Hair loss is a common condition most often associated with aging men, but hair loss actually affects millions of men and women of all ages. Americans alone spend over $3.5 billion annually to treat hair loss, showing just how vast the array of hair loss solutions really is.
As with most conditions, multiple problems must be addressed when treating hair loss. A combination of healthful behaviors, good nutrition, and medical care may be needed for best results. This hair health begins with the hair follicle, the place hair growth starts.
How does hair grow?
Most people experience average hair growth, that is about 5 mm per day or about 5 inches per month. Around 90 percent of your hair is actually growing, while 10 percent is dormant. This dormant hair sheds and is later regrown from healthy follicles.
If these healthy hair follicles become unhealthy, the regrowth pattern is not repeated. Many factors can cause hair to stop growing. Physical damage, such as burns and cuts, can irreparably damage hair follicles. Alopecia (essentially meaning baldness) most commonly refers to an immune disorder, alopecia areata, that causes the body to attack its own hair follicles.
Medications like chemotherapy can cause temporary hair loss. Stress, pregnancy, and hormone imbalances are common causes of thinning hair, too. Male pattern baldness is based on a combination of health problems and genetics. The hair growth cycle is shortened and the hair follicle begins to shrink.
Improving Hair Follicle Health
Most causes of hair loss come directly back to the hair follicle, so how can we boost hair follicle health? Fortunately, many simple ways can help promote hair growth and health. Here are a few examples:
Increase hair-friendly vitamins. Add vitamin B, niacin, biotin, and folic acid to your diet. These will help increase the strength and shine of your existing hair and promote new hair growth. Don’t forget vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene, too.
Eat well. You gain a lot by improving your overall health, but eating a well-balanced diet can also improve hair follicle and scalp health. Hair is made from protein, so stock up on eggs, whole cuts of meat, and low-fat dairy.
Hydrate. Don’t forget to drink enough water. Hair needs water to stay soft and supple and avoid breakable and brittle strands.
Anti-inflammatories. Steroid-based creams and injections have shown proven results to soothe damaged follicles and allowing regular hair growth.
Hair Growth Medications. In addition to steroid based creams, there are many hair growth treatments that focus on treating additional issues such as clogged and dirty follicles, and hormonal imbalances. Make sure you look for FDA-approved treatments.
You can also increase your chances of hair-growth success by using doctor-recommended brushes and techniques. Avoid harsh hair products and chemicals.
Surgical Hair Loss Treatment
In some cases, hair follicle damage has gone beyond the cell’s ability to heal. In this case, a medical professional will actually transplant healthy hair follicles to the areas where hair is no longer growing. These transplants can involve many follicles or a few, depending on your hair type, texture, and color.
While highly effective, these procedures are costly. Hair transplantation also involves some pain and a healing period where areas of your scalp may look patchy or potted.
Artificial Intelligence and Hair Transplantation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots can nowadays help in the hair transplantation process. For instance, the first and only hair transplantation robot (ARTAS), unveiled by Skin & Follic, and which uses AI was launched last year in Birmingham.
Not only ARTAS is able to search and identify prime donor hair and then harvests them at a rate three times faster than a manual transplantation procedure, but it also allows you to see your new hair in 3D before deciding on having a transplant.
The ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplantation System uses AI in order to identify strong and good quality hair that can be used to transplant to other areas. This helps in keeping the pre-existing hair undamaged, and allows the new hair to follow the natural path of hair growth, eventually resulting in a natural look. The procedure is thus by no doubt more accurate and quicker than a traditional manual procedure.
As Reza Nassab, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Skin & Follicle, mentions: “Robot-assisted surgery has a firm place in surgical procedures, coming on leaps and bounds over the past ten years. The fact that Birmingham can now offer robot-assisted hair transplantation means great things for those looking for hair restoration. We are delighted to be able to offer such advanced technology to those who need it, and to have the opportunity to take the ARTAS robot to the public at the Bullring. The event has already garnered a lot of interest, as it gives the public a chance to see what they could look like, thanks to the ARTAS Hair Studio. The ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplantation System is a great advancement, both for those suffering with hair loss for medical reasons and for cosmetic reasons.”
Of course, you should consult with a medical professional to determine if the above are considered viable treatments for you.