There are multiple factors that contribute to hair loss. These include hormones, thyroid levels, nutrition, smoking, stress, and of course, genetics. Most people who are experiencing hair loss in their 30s have a genetic component that is leading to the loss. In men, this genetic predisposition often occurs via hormones, specifically testosterone. Males, especially in their 20s -30s have high testosterone levels. The body converts testosterone to a by-product called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is the hormone responsible for hair loss.
For males experiencing hair loss in their 30s there is a medication called Propecia (finasteride is the generic name) which blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT. With less DHT around, there is less hair loss. A lot of my male patients have stopped the progression of their hair loss after starting this medication and even re-grown some of their hair. This can be used in combination with Rogaine (minoxidil is the generic name). Rogaine is a foam or gel that is applied to the scalp and helps increase the blood flow where it is applied. This in turn brings more blood and nutrients to the hair follicles.
While possible, it is less common for women to experience hair loss in their 30s. There is often a strong genetic component in these women and if not, a thorough medical workup is needed to rule out a medical cause for the hair loss. Female pattern hair loss differs from male pattern hair loss as the frontal hairline is usually spared in females. They start to thin behind their frontal hairline and along their part as opposed to males who generally start with a receding frontal hairline and/or hair loss on the crown of the head.
After the use of medications there are a few other treatments commonly used for hair restoration. The first one is a combination of red/infrared light therapy and platelet rich plasma injections (PRP). PRP injections are injections of stem cells and growth factors from your own blood. The PRP part of the blood is separated from the red blood cells after a routine blood draw via a centrifuge. The PRP is then injected in a grid like pattern around the hair follicles to nourish them with the growth factors and stem cells necessary to promote growth and keep the follicles in their active growing phase.
The last option for hair restoration is an actual hair transplant procedure where hair is removed from the back of the head and transplanted to the front or top of the head. The NeoGraft system for hair restoration is the most advanced system for this as it allows the transplant to be done without any scars. This is commonly done on people in their 20s – 60s who have experienced a rapid progression of hair loss or for those who are bothered by their receding hairline.
Tyler Angelos, MD, FACS
Columbus Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery