Carl Bourhenne's Fitness and Long Life Manual
Youthful and Attractive
Want to know the TRUTH about MINOXIDIL? (Rogaine is one of the brand names). This relatively new treatment acts in various ways; but generally, results are as follows: On those bald or balding pates, slight hair growth was seen in 60% of the subjects tested, in the form of "vellus hair", more commonly known as "peach fuzz". This slight growth was observed for 12 to 14 months, after which time the Minoxidil had no further effect. The slight increased growth then disappeared and treatment was discontinued. Most noticeable results of this treatment were seen when Minoxidil was used with retinoic acid (Retin-A).
There is, though, a newer and perhaps more promising treatment than minoxidil for the balding or thinning head: The active agent is zomexin, and is derived from the lining of the stomachs of pigs. Hair loss was stopped in 90% of the subjects tested in an informal study, and 65% of the subjects grew vellus hair.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about losing hair or going bald is the effect that it might have on one's love life, especially as a single person. The loss of love and sex appeal is very threatening. Most people realize that persons of the opposite sex who prefer "the balding look" are in the minority.
The first response to an awareness of balding is styling the hair to cover the balding areas. Subsequent responses include hair and scalp massage, and the consideration of various types of hair rejuvenation and hair replacement methods. Fortunately there are such good hair replacements available today that no one, not close friends, or lovers, or even mothers can detect them even when touched and pulled, or tugged on moderately hard. This, of course, is the most desirable requisite of any hair replacement method.
In order to know what to do for the hair, it is helpful to know what makes hair grow. The scalp contains tens of thousands of hair follicles, and each produces one hair. Hair follicles are shaped like a bulb with a small tube extending from it. They are nourished by papillae; cone-shaped elevations at the base of the hair follicle. The follicles produce cells in the bulb area. When the bulb is filled and cell division continues, the cells push their way out the tube portion of the follicle.
While enroute to the scalp surface these cells stop dividing, and a substance called keratin is produced (keratin is also found in the nails). Then the hair is forced to the scalp surface by the continuing cell production in the bulb area of the follicle.
This is the active cycle of hair growth, which continues for about five years in a healthy follicle. Then the active cycle subsides, and a resting stage is adopted by the follicle. This resting stage lasts about three months, and then the follicle resumes cell production. A new shaft then pushes the old shaft out, and it is shed. The average person sheds 80 to 120 hairs each day, in this manner.
Many things can traumatize an excessive number of follicles into the resting stage, such as high temperature, a serious illness, some medicines, poisons, and some anesthetics. Hair loss may show up two to three months later.
Some women experience hair loss due to a decrease in estrogen after giving birth, or after starting or stopping use of birth control pills.
Hair loss due to any of these reasons is temporary, and when the body returns to normal, so does hair growth. New hair again appears after a few months.
All Serious scalp problems should be treated by a dermatologist.
Although dandruff does not cause hair loss, it can readily lead to it. Certain physical disturbances of the scalp can cause hair loss. Some examples are habitual wearing of tight headgear, tight curlers, tight hair-do's, teasing the hair, excessive use of chemicals (dyes, permanents, straighteners, bleaches, and sprays), and an over or under active thyroid.
The most common cause of baldness in men is "Male Pattern Baldness". It is attributed to heredity. All normal men see some recession of the hair line by the age of 20. Eunuchs, however, will never lose their hair. In fact, in countries where castration has been used, some significant facts are noted: When castration occurs before puberty, the hairline of a young boy is maintained throughout life, even if he has a long family history of male pattern baldness. And when a balding man - even a man balding due to male pattern baldness - is castrated, all hair loss stops. These results are due to the absence of the male hormone testosterone, which is manufactured in the testes.
It might seem to follow that mental attitudes stressing excessive virility, such as, "men don't cry", extreme independence, high regimentation, and insufficient sexual activity might cause higher levels of testosterone to be present in the system to act on the hair follicles, contributing to hair loss.
