Hair loss is no laughing matter. It’s one of the most popular services for men, but a lesser talked about issue is hair loss and hair thinning in women. Understanding the cause of hair loss is essential to customizing a hair restoration treatment. Many patients choose to live with their hair loss because they think solutions are too costly—this is a huge mistake. When hair is thinning, the follicle is still active. It’s possible to re-boot your hair growth before a follicle is dead, but once the kill happens, fewer options are available. Plus, did you know that most of the time hair loss is covered by insurance for some treatments? Learn more about board certified Dermatologist Dr. Steven Swengel, connect with Refined Dermatology, and get back to that full head of hair you keep sharing in your #tbt posts.
Medications are often covered by insurance companies for hair loss, whereas cosmetic treatments for hair restoration usually aren’t. If cosmetic treatments are better for you, don’t worry. Refined Dermatology has a fantastic Membership Program that makes monthly payment reasonable. From platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to SmartGraft and Capillus, we’ll help you customize the best hair loss treatment strategy for you and your goals.
Medical treatments for hair loss might include medications, a supplement called Nutrafol available at Refined Dermatology, and the topical solution Minoxidil which is also available in the office. Minoxidil is highly effective for alopecia patients. However, it’s true what your grandmother told you—it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Hair and nails are both made of keratin, and both are the last parts of the body to get nutrients. You can bolster both by adding key vitamins such as biotin. With evidence that this safe vitamin helps with hair and nail growth, a daily dose of 2.5mg can give your hair some serious boost.
Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss. A primary care doctor can offer a deficiency test and evaluate you for anemia. Ferrous sulfate in 325mg doses is the daily recommendation, though only your primary care doctor can prescribe the right amount for you. Your overall diet and nutrition always plays a big role in hair growth.
How you care for your hair, especially if it’s long, is foundational. Nizoral is an anti-yeast shampoo that’s been shown to be helpful for both hair loss and dandruff. Available in a two percent strength option by prescription only, let it set on wet hair for five minutes three times per week. Normal shampoo and conditioner can follow. Most Americans over-wash, and daily washing can lead to added stress and dry hair. Aim for every other day, max, and use a wide-toothed comb on damp strands instead of a brush. Towel-drying is always best.
Choosing gentle and protective hairstyles is another must. Reduce stress on hair and avoid heat styling, tight styles, or sleeping on long hair without sporting a lose braid. Silk or faux-silk sheets and pillowcases also reduce hair damage. Avoid coloring hair, particularly if you have a penchant for dark tresses. Dark hair and a white scalp can make hair look even thinner.
Remember that as we age, so does our hair. “Old hair” is generally dry and wiry. On the plus side, wiry hair can look thicker. On the other hand, a lot of people like to cover their gray. If that’s you, stick with ammonia-free dyes as they are gentler.
Minoxidil is in Rogaine as well as a variety of other topical brands. It’s FDA approved with a two percent dose for women being the norm (five percent for men). Apply it to the scalp as directed, either once or twice per day. Avoid contact with the face. The Rogaine brand has propylene glycol, which can be aggravating to the skin—however, the foam version doesn’t have this preservative.
Sometimes a Rogaine/steroid lotion will be prescribed. It’s a blend of two products and not available at all pharmacies. Dr. Steven Swengel of Refined Dermatology can refer patients to nearby pharmacies and online pharmacies that carry it. With Minoxidil, perseverance is key. It can take many months to see improvement, but don’t give up. Stopping can cause hair loss. It’s a lifelong medication, and if you stop using it hair loss will come rushing back to where it was (or worse!). There are no serious side effects reported with Minoxidil, though it should not be used by women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Save it until your post-partum months when hair loss kicks into high gear. For more information on hair loss and hair restoration, call Refined Dermatology at (408) 688-2082.