Hair Loss Treatment in Singapore and Hair Problems

by | Nov 7, 2023

In Singapore, alopecia areata affects 3.8% of the population, with 79% being Chinese, 16% Indian, and 5% Malay. Notably, 52.28% of Singaporean women aged 35 to 44 rank hair loss as their top hair concern, while 63% of Singaporean men experience male pattern baldness, a rate that rises with age. Hair loss can be a distressing experience but fortunately, there are several treatments available.

The Annals of Dermatology reports that around 73% of Asian individuals face hair loss or baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia or pattern hair loss. It’s driven by hormonal shifts and targets specific scalp areas, differing from alopecia areata — an autoimmune disorder causing sudden patchy hair loss anywhere on the body.

In this blog we’re giving you a rundown of the most popular hair loss treatments, like the FUE hair transplant, to guide you in addressing your hair loss challenges. Please note that it’s essential to consult a professional before starting any hair loss treatment.

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Hair Loss in Men vs. Women

Men predominantly experience hair loss in the form of male pattern baldness (MPB), or androgenetic alopecia. This genetic condition, notably prevalent among Asian men, manifests as a receding hairline beginning at the temples and can advance to thinning or even baldness at the crown.

The primary culprit behind MPB is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone. While DHT plays essential roles in the body, it can also inhibit hair growth by causing hair follicles to shrink. Intriguingly, this type of hair loss isn’t confined to older men; it can commence as early as the teenage years, often leading to substantial psychological effects.

Norwood Scale
Ludwig Scale

Conversely, women encounter hair loss differently. While they can also suffer from pattern baldness, it usually presents as a broadening centre part or a general thinning of hair across the scalp. Unlike the defined patterns seen in men, women’s hair loss is more diffused and seldom results in complete baldness.

Various factors can trigger hair loss in women, including hormonal fluctuations, certain medications, autoimmune diseases, and specific hairstyling practices. However, much like in men, genetics remains a significant factor in female pattern baldness.

Types Of Hair Loss Treatments

Hair loss is concerning no doubt, but there are several approaches to solve it. Note, however, that treatment results vary based on individual factors and the root cause of the hair loss. Therefore, consulting a healthcare professional is essential to identify the best approach for you.

COMPARATIVE MATRIX OF HAIR LOSS SOLUTIONS

Treatment Type Description Key Points/Examples
Topical Solutions Non-invasive treatments
applied to the scalp
• Minoxidil
• Hair Growth Shampoos/Conditioner
• Hair Growth Serums/Ampoules

Oral Medications

Tablets, capsules,
or liquids addressing
hair loss causes

• Finasteride: to inhibit
DHT (prescription)

• Nutritional Supplements

Low-Level Laser Therapy
(LLLT)

Non-invasive red
light treatment to
stimulate hair
follicles

Available in salons,
clinics, and home-use devices
like Laser Combs
Platelet-Rich Plasma
(PRP)
Uses patient's blood
to stimulate hair growth

Concentrated plasma
with growth factors is
injected into the scalp

Scalp Micro-Pigmentation
(SMP)

Cosmetic procedure
creating an appearance
of fuller hair

Ideal for those
preferring a shaved
head look (scalp tattoo)

Hair Systems
or Hair Replacement
Systems (HRS)

Non-surgical hairpieces Looks natural;
different from just
wearing a wig
Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM)

Ancient Chinese
practices for hair loss

• Herbal Remedies
Acupuncture
Dietary Changes
Hair Transplant
Surgery
Surgical procedure
relocating hair follicles
• Permanent solution
with natural-looking
hairline

• FUE more popular in
Singapore

*Consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment. Results can vary based on individual circumstances.

TOPICAL SOLUTIONS

These are the most popular non-invasive hair loss treatments that are applied directly to the scalp.

  • Minoxidil: An over-the-counter topical solution that helps to stimulate hair growth. It’s one of the most popular treatments, and is available in different strengths.
  • Hair Growth Shampoos and Conditioners: These products often contain ingredients that strengthen hair and promote growth. They can be used in conjunction with other treatments.
  • Hair Growth Serums and Ampoules: These are intensive treatments applied directly to the scalp, often containing vitamins, peptides, and other ingredients that promote hair growth.

 

ORAL MEDICATIONS

. In the form of tablets, capsules, or liquids, oral medications typically address the underlying causes of  hair loss.

  • Finasteride: A prescription medication that treats male pattern baldness by inhibiting the action of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for hair loss in many men.
  • Nutritional supplements: These support healthy hair growth by providing necessary nutrients like biotin, vitamins C and E, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

 

LOW-LEVEL LASER THERAPY (LLLT).

This is a non-invasive treatment that uses red light to stimulate hair follicles and promote growth. It improves blood flow to the scalp, nourishing hair roots and preventing harmful buildups. While available at salons and clinics, there are also home-use devices like Laser Combs. The treatment can be combined with scalp massages, but not with products that make the skin light-sensitive.

 

PLATELET-RICH PLASMA (PRP) THERAPY.

