Overcoming Our Own Perceptions of Female Hair Loss
When Medi Tresse opened 2015, our mission was two-fold. First, we wanted to help all women experiencing hair loss feel empowered by their options and reclaim their confidence. Secondly, as the leading medical professionals in our industry, we wanted to normalize women's hair loss through education while creating a caring and supportive community for women. That second part is the hardest, but most important part of our mission.
The reason I am sharing this, is due to a recent patient interaction that I had during a consultation. During the consultation I made a comment about the patient’s hair loss and the patient was slightly taken aback and stated that they did not suffer from hair loss. The patient went on to state that she only has some thinning hair, but not hair loss. This is actually something that is not that uncommon to hear from patients at Medi Tresse.
While hair loss may seem fairly objective, either you have it or you don’t, in reality, that is not how people feel about hair loss. The truth is that everybody has different perceptions about what counts as hair loss. We have some patients that come in with what appear to be full heads of hair, but they are noticing changes in their hair and feel they have hair loss that needs to be treated. We have other patients that come in with what we would consider advanced female hair loss, but they feel like they have just started to notice hair loss or they have always had fine hair so it really is not that advanced to them. It is important not to minimize anyone’s feelings about what they are experiencing.
It is just as important to break through the negative connotations of words and phrases like “hair loss”, ”thinning hair”, or “alopecia”. Thankfully, with the patient I alluded to above, even though this patient did not think they had hair loss, they were still seeking treatment. Unfortunately, many women are unable to take the next step to see a specialist, because doing so would be an admission that they are experiencing hair loss. Hopefully, through greater awareness of how common hair loss is in women and the treatments available, we will be able to break free of our negative perceptions of female hair loss.
We know it is not easy, but important work never is. When you are ready to take that next step, please know that staff at Medi Tresse is here for you.
Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel
Argan Oil for Hair Health
Unfortunately, many of the popular hair styling techniques are actually detrimental to our hair. The problem is that many people want something they don’t have and utilize styling techniques that damage the hair. Over styling, and especially techniques that use excessive heat, can actually dry out and damage the outer hair cuticle, so it is important to add that moisture back. Leave in conditioners, masks, and oils can help to condition and moisturize the hair strand. We especially recommend those products with oils like argan, avocado, coconut, which help offset the dryness and help keep hair shiny.
Today we are going to look further into argan oil, which has become an increasingly popular product for hair health. Argan oil is made from the fruit of the argan tree in Morocco. Argan oil has been found to be beneficial for both the hair and the scalp. Rich in fatty acids, argan oil is also known to lubricate and add moisture back into the hair. Argan oil is also rich in Vitamin E, which has been known to help prevent dryness in both the scalp and hair.
At Medi Tresse, we recently started offering a Hydrating Serum that is enriched with Moroccan argan oil. This fast-absorbing, deep-penetrating serum helps to moisturize the hair and scalp, while also providing luxurious shine and silky-smooth texture. Used daily, this hydrating serum is safe for colored, straightened, and chemically treated hair.
Whether you add our Hydrating Serum or another argan oil product, we would strongly recommend argan oil for any hair care regiment to help provide healthier more rejuvenated hair.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
How do Hair Transplants Work?
While we specialize in non-surgical treatments for female hair loss, we often get questions from patients about hair transplants. Hair transplants have come a long way from the “plugs” look many people still associate with them today. With an experienced surgeon, today’s hair transplants look extremely natural and no one would know you had a procedure done. It is important to remember that while hair transplants can still be a good option for some women, due to the type of hair loss, many women are not great candidates. So how do hair transplants work?
As the name suggests, with a hair transplant, hair follicles are removed from one section of the scalp (the donor area) and replanted in another section of the scalp (the recipient area). There are two types of hair transplants, Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). The biggest difference between the two types is how the hair follicles are removed from the scalp. In the FUT method, a strip of grafts about 2 CMs wide and 15 to 20 CMs long in the back of the scalp (donor area) is extracted and then the individual follicles are divided and planted on the top of the scalp. With the FUE, each follicle is extracted individually using a small punch and then planted. Most women would typically get the FUT method, as you are required to shave the back of your head with the FUE method. The FUT method does leave a small scar in the back of your head, but it is hidden by your hair.
