used for hair loss are spironolactone, finasteride, dutasteride, and minoxidil. After a thorough examination, we will help choose the best medication for you depending on your sex, menopausal status, and other medical conditions. You may also have heard of people using Plaquenil or hydroxychloroquine for hair loss. This is commonly used for scarring types of hair loss. Antibiotics are also sometimes used for hair loss depending on whether there is an inflammatory cause. Most prescription medications for hair loss are now generic and relatively inexpensive.
TOPICAL TREATMENTS FOR HAIR LOSS: Traditionally minoxidil (generic Rogaine) has been used topically. Both men and women can use the 5% strength. Some patients have difficulty with Rogaine as it can cause an itchy scalp and increase hair growth on the face. At Pure Dermatology, we have had success with Nutrafol-Growth Activator Solution as a hair growth topical. It replenishes nutrients directly at the scalp to support visible density and hair strength Some patients choose to use BOTH Nutrafol Growth Activator Serum and Rogaine. They will not interact with each other and may work better together.
NON-PRESCRIPTION SUPPLEMENTS: There are several hair supplements on the market to increase hair growth. Nutrafol and Viviscal are the most well-known. These both contain a proprietary marine extract shown to help with improving hair thickness and density.
Nutrafol is a clinically proven hair growth supplement that targets the root cause of thinning. Nutrafol uses herbals and vitamins to balance causes of hair loss related to ageing, nutrition, stress, hormones, and lifestyle. In clinical trials, 90% of patients saw overall improvement in their hair after 6 months of daily use. Purchasing a 3-month supply from the Pure Dermatology website or in our office allows for further savings
Nutrafol also makes a special stress balance hair loss formula to take for a short time if you suffer from telogen effluvium or hair loss after pregnancy, hair loss after surgery, or hair loss after stress.
Although hair loss supplements claim to be “drug free” because they did not go through the FDA, they do influence our hormones which contribute to hair loss and some of the ingredients can interact with prescription medication; therefore, make sure to do a cross check of your medications before taking these.
IN OFFICE PROCEDURES FOR HAIR LOSS: For years, dermatologists have used Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for hair loss. This process involves drawing one’s blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to isolate the growth factors, and re-injecting it into the scalp. While we do use platelet rich fibrin at Pure Dermatology, we prefer a pharmaceutical version of peptides and growth factors shown to be important in hair loss.
Our favorite in-office procedure for hair loss is Keralase. We use the Lutronic UltraLase laser to make microchannels in your scalp and next apply Kerafactor MD, a super-concentrated Growth Factor and Peptide hair growth solution. We then use the red light to further activate the concentrated Kerafactor MD. These important peptides and growth factors signal for the hair follicle to switch into the growing cycle, thus jumpstarting hair growth. Six total treatments are performed every 4-6 weeks. We will evaluate your progress 6 months after your last treatment. A small portion of patients will need an entire series of six treatments if their hair loss is severe or adequate improvement is not seen after the first series. Most patients will only require 1 treatment every 6-9 months to maintain results.
The great thing about Keralase is that there are NO needles, there is a short treatment time (20-30 minutes in office). While Keralase was mostly studied for pattern hair loss, some practitioners have seen improvement even in scarring hair loss and many people start to see results after only 2 treatments. Keralase can also be done in conjunction with hair transplantation.
We are featuring Keralase as our August Special – Purchase a discounted package of 6 and get a booster treatment for FREE! Total savings of $1450!
Another in-office treatment is hair transplantation. We recommend doing your research to ensure the quality of the hair transplant you will receive. There are differing opinions on whether hand harvested or robot harvested is the best way to transplant hair. We have seen some very poor results with severe scarring from people getting hair transplants at non-specialists. We refer all our patients to our clinic neighbor – Dr. Nicole Rogers at the Hair Restoration of the South. We have seen her provide superior results to patients. It is important you continue your at home medications and topicals to protect the investment of your hair transplant.
AT HOME TREATMENTS: There are some clinical studies using low-level LED lights for hair growth. While these will unlikely work if used alone, they can boost your already hard work to maintain hair loss.
With all hair loss treatments, do not give up on treatments in the first few months if they do not seem to be working. It can take up to 6 months before an effect is noted. Generally, the first thing you will notice is less hair shedding. It is still considered a WIN when treating hair loss to maintain the same amount of hair – because this means we have stopped the further progression of hair loss. If there has been no change to hair growth with 9-12 months of consistent use, then it may be time to add another modality or revisit your dermatologist to discuss additional options.