NON-SURGICAL HAIR LOSS TREATMENTS

In medical science, there are currently only two treatments approved specifically for hair loss that are recognised internationally. There are a number of non-surgical hair loss treatments available on the professional market for common hair loss concerns. This is dependent on the extent of hair loss progression, a patient’s post-consultation treatment plan may include non-surgical hair loss treatments which compliment surgical hair restoration or consist entirely of non-surgical recommendations if the patient is fortunate enough to have caught the onset of baldness in time.

Non-surgical hair loss treatments are utilised in two ways:

1. To retain and improve the aesthetic visual appearance of existing hair – creating thicker, fuller hairs.

2. To reduce or eliminate further hair loss, retaining existing hair.

There may be other forms of treatment like Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), Caffeine, Green Tea, some protein shakes etc. that may be helpful, but the exact science behind them is currently not known and the majority of doctor’s experience with these products is anecdotal.

HAIR GROWTH AND HAIR LOSS

Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men. Hair at the temples and on the crown slowly thin and eventually disappear.

The exact reason why this happens is unknown, but genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors are all thought to play a role. DHT is believed to be a major factor.

WHAT IS DHT’S ROLE IN BALDNESS

Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss among males. Hormonal factors appear to play a role, in particular, a male sex hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Facts on DHT

hOW DHT CAUSES HAIR LOSS

DHT contributes to shortening the growth phase (anagen) and lengthening the resting phase (telogen).

Essentially encouraging your hair follicles to stop growing altogether.

THE ROLE OF 5-ALPHA-REDUCTASE

5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) is the enzyme that converts testosterone into the much more potent androgen, DHT.

If 5-AR levels increase, more testosterone will be converted into DHT, and greater hair loss will result.

There are two versions of 5-AR:
type 1 and 2 enzymes

Type 1 is predominantly found in sebaceous glands that produce the skin’s natural lubricant, sebum.

Type 2 mostly sits within the genitourinary tract and hair follicles.

Type 2 is considered more important in the process of hair loss.

THREE PHASES OF HAIR GROWTH

To understand male pattern baldness, we need to understand hair growth.

Hair growth is split into three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen:

ANAGEN

Anagen is the growth phase. Hairs remain in this phase for 2 to 6 years. The longer it lasts, the longer the hair grows. Normally, around 80-85% of the hairs on the head are in this phase.

Catagen

Catagen lasts only 2 weeks. It allows the hair follicle to renew itself.

Telogen

Telogen is the resting phase. The follicle lies dormant for 1 to 4 months. Normally between 12-20% of hairs are in this phase.

After this, anagen begins again. The existing hair is pushed out of the pore by the new growth and naturally sheds.

Hair loss

Male pattern baldness happens when the follicles slowly become miniaturized, the anagen phase is reduced, and the telogen phase becomes longer.

The shortened growing phase means the hair cannot grow as long as before. Over time, the anagen phase becomes so short that the new hairs do not even peek through the surface of the skin. Telogen hair growth is less well-anchored to the scalp, making it easier to fall out.

As the follicles become smaller, the shaft of the hair becomes thinner with each cycle of growth. Eventually, hairs are reduced to vellus hairs, the type of soft, light hairs that cover an infant and mostly disappear during puberty in response to androgens. Users of anabolic steroid drugs, including bodybuilders, have higher levels of DHT. However, they often experience hair loss.

When follicles are dying due to the body’s DHT attacking follicles, your hair starts to miniaturise. Depending on the severity, this may result in having thousands of hairs that can only be seen under a specialist microscope. In these instances, it is not possible to transplant as there are still live follicles in the scalp, which means there is no space to implant new hairs. If you attempted to transplant into this area, it is likely that none of the transplanted hair would grow.

Clinical studies over the last 10 years have scientifically proven this – the secret is to establish the suitability of patients. We see lots of patients who have purchased hair loss tablets directly from the internet and who have had no suitability test performed. This has resulted in no growth because the medication was inappropriate.