Ok so you’ve looked in the mirror a few times and you’ve noticed your hair receding or maybe you caught a view of the back of your head on CCTV and it looked a bit thin back there. No probs right? Well that depends! Hair loss is a serious issue, people often see their hair as sign of their identity, so when it starts to fall out is can be incredibly stressful and demoralising.
I’ve personally been losing my hair from my late 20’s (I’m nearly 40 now) so if you are reading this then I understand exactly where you are coming from. In my experience you start to notice it, pretend it doesn’t matter, your mates start making the odd comment and little by little it gets worse and worse and it starts to bother you more and more. I’ve personally tried most of the major non invasive treatments such as minoxidil (the liquid stuff) and propecia (the pills). At best, it halted my hair loss and worse slowed the decline but it is obviously impossible to tell what would have happened if I hadn’t have taken the medicines. Therefore a FUE hair transplant procedure has always been something on my radar and after speaking to Dr Reddy at The Private Clinic of Harley Street I have the following advice.
#1 – Where are you on the Norwood scale?
The Norwood Scale is a simple visual representation to help you identify hair loss stages as well as different types of receding hairlines. The Norwood 1 hairline and 2 are the earliest stages where hair loss is still minimal and the non invasive treatments would be your first move. It’s at the Norwood 3 stage that you might want to start considering some form of treatment.
The concept of the Norwood scale is really simple, it displays the rate and ways in which hair loss evolves in men. The earlier you start to display those signs, the higher the chances are that you’ll be losing quite a bit of hair over time. You can read more on this here
This is important because you might not even need a hair transplant. Sure hair transplants are now considered very safe and pretty common place but you might be able to achieve some great results with medication and diet, take a read of this article on thinning hair. In summary hair will always naturally drop out but if you are worried about the extent of your hair loss I would advise speaking to your GP or hair professional to identify which stage you’re at and what treatment is most suitable for you at that time. You don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut!
#2 – You’ve been balding for a few years, should you jump straight into a hair transplant?
Ok so this is obviously tied into the above but if you’ve notice your hair thinning, it’s natural to start thinking of ways to prevent further hair loss, but if you’re considering a hair transplantation make sure it is something that has been happening for a while. For example if you have suddenly experienced a sudden and dramatic loss of hair it is more likely to be alopecia. And in the most extreme it could be Alopecia Universalis? Don’t worry this is the rarest of all alopecia forms, and is an advanced form of Alopecia Areata. Sufferers have a genetic mutation in their chromosomes which is present from birth, although it presents itself later in life. The condition is thought to be a multifactorial condition (it’s caused by a combination of environmental influences and genetic predisposition). However, some sufferers have affected family members or a family history of it. Bizarrely, the condition itself is not thought to be inherited, anyway if you are concerned then read more on it here.
If it’s hair loss that you’ve noticed for a while and is now at a point where you want more and not just to slow the process down then definitely book a consultation with a hair specialist. They can advice you on a timeline, realistic results and really help you make an informed decision about your next steps
#3 – Do you have Enough Hair to Get the Look You Want?
Ultimately you need to be realistic about how much hair you can get back. While this might sound contrary to our previous point, in order to achieve the natural look you want, you’ll need to have a substantial amount of hair left to work with at both the back and sides of your head. Which is why it’s important to seek professional advice as soon as you start noticing your hair loss and make sure that you act quickly enough in order to get the desired result.
Experts estimate that the entire head of a white male has approximately 50,000 follicular units. The donor area has at least 10,000 follicular units, that means by harvesting with FUE half of the donor area, that means that a person would get 5,000 FUE grafts. However if you have started to lose your hair this number can be significantly less. As a general rule a male Asian will have 20% less follicular units and an African American, 40% less in terms of maximum yield of FUE grafts.
#4 – You Have No Medical Conditions
This sounds obvious but for transplantation surgery to work, you’ll need to assess any medications or medical conditions that might compete with the healing process. Certain types of medications have hair loss as a side effect and it’s important to talk to your doctor / hair professional about alternative options if you’re thinking about transplantation surgery. High levels of stress can also have a big impact on the success rate of the procedure and also plays a huge role in how your hair will recover from the surgery.
# 5 – Are you the right age?
Hair loss can start taking place at any age after puberty, but many doctors believe that it is important to wait until you are of an appropriate age before undergoing surgery. Some people believe you should be at least 30+, reasoning that any sooner you won’t have had time to lose enough hair. But I would disagree, whilst there is some logic in this, ultimately everyone is different and the sooner you can see a hair specialist and stabilize your hair loss the better.
# 6 – Pro Tip
Obviously everyone is different, and there is no such thing as an average person so if you are considering a hair transplantation (the only permanent solution to regain the natural appearance of your hair) then my biggest advice is to go and see an expert. All the advice in this article is my own personal view and I would always advise that you speak to a medical professional. Hair transplantation is really the last resort if you’re still young as most doctors would recommend trying less invasive methods to start off with to really get an understanding of the severity of the problem. The first consultation should always be free and you will get to ask as many questions as you want. I can personally recommend The Private Clinic of Harley Street which is one of the top hair transplant clinics in London.