Last Updated: February 11, 2017
Table of Contents
- 1 Laser Hair Growth
- 2 Minoxidil for Hair Loss
- 2.1 Minoxidil Foam Formula
- 2.2 Minoxidil Liquid Formula
- 2.3 Minoxidil Foam vs Liquid
- 2.4 Minoxidil Before and After Results
- 2.5 How to Apply Minoxidil
- 2.6 How to apply Liquid Minoxidil
- 2.7 How Long Does Liquid Minoxidil Take to Dry?
- 2.8 How to Apply Minoxidil Foam
- 2.9 Is the Minoxidil Foam Really Better Than the Liquid?
- 2.10 How Long Does Minoxidil Take to Work?
- 2.11 Does Minoxidil Make You Lose More Hair?
- 2.12 Why Does Minoxidil Make My Scalp Dry and Itchy?
- 2.13 Can Minoxidil be Used for the Hairline?
- 3 Finasteride for Hair Loss
- 4 ACell + PRP Injection Therapy
- 5 FUE Hair Transplant
Laser Hair Growth
Hair Loss Lasers are one of the biggest technological breakthroughs for treating a receding hairline. Although the treatment is relatively new compared to finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine), it holds promising results with a honorable FDA approval. HairMax is the original company to patent and bring this product to the market under their infamous hair loss laser model called the “lasercomb.” Over the past decade the lasercomb has come in several models with each release providing better results. Below is a list of the best hair laser growth devices available on the market today from HairMax:
Laser Device Models
You might be wondering: How can a laser device improve the appearance of thinning hair? Lets find out how below…
How do Hair Loss Lasers Work?
The lasercomb emits low level laser waves to hair follicles in thinning parts of the scalp. This process is referred to “photo-therapy” and has become the biggest craze in the hair loss industry. The laser energy from the lasercomb actually “excites” or “wakens” up dormant hair follicles that have been put to rest by chronic hair loss conditions such as male and female pattern baldness. The photo-therapy light helps increase the blood and oxygen that is vital for the growth of hair. In addition, laser hair loss therapy can also remove impurities on the scalp such as DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and excess sebum (oil that the body uses to lubricate skin). Treating your scalp with the lasercomb will prepare your scalp for the perfect environment for hair to thrive and regrow. The “secret” behind the lasercomb device is the revitalization the laser light sends to the dormant or weakened follicles. Every follicle has a hair growth cycle and the most important stage is the anagen stage (growth stage). The lasercomb actually serves as a catalyst with the anagen phase by the nourishment the laser light provides. In addition, the lasercomb increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the propellant of the cells that make up each hair shaft. This same theory can be compared to the amount of sunlight needed for plants to properly grow. Another important component of hair growth is the need for adequate blood circulation which helps carry nutrients to the follicle. With these two main benefits of the lasercomb, nearly everyone who uses this device will experience some type of improvement. The lasercomb is engineered with “tooth-like” laser heads that maximize the deliver of laser light with speed and time. Take a look below at a very inspiring video of a few men who were suffering the traditional male pattern baldness and how the lasercomb actually measured up. This was a small series that aired on Dateline NBC News and really put the “lasercomb” on the spot:
At Phime.org, we have found that the lasercomb is the easiest and most “risk-free” way of treating thinning hair. The device does not involve any topical products which can get messy and time consuming plus the laser light therapy is backed with the FDA approval. The lasercomb only has to be used 3 times per week with 10-15 minute sessions or shorter depending on the model. Another good reason we recommend using the lasercomb is the treatment can be used for any stage and type of hair loss for both men and women. The only real downside to the lasercomb is the higher price. However, if you totaled using some of the other products over a yearly basis (hair loss is continual maintenance), it would easily pay for itself becoming an “asset” in your hair loss regimen. Since HairMax released their “lasercomb” model, there have been several “spin-offs” of the technology with devices that may be cheaper in price but not FDA approved.
