June is usually marked as Men's Health Month and it is used to raise awareness about health problems specific to men.
One common problem affecting most men is what is known as Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). It is a common form of hair loss in men and can be quite devastating for men when it slowly creeps upon them in their late 20s or early 30s.
Genetic hair loss is common in approximately 60 percent of men from their late teens up until their 50s. The main cause of this is inherited genes which makes one predisposed to hair loss or baldness.
While some have resorted to embracing what life throws their way, others have tried several hair restoration methods with little or no results.
Luckily, there are various treatment options readily available today and include:
Medication: This is a non-invasive course of action and is most effective in the early stages of hair loss. Male Pattern Baldness is genetic and usually gets worse over time, therefore it is advisable to treat the condition early in order to prevent further hair loss.
Two medications - Minoxidil and Finasteride – have been approved by the U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for treating Male Pattern Baldness.
Minoxidil is a liquid which is applied topically to the thinning area to stimulate growth, whilst Finasteride is a medication which blocks the hormone DHT preventing further loss of hair.
Micro Scalp Pigmentation (MSP): This is an effective form of treatment for men suffering from baldness.
MSP simulates the appearance of a shaved head. It is a non-surgical procedure and is in fact a sophisticated treatment based on highly specialised tattooing.
This treatment is best suited for sufferers of Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). It is also an effective procedure for camouflaging baldness arising from scarring and alopecia universalis.
What to expect during an MSP procedure: Micro Scalp Pigmentation is also referred to as scalp tattooing or scalp pigmentation. A hair replica is created by placing tiny particles of medical grade ink pigment in the scalp.
Each follicle is individually simulated by an experienced technician. A session can take between 2-5 hours depending on the area to be covered, with breaks to stretch and relax. This procedure is not painful and may not require anesthesia but if it does, it will be applied topically with no injections.
Durability of MSP: The durability of MSP depends on some factors. It is generally accepted that the procedure can last from 5-10 years. Some skin types take the pigment relatively better than others thereby requiring fewer intervals between touch-ups.
The UV rays of direct sunlight also contribute to the fading of the pigment over time; so it might not last as long when someone spends a considerable amount of time in the sun. Any slight fading which may occur over time can easily be remedied by a touch-up.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT): This technique is more suited to the nature of Afro hair. The procedure is done in a day, depending on the number of grafts to be implanted.
A single strip of skin is taken from the back or sides of the scalp that contains hairs which are genetically strong. The grafts are cleaned and divided into 1-4 hairs per unit: all kept under high magnification to ensure grade survival, before being placed in the recipient area. A full result is obtained on average after 12 months.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE): This hair transplant method is minimally invasive and is performed under local anesthesia. FUE leaves few signs that a surgical procedure has been performed on the patient’s scalp. Stitches are not required, and the procedure allows for fast recovery time.
Remember, being bald or experiencing hair loss does not necessarily mean the end of the world. There are numerous options available for you to seek professional help at the earliest signs. The earlier you decide to tackle your hair loss issues the less invasive and cheaper the treatment.
The writer Ayo Otubanjo is a senior consultant with Vinci Hair Clinic and a partner in the global medical group, Vinci International. He is the regional CEO for Africa.
He has extensive experience in hair loss diagnosis and treatment having consulted with over 2,000 clients. In addition, he has published many professional articles both online and in newspapers.