When you start losing your hair, it is normal to feel like you are starting to lose a part of yourself, too. A thinning scalp is often followed by a thinning sense of well-being and growing anxiety of youth slipping away. It is easy to understand why the hair transplant and restoration industry is getting stronger than ever. In the 2011 Census of the International Society for Hair Restoration, the number of patients seeking transplant nearly reached one million, with America and Asia as the largest markets. Even developing countries like the Philippines are seeing a competition among best hair transplant clinics in Manila. And no, it is more than vanity. It is about regaining confidence and restoring sense of self.
Hair growth products are now nearly as common as whitening creams. But the procedures are not as easy as removing a wart. Informed decisions are necessary. Remember that not everyone is a good candidate for hair transplant. So before going to the hair clinic, run down on the checklist below to know whether you are a qualified hair transplant candidate.
It’s the genes
When you go to consultation, doctors will ask you about your hair loss pattern. MPB or Male Pattern Baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. For women, it’s Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL).
Research shows that at some point, 50% of men will experience MPB on varying degrees. It is both genetic and hormonal. The pattern normally starts at the temples or crown of the head while some get a single bald spot or a receding hairline to form an “M” shape. For women, the pattern starts with thinning hair on the scalp due to increased hair fall and reduction in volume. According to the American Hair Loss Association, one likely qualification of a hair transplant patient is when the patient has been experiencing a hair loss pattern for more than five years.
Does age matter?
The question is: are you too young for hair transplant? There have been cases of patients under the age of 25, but remember that cases vary. Some people, male or female, lose their hair at a younger age than the others. Statistics from WebMD show that two-thirds of men suffer from some degree of hair loss by age 35 while 85% of all men tend to have significantly thinning hair when they reach the age of 50.
Among women,around 40% show signs of hair loss by age 50. In short, aging is a natural cause of slowed hair growth. Hair loss is typically proportional to your age but triggered to start earlier or later by several factors. With hair restoration, it is not really about the patient’s age but the stage and maturity of hair loss.
However, the younger the patient is, the more risk that the transplant can cause an unnatural appearance. Transplanted hair doesn’t fall off but it can’t stop natural hair from falling off, that is why determining the eventual pattern of hair loss among younger patients is necessary. Doctors are generally more conservative with younger patients.
Do you have enough donor hair?
A good candidate for hair transplant has to have a stable supply of donor hair. You are your own donor. Before the procedure, the doctor has to find out whether your hair donor sites can cover the bald area. The sides, back, follicles, and surrounding tissues are the usual donor sites. Hair from someone else, unless it’s a twin, is commonly rejected by the body.
When prescriptions do not work
There are hair products like shampoo or conditioner that promise to bring back those healthy locks. There are also creams and prescription medicines but hair transplant is still the best option. A potential candidate understands that hair loss is likely to progress even as he continues with the medications. Opting to get a hair transplant as soon as your physician advises saves you time and money burnt on products that offer promises instead of solutions.
Your hair is tired
Does your hair reek of chemicals because of regular hair treatments? Hair color, bleaches, straightening or curling chemicals result in a certain degree of damage over time. Even hairstyles that require constant pulling and use of rollers and rubber bands put a strain on the hair. If you regularly visit hair salons to get treatment and you notice that hair growth slowed as a potential consequence, it is time to get expert opinion from reliable but affordable hair clinics in the Philippines to get expert advice from specialists.
Yes, it could be the hormones
This is especially for women who undergo hormonal shifts from birth control pills to pregnancy, childbirth to menopause. But take note that men go through hormonal shifts like women, too. These events can render more hair follicles dormant. If the hair loss pattern stabilizes for some time, you can be a candidate for hair transplant.
Medications cause baldness
There are illnesses that naturally lead to hair loss. Thyroid disorders and iron deficiencies are a few examples. Medications for cancer and high blood pressure also attack hormones that contribute to hair growth. Stress as a result of illnesses also prompts the body to temporarily shut down tasks like hair production. You need to consult with your doctor first if you can have hair transplant even with your illness or medications. Remember that as in any surgery, hair transplant requires a healthy body.
Beauty has its price
You could also be a qualified hair transplant candidate if you have undergone cosmetic procedures that may have affected the hairline. A face lift or brow lift will naturally have an effect on your temples and hairline.
A potential candidate for hair transplant is one who has eating disorders or goes through heavy dieting. Insufficient nutrition in the body stuns hair growth and production. If the stage of hair loss becomes as extreme as your dieting, a transplant can be an option.
You can’t take it anymore
Some are more concerned with how they look more than others. If baldness is hurting your self-esteem and you can’t even look at yourself in the mirror anymore, then hair restoration can be your friend. If there is no stopping the progression of hair loss and you are starting to hate yourself for it, see a doctor. The years and level of suffering can make one a qualified candidate.
You know the deal
Most people who undergo transplant will typically need more than one throughout their lifetime. Subsequent surgeries may be necessary. There is the risk of shock loss when hair is transplanted between and around natural hairs. The desired density may not be achieved the first time.
Keeping it real
A good candidate for hair restoration knows how to manage his expectations. If you are bald as an egg and you expect the hair volume of a teenager, then prepare to get disappointed. It pays to be a little conservative. Hair loss goals must be discussed from the start and patients must understand that hair restoration is not a cure for hair loss. It is a smart and practical prevention to counteract baldness.
No one has to suffer the effects of hair loss. If you are not happy with it, do something about it. Just like any restoration procedure, make sure you understand what you are about to go though — its risks, its effects, and how it can possibly make you feel better about yourself.