Lasercomb Male and Female Video Testimonies
Lasercomb Male and Female Before and After
Minoxidil for Hair Loss
Minoxidil is a medication that was first used to treat patients with high blood pressure. However, one of the side effects clinically noted was an increase in hair growth. Not long before this discovery, the medication was introduced to patients experiencing thinning hair by topical application. Minoxidil generally comes in a standard 5% liquid solution for men and a slightly lesser concentration of 2% liquid solution for women. The mechanism that stimulates minoxidil is not fully understood by some researchers believe that it helps increase the amount of blood and oxygen to hair follicles that is needed to grow hair. Minoxidil is the first FDA medication that has been clinically proven to maintain and regrow hair. Therefore, the name “Rogaine” has become a household name upon the hair loss industry. Minoxidil is also easily obtainable by any major drug retail store. There have been numerous success stories of people that great results with minoxidil but the results usually vary upon the “response rate” and the severity of hair loss. The response rate is the amount of hair and time it takes the hair to regrow per patient. Minoxidil by nature can take up to six months to see results but there have been reports of users seeing improvement in just a few months. Minoxidil is also a good treatment that can be taken in conjunction with other hair loss treatments such as finasteride (Propecia) and the lasercomb (HairMax). One of the biggest factors to take in consideration with using minoxidil is the commitment to the product. Minoxidil is best used if applied at least twice per day. Any results that are produced from minoxidil will be eventually lost after discontinued use of the medication. However, some studies have found that after desired results from minoxidil are achieved, just cutting the application amount in half can still maintain the hair regrown.
Next: Lets take a look at the different types of minoxidil that can used to regrow hair…
Minoxidil Foam Formula
Minoxidil Liquid Formula
Minoxidil Foam vs Liquid
The liquid form is the oldest form of application but the foam has succeeded the liquid with claims of easier application and results. The brand Rogaine manufactures the foam for both men and women. The men’s foam version comes in a 5% concentration and recently the women’s foam version also comes in a 5% concentration but only requires 1 application per day versus 2x for men. Below we will cover some of the several aspects of minoxidil from application, best practices, and other theories surrounding the medication.
Minoxidil Before and After Results
How to Apply Minoxidil
The most important thing to remember about minoxidil is that it has to be applied topically. Therefore, making sure minoxidil is applied to the scalp properly will determine if the medication is absorbed sufficiently in the scalp to deliver the treatment down to the hair follicles where it is needed most. Here are a few key points when applying minoxidil:
- Make sure the hair and scalp is thoroughly cleaned and dried before application.
- Minoxidil is best applied immediately after the hair has been washed and dried (the scalp can be slightly damp) for the liquid or foam to penetrate the scalp.
- Using a shampoo with peppermint or tea tree oil can help remove excess buildup from styling products and excess oils. In addition, using a half distilled water/half apple cider vinegar (ACV) mixture on the scalp once a week can also keep it cleansed for optimal minoxidil absorption.
How to apply Liquid Minoxidil
The liquid form of minoxidil comes in a dropper form that is directly applied to the scalp. For long hair, make sure the hairline is parted near the affected area and disperse the 1 ml suggested amount on the scalp and gently massage the minoxidil using your finger tips for a few minutes. If your hair has more of a diffuse pattern (thinning all over), make sure the minoxidil is applied in a crisscross pattern to ensure all areas are covered. If your receding hairline has a diffuse pattern, it is important to remember to only apply around one drop per each area because the liquid can run into unwanted parts of your skin. If the unwanted parts (forehead, sides) come in contact with the minoxidil, just remove with a warm damp rag.
How Long Does Liquid Minoxidil Take to Dry?
The liquid form should be left untouched in the scalp for at least 5-10 minutes before styling and probably just over 10 minutes before using styling products.
How to Apply Minoxidil Foam
The “foam” version of the minoxidil is a relatively newer way of applying this medication to the scalp. The 5% foam version for men should be applied 2x per day and the latest foam version for women only needs to be applied 1x per day made by Rogaine. Opposed to the liquid, the foam is easier to apply and can be less messy. In addition the foam can be applied just like the liquid with its suggested application amount of half a cap per treatment. One of the biggest benefits of the foam is the faster dry time. Although the liquid serves the same purpose, the foam can cut your application and dry time in half. A drawback of the foam is it may take slightly more than the suggested amount if being applied to longer hair. A tip that can help the foam apply more efficiently is having your hands “cold” before disbursing the foam in your hand. You can simply hold a piece of ice for a few seconds or run cold water through your hands (immediately dry hands after) and this will prevent the minoxidil foam from melting too quickly from the heat of your hands. Our hands are warm from our body temperatures and can cause the foam to convert into a liquid form faster if too much heat is present. However, this is not mandatory for application of the foam but if you find the foam goes rather quickly when applying to the scalp, this method may provide some help.