Over the past five to 10 years we have seen less women getting hair transplants with the introduction of better non-surgical treatment options. However, a hair transplant is still a good option for many women. The first step is to be evaluated by a hair loss specialist to determine the cause of your hair loss. A hair transplant is not appropriate for all causes of hair loss. Patients with Telogen Effluvium or Alopecia Areata are not good candidates. A patient with Scarring Alopecia could be a good candidate, but only if the affected area was stable for more than a year. The best candidates tend to be those with Androgenic Alopecia, also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss, but the hair loss specialist needs to evaluate your donor area to ensure that the hair in that region is stable and there is enough to transplant.
If you are interested in finding out if a hair transplant is right for you schedule a free consultation with one of female hair loss specialists that can determine if you are a good candidate.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Does Minoxidil Work for Women?
While most patients are unaware of the name minoxidil, it is actually one of the earliest hair loss medications. Minoxidil is the active ingredient of Rogaine®, one of the most well known hair loss medications, which has been around since 1988. Rogaine® is actually the brand name of the medication, but the active ingredient, and what actually helps treat hair loss is called minoxidil. Minoxidil is the only FDA approved topical product for androgenic alopecia. Over the years Rogaine® has offered their product in both 2% and 5% minoxidil strength, and as both a liquid and foam. So does minoxidil work for women?
Originally, minoxidil was formulated for the treatment of hypertension, however it was soon realized that minoxidil could help regrow hair. It is not totally understood how minoxidil treats hair loss, but it is believed that it may allow for increased blood flow and, thus oxygen to the follicles. However, minoxidil is best for the treatment of androgenic alopecia, also known as, female pattern hair loss.
At Medi Tresse, we recommend a minoxidil product called Formula 82M. Formula 82M is a specially compounded minoxidil solution that is formulated to be absorbed at a higher rate, while being less greasy and less irritating than other minoxidil products. We have found that our patients have had a lot of success with Formula 82M, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy or a Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device like a laser cap.
If you think you may want to try a minoxidil product it is best to first speak with a hair loss specialist that can help determine if it may be an appropriate treatment for your type of hair loss.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
How Often Should I See My Hair Loss Specialist?
Your follow up visits provide an opportunity to track your results, update your hair loss specialist on any changes in diet or medications, and to potentially change the treatment plan if necessary. So how often should you see your hair loss specialist? Just like visiting your dentist (although hopefully less painful!), at Medi Tresse we recommend follow up visits every six months.
Tracking your results is extremely important, and any hair loss specialist should be taking photos and doing trichoscopy (which is highly magnified photos where you measure the hair) to track your progress. As you see your hair every day, it is often difficult to notice changes, but in your follow ups you will easily be able to track your progress throughout treatment.
The follow up is an important time to update your hair loss specialist of any major changes in your diet or medications. A major diet change, like becoming a vegetarian, could affect your hair loss if you are not receiving enough vitamins and nutrients. Some medications have been found to induce hair loss, and your hair loss specialist can help guide you through if the medication could be problematic to your hair.
For most patients, hair loss is progressive, which means that it will continue to get worse if not treated correctly. By seeing your hair loss specialist every six months, you can ensure that if you need to make changes to your treatment plan, it is done in timely fashion. The earlier hair loss is treated, the better chance there is for re-thickening and re-growth during treatment.
Formula 82M vs OTC Minoxidil
When many patients start to see signs of hair loss, their first thought is often to try one of the many over the counter minoxidil treatments. Minoxidil is a topical treatment, and the most commonly known brand is Rogaine. Minoxidil can be a great first step for hair loss, and was FDA approved in 1988. Patients experiencing Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Telogen Effluvium, and early Traction Alopecia are good candidates for minoxidil.
While minoxidil can be a good first step for patients with early signs of hair loss, many patients feel that over the counter minoxidil treatments can be irritating or make their hair greasy. At Medi Tresse we offer a specially compounded minoxidil solution called Formula 82M, which combats these issues. Formula 82M is specially formulated to be less irritating and less greasy, while also having a higher absorption rate, which means your scalp and follicles will receive a greater percentage of the minoxidil in Formula 82M than with an over the counter option.
