Strategy for hair maintenance and replacement in men
Pattern hair loss in both men and women is progressive. This statement is the most important thing I tell my patients during a consultation for hair loss. Understanding the impact of this statement is essential to the treatment of pattern hair loss. What does it mean for you the patient? It means that a good maintenance program should be part of your hair loss treatment plan.
For men, the cause of pattern hair loss is well established. Men with hair loss inherit sensitivity to a hormone called DHT – Dihydrotestosterone. Hairs that are going away are actually miniaturizing under the influence of DHT. By blocking DHT production you are helping to prevent the inevitable progression of your hair loss.
The best and most targeted treatment for maintenance of pattern hair loss is a drug which blocks DHT production called Finasteride. Some men fear the sexual side effects that may and in rare cases do occur with Finasteride. My personal experience is that Finasteride is a safe drug with a less than 5% incidence of sexual side effects. If sexual side effects occur, they are reversible with stoppage of the medication. I have never had a patient who had permanent problems after the use of Finasteride. This is not to say it doesn’t exist or can’t happen, but I haven’t seen it in 30 years of practice.
While Finasteride is the most targeted, best and most cost-efficient way to maintain against hair loss, we have other tools in our arsenal, should Finasteride not be tolerated. Those include topical Minoxidil, PRP – platelet rich plasma, laser therapy, and nutritional support. We use our own personal topical Minoxidil formula in addition to laser cap therapy. This combination along with intermittent PRP treatments provides good maintenance. The cost of these therapies is higher than that for Finasteride, however, there are no sexual side effects.
The bottom line is that maintenance is the key to successful long term treatment of hair loss whether a hair transplantation procedure is done or not. Our goal is to not have to chase hair loss with ongoing hair transplant procedures. Our goal is to maintain what you have and replace what you’ve lost.