Some argue that it’s physical proof of the Bard’s genius, or even a shiny piece of evidence that brains triumphs over beauty. Alas alack, every so often when we praise Shakespeare’s name, it’s hard not to find the egg of his face a slight shame.
Androgenetic alopecia (a.k.a the garden variety male pattern balding) affects almost 95 percent of hot-blooded boys to varying extent in the prime of their life. Despite it’s high prevalence, the ever expanding forehead is no longer a barometer of growing wisdom or the inevitable fate of men of certain age today – Maintaining a full crowning glory is truly a personal choice with the myriad of modern-day hair solutions. Take control of your cosmetic destiny with three brilliant clinical strategies that will reverse the receding tide:
FERTILISE THE SOIL
When Mother Nature knocks, she tends to arrive early in many men…and means serious business. The cruel march towards Town Baldness may commence in his 20’s, as evidenced by an insidiously receding hairline over the years. By 30, over a third of men would find themselves cruising along the Lake Thinning on their crowns, before finally reaching the vast desert plains of Alopecia in their 40s.
Hereditary, male hormones and age all play a part in male pattern baldness, causing the hair follicles along the hairline to become frail and ‘miniaturised’ before finally failing and dying off to leave a shiny barren island of scalp.
At the vanguard of the assault on your ailing crop is topical products that are easily available off the drugstore shelf or at your doctor’s. Progressing centuries ‘ahead’ from the age-old remedy of rubbing bourbon to stimulate the scalp, medically-proven solutions containing minoxidil promote microcirculation and invigorate the shrunken follicles to regrow thicker and fuller strands after at least 16 weeks of religious use. Various concentrations and formulations (e.g foam or spray; plain or fortified with other goodies like hair vitamins) are available.
While there are many self-proclaimed ‘miracle’ hair-growth products out there, clinically-proven scalp solutions containing minoxidil 5% such as the classic Regaine or vitamin-fortified formulations like the Sloane Inc Hair Recovery are your best bet.
Popping the male Pill – Propecia – targets the hormonal component of the underlying problem. This 5-alpha-reductase-inhibitor lowers DHT (or dihydrotestosterone, a more potent form of the male hormone that’s responsible for shrinking and culling the follicles) by 60% to stop the progression of male pattern hair loss in up to 85% of the dudes in clinical trials. Again, persistence is key here to maintain low DHT levels so that new and stronger crops of hair can grow healthily in a poison-free environment. The feared side effect with this hormone-hampering medication is of course, possible lowered libido. *nasty!*
Perfect For: Quality follicle-preserving products and pills are best for helping you keep your hair on your head. This will benefit those with early to moderate cases who are noticing a receding hairline, but still has viable vegetation left on the scalp. Hence, the secret to success here is early intervention and accurate diagnosis, as well as continuous usage to maintain a youthful mane for many years to come.
BRING IN THE LIGHT
With science in the service of mankind, advanced laser light therapy has gained popularity as a non-invasive and effective modality for treatment of hair loss in the past few years. Of which, the Revage 670 Laser has received the approving nod from the FDA and has been widely recognised as the gold standard scalp rejuvenating laser to curb the loss of habitat and rebuild healthy homes for follicles under threat.
Revage 670 contains a total of 30 laser diodes, providing critical coherent beams as a direct source of laser light in a hood to ensure optimal and uniform energy delivery to the scalp. With its Rotational PhotoTherapy (RPT) system, this in-office clinical mane reviver goes down to the roots to maximise the resuscitation and thickening of each hair follicle at an industrial strength level that’s way more powerful than conventional hand-held laser combs and caps. Rest assured that this gentle giant is both painless and safe on those precious strands even with regular exposure, and has absolutely no downtime.
Studies have shown that the Revage 670 produces an impressive 85% success rate in halting hair loss, with a visibly obvious 40 percent increase in fullness. Light therapy can be combined with topical products and a hair-boosting diet to provide the vital nutrients necessary to build strong, luscious locks.
Most doctors recommend shining the scalp with twice weekly Revage therapy for the first 6 weeks to jumpstart the growth process, then tailing down to once a week treatment for the subsequent 16 weeks as the hair completes its active sprouting cycle. Once vigorous hair restoration is observed, periodic maintenance sessions (the frequency varies with the follicular needs of each individual) will help maintain a resplendent mane.
Perfect For: As Kennedy once advised, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining” – so don’t adopt the sit-and-wait strategy when it comes to rescuing those delicate strands in distress. Laser treatment not only supercharges the growth and vitality of fine, miniaturised strands in male pattern balding, but also serves as a fabulous long-term scalp revitaliser for women with either age-related thinning or general weakening of chemically-tortured or heat-fried tresses. The only downside for this piece of ‘hair raising’ tech is probably cost.
Laser therapy is a safe, painless and proven alternative for receding guys (or thinning gals) like Einstein who are simply inept in massaging scalp potions on a daily basis and do not wish to pop hair pills. Sitting under a salon-like laser hood to energise sprouting of a glorious crown is much easier than grasping E=mc2
SEED A NEW CROP
In the past few years, Medicine has made tremendous strides in the field of hair restoration with the advent and rapid evolution of surgical hair transplant.
While hair transplant was previously viewed as a bloody, low-yield last ditch fight to reclaim the desert lands in the terminal stages of male pattern baldness, mindsets are fast changing with the introduction of the revolutionary hair planting technology. The ARTAS® Robotic procedure utilises sophisticated digital technology and precision robotics to deliver better and natural-looking results at a faster speed and with shorter recovery time as compared to traditional hair restoration surgery. This state-of-the-art follicle unit harvester is able to map out exactly the best follicles to harvest in the donor site at the back of the head. Using complex algorithms to ensure uniform follicle extraction and taking into account details like the exit angle of each follicle and patient movement during the procedure, the ARTAS System ensures the dream combination of optimal efficacy, improved survival rates of transplanted hairs, and minimised trauma to the donor scalp. Healthy harvested follicles are then implanted by an experienced doctor into the balding patch to restore a youthful frontage. Genius!
Post-treatment, most men are able to dive back into their normal activities within a day or two. Both the donor and recipient areas fully recovers after just 1 week. At 6 months, you will be pleased with a noticeable revegetation as the implanted strands grow. By 9 months, you should bask in your new crowning glory.
Perfect For: More severe cases of male pattern baldness with obvious thinning. Maintain your full head of lively locks with topicals or laser therapy to counter future hair fall.
– By Claudia Lin
SKIN Magazine would like to thank Dr Chua Han Boon, Medical Consultant from The Sloane Clinic, for providing the medical information input for this article. Dr Chua is a familiar and well-loved name in Medical Aesthetics circle and has a special interest in hair restoration. He believes that with the current technology and advanced techniques, looking impeccable can be simple and fuss-free. Besides its comprehensive range of hair products and laser therapy, The Sloane Clinic Hair Transplant Centre will be the first clinic in Singapore to offer the latest ARTAS Robotic hair transplantation.