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The Social Stigma of Hair Loss
by Jane Meggitt
Thick, healthy hair is always prized, much like a clear complexion and good figure. For those suffering from hair loss, there’s a social stigma attached to their thin or balding pates. The problem is especially difficult for women, who often experience hair loss after menopause. This perceived stigma is a primary reason that sales of products or services to reverse hair loss are booming. Whenever there’s a physical problem with a social stigma, such as hair loss or excess weight, there’s also a plethora of con artists marketing dubious “cures.” Some of these products not only fail to grow hair, but can prove dangerous to health. Here are legitimate means to address hair loss, with various levels of effectiveness.
Sold over-the-counter under the brand name Rogaine as well as other trade names and generic versions, minoxidil was approved by the FDA back in 1988. It was originally in 1979 for treating high blood pressure. Men taking the drug to treat their hypertension reported hair regrowth – a welcome side effect.
Minoxidil treatment involves twice daily topical application. Patients must remain patient, as it can take several months to a year before regrowth occurs. You must continue the applications for as long as you desire regrowth, which may mean the rest of your life.
Potential side effects include itching, dry scalp/dandruff and irritation. Rare side effects include chest pain or rapid heartbeat and lightheadedness. If you experience any serious side effects, stop using minoxidil and call your doctor.
Finasteride, available under the brand names Propecia and Proscar, is prescribed only for men. It can slow male hair loss and improve regrowth within six months of treatment. Again, stopping the medication can mean hair loss. Potential side effects of finasteride include loss of libido and sexual dysfunction.
If you don’t want to use medications to keep your hair or are wary of possible side effects, hair restoration offers another option. The process involves removing individual hairs from the back of the head via follicular extraction and individually transferring them to balding areas. The result is a natural look using your own hair. The entire procedure takes between four to 10 hours, and is done under local anesthesia. Some patients may require more than one session, depending on the amount of hair harvested and transferred. Hair restoration is expensive but effective, and probably does more to reduce the social stigma of hair loss than any other option.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!