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Thursday, May 9, 2024

Do Hair Growth Treatments Work for Older Adults?

Hair loss can arise from a variety of factors, including getting older. There are a number of treatments on the market that may work for you.

You may be familiar with that sinking feeling of suddenly finding more hair than usual on your clothes, in the bathroom sink and on your brush. Fifty-five percent of women, and 85% of men, experience hair loss. Hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies and even stress may be the cause, among others. Or it may happen because we are getting older.

“Hair gets thinner and loses volume as we age because hair follicles get senescent (old) and simply stop producing hair,” says dermatologist Kemunto Mokaya. “The follicles that produce hair make finer, thinner strands, and this contributes to hair thinning and loss of volume. Hair also grows more slowly as we age.”

Start With These Tips

Before we get into other remedies, it’s a good idea to check if you’re doing what you can on your own to keep your hair. Do you wear a hat or scarf as sun protection for your hair? Sunlight can damage your hair, leaving strands vulnerable to split ends and breakage. Make sure your scalp is clean and free of conditioner and product buildup that can block pores. 

Best Hair Loss Treatment Online

Telemedicine is a great way to get customized, prescription treatments without the hassle of going to the doctor’s office. And it doesn’t matter what part of the country you live in. Better yet, your hair loss treatment will arrive in discreet packaging. Following are some companies that Forbes rated tops for online help:

As with anything related to your health, it’s a good idea to check reviews, cost, and products available before committing to a course of treatment. 

Whole-body health is important for your hair. Several vitamins and minerals are essential to hair growth. 

“Vitamins are essential for healthy hair growth and may help in preventing hair shedding and thinning,” says Michele Green, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “The best vitamins for hair growth include B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and iron.”

They won’t help if you already get enough of them, but if you choose to supplement, make sure the product you’re getting has been independently tested. One way is to look for the USP Verified mark on the container. 

Stress can play a role in hair loss. Try to find time to meditate, journal, or exercise. Oddly enough, trimming hair regularly can help aging hair look better and reduce breakage. Use shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens by checking the label. Avoid bleach and hair dye. And treat your tresses gently by not brushing vigorously when they’re wet. Finally, try not to wash your hair every day. Overexposure to moisture causes stretched, weakened locks and it robs your hair of natural oils that are already in short supply as we age. 

Medications for Male and Female Balding and Hair Thinning

Before you dive into treatment, you should know why you’re losing hair. Hair loss (alopecia) can be temporary or permanent, related to your gender or not. It may also be due to a disease or skin condition. Check here for most causes of hair thinning. 

There are several hair loss medications that may work for you. Most common is minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, which is available without a prescription. It treats a variety of hair loss causes, including male and female pattern hair loss. It’s available in a 2% and 5% concentration and is applied on the scalp. Like many of these treatments, it may take four months to a year to show results with diligent use. Treatment can continue as long as you like and side effects are rare but may include the growth of facial hair. 

Oral finasteride is available by prescription for male pattern hair loss. It works by inhibiting the body’s production of a hormone that destroys hair follicles and is most effective for slowing or stopping hair loss. Taken orally, it may be months before significant new growth is evident. Side effects can include erectile dysfunction and depression. Natural hormone blockers include caffeine, rosemary oil and pumpkin seed oil. 

Women may also experience hair loss due to sex hormones that damage follicles. They may benefit from antiandrogens, including spironolactone and oral contraceptives that contain estrogen. You’ll begin to notice a difference at about four months. Side effects include sleepiness and irregular periods in menstruating women. Pregnant women should avoid these medications.

If your hair loss is the result of an autoimmune disease, your doctor may suggest using a corticosteroid. They’re available as topical cream or injections. Your physician will advise you on the best one for your situation. 

Laser or Red Light Therapy

Many studies of red light therapy have shown that it may be effective to promote hair growth, especially in concert with minoxidil or finasteride. It’s painless and lacks damaging UV rays. While the reason for its effectiveness is debated, there are some theories. The predominant one involves the light stimulating an enzyme found in cell mitochondria, stimulating activity that leads to the release of nitric oxide and production of adenosine triphosphate (ADP). The ADP helps transport energy to tissues, helping the hair follicles to stay in a productive stage for longer. 

Dermatologists may recommend 20 to 30 sessions of half an hour apiece as a full course of treatment. Because of the number of treatments involved and the many uses of red light (including to improve skin appearance, manage pain and reduce inflammation), some people choose to buy a device for home treatment. These can differ significantly in effectiveness. 

To get the best result: 
  • Choose a device with a wider wavelength than the usual 630 to 750 nanometers.
  • Make sure the light intensity is high power for faster and more efficient results.
  • Pick a device with maximum LEDs for more power.
  • Using a helmet-size device to treat hair loss is fine, but if you want to use red light therapy for other purposes and/or areas, choose a larger option.
  • Look for a clear, visible interface with features such as programmable timers and adjustable settings. 
  • Look closely at customer reviews to avoid buying an inferior or useless product. 

If your hair loss is due to scarring, red light therapy is not likely an option since it can’t regenerate hair follicles that have been destroyed. As with any treatment, consult your doctor before starting red light therapy. For more information, go here