Why do I have hair loss?
Millions of people suffer from alopecia, which is the medical term for hair loss. There are many factors that cause this embarrassing condition; side effects of medicines, low iron, stress, poor nutrition, hormone imbalances and auto-immune responses.
The most common cause of alopecia is raised androgen hormone levels, commonly known as ‘male/ female pattern baldness’. It is a hereditary genetic condition, which means that it can be passed down through the family.
Androgens are hormones that are predominant in men but are also present at lower levels in women. A higher than normal level of androgens in a person can cause hair loss.
The roots from where hairs grow are called follicles. These become overly sensitive to androgens. When there are high levels of one particular type, called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hair follicles start to shrink, leading to thinner and less developed hair. Over time this progressively gets worse and some follicles stop producing hair altogether:
How do hair transplants help?
Hairs around the back of the head never fall out. For some unknown reason, these hairs are totally resistant to the effects of DHT and so do not fall out.
The basis of hair transplants is to surgically remove these hairs and then plant them into areas where there is hair loss.
The procedure does not take out individual hairs; it is a process of extracting hairs with their roots. Each unit that is extracted is called a hair graft. Each graft consists of several hairs, usually between one to five hairs.
The hair grafts are transplanted into the dermis layer of the scalp so that the hair roots can attach themselves to the blood supply and hence start to grow.
When the transplanted hair grafts are in place, the hairs that they contain soon fall out. This is because they were detached from their blood supply during the transplant procedure and are no longer growing. However, because the hair root is now attached to a blood supply, a new hair cycle will commence:
The process from transplant to an active growth phase varies in individuals. It can take up to 6 months for visible growth. Usually 12-15 months after a transplant, all new hairs have visibly grown.