Losing your hair? The non-surgical treatment options for men and women explained

Kelly Morrell, Director, Scalp Confidential

Losing your hair? It can be distressing, but as Scalp Confidential’s Kelly Morrell explains, you have treatment options.

Here’s a surprising statistic – more women than men experience hair loss. It may not be as severe as men, but 40% of women experience hair loss by the age of 40 and 80% by the time they reach 60 years of age. Some 50% of men may experience some degree of hair loss in their lifetime.

For men it is usually genetic, the typical male pattern baldness and can start as early as late teens or early 20’s for some. For ladies there can be many reason such as:

  • Hormones like menopause or pregnancy
  • Stress or bereavement
  • Chemical processing, for example, colours,
  • Pulling or tension on the hair from braids or hair extensions
  • Diet or malnutrition, or vitamin deficiency
  • Underlying illness or medical conditions such as Cancer or Thyroid disease
  • Treatments for these conditions, i.e. Chemotherapy or long term medication.

It’s important to ensure there isn’t an obvious and underlying condition that’s causing the hair loss so stopping in for a hair & scalp health check with a specialist can help. And indeed many women are. Some 64% of GP’s say they saw an increase of female patients in their surgery for hair loss issues, rising way above their male patients presenting with the same condition.

Fortunately there are a number of new treatments available to help treat hair loss and thinning hair for both men and women.

Most people assume a hair transplant is the only real option and only men can undergo this type of procedure, but for some women who are suitable for surgery it can be life changing, just as it is for men.

In many cases however, women may not be suitable for surgery because the type of hair loss or hair thinning they experience is different to men as it can shed or thin all over the scalp, leaving little or no area suitable as a donor site.

hair-brush-hair-loss-harley-street-emporium

So what else is out there if you are not suitable for surgery? 

It all depends on the degree of hair loss, the type of hair loss and the age of the individual. Here we’ll run through a few.

PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma
Most people will know this from having seen social media photos of Kim Kardashian with blood all over her face. Well, its not quite as ‘vampire like’ as it sounds.

Your doctor or surgeon will take a vial of blood, usually no more than the average blood test would require. It’s spun in a centrifuge to separate the plasma rich in growth factors.
The PRP is rich in growth factors and this is then infused or injected into your scalp to help boost hair growth. It can strengthen your existing hair and stimulate new hair growth where it has slowed or is just plain stubborn!

It cannot magic back your hair once follicles have died off, so its not a magic cure. It is a relatively new treatment and hard scientific evidence to back it up is lacking but so far it seems to be producing promising results in the right candidates.

It is ideal for:
Men and women who have started to experience hair loss or hair thinning, not yet suitable or ready for a hair transplant.

It can be also be used after hair restoration surgery to help heal and nourish the hair and scalp.

Price tag:
You can expect to pay around £1,700 for a course of treatments in the UK. You might find it offered for £1,200, your local clinic could be offering it for £2,500. Some clinics charge £5,000.

You may need two or three treatments a few months apart and over that time you should start to see new hair growth.

The quantity of blood, how many spins, the type of kit used & the concentrate of growth factors are all contributing
factors to it success.

Again, seek out a reputable nurse or doctor as you would for Botox or fillers. The most expensive isn’t always the best, however the cheap “offer” is usually costly in the end. Don’t feel shy asking the clinic to see photos of their results.

 

Mesoptherapy:
Another growth factor treatment used to stimulate hair growth, feed and nourish thinning or weak hair. It’s great for dry scalps too.

Like PRP it cannot magic back follicles that have given up completely. It is rich in growth factors, vitamins, amino acids which are usually plant based. There are some products which use human or animal based growth factors.

It is ideal for:

Men and women who have started to experience hair loss or hair thinning, not yet suitable or ready for a hair transplant.

Like PRP, Mesotherapy involves microinjections of a tailor-made solution, just below the epidermis, into the target area. It stimulates the area by improving blood supply and delivering nutrients to the root of the hair.

Again, it’s early days and there is a lack of robust clinical evidence to support its use but practitioners are claiming it can be as effective as minoxidil or finesteride, the approved drugs for hair loss, in certain patients such as those who have lost hair due to stress, tension on the hair or in some cases alopecia areata. The success may depend in part on what is in the preparation that’s applied.

Mesotherapy can be used in combination with reputable hair growth supplements like Viviscal professional.

Price tag:
Expect to pay approximately £1,500 for a course of treatments on average UK wide.
Prices vary by location, some types of mesotherapy can be £2,800 – £3,500 depending on what is used in the preparation.

At Scalp Confidential we recommend:

  • AQ Hair Complex by AQ Skin Solutions
  • RRS XL Hair

hair-loss-supplements-harley-street-emporium

Hair growth supplements:
With so many supplements and vitamins on the market making outrageous claims it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

Whilst Vitamin B7, also known as Biotin is fairly well known for its hair growth support, hair needs a good supply of many nutrients including vitamins and proteins, as well as a healthy blood supply and plenty of hydration.

So any company claiming a full head of hair in weeks is just being ridiculous and their claims are most likely not backed by a single reputable clinical study.

While a deficiency in iron and B12 can affect hair growth, new research is also suggesting a lack of Vitamin D can have an adverse affect on your hair growth.

If you have hair loss, asking your doctor for a blood test to determine if you are deficient in any vital nutrients is the first step. The test may also rule out a possible thyriod condition or any other underlying conditions.

A lot of clinics now recommend Viviscal Professional. It’s a drug free hair growth supplement with a high percentage of active ingredients than those sold in pharmacies.

