Hair loss can be a traumatic and self esteem defeating experience for both men and woman. For those seeking state-of-the art solutions, The Bauman Medical Group of Boca Raton, Florida, offers multi-therapy approaches that include surgical hair transplants, laser therapy, nutritional supplements, and topical treatments. Founder and medical director, Alan Bauman, MD, has put together a practice and team exclusively dedicated to hair restoration. In fact, Dr. Bauman is one of only approximately 100 board-certified hair restoration surgeons in the world, and his patients come from all corners of the globe to seek his advice. In an exclusive interview with Beautyinthebag.com, Dr. Bauman explains some of the medical basis of hair loss and thinning and the treatments available to reverse these conditions.
What exactly is male pattern baldness and what are its causes?
Male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss. Research has proven that dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a breakdown product of the male hormone testosterone, is the “trigger” that causes the progressive miniaturization of hair follicles. This is normally a gradual process whereby the hair that does grow gets progressively thinner and thinner because the follicle itself can no longer produce strong, thick shafts of hair. Eventually the follicle dies and can no longer produce any hair at all. Male pattern hair loss is both “chronic” and “progressive”—and it has been well researched and documented that men who inherit this genetic trait called male pattern hair loss (MPHL) will continue to lose hair if the condition is left untreated.
Why do women experience hair loss?
For decades, there was a misconception that hair loss was a problem specific to men, thankfully, today, female hair loss is no longer taboo, and more women are embracing the new technologies available to treat their thinning hair. If you look at the numbers, women are almost as at risk as men for hair loss, but since it occurs differently in women, i.e., “thinning,” people mistakenly believe it isn’t as serious a problem. But the reality is, more than half of all women over 40 experience hair loss or thinning, and they can inherit a “hair loss gene,” just like men. Female hair loss can be worsened by numerous factors, in addition to genetics, including hormonal changes due to menopause or pregnancy, age, medications, dieting, illness, stress, as well as overstyling, etc.
How do the treatments for male and female hair loss differ?
Hair restoration treatments have come leaps and bounds in the last 10 years, and we’ve made significant progress in treating hair loss in both men and women. Today, genetic tests are available for both men and women, which give us a better idea of their risk for hair loss, and how they might respond to specific treatments. There are treatments specifically for men, like Propecia, but both men and women have an abundance of options, ranging from topical treatments like Minoxidil to laser therapy, nutritionals, and of course, hair transplantation. More refined hair transplant techniques, like NeoGraft FUE now allow more female patients to be considered for transplantation.
Please describe your multi-therapy approach.
Multi-therapy addresses the fact that non-invasive treatments protect and enhance the hair you have and transplants replace hair density in areas which have been depleted. Since there is no one “miracle cure,” we’ve found over 15 years of working with 15,000 patients that those who have the greatest success in terms of treatment are the patients that use more than one type of therapy. Our results-oriented approach often combines treatments such as laser therapy, nutritional supplementation, medication and surgical transplantation. Treatment decisions are made during regular follow-ups where we use microscopic photos and measurements like HairCheck™ to measure progress.
Is there a way to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy?
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no guaranteed way to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. The powerful medications used to attack cancer cells also attack other cells, including our hair roots. Cold cap therapy is being used by some doctors, and may become more widespread in the future. While there may not be an effective way to prevent chem-releated hair loss, there are many techniques that patients can use to stimulate healthy hair growth following treatment, including low level laser therapy, a healthy diet, and hair vitamin supplements. Some anecdotal evidence supports the use of non-chemical laser therapy during chemotherapy.
How do lasers help fight hair loss?
In recent years, low-level laser therapy has become more accepted in the treatment of hair loss, evidenced by FDA-approvals and a dramatic increase in prescriptions by hair restoration physicians. We’ve learned in recent years that laser therapy can be a valuable tool in helping stop the progression of hair loss in both men and women, and allows patients to see thicker, healthier fuller hair with continued use. There are no side effects, as it involves drug-free, painless phototherapy. However, it is important to keep in mind that laser therapy, like other non-invasive hair growth treatments, is no “miracle cure” and needs to be continued over time but it is an important tool in the treatment of damaged hair, thinning hair, and hair loss.