Pictured: Dr. Robert Leonard
For some men, pulling off the "bald and beautiful" look isn't the easiest (or most flattering) option. But don't worry, there's hope: Recent progress in hair loss treatment is making it possible to have a full head of luscious hair again.
We sat down with Dr. Robert Leonard, an expert in hair loss treatment from Boston with over 27 years of experience, and Raz Tcherchian, a LA-based fashion stylist who fought the follicle battle and won. Here, they share some good advice:
"Contrary to what many men think, hair loss isn't caused by stress or wearing a hat," says Dr Leonard. "In fact, 98% of hair loss conditions are due to genetics. The other 2% come from more rare conditions, like alopecia, which causes the hair to fall in patches and leaves bald spots. Some medications, such as Coumadin, can also cause hair loss.
"The scariest part of hair loss is that, by the time you realize your hair is thinning, you'll have already lost 50% of your hair. When you realize that you are balding, you need to act fast and adopt a response as aggressive as you're willing to go.
"There are only three ways to prevent the progression of hair loss, and help the eventual regrowth. These three treatments can be undertaken together without harm for your health, because they all attack the problem differently:
"Since the '80s, it's been the only topical medication proven to prevent hair loss and stimulate regrowth. It exists as a solution, and recently it's become available as a foam, which is convenient to target the back of your head and the bold spots."
Pros: No prescription needed.
Cons: It's a long-term process. You have to apply it twice a day every day for four months to begin seeing results. After eight to 12 months, you'll notice that the hair starts growing back.
"An oral medication that your doctor can prescribe. It's particularly efficient on the crown and back of your head."
Pros: It's progressive treatment that will stop the worsening of your condition.
Cons: Available by prescription only. It's also a long-term project: The drug takes three months to stop hair loss, and six to 12 months to start regrowth.
Low-level laser therapy
"Despite what the name may suggest, this laser treatment is not about hair removal. It stimulates the capillaries of your scalp to increase the blood flow, and eventually promotes regrowth."
Pros: Capillus makes an unassuming laser cap.
NEXT: CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
"Some brands advertise the benefits of using a DHT-inhibiting shampoo to prevent hair loss: These are simply not effective," says Dr. Leonard. "Hair loss is not a topical issue, so a shampoo will not penetrate the scalp enough to stimulate capillaries.
"The important thing to consider when you buy a shampoo is the ingredients list. Rule out anything that contains sulfate, parabens, or phthalates.
"Don't be afraid to wash your hair. The best way to promote hair growth is to shampoo every day. If your hair falls in the shower, that's because the follicle was already loose to begin with, not because you're washing it."
Raz Tcherchian (pictured left) has tested Rogaine, and he's now a spokesperson for the brand's Grow Your Game campaign, based on real-life testimonies from men who saw positive results after following a foam treatment:
"I had my wake up call in my dressing room," he says. "I noticed I was starting to lose my hair, and it completely caught me off-guard. I came to terms with it when my boyfriend pushed me to do something about it. Being straight or gay, it's the same thing: Men just want to be the best they can be. More gay men tend to like bald guys, but at the end of the day, I wanted to improve my image.
"I jumped on board and started Rogaine's foam treatment. I've been using it for six months now, and I'm begining to notice results. My hair looked fuller, and I'm losing less of it. My boyfriend calls me a 'supermodel' every day now."