Finding strands of hair on your pillow or on your hair brush is very normal because shedding hair to some degree is part of the hair growth cycle among both men and women.
Hair loss mostly occurs during the resting stage or in medical terms during the telogen stage of the hair growth cycle, which is when the hair relaxes its hold on the root that then causes the bulb of the hair to move closer to the surface of the scalp. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people do shed almost 50 to 150 strands of hair each day due to 10% of the strands always being in their resting cycle. You can even expect to lose up to 250 strands on the day you wash your hair, and it is absolutely normal.
However, if you do notice more shedding of hair than usual, that is when hair loss can become a real concern.
Hair loss in men usually start around their late 20s or early 30s but most men are known to experience excessive hair loss by the time they reach 50. For those men who experience hair shedding more than usual, it is highly recommended that they address the issue while the condition is still at its early stages so that the extremity of hair loss can be assessed and suitable growth treatments can be advised.
However, in cases where baldness has already occurred, the loss of hair can be and the only effective solution to treat the area can be Hair Transplant Surgery.
What causes hair loss in men?
Male Pattern Baldness is the most common type of hair loss and is known to affect around half of all men by the age of 50 making up 70% of the male population. It is normally known to follow a pattern of a receding hairline, which is then followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples leaving a horseshoe shape around the back and sides of the head. Rarely it can progress into complete baldness. It is caused by over sensitive hair follicles which is linked to having too much of a particular male hormone and can most likely be hereditary.
Other causes of hair loss in men include aging, stress or even side effects from certain medications that may cause the hair follicles to weaken especially during the resting stage of the hair growth cycle, which is when men may notice shedding of hair more than normal.
Hair loss in women is not as common as in men with only 1 in 4 women known to experience hair thinning. Due to this reason, however, the condition can have more impact in women affecting their self-esteem and in some cases even leading to depression. Various hair products available in the market may help to restore thinning scalps, but very often only to a certain degree as they do not tackle the core cause of the condition.
In cases where baldness has already occurred, the loss of hair can be and Hair Transplant Surgery can be the only effective solution to treat the problem area.
What causes hair loss in women?
Hair loss in women can be caused by many different factors including genetics, hormonal imbalance, sickness or it could even be caused by putting too much stress on the scalp by wearing hair accessories such as extensions.
In women, aging is a very common cause of hair loss as strands of hair start shrinking in length and in diameter over time, which then results in shedding of hair more than normal. Heredity is another common reason for hair loss. Specific genetic codes in the chromosomes are responsible for baldness and can be inherited by either the mother or the father. Hair loss can also be caused by hormonal imbalance and stress which can have an impact on the hair follicles especially during the resting stage of the hair growth cycle and so women may notice more strands of hair falling out when brushing or even washing their hair.
The norwood scale includes a set of images that helps identify the stages of hair loss. Below is a description of all the stages involved in it.
Class 1. Low levels hair loss.
Class 2. A small amount of hair loss at the temples.
Class 3. Minimal hair loss, first stages where treatments should be considered.
Class 4. The hair becomes drastically thinner and more bald patches.
Class 5. Most of the hair on the top of the head is very fine and going bald.
Class 6. The top of the head is fully bald and the hair begins to thin on the sides.
Class 7. The worst stage of hair loss. almost or completely bald with very fine strands left.
Knowing when exactly you need to start considering hair transplant treatments is very important. Men who are still in their teens or early 20s may decide to wait for a couple more years because getting hair transplant at an early age may result in your real hair falling out over time, which means you may have to go back for another session.
Your expectations about the results is also something you need to consider before you decide to go ahead with the procedure because the results vary depending on the amount of healthy hair follicle the surgeon is able to obtain from the donor area of your scalp. This means if the condition of your hair loss is severe then the surgeon will not have sufficient donor hair to work with.
What does Hair Transplant Surgery involve?
Hair transplant surgery involves many different stages.
- The donor area is numbed with local anesthesia.
- The hair is harvested from the area, either by taking a strip of flesh or plucking individual follicles.
- The hair is placed into tiny incisions made in the area that the hair needs to be placed.
When should I consider Hair Transplant?
You should consider hair transplant if you become unhappy with your hair loss and if hair loss is increasing on your scalp. If you have made a decision to go ahead with a hair transplant you should book a consultation with a surgeon to be informed further into the procedure before making a final decision.
Am I an ideal candidate for the procedure?
There are many factors to consider when seeing yourself as an ‘ideal candidate’.
- Is your balding consistent and ?
- Is your existing hair healthy?
- Is the skin on your scalp healthy?
- Have you lost your hair to burns or trauma?
Can I still get hair transplant if I do not have enough hair on my head?
Yes, there have been cases where surgeons have taken hair follicles from other areas of the body such as chest, armpits and legs for the transplant and can achieve the same results.
FUE or FUT - which option is right for me?
The question between FUE and FUT is something you need to discuss with your surgeon in a consultation as the result you achieve will be heavily dependent on the choice of treatment. Here are some things you need to consider:
- FUT leaves you with scars in the donor area because strips of flesh are removed.
- FUE is very time consuming due to the fact that singular follicles are removed at one time.
- FUT will involve stitches or staples after the procedure, this means longer healing.
- FUE involves little disks of flesh being removed from the donor area, this is so surgeons are able to get the follicles without leaving scars.
How do I know how many hair follicles will need to be transferred?
The amount of hairs to be transferred is something you need to discuss with your surgeon. This is because it highly depends on the severity of your hair loss as well as your expectations of the results.
Is the procedure going to be painful?
The actual procedure itself will not be painful as you will be under local anesthesia which numbs the area to be treated. However after the procedure you may feel a little discomfort and pain medication can be taken if needed.
How do I prepare for the surgery?
To prepare for surgery you should do the following things.
- Wash your hair the morning of the surgery to remove any dirt or products.
- Wear comfortable clothes as you will be sitting for a long time.
- Do not dye you hair at least a week before.
How long does the procedure last for?
The completion time purely depends on what surgery you are getting and how many hairs you want transferred. Typically FUE takes longer than FUT because individual hairs follicles are removed one by one, which is very time consuming. Also if you have a lot of hairs transferred the procedure will take longer.
How many sessions will I require?
This is totally up to what you want out of the procedure and what your surgeon recommends. A fuller head of hair may take more than one procedure.
What results do I expect after the hair transplant?
The new hair follicles break through the skin after 3-4 months after the transplant. After 6-8 months you will start to experience some growth of the new hair follicles, making a reasonable difference on the appearance. The full impact of the hair transplant may not come into effect until at least 12-18 months.
How long is the recovery period?
For FUE, it takes around 5-7 days for the swelling to go down. But straight after the surgery you can return to every day activities.
For FUT, it will take longer because a strip of flesh is removed and stitches are used. It should take a couple of months for the wound to fully heal.
But it is down to your personal health and genetics. If you smoke it will take longer for you to recover.
Are there any complications involved with hair transplant surgery?
Yes there are complications associated with the procedure,however, this can be minimised with maximum safety optimisation. Nevertheless, the complications that may occur are ; swelling, infection, bleeding, potential lost grafts and soreness of the scalp.