You might be wondering: I may want to consider trying minoxidil but I have a few questions before I start. Here are the most common:
Is the Minoxidil Foam Really Better Than the Liquid?
The Phime.org team has found that both products are effective for hair growth but the foam has the easiest application and dries faster which can become a deal breaker for your decision.
How Long Does Minoxidil Take to Work?
Again, throughout Phime.org’s website, the “6-month” rule will hold strong for most treatments. We have found evaluating whether a product has any effect on the hair takes at least 6 months to fully determine. Minoxidil has had several reported results as early as one month but most will experience measurable results around the 6-month mark and beyond.
Does Minoxidil Make You Lose More Hair?
Since our hair grows in cycles, when minoxidil is first introduced to the scalp and hair, some users may experience a higher rate of shedding. There is no need to worry! Studies have suggested that if shedding is experienced when using minoxidil, the telogen (shed phase) of the hair may increase more because the existing follicles are pushing out the existing brittle, thin follicles to make room for thicker and healthier follicles. Not all users will experience a higher shed rate but if you happen to be one, this could mean that you are responding well to the medication.
Why Does Minoxidil Make My Scalp Dry and Itchy?
The “vehicle” that allows minoxidil to penetrate the scalp is alcohol. Alcohol based products are known to cause dryness to the scalp and skin. There are few products that are great to have in your hair loss regimen to combat these side effects: Nizoral will become your best friend with the flaking and itching associated with the treatment. Nizoral is an anti-dandruff (dandruff is linked to itching) that can help ease the effects of an itchy scalp. Remember to only use Nizoral around 1-3 times per week because overuse can make your hair even dryer. In addition, it is extremely important to keep the scalp well moisturized when using minoxidil. Using a good lightweight conditioner every other shampoo (or as needed) can help offset the dryness. For extreme dryness, try applying a very small amount of jojoba oil on scalp using your fingertips. Jojoba is very similar to sebum which is the body’s natural moisturizer for the skin. You also need to remember that anything oil based should be applied after minoxidil is fully dry and never before because the medication will not penetrate the scalp. Products such as jojoba should also be used sparingly or only when moisture is needed.
Can Minoxidil be Used for the Hairline?
Contrary to belief, minoxidil has been used for any place on the skin that produces hair follicles. Several studies have shown minoxidil to be just as effective on the frontal part of the crown opposed to the back part of the crown which is directed by the manufacturers.
Finasteride for Hair Loss
Finasteride or better known as “Propecia” is the only FDA approved receding hairline treatment for men available in a pill form. Most hair loss treatments are applied directly to the scalp but finasteride is taken just like any medication prescribed orally as an “anti-androgen” by physicians. Similar in discovery to minoxidil, finasteride was originally used to treat BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) which is essentially is a type II 5a-reductase inhibitor. What is a 5a-reductase? A 5a-reductase is an enzyme that notoriously converts testosterone to DHT (the male hormone that has been linked to male pattern baldness). Since DHT plays a major role in hair loss among men, one of the ways to treat male pattern baldness (MPB) is to reduce the amount of DHT present in the scalp that attacks each hair follicle. When DHT “swamps” hair follicles, there is genetic auto-immune response (usually from the mother’s side of the gene pool) that causes hairs to release and each hair is replaced by a weaker hair until the follicle completely dies or goes dormant. Finasteride is clinically backed with several success rates tested by male groups using 1 mg daily of this medication. It has been suggested that almost 50% of males taking finasteride saw significant improvements with their hair count. In addition, the placebo group from the finasteride study still lost hair during the entire study. Reported more recently, there was a study of 118 men that were treated with 1 mg of finasteride dally for MPB and around 86% of men benefited from taking this medication over a 10-year long study. Most of the patients gained the majority of their hair in the first year of treatment and overall around the 5-year mark patients were likely to have a better hair growth. One of the most controversial side effects from finasteride is a “lower libido.” While most men would not trade their manhood for a head full of hair, surprisingly from the study mentioned above, only 5.9% of patients experienced some type of side effect. Even if men reported any sexual side effects, it was more of a decrease in libido opposed to “no libido at all.” There are a few other anti-androgen medications like Propecia such as dustasteride (Avodart) and Proscar but are not clinically backed with the FDA approval for treatment of male pattern baldness. Proscar has been used by several hair loss suffers because of its cheaper cost by splitting the pills into .5 mg to get the same effects of the more expensive name brand finasteride “Propecia.” In addition, there are also reports of the anti-androgen dustasteride or “dut” not having the potential side effects reported with Propecia. There are also several theories that saw palmetto provides similar benefits to finasteride, hence the phrase “Nature’s Propecia.” There are no clinical studies to back the effects of saw palmetto being used for hair loss in men but a few private studies seem promising. Nizoral shampoo has also been believed to be a “weak” anti-androgen from its anti-fungal ingredient ketoconazole that may be believed to reduce DHT on the scalp for men.