In this procedure, a sample of the patient’s blood is taken and processed to concentrate the platelets. This concentrated plasma, rich in growth factors, is then injected into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.

 

SCALP MICRO-PIGMENTATION (SMP)

Also known as scalp tattoo, this is a cosmetic procedure where tiny dots of pigment are inked onto the scalp to create the appearance of a fuller head of hair. It’s especially popular among those who prefer a shaved head look. 

 

HAIR SYSTEMS OR HAIR REPLACEMENT SYSTEMS (HRS)

These are non-surgical solutions that involve wearing a wig or hairpiece. Modern hair systems are designed to look natural and can be a good option for those who do not wish to undergo surgery or medical treatments. However, HRS is not the same as simply buying a wig and wearing it. 

 

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)

In Singapore, it’s quite common to seek an alternative approach to addressing hair loss, especially those rooted in ancient Chinese practices and philosophies. 

  • Herbal Remedies: Using natural herbs and concoctions to restore balance in the body. Common herbs like He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum) and Ginkgo Biloba are believed to nourish the scalp, strengthen hair roots, and stimulate growth.
  • Acupuncture: This technique involves inserting fine needles at specific points on the body to redirect and balance the flow of Qi (energy). For hair loss, acupuncture targets areas to improve blood circulation to the scalp, promoting hair growth and reducing hair thinning.
  • Dietary Changes: Dietary imbalances can impact hair health. By incorporating specific foods and avoiding others, one can harness the nourishing properties of the diet. Foods rich in blood-nourishing properties, like black sesame seeds and goji berries, are often recommended.
Dr Tyng Tan Blog - Lifestyle Changes Against Hair Loss

HAIR TRANSPLANT SURGERY

This is a surgical procedure where hair follicles from one part of the body, usually the back of the head, are moved to the balding areas. It’s a more permanent solution that aims to restore hair growth in the bald or thinning area, creating a more natural-looking hairline. 

In 2021, 3.4 million global hair transplants were recorded, with Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) as the top choice. FUE, favoured in Singapore, is a straightforward procedure where hair follicles are taken from donor areas, typically the back or sides of the head, and placed into balding sections.

The FUE technique, utilising a micro-tool, promotes fast recovery without major cuts or stitches and offers lasting results by relocating follicles unaffected by hair loss hormones. Patients experience minimal, temporary side effects and can quickly return to their routines.

FUE ensures a natural appearance by replicating genuine hair growth. Using the patient’s hair ensures compatibility and consistent growth. Unlike older methods, there’s no need to shave the entire head, making recovery less noticeable.

The process might require several 4-hour sessions, depending on the hair loss severity, available donor hair, and the intended look. Local anaesthesia reduces any discomfort, rendering the treatment mostly pain-free. FUE suits both men and women. While pricing differs, its efficiency, short healing time, and natural look make it a worthwhile investment. Small scars may appear at extraction areas, but they’re less visible than those from traditional methods.

Hair Transplant Cost and Clinic Selection 

The cost of hair transplants in Singapore primarily depends on factors such as the severity of hair loss, the chosen technique, and the number of grafts. Prices typically range from SGD 6 to SGD 10.8 per graft. The overall cost encompasses the surgeon’s fee, the scope of work, and additional charges. The choice of shaving method (full, partial, or none) can influence the cost due to an associated surgical fee. Importantly, the fee also covers postoperative care: hair washing, scab removal after two weeks, and a review after a month.

Meanwhile, when selecting a hair transplant surgeon, it’s crucial to consider their qualifications, expertise, aesthetic sense, and ethical behaviour. Ensure the surgeon is a registered medical practitioner with the Singapore Medical Council and holds a valid Practising Certificate. An affiliation with the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery is a valuable credential. Ideally, the surgeon should have a background in dermatology or reconstructive surgery. The surgeon should also possess specialised training in hair transplant techniques and be certified by recognized hair restoration organisations or institutions.

Beyond the number of years in practice, the surgeon’s commitment to continuous learning, like participating in seminars and workshops, is essential. To gauge their expertise, you can review the surgeon’s past procedures and patient results, often available on their official website or social media profiles.

A commendable surgeon values high ethical conduct and prioritises the patient’s well-being, demonstrating compassion and understanding. They should always have the patient’s best interests, even if it means recommending a procedure.

dr tyng tan hair transplant surgeon

At Dr Tyng Tan Aesthetics and Hair Clinic, we strive to provide detailed information through blogs like this, encouraging you to ask questions and fully understand any procedure you’re considering. If you’re interested in learning more about hair transplant surgery and our personalised treatment plans, don’t hesitate to contact +65 6235 0010 today to  book a consultation with Dr Tyng Tan.

About Dr Tyng Tan

Dr. Tan Tyng Yuan, MBBS  is one of the few doctors approved by the Singapore Medical Council to carry out both FUE and FUT hair transplant (which includes non-shaved FUE where donor hair length is preserved and reduction in downtime after surgery is possible to achieve). Her special interest is in hair loss and hair transplantation and she is recognized as a graduate fellow of the ISHRS after completing a lengthy fellowship at an ISHRS approved institution.

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