Having a Hair Transplant

It’s inevitable that a great number of us, both men and women, will witness at least some hair loss as we get older. But instead of accepting this sad fact of life gracefully, many of us fight against it. Thankfully, today we no longer seem to be fighting a losing battle: the success of hair transplants means that people who are not totally bald can successfully regain much of their former hirsute beauty.

Cutting it all off is easier for men than women, but isn’t a Kojak-style crop far better than a Trump comb-over? Some women think bald is sexy…

Hair transplants work by taking “donor” hair from the back or sides of your scalp, then placing them in areas of your head where there is no hair, or where it is very thin. The idea is to have new hair begin to grow in places where it has stopped growing, making a thinning scalp a thing of the past.

It’s estimated that as many as 90 percent of all men experience some hair loss, known as male pattern baldness, and that as many as one quarter of all women in the United States have thinning hair linked to hereditary reasons. We also experience hair loss due to illness, stress (such as stress-related alopecia), pregnancy, medical conditions, infection and age.

If your hair loss bothers you so much that you spend every waking hour dreaming about how to regain your former luxurious tresses, perhaps now is the time to finally do something about it.

Types of Transplants

Three main types of hair transplants are available, including:

Follicular Unit Micrografting. This is the most common type of “hair grafting”, which has been around for years. Involves removal of donor strips of hair, usually from the back of the head, which are then grafted onto the place where hair loss has occurred, usually the front of the scalp. After a strip is removed the area is tightly sutured together, becoming unnoticeable due to surrounding hair.

The pieces are then cut under a microscope and implanted in the new area. Each unit has up to three hairs, which is the way hair grows normally, and the results are visible after the first session. The implants are placed naturally so a “line” of hair doesn’t appear. In a “megasession” lasting five to seven hours, as many as 4,500 units are implanted at one time to achieve a fuller head of hair virtually in an instant.

The entire procedure is done in several sessions using local anesthesia with prescribed painkillers and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. Normal activities can usually be resumed within a week.

Follicular Unit Extraction. A relatively new technique in which a large incision to extract a donor strip of hair is not made. Instead, up to 3,000 units are meticulously extracted within a few days, one by one, using new instruments, then implanted onto the donor site.

This is good for people who may want to have their heads shaved in future without any visible scars, who may want to sport a Mohawk or for people with very curly hair. The growth rate is about 10 percent less than those who choose Follicular Unit Micrografting, and a session will take longer – as long as nine hours a day for two consecutive days. Cost is also more.

Laser Hair transplant. Hotly disputed and relatively new, described as “stat-of-the-art” and “cutting edge”. It involves using lasers to make the slits to implant new hair. Proponents say it can minimize bleeding; opponents say it clogs the blood needed to nourish the grafts.

Please note that facial hair transplants are also available, for men who can’t grow a beard, mustache or sideburns, and for both men and women who want more luxuriant eyelashes. Each facial area is unique, so each hair restoration program is as well. Don’t go overboard and turn into a werewolf!

Some people are also beginning to experiment with PRP Therapy, or Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, alongside hair transplants. This blood plasma is thought to be especially good for hair growth, as it contains certain growth factors in its bioactive proteins. Taken from the client’s own blood, it is injected directly into bald patches. Still in its experimental stages.

Non-Surgical Hair Loss Treatments

If you have lost your hair – or are in the process of losing it – that doesn’t mean you have to resort to surgery. There are a host of other measures that can make you look better, including:

* Correcting a medical problem. If your loss of hair is due to an underlying medical condition, sort it out. Your doctor can ask questions about your diet, medications, illnesses, pregnancies etc. It may be easier to treat than you think!
* Wearing a wig. Call it a wig, toupee, hairpiece, mop, cat – it all boils down to the same thing. Some salons specialize in special wigs for people who have gone through chemotherapy or stress-related alopecia – their wigs are usually well made and they deal with clients in a sensitive manner. Check them out.
* Taking hair loss drugs. Rogaine (available without prescription) and Propecia (for men only, with prescription) are the two top-selling hair loss drugs, although many more are on the market. You’ll have to use them for at least six months to see if there is any effect.
* Employing topical hair loss treatments. Many scalp treatments and shampoos are on the market. For most, their efficacy has not been proven. Some claim to nourish hair follicles, others claim to stimulate hair growth, still others purport to block DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, which causes male pattern baldness, in the scalp.
* Using cover-ups. Different types of aerosol spray-ons exist to cover up baldness. In the old days they looked like shoe polish sprayed on the back of your head; today they can be made of small fibers that look, so they say, like real strands of hair. Ummmm…… not!
* Cutting it all off. Easier for men than women, but isn’t a Kojak-style crop far better than a Trump comb-over? Some women think bald is sexy…

Hair loss is incredibly common, but if you find your loss of hair hard to deal with, a transplant may be an option. Keep in mind, however, that a bad hair transplant is obvious from miles away – as is a badly fitted hairpiece or cheap, spray-on cover-up. Insist on the best, and know what you are getting into before you embark on any hair replacement solution. Good luck!

