OK, we know what’s on your mind at this point, and the answer is no. Drinking massive quantities of coffee or other caffeine-laden drinks will not help make hair grow. As one scientist pointed out, you’d have to drink 40 to 50 cups of coffee for caffeine to have any kind of therapeutic benefit for your hair roots because caffeine is easily diluted and quickly excreted by the body. Besides, that amount of coffee would be toxic because caffeine is, well, kind of a drug.
Anti-androgens. Androgens include testosterone and other "male" hormones, which can accelerate hair loss in women. Some women who don't respond to minoxidil may benefit from the addition of the anti-androgen drug spironolactone (Aldactone) for treatment of androgenic alopecia. This is especially true for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) because they tend to make excess androgens. Doctors will usually prescribe spironolactone together with an oral contraceptive for women of reproductive age. (A woman taking one of these drugs should not become pregnant because they can cause genital abnormalities in a male fetus.) Possible side effects include weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.
Contact immunotherapy. Another drug that can be administered for cases of alopecia areata is contact immunotherapy and is recommended for severe cases. Diphenylcyclopropenon (DPCP) is applied on the scalp every week, and the dosage of the drug is increased over time until a mild allergic reaction is observed, which signals that the drug is taking effect. Regrowth may be observed within three months from the beginning of treatment.
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“I was 21 when I noticed my hair getting thinner,” says David Anderson, 45, who has had seven hair transplants. He is now senior patient adviser at the Maitland Clinic in Liverpool, one of the country’s leading hair transplant clinics, where he raises awareness of the vulnerability of sufferers. “It was devastating. It completely consumed my existence. Now, I really regret that. But time and again, I’m meeting patients going through the same anxieties. It’s an epidemic. A lot of people don’t understand how it can make you feel.”
You may not know it, but stress affects your health in a number of different ways. It can zap your energy, make you feel physically ill, and even cause your hair to fall out. That’s right, stress plays a big role in contributing to thinning hair. On its own, stress-related hair loss is usually temporary and grows back over time. However, it can also speed up other forms of hair loss like male pattern baldness.
Dr. Carlos Wesley, a hair restoration surgeon in Manhattan, said that women in his practice respond better to P.R.P. than men do, which may have something to do with the fact that women with genetic hair loss tend to have more inflammatory cells around the follicles. From 2013 to 2014, he said, he had an 83 percent increase in female patients, in part because of P.R.P.
Beyond that, things get more controversial, with some doctors saying there's inadequate evidence for other treatments. Saxena thinks there is enough scientific evidence to support some of the alternatives and recommends them to patients. But they are not for women on tight budgets. There's Nutrafol, a "nutraceutical" that costs about $80 a month. Women can also get injections in the scalp of platelet-rich plasma made from their own blood. The first four treatments cost about $2,000 at Saxena's practice in Fort Washington or Lansdale. Maintenance injections, done every three to six months, cost $515 each. Women can also buy Theradome, a light-emitting helmet, for $895 online. Saxena, who has hair loss herself, said she has had the injections and currently uses minoxidil, spironolactone, and Nutrafol.
Chronic dandruff can also lead to hair shedding if it’s left untreated or undertreated. “Many women with dandruff don’t use a dandruff shampoo regularly because they are concerned with the lack of cosmetic elegance and the concern that it won’t beautify their hair,” Fusco explains. “A dandruff shampoo and conditioner that contain ZP [zinc pyrithione] and ingredients that beautify the hair can be used every day, as they will control dandruff, reduce inflammation, and thereby diminish shedding.”
Know the different types of wigs. Synthetic wigs are easy to style and are less expensive than human hair wigs. On the other hand, wigs made from human hair have a more natural look and feel, and are more preferred by those with permanent cases of hair loss. Though they take longer to style, human hair wigs are worth an investment if you plan on wearing it for a relatively long period of time.
Like Anderson, he started to lose hair at 21 and tried similarly baroque remedies. “At the time, there was nothing except the snake oil you found at the back of muscle magazines.” He rubbed cayenne pepper into his scalp; he hung upside down; he visited a company that promised a miracle cure that turned out to involve a wig glued on to his head. He looked up a few British trichologists and surmised that trichology was a “study of bullshit” then visited an eminent hair surgeon whose eagerness to perform surgery immediately put him off the idea. It was the discovery of Propecia that ultimately “saved” him. “The drug stopped my hair loss. I had no adverse side effects. I regrew my hair on the crown.”
