New treatments for baldness range from platelet rich plasma to micro tattoos that mimic the appearance of a short buzz cut
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Two out of three American men show noticeable hair loss by age 35, according to the American Hair Loss Association, based in Calabasas, Calif. By 50, the number jumps to 85 percent and the hair loss is significant. A whopping 25 percent begin the process of male pattern balding by age 21.
Men who want to do something about their hair loss have more options available than ever. But, first, they should know the reason for their hair loss by discussing it with their primary care provider. Thyroid disease or stress can cause hair to thin, for example. Nutrition, stress and medication could play a role.
Some topical treatments can reduce the appearance of thinning by bolstering the remaining hair and reduce the amount of hair shed.
Vanessa Roming, sales consultant at CosmoProf in Syracuse, recommended Gibs products, which she said help prevent hair loss.”
For re-growing hair, she said to try topical Nioxin. To retain the new hair, the user must continue to apply it daily.
At Profiles by Kristin in Syracuse, representative Nichole Fragale said the office offers scalp therapy treatments along with laser treatments that re-grow hair. Clients come in twice per week for a month, then weekly, every other week and, finally, every three weeks for maintenance. Within three months, she said, fine fuzz appears and within a year, clients grow thick, visible strands to help fill in their hair.
“We never recommend to completely stop treatment, but they’re on a maintenance routine at home,” Fragale said.
In addition, Profiles offers supplements that contain vitamin B, biotin and a complex formulated by a doctor to support hair health.
Profiles also fits custom hair systems that bond directly to the scalp.
Hair transplants are still quite in demand.
Vito C. Quatela, board-certified facial plastic surgeon, serves clients from all over Upstate New York at the Quatela Center for Hair Restoration in Rochester. His practice offers platelet rich plasma (PRP), a recent advance in treating hair loss. PRP treatment begins by drawing the patient’s blood. When platelets from the blood are activated, their growth factors “trick” cells into thinking they’re in a younger growth phase.
PRP is injected into the scalp to help hair transplants achieve better results. PRP also is applied directly to the scalp to reduce further hair loss.
Quatela explained the two transplantation methods his office offers. Follicular unit transplantation is often called the “strip method” because it involves the removal of a strip of hair-bearing skin from the back of the scalp.
The doctor separates the strip into micro-follicular unit grafts to be transplanted in the same direction of the patient’s natural hair growth so it looks natural.
Neograft follicular unit extraction also uses the patient’s own hair but extracts them in multiple tiny circular areas containing follicular units. This method prevents damaging the grafts by pulling or twisting them.
For both procedures, it will take about four to six months to see new growth. The final result can be assessed at one year.
Quatela also offers topical products among its hair loss treatment options.
Some men buzz or completely shave their heads to minimize the contrast between balding areas and intact areas. But shaved guys lose the definition that a hairline provides. Some feel that shaving detracts from their facial features.
That’s where Scalp Aesthetics may help. Founded in Rochester, the company has spread to 160 locations worldwide, including Syracuse. Technicians use an extremely thin needle to perform micro tattoos on a man’s balding areas to mimic the appearance of a short buzz cut.
The technician goes only one layer deep with organic ink that matches the client’s natural color. Since the ink contains no metals, it cannot change color significantly. Because the needle doesn’t go deep like regular tattoos, most clients experience little pain.
Going too deep makes the ink spread. The rest of the client’s hair should stay cut within one millimeter long to blend with the tiny tattoos.
Eric Taylor of Rochester responded to an ad for Scalp Aesthetics to solve his hair woes. He had the procedure done in 2013 and couldn’t be happier with his look. Now he works as the company’s global sales and operations manager.
He said that many people have told him he should grow out his hair, not realizing that his “full head of hair” was mostly tattooed.
For most top-of-the-head procedures, the client receives 15,000 tiny hair replicated dots. Taylor chose a slightly receded hairline which he felt appears more realistic for his age.
Taylor said that he likes the permanency of his hair loss solution, and the fact that he doesn’t have to worry about swimming, wind or sweating as with hairpieces. His only maintenance is shaving his remaining hair every 48 to 72 hours and a touch up of the tattoos every seven to eight years, as the ink can fade slightly over time.
“It works well with the graying process,” Taylor said. “If someone has it done in their 30s, he can come back two or three times before they can let it go along with the graying process of the natural hair.”
The typical procedure costs $3,000 to $5,000.