Dealing with premature hair loss

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Dealing with premature hair loss

Some men consider their hair to be the most important part of their body in appearance, because they say a person’s hairstyle and amount of hair account for a large part of their first impression.
According to a survey by Kyung Hee University Medical Center, 55.7 percent of bald men replied that the loss of hair affected their social life and 89.3 percent of single bald men said they believe that baldness even hurts their chances of getting married.
More than 80 percent said they feel embarrassed when others mention their baldness. Various treatments for baldness are currently available ― and new ones are constantly being developed. Hair-care businesses are also booming and even hospitals are opening hair clinics.
Hair loss at a young age is different from going bald from old age. These days, 79 percent of “patients” who visit hospitals to treat hair-loss are younger than 30 years old ― on average, men start to lose their hair at age 24.
“Fourteen percent of Korean men lose their hair at a young age for genetic reasons,” said Sim Woo-young, a dermatologist at Kyung Hee University Medical Center.
The main cause for losing hair is excessive testosterone. The hormone is converted into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, in hair follicles, which prevents nutrition needed for hair growth. The lack of nutrition makes the hair get thinner and gradually it starts to fall out.
Currently there are five hair-care products on the market, including Minoxyl, which first came out in 1988, and Rogaine, the most recent addition to the hair-loss market. These products usually provide extra nutrition to hair roots by increasing blood flow under the scalp.
However, only two products have been medically proven to have an effect ― minoxidil, an anti-balding medicine that is applied to the scalp, and propecia, a pill used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Propecia, introduced in 2000, retards hair loss and helps hair grow by blocking enzymes from converting testosterone to DHT. But these medicines have limits ― when you stop using them, the condition of the scalp reverts to what it was before taking the drug.
As well as a lack of nutrition, hair loss can also be caused by stress, and reactions to shampoo or hair-dye, as well as to hormones. Thus, a man can prevent hair-loss by keeping the scalp clean and using special protein rinses that give the hair more nutrition. That’s the basis of the programs sold by hair-care companies, which say that their products improve and strengthen the scalp.
A more recent treatment is mesotherapy, in which a custom-made proprietary medicine is injected into the mesoderm, an inner layer of the skin. The injection helps blood circulation under the scalp and stimulates hair growth. Having an injection once a week for five weeks, along with a hair care regimen, is considered the most effective method of treatment.
Despite the various treatments, however, there is no real solution for hair that has already started to fall out, and so people now seek hair transplant operations, which have become remarkably more sophisticated in recent years. Basically, the operation requires removing a portion of skin from the back of the head and transplanting the hair follicles to the balding area.
Realmore Grafting Center recently introduced a new “direct operation” that transplants only the hair follicles to the needed area. “It’s better because you don’t need to remove skin, and it’s possible to select the best hair follicles,” said Kim Soo-shin, a doctor at Realmore Clinic. The new method is good for those who have partial hair loss because of, for example, injury.
Another way is to transplant hairs into skin pores. “Compared with other methods, it can give a more natural look, as the hairs can be embedded closer together and in the same direction as the original hair,” said dermatologist Kim Tae-yoon from Gowoon Sesang Clinic.
For those who have lost a great deal of hair, a mega-graft is the preferred treatment ― this involves over 3,000 grafts at once, while other procedures usually involve 1,500 to 2,000.
The most important part in grafting operations is to find healthy hair roots. “If you use a Mantis microscope, rather than your eyes, when selecting the hair roots, it’s easier to find easy-to-miss hair follicles. As a result, you can pick over 20 percent more hair roots,” said Choi Kwang-ho, a dermatologist and the president of Choi’s Total Beauty Clinic.

How to maintain healthy hair

1. Keep your hair and scalp clean.
2. If your scalp is oily, use shampoo with more cleansing ingredients and less conditioner. If your scalp is dry, use shampoo with less cleanser and more conditioner.
3. Wash your hair two to three times a week, unless it is oily; then wash daily.
4. When washing your hair, use fingertips as if massaging the scalp.
5. When drying your hair, don’t rub it, but dry by patting it with a towel.
6. Try not to use a hair dryer.
7. When washing your hair in the evening, dry it naturally before going to bed.
8. Brush the hair from the scalp to the hair ends. A metal comb or brush is better than a plastic one.
9. Do not dye your hair or get a perm too often.
10. Use hair spray, gel or mousse sparingly and apply only to the ends of the hair.

‘Hair food’
Beans, black sesame, glutinous rice, tofu, milk, seafood, fruits, vegetables, water and green tea.

‘Hair junk food’
Processed foods, coffee, sodas, and sweet, spicy, salty and oily food.
Source: Gowoon Sesang Clinic

by Koh Jong-kwan
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