Most patients will start to see a benefit from Formula 82M in three to six months, but for some patients it could take six to twelve months. At Medi Tresse we have seen the best results for patients when they combine the Formula 82M with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy or a Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device like a laser cap. If you think you may be experiencing signs of hair loss the first step should always be to see a hair loss specialist who can not only diagnose your type of hair loss, but provide you with a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
How Is The Type Of Hair Loss Determined?
If you have read previous blogs, you have probably seen a few about how important it is to determine the cause and type of hair loss before determining a treatment plan. The reason for this is that not all treatments are appropriate in every case. There are five main types of hair loss that women have that the medical staff need to consider, Androgenic Alopecia, Traction Alopecia, Telogen Effluvium, Alopecia Areata, and Scarring Alopecia. With that in mind, let’s look at how the staff at Medi Tresse determines the type of hair loss you may have when coming up with a treatment plan.
The first step in determining the type of hair loss is based on the Medical History and Hair Loss Evaluation forms that we have patients fill out prior to the consultation. These forms provide important information that our medical staff review to see if there are any past indicators for certain types of hair loss. For instance, if the patient writes down that they had some major stress event (major life event, surgery, etc.) right around the time the hair loss began this is a possible indicator they are experience Telogen Effluvium hair loss.
The next step is during the consultation. At this point the medical staff completes a comprehensive review of the hair and scalp, including a trichoscopy. Each type of hair loss can present slightly different. Alopecia Areata often presents as a coin shaped lesion or discrete patches of hair loss with sharp borders, while Androgenic Alopecia is typically diffuse and more pronounced in the frontal areas of the scalp.
In many instances, after a thorough review of the patient’s history and the patient’s hair and scalp the clinician is able to determine the type of hair loss. However, if the picture is still incomplete, for some patient’s we may need to complete a blood test or scalp biopsy.
Getting the diagnosis correct is extremely important to make sure the patient is receiving the correct treatment. That is why it is important to see a female hair loss expert to get the correct diagnosis.
Posted By Your Medi Tresse Team
What Kind Of Results Can I Expect From Treatments At Medi Tresse?
When patients come in for a consultation at Medi Tresse we always ask them what is the goal of their hair loss treatment. The reason for this is to make sure we can set proper expectations for what can be achieved from our treatments. With all of our treatments, we have three main goals; stop further loss, make the hair you have healthier, and if possible regrow hair. We like to remind all of our patients that attaining any of these goals is a success.
Stopping further loss is the most important step, as we want to prevent further thinning on the scalp. Unfortunately, most hair loss is progressive, which means it will continue if not treated. Through our treatments, if we are able to prevent further loss that is truly a success! While it may be difficult to appreciate stopping the loss, the truth is that without treatment the progressive thinning would continue and the hair loss would get worse. That is why it is so important to start treatment early.
Our second goal through treatment is to encourage growth of healthier hair. Over time, as hair follicles age, they actually miniaturize or decrease in diameter, and eventually will be lost for good. Our goal is to reverse this miniaturization to promote thicker hair growth. When patient’s have lots of miniaturized follicles, you are able to see the scalp much easier, which gives the look of more significant loss. When we are able to reverse this miniaturization and provide thicker healthier hair, the scalp is less visible and the appearance of hair loss can decrease greatly.
The final goal, if possible, is to regrow hair. While the reversal of miniaturization actually gives the appearance of regrown hair, there are times we can actually regrow dormant follicles. If a dormant follicle is still alive we hope to be able to reactivate it into an active growth phase to grow the hair. However, this is not always possible if the follicle has been dormant for too long, which can occur if the hair loss has been progressing for many years.
Posted By Your Medi Tresse Team
What Is The Best Treatment Option For Me To Try First?