The following "Alternatives To Balding" might
serve as a guide for the man or woman who is concerned about hair loss or hair
condition, and who wants to know all of the various remedies available.
1 . Scalp & Hair Rejuvenation Treatments
The hair malady known as "male pattern baldness" leaves the top of the head bald, but leaves substantial hair around the sides and back of the head. This type of baldness cannot presently be helped by scalp or hair treatments. The simple reason is that although we don't know exactly how, we do know that male pattern baldness is a result of hormonal effect on the hair follicles. No amount of massaging, hair and scalp treatments, etc., will reverse this cause of hair loss.
Some treatments can, however, stop or reverse other types of hair loss problems, and improve the condition of the scalp and of the existing hair. The scalp specialists who perform scalp and hair treatments are called "trichologists", a title which any licensed beautician is allowed to use in many states. The primary aim of these "specialists" is to treat other types of alopecia (hair loss). The dramatic results which you may have seen pictures of are results of treatments to the scalp and hair of persons suffering from types of alopecia other than male pattern baldness. The only viable alternative to this problem is hair replacement such as a hair piece, hair weaving, or hair transplants.
One effective method of determining whether you may have male pattern baldness, or another type of alopecia is to undergo the treatment for alopecia. If you have male pattern baldness, there will be no real improvement in hair growth, and you may then want to consider a hair replacement program.
If, however, you prove to have another type of alopecia, the treatment can produce very dramatic results in the return of your hair, as well as in the condition of your scalp and hair.
Care should be taken in the selection of a trichologist. Avoid faddists and self-taught practitioners. It is best to go to a reputable salon where you can inquire into the educational training of the person who will treat you. Don't hesitate to ask. There are many people around claiming expertise in treating alopecia, ready to take your money. If they are properly qualified they will be proud to show you their credentials.
If they are at all hesitant to show you a certificate of completion of a course other than hair cutting and styling, or don't know the meaning of the words "trichologist" and "alopecia", then keep looking. Although they can say some very convincing things, and can sell you an endless array of lotions, potions, and pills; they might not be able to help you at all.
2 . Vitamin Therapy
Good nutrition is essential for healthy hair. Some vitamins and minerals affect the health of hair more than others, and protein and unsaturated fats are necessary materials for the manufacture and maintenance of healthy hair.
Although providing the body with the required nutrients will definitely promote the health, restoration, and growth of hair in most cases; it will not noticeably help male pattern baldness. However, the effect of the "hair vitamins" on other types of alopecia (hair loss), and on other scalp and hair problems, makes them very valuable indeed.
The most important vitamins for the restoration and health of the hair, and to restore and maintain the color of the hair are Inositol, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), Calcium Pantothenate, and Folic Acid.
The most important vitamins and minerals for the cure and prevention of gray hair are PABA, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper, and Iodine for the thyroid.
As with all vitamin and mineral applications, it is essential to remember that all of the vitamins and minerals work together. So, in order for the hair vitamins to be effective, good daily nutrition must be maintained
All of these vitamins and minerals are available in your local health food store, with the exception of Folic Acid. Folic Acid can only be obtained in the United States by prescription.
Fats, especially unsaturated fats (essentially, fats from vegetable sources) are essential for healthy hair. Saturated fats (essentially, fats from animal sources) should be avoided, since they tend to clog the arteries, veins, and blood vessels, and cause numerous other health problems.
Proteins are the building blocks that make up the hair, and all other body tissues. Proteins are made up of amino acids, just as different words are made up of different letters.
The two amino acids most important for healthy hair are Methionine and Cystine. Since Methionine is one of the eight essential amino acids (those the body cannot manufacture), it must be consumed.
The best way to consume amino acids is in the form of "complete proteins", because complete proteins contain all eight of the essential amino acids, and they are in the correct proportion to each other. The foods which contain "complete proteins" in the highest quality are (in order of their value): eggs, milk, fish, meat, poultry, cheese, most seeds, nuts, 100% whole grains, legumes, and many vegetables.
