6 Treatment Options Besides A Hair Transplant in Singapore
In an effort to restore a full head of hair, hair transplant surgery seems like an ideal choice. However, despite its verified success, not every hair loss situation can be addressed by surgical correction. Successful treatments don’t come in cookie-cutter solutions, hence there are different methods that can be undertaken.
So, if you’re not keen on getting surgery, not yet ready to go through it, or if it’s not feasible to do it yet, here are other options you can consider.
1. Cosmetic Coverups
Hair loss concealers
Just as makeup concealers cover up eye bags and blemishes, the ones formulated for hair loss can make hair thinning less obvious. They come in different preparations such as water-activated powders and lotions. Powdered concealers leave a matte finish that creates an impression of depth and fullness, even under strong sunshine and bright lights. Lotions tend to cost less but they don’t usually last as long. Both are rich in moisturizers and are safe for lengthy use for those with alopecia. The catch, however, is that hair loss concealers can be applied to areas where hair already exists, and not bare areas.
These types of products are made of microfibres that bond to the hair through static electricity. These products are made from either natural keratin or synthetic fibres that are 0.3-0.5 millimetres in length and are packed in shaker containers for easy application. The principle is that these powdered particles, made of millions of microscopic false hairs that match existing hair, stick to what’s left on the scalp. The main condition is that you need to have some hair to apply it to because it can’t be applied directly on a bald head. It is suitable for those whose hair is too thin for hair loss concealers alone to be effective.
Prepared in aerosol cans, these hair loss sprays contain polymer blends that adhere to natural hair. They can be directly applied to balding areas. Not only do they fix the hair, but they also maintain electrostatic bonds. This product is also water-resistant, hence you can maintain your appearance even while swimming or under the rain. Some sprays available today come in lightweight formulas which are suitable for Singapore’s humid conditions. They not only cover thinning areas but grey roots, as well.
The catch with cosmetic coverups is that they need a certain amount of hair for them to appear natural, rather than being applied over a bald pate. Therefore, they will suit patients with advanced male pattern baldness.
2. Hair Loss Shampoos
Can a shampoo really help you grow your hair?
When it comes to hair growth shampoos, there are two options: prescriptions or over-the-counter products. Prescription shampoos like ketoconazole have anti-androgenic properties, which means that they can prevent the two hormones associated with hair loss – testosterone and DHT. They trigger hair growth in denuded areas and interrupt the hormone cycle that causes thinning.
Over-the-counter growth shampoos are supportive solutions. They may not do much for genetic hair loss, which requires drugs or procedures to temper or reverse it, but changing the way you cleanse is a good start. You just have to choose shampoos that support scalp health. However, you need to know the type of hair loss you have before you invest in products that are not really suited for you. OTC growth shampoos typically contain amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants to provide the components that rebuild hair and reduce damage and inflammation.
If you prefer to use over-the-counter shampoos to help promote growth and strength, specialists suggest that you go for products that are formulated with antioxidants such as vitamin E and ginseng, B-vitamins, and amino acids. These components help reduce environmental damage and rebuild hair. Shampoos with parabens, sulfates, and fragrances are discouraged because these can irritate hair and reduce moisture.
To ensure that you get the benefits from your product, you must follow proper shampoo application. It starts by applying the product before showering. Leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing so that the ingredients can be adequately soaked in.
To measure the effects of a product, it is advised that you try it out for about three to four months before you conclude if it is effective or not. Take before and after images to keep track of any changes. Do remember that any change will be gradual, so don’t expect dramatic transformations.
3. Hair Loss Supplements
It’s not hard to find supplements that promise to restore hair growth for those who are follicularly-challenged. Ingredients can run the gamut of vitamins, minerals, herbal wonders and synthetic components that are formulated so that their effects synergistically work against hair loss. If you’re thinking about taking hair loss supplements, then you must know that they are just that – supplements. These should not be the main plan, rather consider them as supportive treatments.
Since we don’t always get all the recommended daily nutritional requirements, supplements help fill in those gaps. They may not cause you to grow hair in dramatic fashion; at the very least, they prevent hair fall from getting worse. Here’s what’s commonly found in hair loss supplements.
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Medications are considered as one of the first lines of treatment against hair loss. In the market today, there are two FDA-approved pharmacological treatments that produce results – Finasteride and Minoxidil.
These two medications are effective to varying degrees. It can slow and possibly even halt the hair loss process temporarily. But between the two, Finasteride is considered a strong contender because it acts directly on dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for shrinking hair follicles. It halts the shrinking process before it results in baldness, restoring thicker hair in thinning areas. What appears to be new hair is simply just the growth of stronger and thicker hair that is more visible to the naked eye. It has always been there, it just thinned out over time, but with treatment, you can now see it more easily.
