Throughout history, a person's hair has commonly been referred to as their crowning glory. Hair has always been an important aspect of a person's appearance, and often seen as a symbol of youth, desirability and vitality. It is no wonder that hair loss can be detrimental to one's self esteem and can negatively impact our lives.
Approximately 90 percent of the hair on a person's scalp is growing at any one time and the growth phase varies between 2 to 6 years. 10 percent of the hair is in a resting phase that lasts 2 - 3 months. At the end of its resting stage, the hair is shed, and new hair from the same follicle replaces it and the cycle starts again. Scalp hair grows about 1cm per month, but the rate of hair growth slows as we age. Most hair shedding is due to a normal hair cycle, and losing 50 - 100 hairs per day is usually no cause for alarm.
Hormonal factors play a big role in the causation of hair loss. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, and this has been found to be present in higher concentrations in the balding areas of the scalp. This is the hormone that is responsible for male sexual characteristics and, when the body converts it to DHT, it becomes the main culprit in causing baldness. Women have only half the amount of this enzyme overall as men and even less of this is present in the crown. In addition, women have higher levels of an enzyme called aromatase in all areas of the scalp that may block the formation of DHT. This enzyme is present in especially high concentration in the frontal hairline in women, possibly explaining why this area is fortunately resistant to balding in most females.
Types of hair loss
Hair loss can be a complex problem because there are a plethora of reasons that can cause excessive hair loss and it can broadly be categorised into localised vs diffused.
Localized hair loss may be classified into scarring and non-scarring types.
Non scarring type is typically caused by Alopecia Areata, an auto-immune disease which manifests itself with the sudden onset of round patches of hair loss associated with normal skin and can be treated with local injections of corticosteroids or immunotherapy. Scarring Alopecia can be caused by a variety of medical or dermatologic conditions such as Lupus and Lichen planus, infections or local radiation therapy.
Diffuse Hair Loss
A common cause of diffuse hair loss in both men and women is genetic balding or "Androgenetic Alopecia"(AGA)
In AGA, an excess of the androgen DHT causes hair follicles that were producing healthy, terminal hairs to begin producing thinner, shorter, more brittle hairs with weaker shafts (this process is called miniaturization and the hairs involved are called miniaturized hairs). Eventually, these follicles produce only fine, almost invisible, short, vellus hairs, or they may die out altogether and close up.
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A number of "non-androgenetic" factors may be responsible for hair loss especially in women. Women's hair seems to be particularly sensitive to underlying medical conditions. Other systemic issues may often cause a diffuse type of hair loss pattern that can be confused with AGA. Hence, it is important that diffused hair loss, be properly evaluated.
Among the many conditions that can cause hair loss, the most common ones are:
other endocrine problems (especially those that produce excess androgens)
gynecological conditions - such as ovarian tumors
connective tissue disease (such as Lupus)
surgical procedures and general anesthesia
rapid weight loss or crash diets that are not nutritionally balanced
severe emotional stress
certain nutritional deficiencies
use of certain medications e.g. oral contraceptives, acne medications(isotretinoin), mood medications, thyroid medications, blood thinners, cholesterol and blood pressure lowering medications etc.
Treating hair loss
The first step to treatment is the accurate diagnosis of the hair loss. AGA is the commonest cause of hair loss but it is important to rule out other causes of hair loss and treat them accordingly. The first line of treatment for AGA is usually topical minoxidil and oral finasteride. Although these treatments have been shown to be effective, they may cause significant side effects too: scalp irritation in the case of minoxidil and sexual dysfunction in finasteride.
A combination approach provides faster and better results. This includes the use of minoxidil, finasteride, lasers and also more recently, regenera activa.
Regenera Activa® is a hair loss treatment that targets AGA and hair thinning in both men and women, using Autologous Micrografting Technology® (AMT), an effective technique using injectable micro capillary graft, which slows down the evolution of hair loss by immunomodulation, as well as promoting hair growth. The micrograft solution obtained with AMT has the required regenerative properties, such as chemotaxis, cell proliferation, and high angiogenic potential, to stimulate the other areas that are losing hair.
Regenera is FDA and HSA approved. It is a safe treatment option for hair loss that stabilises the progression of androgenetic alopecia and also provides greater vitality to the affected hair. By stimulating a hair regenerative process, new hair can be produced. It is a non-surgical procedure with practically no downtime and can be used to complement other treatments.
In a single session, the patient is both a donor and recipient of their own autologous micro-grafts, allowing the recipient area to benefit from the regenerative activity of the progenitor cells and growth factors extracted from the donor site.
Step 1 — Harvest
After a local anaesthesia injection, 3-5 small biopsy samples (3mm) are extracted from the back of your scalp.
Step 2 — Extraction
The samples harvested are introduced into the Rigeneracon device and gently pressed against the microblades at a constant speed of 80 rpm, without damaging the cellular structure of the disaggregated tissue. After 2 - 4 minutes, injectable micro grafts are obtained, this comprise of: cells, extracellular matrix and growth factors derived from the patient's own cells, with no other manipulation than mechanical disaggregation.
Step 3 — Injection
Extracted micro-grafts are injected in a customised fashion to deliver optimal results at areas of greatest hair loss.
When will one see the results? Numerous clinical studies and reviews show improvements in hair density, hair counts and scalp coverage 1 month after Regenera Activa®. Reduction of hair loss is first witnessed, followed by improved thickness of existing hair and growth of new hair over the next 12 months.
Suitable for Men and Women looking to improve mild to moderate hair loss without the side-effects and risks of other treatment options.
Synergistic, compatible and recommended for patients who are already on other hair loss treatments.
Patients planned for hair transplant; as the procedure can strengthen their scalp before and/or after hair transplant.
NOT RECOMMENDED for patients who have an active infectious process in the scalp or has severe alopecia with extensive closure of the hair follicles.
Side effects/down time
Discomfort during anaesthesia, harvest and injection of the micro-grafts
Small wounds with minimal bleeding at the harvest sites.
No downtime. Can go back to normal daily activities straight away but best to avoid swimming, excessive sun exposure to the scalp or strenuous physical activity for about 1 week.