What are the Alternatives to Hair Transplants?

The main reasons we lose our hair is down to our genetics and our hormones. In male pattern baldness, which generally results in a receding hair line and balding scalp, an increase in an enzyme which converts the hormone testosterone into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone is usually the cause.

In women, hormones are also at play, and it is often around the time of the menopause that women begin to notice their hair thinning on the top of their head. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can also cause hair loss in men and women.

What Hair Loss Treatments are Available?

If you’re losing your hair or noticing thinning patches, then you may be thinking about all the different options you have:

  • Hair transplant
  • Hair micropigmentation
  • Hats, wigs and scarves
  • Topical lotions and sprays
  • Hormone blocking, daily oral medications
  • Laser therapy

A hair transplant is probably on your list of options, but can seem off putting due to price and the invasiveness of the treatment compared to others.

However, a hair transplant is the most successful hair loss treatment. A hair transplant is a long but worthwhile procedure whereby an expert surgeon and team of hair loss specialists transfer healthy hair follicles from the back and/or side of the scalp to areas at the front and top of the scalp.

Hair follicles from the back and sides of the scalp are more robust and less prone to dying or becoming too weak to produce healthy hairs. They will continue to do so when they’re transplanted to other areas of the scalp.

There are lotions and medications you can use to help block the effects of hormones on hair loss, but these are life-long treatments. Once you stop them, your hair loss is likely to return. There isn’t another long-term alternative for hair loss that’s a one-off procedure like a hair transplant. The only treatment that comes close, is a treatment called ‘hair micropigmentation’.

What is Hair Micropigmentation?

Hair micropigmentation is an innovative treatment also known as hair tattooing, scalp tattooing or hair shading. This is a non-surgical treatment that gives the appearance of a youthful hair line and fewer thin or balding patches, by using expert tattooing techniques to fill in the scalp with colour. It doesn’t promote hair growth in any way.

Hair micropigmentation experts use herbal pigments and dyes along with tiny microneedles to introduce colour to the scalp, similar to having a tattoo. It’s used to give the impression of very closely shaved or cropped hair, by filling in a receding hair line and continuing all the way up to where the natural hair begins to grow.

It can be used on partially or fully bald heads, to restore hair lines at the front, sides or the back of the head, to fill in a thinning crown or even add side burns. It can also be used to cover up scars, sun spots or birth marks, and also to boost the appearance of the scalp after a hair transplant. Women with longer hair can also benefit from hair micropigmentation techniques, as it can be used to make the scalp less visible through thinning hair.

Hair micropigmentation can be used on all skin types and colours. Experts use a dye that seamlessly matches the natural hair colour and will often use three or four different shades to make the final effect as natural as possible. We all have natural tones and highlights to our hair colour and good hair micropigmentation will reflect that.

Like a hair transplant, it’s a lengthy process but unlike a hair transplant, it’s often completed over a number of different sessions. It’s similar to the microblading technique used in licenced beauty salons to create the illusion of thicker, fuller eyebrows.

What Other Hair Transplant Alternatives Are There?

  • Cover Ups

You can embrace it, and make peace with the fact you have thinning hair or a balding scalp. Or, you can wear hats, head scarves or hair pieces to cover up your hair loss. There are also coloured sprays that you can use to cover up bald patches. These will only last until your next hair wash, and can stain soft furnishings, pillows and clothes.

Many people don’t want to have to do this however, and nor should they. Our hair is often a statement about who we are, and we understand that hair loss can be distressing and make you feel embarrassed. Men may feel like they’re losing their masculinity, and women may feel less of a woman without a flowing head of hair.

  • Topical Solutions

Another alternative to hair transplants are solutions and sprays that you apply directly to the hair, such as Rogaine/Regaine (also known by its active ingredient name of minoxidil). These need to be applied to the scalp twice a day and you will normally have to use them for four months before you begin to notice results.

They will help to regrow your hair and prevent hair loss, but you will also need to continue using them for as long as you want to see hair growth. If you stop using them, you will more than likely continue to lose your hair. Minoxidil is only suitable for use in men between the ages of 18 and 49 and shouldn’t be used if you suffer with blood pressure problems. It may also cause a reduced libido and impotence.

There is also a separate minoxidil treatment for hair loss in women. This can be used in women aged 18 to 65 that are not pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Daily Oral Medications

There are also oral medications you can take for hair loss. These work to block the action of the hormones that contribute to hair loss. But these are also lifelong treatments – within a few months of stopping the medications, any new hair growth will cease, and you’ll begin to notice your thinning hair again.

Some of these treatments can also cause male impotence and lower sperm counts, albeit in rare cases. They’re not suitable for use in females with hair loss. Propecia, also known as finasteride, is one such hair loss tablet and needs to be taken for three to six months before any benefits become noticeable.

  • Laser or LED Light Therapy

There are various laser and LED light devices on the market that can be used at home to help stimulate hair growth. Most need to be used a few times a week, and either work like a comb or are devices that you wear on your head. They usually use Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) to help stimulate ageing hair follicle cells and encourage them to start growing healthy hairs again.

There isn’t currently enough evidence to prove exactly how these devices work, or indeed, if they do.

There are also various vitamin formulations and shampoos that help to support new and healthy hair growth when used in conjunction with various hair loss treatments.

If you’re looking for a permanent solution to hair loss, contact us for more information on hair transplants today.