Different Types of Wig Caps

Monofilament + 100% Handmade

These are the best quality wigs using monofilament and hand tying. This luxury product provides 100% comfort. The mono top is woven onto a fine base and is undetectable to the eye. It looks like skin and is very realistic. The remainder of the wig is a fine mesh and the hair is hand tied to it making it very lightweight.

Monofilament + Weft

The hair is woven onto a very fine mesh on the scalp area (mono top) which is invisible against the skin. These are probably the most popular wigs. The wefted area is machine made with hair sewn to strips of material (ribbons). The wefts have gaps in them to allow the head to breath.

100% Handmade

The whole wig cap is made of fine mesh. Whilst this type of wig does not have a mono top, as the whole wig is hand tied so still gives the appearance of skin.

Wefted Wig with Mono Parting

Wefting means the thin strips of material (ribbons) that the hair is machine sewn to. This particular cap has a mono parting. Again, this gives the appearance of skin, but usually these wigs are a little cheaper that the full mono top. The parting is not adjustable.

Small Mono Part

Wefted wig with small mono area, usually at the crown.

Wefted

Wefted means strips of ribbon like material which the hair is machine sewn on to. This is the usual construction of a wig and makes it more lightweight and cooler to wear. Wefted only wigs are a cheaper variety of wig cap. People with hairloss who need to wear a wig every day usually prefer a mono top wig as they are more realistic. Wefted wigs tend to be frizzed very slightly at the root and on cheaper wigs can look a bit *wiggy*.

Lace front Wig

Lace front wigs are 100% hand tied as mentioned previously, but with a lace (netted) front to give a realistic *join* at the forehead. These wigs do not need any adjustment to the front of the wig. Lots of 100% hand tied wigs are made this way giving an invisible line around the forehead.

However, some lace front wigs have lace that is left longer at the front of the wig so that it can be trimmed to the customers desired length. This is usually then glued to the hairline to give a realistic look. Either way has the same effect. Videos of how to attach these wigs to the head can be found on You Tube, in fact, there are lots of helpful hints on wigs generally on You Tube.

Top Fillers

Top fillers are not full wig but a smaller piece that can be clipped on to the hair on the scalp area. These are meant for people who still have some of their own hair. Some of these pieces have mono tops and others have a honeycomb base which allows for the wearers own hair to be pulled through the holes. These bases come in different sizes and can be small (closures) or are big enough to cover the whole scalp area.

These are ideal for anyone not wanting to wear a full wig and are undetectable, but one thing to remember is that the clips (usually 4) which hold the piece in place can pull at your own hair and in some cases can make the hairloss a little worse.

Swimming in Your Lace Wig

A lace wig is meant to mimic the hair, hairline and scalp as much as possible. One of the luxuries of a human hair system is that you can wear it as you would your own hair. From dying it to wearing it to workout, your hair wig is just as versatile as your own hair. While swimming in your unit should be a breeze, there are a few tips to help the wig last as long as possible and avoid tangles.

Prepping Your Lace Wig

Yes, you can jump straight into the water just as with your natural hair. However, if you want to avoid tangles then wear a swim cap or secure unit into a ponytail. By securing your ends you will prevent tangles, knotting and possible split ends on human hair lace wigs.

Hair damage is a number one concern with lace wigs and swimming. This is because human hair can be negatively affected by harsh pool chemicals. To avoid your hair becoming dry and brittle, pre-condition your hair. A leave in conditioner or even deep conditioner will work very well to keep the hair moisturized. The pool water will dry out your hair but since it is already moisturized, the damage will not be as severe on the hair system.

Worrying About the Bond

It is important that your bonded hairline is well kept prior to getting in the pool. While water and chlorine will not rip off your hair system, a loose bond may weaken significantly. If you have any areas that are very loose, reapply some adhesive to secure the bond.

After you get out of the pool and go home, you will want to maintain the bond of the lace on the wig. Until you remove the wig, you will not be able to care for your own hair fully but that does not mean that you cannot care for the unit.

Even though you were in cool water, swimming is a physical activity that causes you to sweat. Sweat in addition to the harmful pool chemicals can weaken your lace wig bond. Make sure to cleanse the hairline very well so that these natural oils from your body, sweat, dirt and pool chemicals are out of the adhesive.

Drying Your Lace Wig

Drying your unit after swimming is fairly simple. You can either choose to blow dry your hair or use a hooded dryer. A hooded dryer is best since you have to dry the lace wig and your hair underneath. If you do not completely dry both, you can create a pocket of mildew and bacteria in between.

Your drying technique should also incorporate moisturizing. Since the hair itself will come out dry from the chlorine, you will want to add a moisture product before completely dry. Natural oils such as unrefined extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil or shea butter will work well. Try to avoid using commercial moisturizers for after the pool since the chemicals in them can interact negatively with chlorine.