ACell + PRP Injection Therapy
There is cutting edge non-surgical receding hairline treatment that has hit the hair loss industry and results look impressive. What is ACell + PRP Injection Therapy? This receding hairline treatment works to maintain and thicken hair in patients that are genetically predisposed to thinning hair. What makes this treatment unique is the non-surgical solution that involves the ACell + PRP Injected into the affected areas in just ninety minutes. This treatment is not as monotonous compared to other popular hair loss solutions that require a daily regimen. The PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma and is harvested from your own blood. The PRP is filled with hair re-growth properties the revitalize hair follicles on the scalp. Next, the ACell is part of a MatriStem science that works to repair and rebuild damaged tissues at the cellular level. With hair loss, as the follicle begins to miniaturize, the tissue surrounding the follicle can become damaged. ACell serves as a catalyst to regenerate dormant follicle tissue which in return helps re-grow hair. Finally. the ACell technology works with stem cells in our body to activate and attract other cell types to the affected area of the scalp tissue. For the procedure, patients start with giving a blood sample to the physician. Next. a local anesthetic is applied to the scalp and the injections are given after the scalp is fully numb. Overall, the process takes around ninety minutes and patients may experience a sore scalp for less than 2 days.
FUE Hair Transplant
Unfortunately there may be a point where natural and FDA approved hair loss treatments may not be effective enough to achieve the desired results for regrowing hair. Although products such as minoxidil, hair loss lasers, and finasteride work wonders for some people, an individual may still require a step further for full hair restoration. One of the most cutting edge hair transplant techniques is a process called follicular unit extraction or (FUE). First, hair loss transplants have come a long way since the formative years of the classic “strip” scar on the back of the head where the “donor” hair is harvested. Today, hair transplants have become virtually undetectable to the human eye and even some of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars would have you fooled from a FUE hair transplant procedure.
What is a FUE Hair Transplant?
According to the well known hair transplant clinic Bosley, follicular unit extraction (FUE), is performed by using a minimally invasive hair transplantation technique where hair follicle grafts are individually extracted from the donor area and then one-by-one transplanted to the thinning areas. The hair grafts are removed using a precision tool which is then placed in the recipient area. The major benefit of this technique is there is no linear scar or stitches required (hence minimal invasive).
How is a FUE Hair Transplant Performed?
Bosley uses a small 1 millimeter instrument for the physician to remove individual hair follicles from the patients scalp. The small device administers a small circular incision around the follicular unit to isolate the graft. Next, the graph is extracted from the scalp using a tweezer-like instrument which is then prepared for placement by their skilled technicians. For precision, the technicians use advanced microscopes to ensure each follicular graft is preserved in optimal condition. Finally, the follicular units are arranged in groups that is determined by the number of hairs in each follicle (typically 1-4). The true “art” of the procedure comes next when each unit has to be placed in a particular pattern to ensure the grafts result in a natural looking hairline. After the procedure, the restored hair will grow in the same cycle of the patients existing healthy hair. It can take around three months after the procedure is performed for the new hair to grow. At the six month mark, patients should notice significant hair regrowth. The hair from the FUE transplant and the patients existing hair will eventually grow in a natural cycle together.
FUE Hair Transplant Before and After
Hair Loss Treatment Infographic
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