Hair Problems

Hair Loss

The loss of one’s scalp hair can be quite upsetting. It can be due to many different causes. Examining the scalp, the structure of the hair shafts, the pattern of loss, and reviewing the medical history, the medications taken including over the counter supplements, vitamins, herbs can all provide clues as to the underlying etiology. In some cases, a biopsy maybe needed to microscopically evaluate the types of cells surrounding the hair follicles. This involves locally anesthetizing a small area of skin and surgically taking a small sample to examine under the microscope.

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is helpful to have the following information available for your appointment:

  • Count the number of hairs that you are losing on a non-shampoo day. Do not count hairs that you are manually pulling out.
  • Bring in a plastic bag of the hairs lost for examination. Put hairs collected for each day in a separate bag. A 4 or 5 day collection is sufficient.
  • Bring in a list of all medications including over the counter medications, vitamins, and other supplements you are taking by mouth. Write down the dosages, and when you started taking each medication.
  • Bring in all hair products you are currently using.
  • Try to not to panic. In the majority of cases, the hair loss is treatable.

You may be a candidate for treatment with autologous platelet rich plasma (PRP), depending on the cause of your hair loss. Your blood sample is collected in a special tube and spun in a centrifuge. This separates your blood cells from your platelets. A high platelet concentration is then prepared and injected into your scalp. This PRP preparation contains important signaling growth factors that stimulate stem cells in the hair follicles to grow new hair. Existing hairs will become thicker as well. Typically 4-5 treatments are needed initially to « wake up » the hair follicles. Maintenance treatments are recommended 2-3 times a year to preserve and continue hair growth.

Scientists have discovered that platelets play a pivotal role in tissue healing. Platelets release a multitude of growth factors such as platelet-derived growth factors AA, AB, BB, transforming growth factors Beta 1 and 2, vascular endothelial growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, basic-fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor, and platelet factor-4.

These signaling proteins are responsible for initiating cellular production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, fibronectin, proteoglycans, and blood vessels in the skin. These factors are responsible for repair and regeneration of our skin.

Platelet rich plasma is a concentrated preparation of platelets prepared from your own blood. Your blood is collected into a special tube and spun in a centrifuge. This separates the platelets from the rest of the blood cells. The platelets are activated to release the growth factors and the activated PRP is then applied or injected, depending on the treatment for which it is being used.

Lumenis LightSheer Laser removes unwanted dark, coarse hair from virtually any body area: ears, nostrils, face, underarms, arms, bikini area, back, chest, legs, and toes. Generally, 5-8 treatments are needed. Laser is performed every 4-6 weeks. Laser hair reduction eliminates problems associated with waxing, and shaving, such as ingrown hairs, skin irritation, skin discoloration, and folliculitis, an acne-like condition involving hair follicles. There is minimal to no down time.

Patricia Wong MD