Did you know that two-thirds of American men will have some degree of hair loss as early as age 35? If you’re among them, you’re probably weighing your options. When it comes to hair loss solutions, there are basically two routes that offer true hair regrowth (as opposed to illusions such as wigs and hair tattoos): medical and surgical treatments. Here’s what you need to know about both choices:
Hair Regrowth Drugs
There are only two drugs that are currently approved by the FDA as hair loss treatments. One is finasteride, better known by the brand name Propecia. This requires a prescription and is for men only. The other, minoxidil (Rogaine), is available without a prescription, and can be used by men and women. The two drugs are often used in combination, as well.
As always, there are potential side effects associated with both medications. But some of these side effects — in particular, decreased libido — are often exaggerated in popular discussion. It’s best to speak to a doctor before making any assumptions.
Hair Transplant Surgeries
Hair transplants take hairs from one part of the scalp or body (called the donor site), and graft them onto the thinning or balding area (the recipient site). While the grafted hairs fall out after the surgery, the follicles then begin producing new hairs on their own, making surgery a natural-looking and permanent solution.
There are two main types of surgeries. Follicular unit transplantation is the more traditional method, in which the donor grafts are harvested in a strip (usually from the back of the head) and then divided into many small pieces before implantation. Follicular unit extraction, on the other hand, involves a surgeon taking individual grafts (by making tiny, circular incisions around individual follicles) from a more spread-out area. The latter method creates less scarring and allows patients to cut their hair short if they so choose. FUE also makes it possible to use body hair for donor grafts, though some hair transplant surgeons won’t recommend this approach.
Do you think either of these hair regrowth strategies is right for you? Ask questions and join the discussion in the comments.