Its used by some hair restoration surgeons pre-and-post transplant, some trichologists (hair loss specialists)
are aware of its benefits and recommend it.

It is rich in Vitamin B2, B7, Vitamin C, two important Amino Acids for healthy hair growth
and its secret weapon, Amino Mar C, a closely guarded secret, is made from dried fish, shellfish & seafood matter…..Sounds lovely doesn’t it!

It will take a good 3 months before effects can be seen, but this is usually the same with any hair growth treatment.

They state not to be taking during pregnancy or while breast feeding and of course do not
take if allergic to seafood.

It is ideal for:
Men and women seeking thicker, stronger & faster growing hair. A lot of celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Abbey Clancey and Cate Blanchet have sung its praises with Clancey claiming her hair “grows like wildfire” after taking it.

It can be used before & after hair transplant and in combination with PRP and mesotherapy for anyone wanting optimal results.

Price tag:
On average £180.00 for 3 month supply, however it can be obtained in some clinics for £150.00 and others for £200.00 for 3 months supply. A small cost of £2 a day to £3 a day, that’s a cup of coffee on the way to work!

 

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP):

Scalp Micropigmentation, also known as SMP, is a tattoo-like procedure using a tiny needle to simulate or replicate follicles on the scalp. This gives the illusion of a full head of hair shaved by choice on a man. For men and women with thinning hair it can also create an illusion of thicker or denser hair. It can also help recreate a new hair line and it can be used to “fill in” a
patch of Alopecia where appropriate and also can help camouflage surgical or trauma scars on the scalp.

A medical or clinical grade ink is usually used and the results should last 3 – 5 years on average. Top ups may be needed from 18 months onwards depending on sun exposure.

This procedure is gaining momentum as more men are opting for SMP instead of hair transplants or where hair surgery isn’t deemed an option by the surgeon because there is not enough donor area. It is also gaining  popularity among women with thinning hair.

It is ideal for:

  • Men who do not want or cannot have hair restoration surgery
  • An alternative when hair transplants that have failed
  • Covering scars from hair transplants that have gone wrong
  • Men who shave their hair down because of hair loss, who can now give the illusion they have hair, however
    they chose to shave their hair by choice.
  • For men and women to help restore hair lines, to camouflage trauma scars and surgery
    scars.
  • For women who need the look of fuller hair to cover or camouflage the scalp where the
    hair has thinned so much.

It can be used with PRP or Mesotherapy to add density post treatment or as an alternative.

Carried out well the treatment should take 3 or 4 sessions on average, building density with each clinic visit. It is vital that the practitoner is well trained. The size of the ink dots should be very small and it requires a well trained practitioner to administer the treatment properly in order to obtain a natural looking result. If there are mistakes, reversing it will require laser treatment – so seek out someone who knows what they’re doing and look at their before and after pictures.

Price tag:
Depending on the area to be treated, the quantity of sessions needed, its largely
advertised from £500 for a small patch. For a full scalp coverage on men, restoring back,
side and front hair lines it can cost £2,500 to £3,000 for a course.

With the progress in medicine and research into hair loss, there are now many more options than before. Ask your doctor which is most suitable for you.

See below for Harley Street Emporium doctors who offer hair loss procedures including hair transplant surgery, PRP, Mesotherapy or Scalp Micropigmentation.

hair loss surgery harley street emporium

Questions to ask your surgeon before a hair transplant:

1. Will my age determine my suitability for hair restoration surgery?
Age can play a role, it will depend how much hair loss has occurred at a young age. If the hair loss isn’t too advanced, a surgeon may suggest PRP or supplements to help keep the inevitable at bay for a good few years.
A suitable age, stage and time can be found when hair loss has progressed enough to ideally undergo surgery once or even twice to restore the hair fully with enough donor area in tact.

2. How many hairs will I need to have transplanted?
This will depend on how big the area is you need to cover and of course it will depend on
how much donor area you have. This can be discussed with your surgeon at consultation.

3. How much will it cost me?
This depends on the amount of grafts, usually it would be £4,000 to £12,000 average however it can be as much as £15,000.

4. How successful will my surgery be?
This depends on stage of hair loss but greatly on health of the hair in the donor area. The skill of the surgeon is also key, so its ok to ask to see examples of his or her work and to ask how many procedures he or she has carried out successfully. Hopefully if he or she thinks it isn’t likely to be a great success, you will be told this at the consultation stage.

5. Will my hair look natural?
This again depends on the skill of the surgeon. The angle that the hair is implanted on in the hairline is vital to the direction it will take when it grows.

6. When will I see results?
Usually it takes 12 months for the full results to grow through. Some people will really start to see results from 6 months, some can take over a year. Taking professional grade supplements for example can help nourish your new implanted hairs.

7. How long will the procedure take?
Usually a day on average is needed. Again it depends how many grafts and the area to be covered.

8. Do I have to decide on the day?

No, it’s ok to go for several consultations before you decide on the surgeon, ask questions, get
quotes, compare advice, do your homework.

 

Kelly Morrell is the director of Scalp Confidential. She performs SMO and works with doctors and surgeons who specialise in hair loss.

Doctors and Surgeons on Harley Street Emporium who treat hair loss include:

Dr Luca de Fazio – Hair transplant Surgeon.

Dr Bhavjit Kaur – GP and Aesthetics Dr

Dr Reza Nassab – Plastic surgeon

Dr Unnati Desai – GP and aesthetics Dr

Dr Shirin Lakhani – Aesthetics Dr