At Medi Tresse we offer a number of treatment options for hair loss, so our patients often ask which treatment they should try first. This can be a difficult question for the medical staff to answer for the patient. Because all of our treatment options have been clinically proven to show a benefit in the treatment of hair loss, they are all valid options to try. Each treatment is different, targeting hair loss from different angles, and it really depends on what the patient’s treatment goals are. Let’s take a look a look at some of our treatment options to look at these differences.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy can be effective in the treatment of Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Alopecia Areata, and Traction Alopecia. PRP has been found to improve hair health, thicken hair, and can regrow hair by activating dormant follicles in the scalp. What patient’s love about PRP is that they only need to come in three times for treatment over the course of three months for the initial treatment. Typically, best results are seen in 6 to 12 months, but many patients see initial benefit in just 2 to 3 months. PRP also tends to provide the most dramatic results for patients. So for patients looking for a treatment that they do not need to use daily or weekly and will get the most dramatic results in around 6 months, PRP is a great option.
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is beneficial in the treatment of Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Traction Alopecia, and Telogen Effluvium. LLLT not only thickens existing hairs, but also increases the number of hairs in the growth phase. The LLLT device (laser cap or LaserBand) will need to be used three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes. Patient’s really need to commit to using the LLLT device for 6 to 12 months before they see a benefit. It typically takes a little longer than PRP, but patients can see really great results from LLLT. Therefore, for patients that are able to commit to the regimen of 3 times a week, and looking for an at home treatment, LLLT is a great option.
82M is a specially compounded minoxidil solution uniquely designed to stimulate hair growth and decrease hair loss. Patients must commit to using 82M daily and it typically takes 3 to 6 months to see results, although many patients will see a decrease in shedding in 6 to 8 weeks. The results with 82M are not as dramatic as they can be with PRP or LLLT. However, 82M is a good option for patients that can commit to using it daily and are OK with starting with a treatment that will not provide results that are as strong as PRP or LLLT.
In short, it really depends on what the individual patient’s goals are with treatment. However, the best results we have seen typically come from patients that use a combination of treatments, as they treat the follicles in different ways. If you have any questions about these treatments do not hesitate to reach out to our office.
Posted By Your Medi Tresse Team
One of the first questions patients ask when they come in for a consultation is “why am I losing my hair?” It is necessary to answer this question in order to properly manage and treat hair loss because we want to make sure we are addressing the problem or cause. Although there are many factors that can contribute to hair thinning or loss in women, there are five main types of hair loss that we typically see in patients at Medi Tresse. These various types of hair loss all present differently and often require different evaluations and treatments.
This is the most common cause of hair thinning and loss in women. It is also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss, or FPHL. Up to 50 % of women have some degree of this in their lifetime. It certainly is more common as women age, particularly after menopause, but it can start as early as the teenage years. We know that it tends to run in families but sometimes there is no family history. Inheritance can be from either the mother or father. We know that hormones play a role in this type of hair loss, especially the “androgenic” hormones such as testosterone. The hair loss is typically more pronounced in the frontal areas of the scalp. Over time the hair shaft gets thinner in a process known as “miniaturization”. Eventually if not treated, the affected hair will continue to get smaller and disappear completely.
Telogen Effluvium is a common and temporary cause of hair loss. It usually presents as a diffuse hair loss, meaning coming from all parts of the scalp. Most commonly a woman will see increased shedding of hair. This can be caused by pregnancy, rapid weight loss, protein deficiency, emotional stress, physical illness, surgery, trauma, and some medications. Fortunately, it is usually reversible and complete regrowth occurs in about a year.
This type of hair loss occurs from pulling the hair too tightly over prolonged periods of time. This commonly occurs with use of dread locks, cornrows, or tight ponytails. The constant pulling puts pressure on the hair follicle and can lead to permanent loss.
This form of hair loss is an “autoimmune” disease, meaning the body causes inflammation around the hair follicle preventing it from growing. Most often it presents as a coin shaped lesion or discrete patches of hair loss with sharp borders. Less commonly it can be more diffuse. Women with Alopecia Areata can have hair loss in other areas beside the scalp, including eyelashes and eyebrows.
This is a rare type of hair loss, which is due to inflammation around the hair follicle. There often are areas with white scales surrounding an area of inflammation, which then leads to scarring in that area. The hair follicles are actually destroyed and disappear.
If you think you may suffer from any type of hair loss it is important to see a hair loss specialist as soon as possible so that you can diagnose the cause and get the appropriate treatment, which will give you the best chance of stopping and reversing the hair loss.
Posted By Your Medi Tresse Team