Let’s be real: We all want thick and luxurious hair. But sadly, that’s just not a reality for everyone. Hair thinning is a common biological phenomenon affecting men and women alike. If it’s happening to you, you may be cursing the hair gods and wondering, “Why me?” Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to get the luscious locks you’ve always lusted after.
What Causes Thinning Hair, Anyway?
Hair thinning cannot be attributed to any singular cause. “Factors that contribute to hair loss include genetics, nutrition, aging, hormones, stress, abnormalities within our bodies and physiology,” explains Alissa Brotman-O’Neill of Princeton Hair Restoration.
In short: Don’t be alarmed if you’re experiencing hair loss. “Eighty-five percent of men report thinning of their hair by age 50,” says plastic surgeon and hair transplant specialist Mohit Sood. Don’t listen to the rumors that surround hair loss. “Wearing hats, combing your hair often and keeping your hair shorter are all myths,” Sood reveals.
Kumar Sukhedo, a New York City dermatologist who specializes in hair loss, suggests practicing patience if your hair thinning has become discouraging. “Hair operates on a three-month cycle and grows very slowly,” he explains. “Any treatment is going to take months to years to show benefits fully.”
Translation? Any products claiming to regrow your hair overnight should be avoided or approached with some serious skepticism.
How Can I Treat My Thinning Hair?
Sood’s first step for dealing with hair loss is straightforward: “Don’t panic.” He encourages patients to check with a doctor if there are any hormonal or metabolic reasons for hair loss. Being aware of potential causes will simplify the process of finding the best and most effective treatment action plan.
Tackling hair loss should begin from the inside or, more specifically, from the kitchen. “A balanced diet will give most people the dietary requirements they need for healthy hair,” says Sukhdeo. Nutrients such as vitamin B, vitamin D, and iron have been clinically shown to shield against hair loss.
For those seeking a more aggressive approach, surgical options—such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and hair restoration surgery—may be the path to take. PRP injections can promote healing and hair growth. According to Indian research, PRP injections are effective in treating androgenic alopecia, otherwise known as male pattern baldness.
As for hair restoration surgery, the procedure typically involves harvesting healthy hair follicles from the donor area to put on balding areas. The scope of the surgery will depend on the amount of hair involved—sometimes it can take up to eight hours to complete. But no matter what, the process will entail a significant financial investment because most hair transplants aren’t covered by insurance.
For people unsure or hesitant about surgical options, non-surgical methods can aid in restoring hair growth. “Non-surgical options that can help patients with thinning hair include scalp micropigmentation or scalp tattooing,” says Douglas Henstrom, a facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist in Utah. “PRP with ACell injections can also help boost growth from those follicles that are miniaturizing.”
Scalp tattooing may be minimally invasive, but it’s still a serious procedure, and you should weigh the pros and cons. Using specialized pigment and a microneedle, tiny follicles are “drawn” onto the scalp, basically creating little dots to imitate that stubble look. It’s an illusion, but it’s one that has helped balding men and women gain back some of their confidence.
As for PRP with ACell, it’s a new medical advancement that purportedly “works at the cellular level to repair and remodel damaged tissues, including miniaturized hair follicles.” ACell is thought to activate adult stem cells in the follicles that have gone dormant. And as mentioned, PRP contains those growth boosters, so to speak. Together, they could be the winning, most natural solution you’ve been looking for.