Hair restoration has two basic forms - medical restoration and surgical restoration. In this instance, the term medical refers to the use of medications to restore lost hair and prevent further hair loss. The most common medications in use today are minoxidil and finasteride.
Minoxidil is a topical medication that is applied to the scalp multiple times in a day, and is often used in conjunction with a specially-formulated shampoo to increase its effectiveness. The regimen must be maintained on a daily basis and it usually takes 6 to 12 weeks to see any results.
Finasteride is a prescription drug taken orally which has been demonstrated to treat male pattern hair loss. It must be prescribed by a physician and taken only as directed. It can also take from 6 to 12 weeks to show results and must be continued to maintain the reclaimed hair.
Finasteride is not usable by women, and is so hazardous for women who are or may become pregnant that they are warned not to even touch a broken pill and avoid exposure to whole pills for the sake of safety. Finasteride costs from U.S. $50 to U.S. $75 per month depending on the brand name under which it has been manufactured.
Surgical hair restoration covers a couple of types of procedures - altering the scalp, or transplanting the hair.
In procedures that alter the scalp, for example, a man who has a receding hairline might have his hairline pulled forward in a process similar to that of a face lift. The result is that the hairline appears to be in a more normal position, and the incision is generally kept close to the hairline for the purpose of camouflaging it.
Hair transplanting consists of surgically transplanting follicles of hair from areas where the growth is denser, into areas where thinning has occurred, creating the effect of thicker (or at least more even) hair coverage. The techniques in this field are constantly being refined (and often renamed) but are effectively the same basic principles. The key differences in the advances made are the number of follicles being moved at a given time and how natural the results appear to be afterward.
Surgical hair restoration is quite expensive and can run into the thousands depending on the amount of hair being moved. It is also a process that will likely have to be repeated later in some cases.
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