Hair loss is challenging to deal with at any age. But for young men who are uncomfortable with their changing appearance, it can be particularly embarrassing. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome male pattern hair loss, including medications, surgical procedures, and cutting-edge therapy. Here are four treatment strategies that can help young men feel empowered on their hair restoration journey.
1. Topical Medications
The FDA has approved two topical medications for male pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia): minoxidil and finasteride. These medications work to combat hair loss in different ways. Minoxidil often increases hair thickness and slows or stops hair loss. It works by shortening the dormant portion of the hair lifecycle. It also relaxes the blood vessels to allow more nutrients, blood, and oxygen to the follicles.
Finasteride helps slow male pattern hair loss by reducing the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is an androgen hormone that plays a key role in male pattern hair loss. Young men experiencing symptoms of androgenetic alopecia often start their hair restoration journey by using topical finasteride and minoxidil. If those treatments don’t work after 3-6 months of consistent use, there are other hair loss treatments available.
2. Surgical Procedures
Surgical hair restoration is much more invasive than topical medication. But for some young men, it may be the fastest way to reverse moderate to severe male pattern hair loss. The risks, recovery times, and scarring severity associated with surgical procedures vary by treatment type. Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) are the two most common hair restoration surgeries performed today. Here’s what every young man with hair loss should know about these treatments.
Follicular Unit Transplantation
Follicular unit transplantation involves extracting a band of hair-rich skin from the scalp. The band usually comes from the rear of the head, where hair tends to be less affected by androgenetic alopecia. The surgeon then separates the strip into individual hair grafts and stitches up the extraction area. The hair grafts are transferred to areas where hair loss is most evident. It may take up to 12 months after surgery to see noticeable growth in the grafted areas.
FUT is an effective treatment for male pattern hair loss. However, there are naturally some risks involved with the procedure. These include unnatural-looking hair regrowth, swelling, bleeding, and hair follicle inflammation. FUT also leaves a long, linear scar at the site of the hair strip extraction. To avoid some of these issues, many young men choose to receive follicular unit extraction instead.
Follicular Unit Extraction
FUT and FUE share the same main goal: to minimize the effects of androgenetic alopecia and facilitate hair regrowth. However, they work to obtain this goal in different ways. FUE is less invasive than FUT. It requires the painstaking removal of individual hair follicles from the donor site instead of removing a larger scalp strip. The individual grafts are then carefully transferred to the desired areas.
One of the most notable advantages of FUE over FUT is that the former doesn’t leave any noticeable scars behind. It also comes with a lower risk of complications due to its less-invasive nature. As with FUT, it can take up to 12 months for transplanted hair to grow after FUE. This is because transplanted hair typically goes through a lengthy dormant period before entering the growth phase. Using topical hair growth medications may help speed up the regrowth process after hair restoration surgery.
3. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is well-known for its ability to accelerate tissue repair. It’s a promising treatment used by healthcare professionals to help injured patients recover. It’s also recently become more popular as a hair restoration treatment. The theory behind PRP treatments for hair loss is that platelets secrete growth factors that may reverse hair loss. Specifically, platelets may stimulate dermal papilla cells, which are essential for hair growth.
Before a healthcare provider can inject your scalp with platelets, they must first extract PRP from your blood. To do so, they’ll draw blood from your arm and spin it rapidly in a centrifuge to separate the PRP. Then, they’ll collect the PRP and inject it into thin or balding areas on the scalp. Most of these therapies require three initial sessions followed by regular maintenance sessions to maintain results.
4. Laser Hair Loss Therapy
Laser hair growth therapy uses low-level laser light to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth. The FDA approves laser hair loss therapy for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Young men can schedule laser therapy sessions at a spa, clinic, or other healthcare facility. Some laser hair growth devices are also available online for at-home use. Before purchasing such products, users should painstakingly research them to ensure their efficacy and safety.
The theory behind laser treatment for hair loss is that the laser energy stimulates dormant hair follicles to grow hair. It may also improve blood circulation and nutrient delivery to the scalp. While some people experience positive hair regrowth results after laser therapy, others do not. Inconsistent results explain why this is still considered a somewhat controversial treatment for male pattern baldness.
It can be shocking for any young man to experience hair loss. Fortunately, there are various treatments available to help slow the rate of loss and stimulate hair regrowth. Consider using one or more of these treatments to stop the progression of male pattern baldness and regain your self-confidence.