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman's hair loss.
To us, that meant any product with zero proven ingredients, case studies, or FDA clearance — which shrunk our list by a whopping 180 contenders. That’s right, there are only three treatments that have actually been cleared by the FDA and supported with clinical studies: finasteride (commonly marketed as Propecia), minoxidil, and laser treatments. And, since finasteride is prescription-only, it left us with two.
NTU Working To Prevent Chemo-Induced Loss – Researchers from the National Taiwan University have developed a model for preventing chemotherapy induced hair loss, according to their publication in Cancer Research journal. The team, lead by professor Lin Sung-jan, identified a specific type of cell that hair follicles utilize to compensate for the toxicity which occurs during exposure to ionizing radiation (chemotherapy). These cells are called transit-amplifying cells (TAC). Preclinical animal testing with applied TAC-derived progenitor cells showed a 70-80% reduction in hair loss after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Importantly, Sung-jan has recently stated he is in talks with companies about conducting trials on humans. It’s interesting to note that Lin Sung-jan has done an extensive amount of research on hair regeneration in the past. Hopefully this treatment could potentially be used for more common types of hair loss as well.
Pfizer Reports Positive AA Trial Results – A JAK3 inhibitor and a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TYK2/JAK1) have shown statistically significant results in a phase 2a trial conducted by Pfizer. The company announced the results on September 15, 2018 at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology Congress. Subjects of the trial received oral doses of the drugs over a 6 month period. The TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor showed the greater efficacy, improving hair regrowth by 49.5 points on the Severity of Alopecia Tool scale, compared to an improvement of 33.6 points by the JAK3 inhibitor. However, Pfizer has apparently decided to move forward with its JAK3 inhibitor due to 2 adverse events in the TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor cohort during the trial. Pfizer’s JAK3 candidate, PF-06651600, was also recently granted Breakthrough Designation from the US FDA for treating alopecia areata.
RepliCel is a form of cell therapy that has a lot of folks excited. This is also known as RCH-01 and RepliCel is collaborating with global cosmetic company Shiseido. RepliCel will be an injectable like Histogen or Botox for example. It is basically hair transplants on steroids, but they are migrating cells instead of hairs. Their goal is to take a seed biopsy then multiply it in the lab for about 3 months. After replication, they inject it back into the scalp where it is needed. RepliCel has completed a phase 1 clinical trial and will enroll 160 male participants with mild to moderate hair loss for their Phase 2 trial. In other news RepliCel announced a research collaboration with University of British Columbia. They goal is to create a map with protein and gene expression of hair follicle cells to help RepliCel further improve their cell therapies i.e. hair loss prevention products.
Farrell makes what he calls “hair systems.” They’re not quite wigs or toupees—you can keep them on for weeks at a time. They cost more than a thousand dollars. Farrell was in New York for a week, holding meetings with clients in his hotel room. Now his rolling suitcases were packed. Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Russia: he’s almost always on the road, satiating international demand for high-end hair pieces.
Joseph Greco, Ms. Telford’s practitioner, who shares a patent for a process to remove growth factors from platelets, said he gets results in 80 percent of patients, more than half of whom are female. Roughly half of them fly in and out, often on the same day, he said, because the procedure doesn’t require downtime and has minimal side effects. (Small clinical studies suggest further research is necessary but acknowledge the procedure’s “excellent safety profile.”)
While there can be numerous reasons behind the thinning of your hair, including certain hairstyles, excessive chemical processes, hereditary factors, and nutritional deficiencies, the most common is aging. But why does hair become thin as we age? Well, as we get older so do our hair follicles. With age, the size of hair follicles begins to shrink, meaning the rate of hair growth begins to slow down and, in some cases, ceases completely. Another reason for thinning hair lies in the production (or lack thereof) of estrogen as we age. Aside from regulating the reproductive system, estrogen plays a big part in hair growth. So, when we begin to produce less estrogen, there's less available to stimulate new hair growth (especially after old hair has shed), ultimately resulting in thin hair.