Minoxidil is now commonly used as add-on medication to Finasteride, or it is used in patients who are uncomfortable with taking a long-term oral medication. The pair is usually recommended to those who are only starting to show signs of hair loss. However, those with advanced hair loss are less likely to experience satisfactory results with medical treatment alone. Existing hair may be maintained, but for those with significant balding, hair transplant surgery can help restore hair in bald areas. In these cases, these drugs serve as effective treatments to control progressive balding in combination with surgery.
5. Low-Level Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is an accepted hair regrowth treatment that is safe, tolerable, and non-invasive. It uses medical-grade lasers to deliver low-level light energy to your scalp. As hair follicles absorb the light particles, it invigorates microcirculation which enhances the distribution of abundant blood supply and nutrients to each follicle. This process stimulates cellular activity which can help reduce further hair loss while encouraging hair regrowth.
However, laser devices cannot replace what surgery can do for those who really need it. Laser treatment can be indicated to treat androgenetic alopecia and promote hair growth in males who have Fitzpatrick Skin Types I to VI and Norwood Hamilton classifications of IIa to V, and in females who have Fitzpatrick Skin Types I to VI and Ludwig (Savin) 1-4, II-1, II-2 classifications, or frontal patterns of hair loss.
More research may be needed on low-level laser therapy, but there are studies that have yielded positive results. In a research published in 2014, results showed that laser treatment is safe and effective as a hair regrowth method in men and women. Another study in 2013 of 41 males between the ages of 18 to 48 found that laser hair treatment provided a 39 per cent increase in hair growth over a period of 16 weeks.
In general, laser treatments can be used in men and women with various hair lengths and noticeable thinning. It is convenient because you just come in for your sessions and go without any downtime. Hence, it allows manageable daily time commitment minus the pain and side effects.
Since the treatment uses a low-level laser, there is no issue on it being skin sensitising. It may start out to be costly, but it will leave behind faster results with lesser long-term sessions.
Laser treatment isn’t just a sole treatment against hair loss. It can be a complementary treatment for other hair regrowth options. It can even help boost the results of hair transplant surgery. With this treatment, you foster the growth of stronger and healthier hair shafts.
6. Regenera Activa
Regenera Activa is another less invasive option that uses your own tissues to revive hair follicles in thinning areas. It is a painless procedure that can run for 30-60 minutes. This treatment can yield visible changes to the scalp within 4-8 weeks after just one session, after which results continue to improve for up to 1-1.5 years on average.
The process is done under local anaesthesia and involves the collection of 4-5 tissue specimens taken from the patient’s own scalp, specifically at the back of the head. This spares you from the possibility of tissue rejection and allergic reactions. Since these small grafts are about 2.5 millimetres in diameter, they leave minor wounds that heal by themselves without any visible scars in the majority of patients.
Once the specimens are collected, these will be placed in a device that can separate the needed growth factors from other cellular components. Then the suspension is gathered and administered into target areas to stimulate the hair follicles to regrow hair.
While the process is similar to a hair transplant since it uses your own cells as donor grafts, the catch is that it doesn’t give long-lasting results the way surgical hair restoration would. Therefore, it is suited for patients with mild to moderate hair loss or thinning, and who are looking for short-term solutions against progressive hair loss.
Why should you consider other options besides a hair transplant?
As they say, different strokes for different folks! Your hair loss struggle can have its own solution, it just has to be addressed through a customised approach. A hair transplant can be a wise choice but it must be decided on with all things considered.
The options mentioned above may already be enough in the right patients, but they don’t have to be exclusive treatments. As a matter of fact, all of them can be used to complement each other, and they hold certain benefits for your hair transplant results, too. This proves that besides surgery, there are viable choices out there for you to try.
If you wish to bring back good hair growth, find a treatment that is carefully chosen just for you. Improve your chances of regrowing strong and healthy hair and act on it now. If you have concerns that were not covered here, you may discuss more of this topic in detail through an in-person consultation with Dr. Tyng Tan.
Call us today at +65 6235 0010 to book an appointment.
- Fields, J., et. al. (n.d.). Topical ketoconazole for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dth.13202
- Ustuner, E. (2013, October). Cause of Androgenic Alopecia: Crux of the Matter. PRS Global Open. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4174066/
- Shapiro, J. & Kaufman, K. (2003, June). Use of Finasteride in the Treatment of Men With Androgenetic Alopecia (Male Pattern Hair Loss). Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15529357
- Avci, P., et. al. (2013, August 23). Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) for Treatment of Hair Loss. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944668/
- Lanzafame, R., et. al. (2013, October). The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24078483/
About Dr Tyng Tan
Dr. Tan Tyng Yuan, MBBS completed her graduate and medical education in the United Kingdom over a span of 10 years.