Author: Angela Sturm, MD, FACS
Full, thick hair is associated with youth, vitality and health, as well as an expression of our masculinity or femininity. So, hair loss can be very stressful. Luckily there are a number of new and exciting treatments, as well as advancements in the established treatments!
There are a slew of products that are marketed to increase hair growth. Unfortunately, if they are not “medications” they are not subject to the scrutiny of the FDA. So, they may work or may not. Usually, they are pretty safe but not very efficacious. So, the worst case scenario you have purchased a product that doesn’t work. I have seen some good results with at home systems that incorporate microneedling with an at home handheld device and organic serums, like HairMedica. Some people see increased growth with natural oils, like argan oil.
Prescription and over the counter medications
Minoxidil is a foam or serum that can be applied directly to the scalp that increases the blood flow to the hair to increase growth. Now, both the 2% and 5% solution are available over the counter. The 2% solution is marketed to women and 5% to men, but the 5% can actually be used by both (shhh!). This does increase hair growth. However, it does take about 3-4 months to see a result. It works best for men and for hair on the crown of the head, but will work anywhere. Since it will work anywhere, you may notice increased facial hair while you are using it. Usually not a big deal for a guy, but a really big deal for a woman! So be careful. The hair will go back to the way it was before using the medication once it is stopped.
As skeptical as I was about light treatments, there are actually scientific studies showing that they can help and I have seen an improvement in my patients. How it works it, you sit under a light panel or wear a helmet-like appliance with lights for a few minutes several times a week. The light stimulates the hair follicles to grow. You should see thicker, denser hair in a few weeks to a month or two. The treatments can be for about 6 months with maintenance treatments after that. The treatments have very few risks and are very safe.
Have you heard of the vampire facial? The same substance used in that, platelet rich plasma, has been used in orthopedics, oral surgery and plastic surgery for many years to help stimulate healing and regeneration of tissue. This treatment uses your own body’s ability to heal itself and reverse some aging changes. It has been shown in scientific studies to stimulate hair growth, also. With this treatment, your blood is drawn, spun down and the growth factors are taken out. The growth factors are injected into the scalp to increase blood flow and stimulate the follicles to grow hair. Studies have found PRP to be safe and effective in both men and women. Most people saw increased density even with one treatment, but you may require a few to see the optimal results.
Dr. Angela Sturm Biography – Facial Plastic Surgery Associates:
Dr. Angela Sturm is a facial plastic surgeon at Facial Plastic Surgery Associates. In the field, Sturm’s meticulous nature makes for exceptional results and satisfied patients. Dr. Sturm completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine. During her medical training, she received numerous awards for surgical excellence, including the Outstanding Otolaryngology Medical Student Award and the top medical student research prize from the national academy of otolaryngology. Dr. Sturm has also co-authored and published numerous medical journal articles on head and neck surgical techniques, as well as facial plastic surgical techniques.
Following her medical education, she entered the distinguished American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) fellowship program where she trained alongside Dr. Russell Kridel who has performed hair transplants for over 30 years to gain extensive expertise in cutting edge head, neck and hair surgical techniques. After her formal training, Dr. Sturm also pursued further training specifically in hair transplantation. Dr. Sturm completed important clinical research in areas of ethnic rhinoplasty, revision lower eyelid surgery, septoplasty, male rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty and the long-term effects of using irradiated cartilage in rhinoplasty.
Dr. Sturm is passionate about promoting health and wellness as well as rejuvenating our community through involvement with Leadership Houston, D-tag Tattoo Removal Program, and the Fittest Doctor Challenge. She holds an interest in helping victims of domestic abuse and as a result supports Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse and provides free care through the Face Foundation. Dr. Sturm holds a warm spot in her heart towards animals and children. She was a Citizens for Animal Protection Honoree in 2013 and was a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and on the Lamb and Goat Auction Committee. She was a Woman of the Year Candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Dr. Sturm was named Texas Monthly’s Super Doctors Rising Star in 2016, Texas Magazine’s Top Doc in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Houston Business Journal’s People on the Move in 2013 and 40 under 40 for 2014, Blazing Star Award by Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Top Women in Business, one of the Top 30 Influential Women of Houston in 2013, Best Female Cosmetic Surgeon in Out Smart, Top 25 Beautiful People in Houston, and given the Patients’ Choice Award and Compassionate Doctor Award by Vitals.com.