Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Its applications are many, and some researchers believe that it may help with hair loss from alopecia areata. How? The needles inserted into the scalp may help stimulate hair follicles and promote regrowth. More research needs to be done in this area, but consider asking your doctor for a referral to a licensed acupuncturist if this treatment sounds appealing to you. (Learn more about acupuncture for hair loss.)
I’m so grateful for stumbling across this post, so thank you, Dormen! It is exceedingly difficult to find articles like this where there isn’t an obvious kickback in play, They tend to recommend products (.e.g, Pura d’Or) that are clearly not ideal for hair loss and thinning. One product to avoid, if you haven’t previously referenced it, is Pronexa. They have been increasingly exposed as a semi-scam since they offer free products in exchange for 5-star Amazon reviews. Though the shampoo/conditioner are fine as just that, after 3 months of use I seriously doubt their efficacy relating to hair loss and thinning.
Retin-A, or topical tretinoin, is sometimes used as a combination therapy with minoxidil for androgenic alopecia. It’s important to use this type of medication under the guidance of your doctor. In some circumstances, tretinoin can actually cause hair loss. Some people who have used it at home report that topical retinol creams, serums, and lotions may make hair loss worse.
"Others are taking hair follicles out of human scalp and growing them with dermal papilla cells," Cotsarelis says. "If they grow in culture, you might be able to recombine them with skin cells and form new follicles. This would let you expand the number of follicles you get for a hair transplant. This may not be that far off -- five to 10 years, maybe. There's very good evidence you will be able to do that."
For the first twenty years of my life, I took having hair for granted. One day, in college, I woke up and looked in the mirror, and was convinced that my hair was falling out. Not receding—dropping, that minute. Later that day, I told a roommate. He took a beat, and then asked, not without kindness, “Were you on PCP?” That semester, in a creative-writing workshop, I was moved enough to write a long, confused story about a teen-ager with male-pattern baldness who suffers a meltdown and robs the hot-dog counter where he works. By my late twenties, hair loss was something that I thought about all the time. I understood, largely, that my obsession was a specific expression of a more general anxiety. I’ve never been to therapy. There are many things that have led me to consider it. But one of the most distinct, definable, and pressing has been my obsession with hair loss.
Along with male pattern baldness, there is also a condition known as female pattern baldness, in which hair thins on the top of the head. Less is known about this type of hair loss, but it is more common in women who have been through the menopause. Female pattern baldness cannot be treated with finasteride (as with male pattern baldness), but it can be treated with minoxidil. Minoxidil is rubbed into the scalp once or twice a day and should start to show results after about four months. After ceasing treatment with minoxidil, hair loss should resume within a few months.
During this procedure, surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units. As a result, the graft looks better than the larger "plugs" associated with hair transplants of yesteryear.
Hair transplants will likely lead to better results in the long run (you are introducing new hairs to the balding areas), but you’ll still need to use minoxidil or finasteride after surgery to maintain the results. Like all hair loss treatments, hair transplants are best when combined with other methods, and you’ll want to speak with your doctor to see what combination is best for you.