The American Academy of Dermatology declared August to be National Hair Loss Awareness month in 2001. The purpose is to educate people about this common problem affecting millions of men, women, and children worldwide, and diminish the stigma to make treatment easier and more accessible to those who suffer from various forms of hair loss. Today we will discuss the history of hair loss and some modern solutions to an age-old problem. History of Hair Loss and Its Treatments There have been records of treatments for hair loss throughout all of recorded human history. People have tried herbs, oils, potions, lotions, and even scary treatments like electric shock devices. Wigs and hairpieces can be traced all the way back to 3000 B.C. when they were used by the upper class to conceal all types of hair loss. The first known prescription for baldness was found in Luxor, Egypt on a papyrus dating back to 1553 B.C. This prescription was a mixture of alabaster, fat from various animals, honey, iron oxide, onions, and red lead that was to be taken after uttering an incantation to their sun god. A little later in 420 B.C. Hippocrates noticed that eunuchs didn’t typically suffer as much hair loss and prescribed a surgical treatment that we’re guessing wasn’t very popular. By 1624 wigs had become a symbol of power and prestige after King Louis XIII began wearing one to cover up his thinning hair. Then in Japan in 1939 the first hair transplant method was published by Dr. Shoji Okuda which paved the way for the modern hair transplant. Common Types and Causes of Hair Loss There are many different types and causes of hair loss. We’ll look at some of the more common types. Male and female pattern hair loss is the most common type and is caused by hereditary factors and hormone changes. Telogen effluvium can be caused by a stressful or medical event that forces too many hair follicles into their resting phase at the wrong time. Other types are caused by autoimmune responses and include alopecia totalis which causes a total loss of scalp hair and alopecia areata which causes patches of completely smooth scalp. Still, other types have physical causes such as infections like ringworm and conditions like trichotillomania in a child or teen who develop a compulsion to pull their own hair. Prevalence of Hair Loss It’s estimated that 40 million women, 60 million men, and 2 million children suffer from some type of hair loss. One in four men will begin losing their hair before the age of 21, and as many as 50% of women will suffer some degree of hair loss in their lifetime. Modern Treatments for Hair Loss Modern treatment of hair loss has come a long way from incantations and drinking concoctions and shock therapy. Some treatments for hair loss will depend on the type and cause of the hair loss, and others are beneficial no matter the cause. Hair transplant treatments involve surgically moving your own growing hair from a thicker area to a thinning one. The limitation of this treatment is that you must have enough hair in certain areas or your scalp to be able to take the donor's hair. Non-invasive hair replacement involves the use of wigs and hair pieces to cover up and camouflage bald or thinning areas. This is a great solution for any type of hair loss, as it provides immediate results to help restore confidence and self-esteem. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments are effective in the battle against hair loss of a hereditary nature. PRP treatments use stem cells and growth factors that naturally occur in the blood to stimulate growth within the follicles. Low-Level Laser Light Therapy (LLHT) is a proven treatment for the early stages of male and female pattern hair loss. The treatments deliver low-level laser light energy directly to the scalp to stimulate blood flow, wake resting hair follicles up, and stimulate new hair growth. Scalp micropigmentation uses specialized pigments that are deposited in the skin using needles the width of a human hair. These treatments color the scalp to give thinning areas an appearance of fullness. Medications such as steroid injections and topical treatments are often necessary to treat hair loss due to autoimmune disease, while antifungals are needed for infections such as ringworm. Psychological and behavioral therapy is utilized in cases of trichotillomania to treat the underlying anxiety and compulsions that trigger the hair-pulling behavior. If you or a loved one are among the millions of people that are suffering from baldness or thinning hair it’s time to schedule a consultation with the hair restoration experts at the Hair Restoration Institute. Our caring professionals will help determine the cause of your hair loss and develop a personalized plan to restore your hair. You’ll find us at 1201 West Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas, or call 817-854-HAIR (4247) for your complimentary and confidential consultation with an experienced hair loss professional.
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