Effective vitamin therapy for the hair must be based on a solid foundation of proper nutrition, proper exercise to promote circulation, and then the hair vitamins as supplements.
The "hair vitamins" have been so named because they are essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy hair, and for the restoration and maintenance of hair color. The following vitamins and minerals are those which have proven to have a major play in the cure of baldness (other than male pattern baldness), and the return of hair from gray to its natural color. Other substances may have some effect against these problems, as do all of the vitamins and minerals, in some way; but we are against needless expenditures which have no chance of producing results.
This information is not intended to be prescriptive in any manner. Everyone should consult with their physician before making any changes in their health habits.
The Hair Vitamins are: Inositol has been reported to aid in the restoration of hair in certain types of cases of alopecia. PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid) has been reported to return gray or graying hair to its natural color. Calcium Pantothenate has been reported as successful in the cure and prevention of balding and gray hair. The mineral Copper is a major contributor of color to the hair. Since the hair is so dependent on a healthy thyroid gland for restoral, health, and attractiveness, sufficient Iodine in the diet also contributes to good hair. Kelp is the best supplemental source of Iodine, since it also contains some of the other minerals so essential for healthy hair.
3 . Hormone Injections
The major cause of hair loss in men is the malady known as "male pattern baldness", although it is not the only cause. Male pattern baldness is an inherited trait, and is due to the effect of the male hormone "testosterone" on the hair follicles.
For this reason, some practitioners, including physicians, use the female hormone "progesterone" to counteract the effect of testosterone on the hair follicles. One method used is to inject the female hormone progesterone into the scalp every month or two, and to apply a solution of progesterone in alcohol to the scalp between injections.
These hormone injections have not been known to cause feminine characteristics in males, but have also not been shown to be of help in curing male pattern baldness.
4 . Wigs
If you decide you want to try artificial hair, you may find the following information useful.
There are many methods of manufacturing wigs. The most natural looking are more expensive for two reasons. First, more handwork is required to make a wig natural looking - men's or women's; and second, better quality hair is both more natural looking, and more expensive.
The best quality hair for wigs is virgin human hair. This is hair which has never been tinted, dyed, or permanent waved.
It is selected for its beauty, color, and texture; and comes primarily from Southern Europe. Since it is unprocessed, it is totally natural, and must be selected also for curliness and texture by the end user. Processed human hair is also used, and comes from the Orient. Processed hair oxidizes much more rapidly than virgin hair, and does not hold a set as long.
For these reasons, a synthetic blend of hair may be preferred over processed human hair. In fact, most wigs today are made of the most popular synthetics, such as kanekalon, venicelon, and cordelan.
One of the most expensive procedures for manufacturing wigs involves attaching a strong, sheer, mesh-type material to the base of the wig. Hanks of high quality hair are then woven into the mesh. A band of elastic material is then attached around the perimeter of the base. This, along with hair pins, secures the wig to the head.
It is easy enough to determine whether this method of hair replacement is for you. Simply talk to some people who have them, then try a few on.
The cost of a wig for hair replacement is relatively low.
5 . Toupees
The Toupee is, like the wig, an off-the-shelf, mass-produced product; so it is very difficult to get one that really looks natural and fits well. Technical advancements and professional fitting have made it possible though, to obtain one that might be better than the bare head, to some.
Most Toupees are made of synthetic hair, or an inexpensive blend of human hair. The hair is woven into a base; or, woven into a mesh which is then attached to the skullcap-like base. The shape of the base resembles the shape of the bald area to be covered.
The Toupee is applied to the head with a double faced tape. The holding power of this tape is surprisingly strong, and is further strengthened by the body heat of the scalp.
One inferior type of Toupee is made with a thin plastic plate about 2 inches square, on which the double faced tape, or glue is applied. This does not seem the most desirable type to own, since the entire Toupee is held on by this 2 inch square area. The edges can be lifted quite easily, even by a strong wind.
