Hair Loss FAQs

Brought to you by Holt Hair Restoration Center of Grand Rapids, MI

How Does Hair Grow?

Hair originates at the Papilla and grows eventually out of the hair follicle. Breaking off from the Papilla, it is eventually released. Each hair grows at a rate of approximately one half inch per month for a period of two to six years, then rests for about three months before being pushed out of the way by a new hair that has been slowly growing its way up through the scalp. On average, if everything is normal, the life of the hair lasts for about four years.

When this hair life cycle is good or normal, we lose approximately 80 to 100 hairs per day. When you run your fingers through your hair and some comes out easily, the hair was most likely ready to be released to make room for new hair growth. If you notice increasing hair loss, more than a 100 a day or you are not sure, please contact the Holt Hair Restoration Center immediately for a complimentary consultation. It may be time to see what we can do to help to reduce or eliminate your hair loss problem. ISHRS Patient Brochure on Medical and Surgical Options to restore and maintain scalp hair.

What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

There are significant differences between men and women, in both the possible causes and the management of hair loss. While hereditary/genetic influences are still the most common cause in both genders, women have a higher incidence of medical conditions that may be causing, or contributing to hair loss and/or thinning. It is very important to proper management, that the contributing factors be identified. This is usually possible by simple history and physical examination by hair loss specialist or dermatologist. If a non-genetic hair loss condition is suspected, additional studies may be recommended to determine a specific diagnosis and proper treatment plan.

Many, if not most, women will be found to be excellent candidates for hair restoration surgery (hair transplantation) if needed. These would generally include cases of hereditary hair loss, hair loss from prior traction from tight beading and braids, and certain conditions caused by the use strong hair chemicals, such as relaxing agents. Regardless of the cause, hair loss is an especially sensitive issue and troublesome burden for a woman to have to suffer. There are special approaches needed when managing female hair loss as opposed to the more typical hair loss that men experience. Proper diagnosis and management of hair loss in women requires special training, experience and a proper understanding of the differences by the hair loss specialist. The Holt Hair Restoration Center manages all types of hair loss issues in both men and women.

What Causes Hair Loss in Men?

Hair Loss MenWhile there are many possible reasons people lose hair, androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness is responsible for the vast majority of hair loss in men. This is a hereditary condition, with contributing genes being passed down from both maternal and paternal sides. There is often an immediate family history of hair loss in close family members. However, because there are several genes that are involved, there are also many different combinations that can be inherited. The trait can even skip expression between generations, such that family history does not always reflect the degree of hair loss a person might experience, nor whether for sure they will experience hair loss at all.

What is inherited in male pattern baldness sufferers, are patterned areas where the hair follicles have a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the predominate form of testosterone in the developing fetus. Following birth, testosterone becomes the primary male hormone. While DHT is critical for normal male fetal development, it can be thought of as largely unecessary leftover in later life. In fact, it seems to cause more trouble than good! It first affects the hair causing hair loss issues. Later in life, it appears to be a major contributing factor in the very common male condition called BPH; benign prostatic hypertrophy. There are even indications that DHT plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. Everyone has a certain amount of the hormone DHT. However, men with male pattern hair loss have a sensitivity to DHT that is not found in those without hair loss, nor in areas of the scalp where hair loss is absent. DHT interacts with the hair follicles in a way that disturbs the normal growth and rest cycle times.

Normally a hair follicle might have a 4-6 year growth (anogen) phase, followed by a brief resting (telogen) phase, during which the old hair shaft is shed in preparation for a new one to grow back in a replenishing process. Because of this cycling of normal hair growth, everyone might shed as many as 80-150 hairs per day. As long as an equivalent weight or mass of hair is also grown each day, there is no net hair loss or noticeable cosmetic changes. Hair follicles that continue to allow DHT to govern the normal growth and resting cycles of the hair are subject to eventual miniaturization. Miniaturization is easy to see on a video microscope, and is present in anyone having androgentic alopecia. Miniaturization results from a shortening of the normal growth phase time. Eventually, the growth phase time becomes so short, that the hair shafts don’t even have time to come up to size, caliber, or pigmentation, before they are shed and the next cycle begins again. It’s almost as though the hair follicles are being returned to the “baby hair” state.

This becomes established as a long-term disturbance in the normal adult growth/rest cycling and replenishment process, and eventually hair growth ceases entirely in the genetically sensitive areas. This then determines the pattern and degree of hair loss that a person might suffer over time. It’s important to understand that the process of miniaturization, proceeding on to eventual baldness, can in most cases be slowed, stopped, and even partially reversed towards normal. This primarily involves the use of daily maintenance therapy. In men, this can be as simple as taking an inexpensive and very effective DHT blocking medication. Unfortunately, many men have received or read information that is scientifically false or misleading about the safety and side effect profile of these agents. This often results in ongoing hair loss that could have been entirely avoided safely and inexpensively. If you have been given this impression by information you have read, you owe it to yourself to get the clear facts and the big picture about the benefits and risks of medical interventions to stop hair loss and maintain healthy hair growth cycles.

For many if not most men, the risks of NOT using interventional therapy is even greater in terms of the image and confidence issues that the hair loss itself causes! Hair loss never really stops as an ongoing process without intervention. Usually it is such a slow and insidious process, that it goes unnoticed, or at least untreated, until it has become more advanced. By this time, hair transplantation has likely become the only effective method of re-establishing a hairline, and cosmetically correcting the problem. Fortunately for most, hair transplantation combined with preventive maintenance therapy, is also the best overall treatment approach to hair loss. Best of all, it is the all-natural treatment because it is real, growing hair that is your own!

Many great candidates for surgical hair restoration (hair transplantation), are still unaware of the tremendous advances that have been made in the development of techniques, surgical approaches, and aesthetic design in the modern day follicular unit transplant. The days of the old “pluggy” or “corn rowed” hair transplant are gone… or at least they should be. Today’s transplants are very natural in appearance, and are virtually undetectable as anything but one’s naturally growing hair. And best of all, that is exactly what they are! The transplant is performed as an office-based, out- patient procedure, and is considered to be one of the safest cosmetic procedures performed. The complication rate is very low, and the satisfaction rate is very high; in fact, it is the highest among comparative approaches. Besides advances in techniques, today’s experienced hair surgeons have a much greater understanding of how time might interface with the transplant, and are much more focused on the essential maintenance of the “steady state” of cosmetic appearance and prevention of further losses.

We are blessed with some of the most effective non-surgical treatments that truly do stop hair loss, and even reverse the process in the great majority of patients. Some of these very effective treatments are shrouded in competitive misinformation and fear mongering on internet sites and other places. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Speak to someone with unbiased, first-hand experience! There are pharmaceuticals and other products that really work, but you have to have the truth to put them to work for you! These aspects of hair loss and hair restoration should always be part of any surgical plan, and they always are in my practice! As for surgical techniques; I offer the most advanced transplant procedures available; including the increasingly popular method of harvesting donor hair by the method of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). In fact, we are Michigan’s only ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration Center. The ARTAS robotic FUE method of obtaining donor follicles, is by far the most advanced and precise technology available in hair restoration surgery. I only provide the highest level of technology and quality available in hair transplantation, and therefore I have chosen ARTAS is the very best level of technology I can offer my FUE patients.