Aging Hair? Hair Miniaturization -- Less is Not More

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Hair miniaturization, a common problem in both men and women in which the hair follicle becomes progressively smaller and finer, due to heredity and often with age

It seems that we are plagued these days with all kinds of new physical ailments. Women now have sexual dysfunction. We are told we have aging gums. Now there is hair miniaturization to worry about, a common problem in both men and women in which the hair follicle becomes progressively smaller and finer, due to heredity and often with age. Hair that is following a reduced life cycle looks unhealthy and thin. The individual may even lose pigment and in the end, the follicle may remain permanently dormant.

You don’t have to tear your hair out over it. Controlling one’s behavior and environment is one answer – avoiding pollutants in the atmosphere, restructuring your diet, eliminating stress. But you may be one of the unlucky ones who suffer from genetic and hormonal predisposition to this syndrome. Then it becomes a medical issue requiring a clinically-proven medical solution. There are few options:

For men: In 1988, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first medication for application to the scalp proven to grow human hair – Minoxidil. In actuality, it can slow down or help halt hair loss in some cases, and help regrow hair on the vertex of the head in some cases. To remain effective, it must be used on a daily basis.

In 1997, the FDA approved the first pill to treat male pattern hair loss – Propecia, a tablet taken once a day and available by doctor’s prescription only. According to manufacturer Merck, an estimated one million men in the United States take this medication daily to interrupt the formation of the hormone DHT, one of the principal factors in male pattern hair loss. It has been shown to help slow down the progressive thinning of hair in 83% of users and to increase the hair count in 66% of users. Men who are already “shiny bald” are unlikely to have positive results because the hair follicles may not be salvageable. Men who have early thinning the back or top of the head have a better chance of obtaining some benefit, but only for as long as they continue taking the medication.

For women: Minoxidil 2% solution (weaker than the 5% available to men) is the only FDA approved treatment for thinning hair in women.

According to Ken Washenik, M, D., Ph.D., a world renowned hair loss expert, “For those content to hold the hair they have and achieve modest re-growth, the FDA approved medical treatments are clinically proven to help many individuals. For those unable to cope psychologically with hair loss and who want to restore their hairline and regain significant hair, surgical transplantation is the only answer. A discussion of your individual options is the best course of action before starting any treatment program.”

Dr. Washenik, a faculty member of the New York University School of Medicine Department of Dermatology and Medical Director of Bosley, believes that hair transplantation provides natural, virtually undetectable hairline restoration and, in conjunction with the FDA approved non-surgical treatments, can help reverse miniaturization for maximum aesthetic benefit.

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Angela Giacobbe
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