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Should you get hair replacement? Or a hair transplant?

Just because someone you know is perfectly content with his hair loss solution, doesn’t mean that solution is perfect for you. Before making that all-important decision, it’s best to make sure you know what’s what.

Why are you losing your hair?

Knowing why you’re losing your hair has some bearing on your choice of a hair loss solution. It’s normal to lose about 100 hairs a day, but you usually don’t notice this because new hair grows to replace them. But once this cycle is interrupted, or if scar tissue takes the place of destroyed hair follicles, hair loss could set in.

Reasons for an interrupted hair growth cycle or hair follicle destruction include

 

  • Genetics. If hair loss runs in your family, there’s a very good chance you could inherit it.
  • Stress. Many people experience hair loss for months after a super stressful or shocking event (this kind of hair loss is temporary, though).
  • Pigtails and similar hairstyles. Wearing your hair in a way that pulls on your hair frequently could cause hair loss.
  • Perms and hot oil treatments. If these treatments inflame the hair follicles, they could not only cause hair loss, but may even cause the hair loss to become permanent if the hair follicles are replaced by scars.
  • Radiation therapy. Exposing your head to radiation could cause hair loss, or at least a change in the way hair usually grows.

If you have a condition such as lupus diabetes, or are losing a lot of weight, this could also increase your chances of suffering hair loss.

Once hair loss does set in, however, there is no cure.

The most that can be done for hair loss that comes with age or bad genes is to try to either slow it down, or to encourage hair regrowth. This may be done with Finasteride and Minoxidil, but these medications are notorious for their side effects which include impotence and dermatitis. Corticosteroid injections are also used to reduce inflammation associated with hair loss.

Laser treatments in the form of hand-held devices may also be used to stimulate hair regrowth, but their effectiveness has yet to be definitively proven.

Two alternative and more proactive solutions to hair loss would be to get a hair replacement system or a hair transplant. Allow us to discuss each solution in detail to help you decide.

What’s a hair transplant?

A hair transplant is a type of surgery where a surgeon takes strips of skin containing donor hairs from the back or the sides of your head, and transplants them onto areas with little or no hair. The surgeon makes tiny holes or slits in these bare areas for the donor hairs to go into.

As with any surgical procedure, hair transplants can only be performed by licensed practitioners, and there are risks and pain involved—not to mention significant costs. A transplant also takes a significant amount of time: even as an outpatient procedure, it can take up to 8 hours. An entire run of several sessions interspersed with healing periods can take as long as 2 years.

Apart from the usual complications that could arise from surgery such as bleeding, infection and scarring, the risks of a hair transplant also include the failure of the donor hair to grow, or irregular, uneven growth. This in turn would mean that the transplant would have to be repeated or corrected.

Another, more drastic form of a hair transplant is scalp flap surgery, where the surgeon takes a piece of your scalp that still has hair and grafts it onto a bald area.

What’s a hair replacement system?

A hair replacement system does not involve surgery at all. During hair replacement, a hairpiece made of either natural or synthetic human hair is attached to your scalp using tapes or  adhesives. The process is both painless and instantaneous—you can literally walk out of the studio in an hour and a half with a brand new head of hair.

Where hair transplants may not be advisable depending on the root cause of your hair loss, a hair replacement system may be used by anyone with a hair loss problem regardless of the cause. Also unlike hair transplants, where the outcome can’t be determined until the transplanted hair starts to grow, the results of a hair replacement system can be fully controlled.

Hair replacement systems can be cut and styled just like normal hair, and can even be shampooed and used during swimming and other activities. They do, however, have to be removed for regular cleaning and maintenance, and replaced from time to time because of natural wear or breakdown of the hairpiece base due to contact with the skin’s natural acids.

Some people have also reported feeling hot or uncomfortable with a hair replacement system on. And if the hair replacement system isn’t cleaned properly or professionally, it could cause itching or allergies.

Here’s a side-by-side to help you decide.

Hair Replacement vs Hair Transplant 5P’s

Hair Replacement Hair Transplant

1. Procedure

  • Non-invasive
  • Non-surgical
  • Attaching a hairpiece to the scalp using tapes or adhesives
  • Surgical procedure
  • Taking donor hairs from behind or at the side of the head and grafting onto bald spots or areas with thinning hair
  • Risk of complications

2. Pain

  • Painless
  • Needs anaesthesia

3. Period of time

  • 90 minutes
  • 8 hours

4. Pricing

  • Affordable with pricing options
  • Expensive

5. Personal benefit

  • Confidence in the results
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Waiting for unpredictable results
  • Assurance that own, natural hair is used