There are many options and alternative cosmetic treatments for hair loss. Some of these are listed here and include hair-fiber powders, hairpieces, synthetic wigs, human hair wigs, hair extensions, hair weaves, laser, and surgery.
- Hair-fiber powders: Colored, powdery fiber sprinkles are commercially available and may work to camouflage balding areas. These colored sprinkles have special properties that help them attach to hair and give a fuller appearance. Toppik is one manufacturer of these products and can be found online. These cosmetic products are available without a prescription, are fairly inexpensive ($20-$40 range), and quite safe with minimal risk. Often these may be used in addition to medical treatments like Rogaine, Propecia, and hair transplants, and they are a great temporary measure to tide one over for special occasions.
- Hairpieces: Among the time-honored ways to add hair temporarily are hairpieces or hair weaving, in which a mesh is attached to the remaining hair and artificial or human hair of similar color and texture is woven with existing hair. Quality varies considerably with price; also, hairpieces and weaves may stretch, oxidize, and loosen.
- Surgery or hair transplants: Surgical hair restoration approaches include various versions of hair transplantation (taking hair from the back and putting it near the front) or scalp reduction (cutting away bald areas and stitching the rest together). Transplant procedures have improved greatly in recent years. They can produce much more attractive and natural-looking results than older methods that sometimes leave a “checkerboard” or hair plug look. Many transplant patients now take Propecia to maintain or keep what they’ve transplanted. When considering a hair transplant, check the surgeon’s credentials and experience carefully. Micrografts are some of the newest techniques whereby surgeons transplant single one to two hair follicles. Hair transplants may be very expensive and time-consuming procedures ranging widely anywhere from $1,000-$20,000, depending on the number of hair grafts transplanted. Typically, 500 or more hairs may be transplanted in a session.
- Low level laser devices approved by the FDA are promoted for use in male pattern hair loss. These devices are used at home without a physician’s prescription and vary in cost from $50 to over $1,000. They come in the form of combs, helmets, and hats. Limited studies are moderately persuasive that they stimulate hair growth.
- Platelet rich plasma obtained from the processed whole blood of male patients with pattern hair loss and then reinjected into their own scalp has been suggested as an adjuvant treatment. The efficacy of this form of therapy is currently under investigation.