There are a plethora of hair loss treatments currently available to treat hair loss in men and women. While wigs, hair weaving, and hairpieces can help people deal with hair loss, they are simply band-aid solutions that do not target the actual source of the hair loss. Hair transplantation however, can be a permanent treatment used to replace lost hair. Hair transplantation consists of extracting skin plugs from areas of the scalp that have active hair follicles and transferring them to bald spots on the scalp. Depending on the severity of hair loss, some patients may need as many as two or three hundred plugs in total, with 10 to 60 being implanted per session. In addition, follicular unit hair transplants, a newer form of hair transplantation, can provide a more natural look by transplanting 1 to 4 follicles of hair in very close proximity to one another. Some patients may also opt for follicle unit extraction instead; which consists of transplanting singular hair follicle units in order to reduce the amount of scarring.
Interestingly, doctors have also been prescribing Propecia (finasteride) to treat male pattern baldness. Propecia works by preventing the body from forming the androgens (male hormones) in the epidermis that trigger hair loss. It is also available via prescription, and is commonly taken once a day as a pill. Please note that Propecia may cause certain undesirable side effects, and should not be used by women planning on having children, as it has been found to cause severe birth defects. Moreover, Rogaine (minoxidil) is a topical treatment that has been shown to stimulate new hair growth on bald spots on the scalp. It works by reversing the shrinking process of hair follicles in order to facilitate hair generation, although its potency is relatively low when compared to other hair loss treatments. It is also important to note that is has been found to be most effective in younger patients who are beginning to notice hair loss or bald spots on the scalp, and must be applied to bald spots twice a day-in perpetuity-in order for it to work properly. Rogaine is available over the counter, and can be used by both men and women. Side effects are also uncommon, with the most commonly reported side effect being skin irritation.