The most important considerations in the purchase of a Toupee are whether you can find a color and texture match for your natural hair, and whether you can get a good enough fit, since it is not a custom-made product. The best method for making this decision is to talk with someone who has a Toupee, then try a couple on.
6 . Custom Hair Pieces
The best type of hair piece is the custom hair piece, because it is manufactured especially for you. This is done in the following manner: A very pliable, transparent material (such as sandwich wrap) is spread over the scalp, and a heavy pencil is used to outline the bald areas. Then masking tape is applied, completely covering the wrap. The masking tape takes the exact shape of the scalp. The outline drawn with the heavy pencil is then cut out, and this piece is used as the mold for the base of the hair piece. If properly done, it should be a perfect fit in both size and shape.
The material for the base piece itself is similar to that of a toupee. It must be strong, light, and unaffected by the cleaning materials used for maintenance. The main difference is that a toupee base only approximately resembles the area to be covered, since it is mass-produced.
The best base materials now in use are transparent, but strong. They allow the scalp to show through, giving the most natural look - especially at the part. There are two materials used for this type of base: polyvinyl chloride, and polyurethane. A transparent, double faced tape is used for application; so that this custom hairpiece, using this type of base, is virtually undetectable either by sight, or by touch. Since these hairpieces cannot be pulled off by a mere testing tug, but require an almost concerted effort to remove them, they are indeed undetectable.
A very important factor which cannot be taken lightly in the manufacture of a custom hair piece is selection and treatment of the hair itself. One of the main differences between a toupee and a custom hair piece is the use of high grade hair, the way it is matched and colored, and the way it is styled and cut. In producing a custom hair piece, high grade hair is matched and blended to your own hair, exactly. It is checked primarily for correct color, and for texture and wave. A person's natural hair is actually not just one color, but several colors with certain highlights. A good custom hair piece is made to match all of these features, exactly. In addition, the front of a custom hair piece is ordinarily made a little lighter color to eliminate give-away highlights.
Less costly custom hair pieces, made without the transparent base are also available at less cost. The problems with these are the much thicker base, which is more easily detected both by sight and by touch because it is four times as thick at the edges; the hairline, which is more difficult to hide; and the part, which is the main give-away of most hair pieces. A new kind of part for these non-transparent-base hair pieces called the "skin part", is now being used with good results.
The part area consists of a skin-like substance. This, of course, is not as natural looking as the transparent bases which show the actual scalp, but they are very good.
Custom hair pieces can be left on for a week at a time with very satisfactory results. The polyvinyl chloride and the polyurethane bases can simply be shampooed while on the head, but the other types must be removed and cleaned with cleaning solutions.
You should be aware of the fact that there are many less than honest, and many less than competent producers of "custom hair pieces", so if you decide that this is your best alternative to baldness, take the time to select a reputable source, obtain references and talk to at least one before you make a commitment.
Some important points to consider are:
7 . Hair Weaving
Hair weaving is the process of tying a fine cord to the existing hair around the perimeter of the balding area, using a special knotting procedure. Either a hairpiece or a net is then tied to the cord. There are several techniques used in hair weaving, but they are all done by tying to the existing hair.
Hair weaving is a very secure method of hair replacement, since it will not come off easily. Some of the disadvantages are that it is easily detected by touch, and must be tightened every month or so, as the existing hair grows out. This need for regular tightening makes it fairly expensive to maintain. Combing and brushing must be kept to a minimum with most types of hair weaving, and must be done very carefully.
The cost of hair weaving ranges from $250 to $1,200 depending on the extent of work to be done, and requires two to four hours to complete.
To determine the desirability of hair weaving as a hair replacement method for you, you must weigh the cost and inconvenience factors as they relate to you. It would hardly seem possible for you to know whether hair weaving is right for you without obtaining references from your prospective installer, and then discussing the pros and cons with at least one of these references.
