What Exactly is Hair Loss?
Hair loss can come in many different forms, and it may be permanent or temporary. People usually worry most about losing the hair on their head, but it’s possible to lose hair on other parts of your body, including your eyebrows, beard, chest, and other body parts.
It should be noted that it’s perfectly normal for your body to shed dozens of hairs per day, but hair loss starts to be an issue when the body excessively sheds hair, or if it sheds the usual amount but new replacement hairs aren’t growing quickly enough. This can lead to the formation of bald spots and result in a noticeable reduction in hair volume.
What Causes it in Baby Boomers?
Hair loss can start to be an issue at any stage of one’s life, but it usually happens as we become middle-aged. Today, many Baby Boomers suffer from hair loss, but there isn’t just one underlying condition or reason that’s responsible.
Some common types of hair loss in Baby Boomers include:
More commonly known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary condition that can result in significant hair loss on your scalp.
As it ultimately comes down to your genes, there’s not much you can do to prevent this type of hair loss, though there are a few different treatment options available (which we will discuss later on in this article.)
Androgenetic alopecia is the most prevalent type of hair loss, and its severity varies from a few minor bald spots forming to almost complete hair loss on your scalp.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune hair loss condition which leads to the body’s immune system attacking healthy tissues, including hair follicles, and thus leads to rapid hair loss. This hair loss may be on your scalp or other parts of your body, and unlike some of the other conditions on our list, it can spontaneously begin at any point in your life.
In addition to resulting in hair loss, it can also prevent new hair from growing, so it can lead to permanent hair loss for some Baby Boomers and other Americans.
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss which occurs when a large number of hair follicles on the scalp enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, which is known as the telogen phase, but the next growth phase of the cycle doesn’t begin as it should.
This leads to hair falling out without new replacement hairs growing in their place, which in turn results in a loss of volume and, in more severe cases, visible bald patches forming on your head.
Several health conditions and medical events, including surgery, a thyroid condition, and childbirth, can result in telogen effluvium. The good news is this condition is often temporary and your hair will return to its former glory when the disruption to your hair’s growth cycle is alleviated, though this can take a while.
Anagen effluvium is a more extreme type of hair loss which consists of your hair rapidly shedding. It happens as a result of medical treatment, like chemotherapy, which causes all hairs on your body to rapidly fall out.
However, your hair should start to grow back by itself a few weeks after the treatment is over, though some people opt to take medication to help their hair grow back more quickly.
Is it Permanent?
Some types of hair loss are temporary and just last for a matter of months, while others are permanent, so your hair won’t grow back by itself. However, this doesn’t mean that you just have to accept the hair loss; there are a couple of proven treatment options which you can try out to help your hair grow back in a timely fashion.
There are two main treatment options for hair loss which are worth considering: a hair transplant and PRP treatment. In the next section, we’ll run you through how each one works and will provide a comparison of their pros and cons to help you determine which treatment is best for you and the particular type of hair loss you’re suffering from.
Hair transplants are nothing new, with the first hair transplant surgery being performed over 8 decades ago in Japan. This treatment option has become more effective and affordable over time, and tens of thousands of people have a hair transplant each year, with many of them being Baby Boomers.
In simple terms, this procedure consists of transferring hair from one part of your scalp to another, though it is sometimes possible to use hairs from another part of your body (if all of the hair on your head is thinning, for example.)
It’s also possible to get a hair transplant for parts of your body other than your scalp, such as your eyebrows and beard, so it’s quite a versatile treatment method.
Patients experience some discomfort and mild pain during this procedure, and you’ll often be left with scars on the part of the body from which the hair was taken from.
With regards to pricing, the cost of this procedure varies depending on the number of hair grafts you need to be transferred. So, an eyebrow transplant is significantly less expensive than a full hair transplant, for example.
As a general rule, you should expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 on a hair transplant in the US, and you should note that as it is considered a cosmetic procedure, the vast majority of medical insurance policies won’t cover it. However, you can save yourself several thousands of dollars by traveling to Turkey and getting the procedure done there.
Even with transport and accommodation factored in, it still works out much cheaper to get the procedure done there – and, as there are plenty of registered and well-known clinics in Turkey’s major cities, doing it over there isn’t much riskier than doing it in the United States, as long as you do your research.
PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy for hair loss is another treatment option which can be undertaken to help you grow back the hair on your scalp and other parts of your body. Unlike a hair transplant, which effectively involves hairs being moved from one part of your body to another, PRP therapy aims to help your body grow new hairs directly on the affected area.
There are 3 stages of PRP therapy. The first step involves several vials of blood being drawn, in the same way it is when you donate blood or when you go for a blood test.
The vials are then placed into a centrifuge and spun around, forcing the blood to split into three different layers: a platelet-poor plasma layer, a platelet-rich plasma layer, and a layer of red blood cells.
The platelet-rich plasma is then placed into a syringe and injected into parts of your scalp – or other parts of your body – where you are trying to encourage hair growth.
Depending on the state of your hair and how quickly you want it to regrow, the initial PRP treatment may consist from around three to six sessions, each done 4-6 weeks apart. And, you’ll typically need to go in for a maintenance round of PRP therapy every four to six months.
It should be stressed that this course of treatment is much more painful than getting a hair transplant, and Baby Boomers should expect to feel a lot of discomfort when the platelet-rich plasma is being injected into their scalp.
A standard course of PRP therapy is several times cheaper than getting a hair transplant in the US, and you should expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000.
Which is Best For Me?
There are several key differences between getting a hair transplant or opting for PRP therapy, and each has several pros and cons.
With regards to effectiveness, you’re likely to have more success with a hair transplant than PRP therapy, as the evidence that the latter promotes hair growth is quite shaky, though some people swear by it.
PRP therapy comes out on top in terms of initial cost, as it is significantly cheaper than getting a hair transplant (even if you fly out to Turkey to get the procedure done), but you should remember that this procedure requires continuous maintenance every few months, so it will work out more expensive in the long run.
So, all things considered, unless you have very little hair on your scalp and your body (which makes a hair transplant not viable), you’re most likely to be better off getting a hair transplant rather than PRP treatment.
How to Take Better Care of Your Hair
While many forms of hair loss ultimately come down to genetics or a medical condition or event that’s out of your hands, it still pays to take care of your hair, as it’s possible to suffer hair loss simply as a result of not keeping it in good condition.
Here are some top tips for Baby Boomers on how to take better care of your hair:
Don’t Brush After You Shower
Some people prefer to brush their hair as soon as they come out of the shower, as they find it easier to untangle it and brush without much resistance. However, this is a sure-fire way to damage your hair, as your hair is much more vulnerable when it’s wet.
So, you should avoid brushing your hair when it’s wet or damp at all costs. If you must brush it while it’s wet, be sure to be extra gentle to avoid causing unnecessary damage to your hair.
Watch Out For Heat Damage
Heat can damage our hair and lead to hair loss, especially if this damage is sustained over a long period of time. The easiest way to damage your hair as a result of heat is to blow dry it frequently, but sun exposure, especially if the place you live in has a warm, sunny climate, can also damage your hair.
Don’t Wash Too Frequently
Washing our hair too often is a mistake many of us make. Doing so can dry out your hair and leave it vulnerable to getting damaged.
How often you should wash your hair depends on the type of hair you have and your lifestyle, but you should ideally avoid washing it every day. Using dry shampoo is great for keeping your hair clean without drying it out in the shower.
Hair loss affects over 100 million people in the US, with many of them being Baby Boomers. Losing your hair, irrespective of the cause and severity, can be a very stressful experience – and in many cases there’s not much you can do to prevent the hair loss.
However, there are treatment options available to everyone, and if you feel like getting your hair back will help you regain your confidence and become happier, then it’s definitely worth exploring what courses of treatment are available to you.
A Quick Summary
- Hair loss is something that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and it affects men and women equally, including Baby Boomers.
- There are several different types of hair loss, with the underlying reasons varying from genetics, to a health condition or medical event, and to simply not looking after your hair.
- For instance, female and male pattern baldness is hereditary, so they depend on your genetics.
- On the other hand, anagen effluvium is a type of hair loss that takes place as a result of certain types of treatment, like chemotherapy.
- For some conditions, the hair loss is permanent, while for others it will eventually grow back (by itself or with the help of medication.)
- With regards to treating hair loss and growing your hair back, a hair transplant and PRP therapy are two popular options that Baby Boomers can choose from.
- Hair transplants are by far more popular and they often work out cheaper in the long run despite their initial cost being higher than PRP treatment.