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Consulting a Hair Restoration Expert: How Young is Too Young?

Dr. Bernardino Arocha of Arocha Hair Restoration (http://arochahairrestoration.com) describes how he approaches patients who are experiencing hair loss at a very young age.

Over the years we have seen numerous posts online from people in their teens and early 20s seeking advice about their hair loss. The question seems to always come back to, “how young is too young?” The answer is that it is complicated and age is only one of many factors to be considered.

First, it is essential to understand that hair loss does not cease after undergoing hair restoration treatment. Male pattern hair loss is hereditary and is a lifelong process. Medicinal therapies can slow or even stop hair loss, but if those treatments are halted, the hair loss will continue. If our consultation determines that an artistic hair transplant may be an appropriate approach, we explain the importance of having realistic expectations of the overall result and discuss the fact that additional future hair transplant procedures could be recommended.

As Dr. Bernardino Arocha describes in this video, hair loss at a young age can cause lifelong trauma. It is common for young men suffering from Alopecia Androgenetica to suffer from a lack of self-confidence, withdraw socially and in the most severe cases even think about harming themselves. Through our consultation, we work to bring these feelings to the surface. They must be addressed because the actual physical loss of hair is just one aspect of the torment these patients are experiencing. In many ways, the hair loss is relatively simple to address compared to the complex psychological challenges.

None of this is imaginary. Young men who experience hair loss are usually estimated to be much older than they are. Studies have found those who lose their hair at a young age are also considered to be less attractive by society. Professionally, people are judged by their appearances, and those experiencing hair loss may experience bias in the workplace that holds them back.

As described in the video, Dr. Arocha would advise a young patient to consider medicinal therapy, including finasteride (Propecia), which has proven to be 70 percent effective at blocking DHT and can slow or stop hair loss in nine out of 10 patients. He would further recommend the use of minoxidil (Rogaine) 5% to be used twice daily. That combination slows or stops the progression of male pattern baldness and the Rogaine can increase the caliber of the hair — making it thicker for the appearance for more density.

These are the only two prescription drugs for hair loss that have been approved by the FDA. Rogaine is sold over the counter. It has been scientifically proven to be effective at reducing hair loss and can even stimulate hair growth for some users. However, any new hair that grows could fall back out if Rogaine use is stopped. Hair care products with a higher dosage of minoxidil are more effective than those with lower dosages, so make sure you check the ingredients label for the dosage.

Propecia is an oral medication originally developed to treat enlarged prostate in men, but many men who have taken the drug for that reason noticed it diminished hair thinning. This drug has been approved by the FDA to reduce male pattern baldness in men. However, it should not be taken by women, as mere exposure to the drug can cause serious complications and birth defects.

Topical, non-prescription medical remedies also are available and can typically be found in drugstores. These products come in foams, creams and shampoos. While some people experience success utilizing these products, 40 percent of people do not. Below are a few hair loss “solutions” that are popular on the Internet, even though they have not been scientifically proven:

Avacor – Topical solution and detoxifying shampoo
Hair growth stimulator based on 2, 4-di-amino-6d piperidinopyrimidine3 oxide or 2 percent Minoxidil + sabal serulate (saw palmetto)
Company cites clinical data to support claims but non-peer reviewed, non- double blind
Cost is $220/3 mo.

Nioxin – Scalp cleanser, therapy and serum
Niocidin inhibits demodex produced lipase
Never been a study that implicates Demodex lipase in hair loss

Folliguard – Similar to Avacor containing minoxidil and saw palmetto
Cost is $200/3 mo.

Scalpmed – Minoxidil + saw palmetto
Cost is $300/3 mo.

Hair Advantage – Loniten (minoxidil) and saw palmetto + herbals
Cost is $180/3 mo.

Emu oil – Claims 80 percent hair follicles began to grow hair in nonclinical studies
Cost is $9.50/ oz

Thymuskin – Extract of calf thymus
Claims to boost immune function, admits not effective for AGA
Cost is $210/3 mo.

Continued use of these products typically is required for the benefit to continue. The success of these items are discovered through trial and error, which will determine if they are the best hair loss products for a given individual.