8 . Medical Implants
The Medical Implant method of hair replacement involves the implanting by a physician of teflon coated stainless steel wires into the scalp. Trained personnel at a salon pre-pattern the in-and-out wire implantations, which protrude slightly above the scalp at regular intervals like rows of small staples. These serve as anchors for a thread which is woven back and forth to form a mesh. Hanks of hair are then woven to the mesh. The hair is then cut and styled to blend in with the real hair, and cover the bald areas.
The potential problems of this method of hair replacement are the possibility of having the wires inadvertently ripped from the scalp, and the discomforts of their installation and presence. It is necessary to receive antibiotics for at least a week after the surgical implantations, and sometimes longer.
Another method of Medical Implants is to attach the hair directly to the wire implants. This requires installation of a larger number of implants, and is easier to detect; especially when the hair is wet.
Both of these methods have yielded many problems of infections, and do not appear to be viable methods of safe hair replacement.
9 . Hair Transplants
There are several techniques used in hair transplants, also called "autografts". The fact that the hair at the crown and temples of the head are more affected by age and hormones than the hair around the perimeter of the head, is due to some unknown factor in the hair follicles of the balding areas.
Just as it is certain that those seriously afflicted with male pattern baldness will lose hair, so it is also certain that no one suffering from male pattern baldness will lose all of their hair. The hair around the perimeter of the head will always flourish and grow, whether it is left where it is, or transplanted to the balding area of the head.
The most common method of hair transplantation involves circular punch grafts (3.5 mm. diameter.). Each "plug" bears from ten to fifteen hair follicles. The work is usually done in the physician's office, where up to fifteen plugs can be transplanted during one sitting. A local anesthetic is all that is required. Greater numbers of plugs can be transplanted at one time in an operating room.
Reports of results vary so widely, and involve such concepts as pain (some say little, some say too much), scars, bumps (some people are over-joyed, some dissatisfied), and visible hair patterns that you will want to get references and draw your own conclusions. From all indications though, the hair transplant process appears to be very successful, and is becoming ever more popular. It should be remembered though, that the hair grows about one-half inch per month, so results take a few months to be complete.
So many success stories have arisen from hair transplants that it just may be the most realistic solution to baldness until we can learn how to prevent it before it occurs.
Hair plug transplants cost about $15 per plug. Since the average operation requires from one hundred to three hundred plugs, the total cost of a hair transplant ranges from $1500 to $4,500. This does not seem an excessive amount of money in view of the benefits and most plastic surgery fees today.
Other hair transplant methods under research include "Bi-lobe flap", and "Epicraniotomy". Bi-lobe flap involves the transplant of a strip of hair-bearing skin from the nape of the neck to the balding area of the scalp. The skin fold at the neck is then pulled together and sown so that the removed strip is not missed. Epicraniotomy is simply a series of minor incisions designed to remedy baldness caused by poor circulation resulting from tension and tightness of the scalp. No notable reports of success are recorded.
10 . Home Hair & Scalp Treatments
Four kinds of hair and scalp treatments can be performed at home:
1) The Nutrition aspects of hair restoral and care are contained in the article on VITAMIN THERAPY.
2) Circulation: Hair follicles need the nutrients, oxygen, and excretion provided by the circulation of the blood. Without it they die; and when it is imperfect, they are unhealthy. The dynamic force of the growing process in youth affords strong circulation during our formative years. Once we are fully grown though, it is necessary for men and women to contribute actively to the health of the circulatory system. This can be done by exercise and purposeful stimulation, such as massage and stretching. Regular, strenuous physical exercise is essential for optimum maintenance of the circulatory system.
Local scalp circulation can be improved and maintained by exercise movements of the scalp, and by massage. The scalp can be massaged and stimulated by fingertip (not fingernail) massage of the scalp, temples, and back of the neck. The surface of the scalp should be massaged, and the scalp itself should be moved over the top of the skull. Great gentleness is not necessary during the scalp massage. A moderately vigorous massage is best, and some gentle tugging of the hair is beneficial. Best results will be realized if the head is below the level of the body.
Brushing the hair daily is excellent, both for the health of new hair, and for the condition and beauty of the existing hair. A natural bristle brush should be used, since nylon bristles are wider and have blunt edges. A natural bristle brush will go through the hair and make better contact with the scalp.
Beware of tight-fitting hats, caps, hair-do's, etc. It is very easy to cut off circulation to the hair follicles, and long periods of pressure on the scalp can cause permanent hair loss.
3) Cleanliness: In order for healthy hair to push out during growth and to remain healthy, the hair and scalp must be kept clean and free of harmful bacteria, dirt, harmful contaminants, and excess oil. Contrary to common belief, water is not harmful to either the hair or the scalp. A healthy hair and scalp are mainly a result of good nutrition and good circulation. The initial dryness of hair and scalp which result from shampooing are quickly resolved by the replacement of body oils, and by healthy sebaceous glands around the hair follicles. The frequency of shampoo is a personal matter. Those who live in rural, clean air areas with relatively clean lifestyles may want to shampoo less often, but more frequent shampooing of the hair is not harmful, so people who live in areas with high air pollution, or whose activity causes the hair to become dirty, may shampoo daily. If the sebaceous glands in your scalp tend to produce less natural oil, or if the quality is somewhat low, you may want to shampoo less frequently. One or two applications of shampoo should suffice, but the final rinse should be thorough to remove all residue. A good quality shampoo should be used which has an acid pH balance. Soaps containing chemicals can be harmful to the hair.
A good quality conditioner after shampooing can be beneficial to the texture and condition of the hair.
4) Applications: There are applications available to support inadequate production of oil by the sebaceous glands, and to improve the condition and appearance of the hair and scalp. Applications are also available to increase the bulk of the hair. A qualified trichologist should guide you in the selection and use of applications for your hair.
If you are presently satisfied with the condition and appearance of your hair, there is no reason to use any of these applications. Daily massage, nutrition, exercise, and brushing should be sufficient to maintain the health and attractiveness of your hair.
5) Coloring: Coloring the hair by tinting or dying is contrary to the over-all health of the hair. However, the degree of detraction may well be worth the greatly improved personal appearance to many people. The best way to make this decision for yourself is to have your trichologist explain to you what the effects of each type of hair coloring method will be on your own hair.
If you have your hair colored in a men's or women's salon, they can monitor the condition of your hair, and treat it as needed. If you color it yourself, you can have it tested when you have your hair cut.
There are basically two methods of home hair coloring: "all-at-once"; and "little-by little". The "all-at-once" method takes more time, and must be done again before tell-tale roots grow out far enough to be noticeable. The main advantage is that the results are immediate.
The "little-by-little" method consists of hand applications that require three or four minutes per day, three or four times per week. Results are gradual, and usually require two to three weeks to complete coloring. The main advantage of this method of hair coloring is that it is inexpensive, and there are never any grow-out signs when it is used regularly.
Both methods are effective when used by men to color chest hair. When asking a trichologist or hair stylist about home hair treatments it must be remembered that, since they lose business when people use them at home, trichologists and hair stylists may exaggerate or even invent descriptions of harmful effects of coloring your own hair at home.
By current evidence, cancer-causing has been eliminated from hair coloring products. The one problem which remains, but only with the permanent hair dyes, especially jet black, is that they might cause Lupus or other connective tissue disease in some people, especially if a family history exists. Lupus is an arthritic disease which is sometimes fatal, and can produce joint aches, fever, and skin lesions. There is no known cure. The damage is done by the aromatic amines, which are absorbed through the scalp, and is irreversible. If you have a question in this regard, see your physician.
In summary, it is best to remember that healthy and attractive hair is most noticeable in a healthy, well-cared for body, with a healthy mental and emotional condition. So, maintain a positive outlook, emotional stability, be a fun-loving and social person, exercise daily, learn your own nutritional requirements and fill them every day, and get plenty of sleep. In this way you will be in the best position to restore and maintain the best possible head of hair for yourself.
Carl Bourhenne, MA
Copyright © 1976, 1980, 1985, 1989, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007 Carl I. Bourhenne.
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