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Cosmetic Hair Loss Recovery

Since hair loss can start at puberty and be ongoing throughout life, consideration upon analysis of the underlying causes will dictate the many kinds of treatments which can stabilize and reverse the progression. Therefore, a free consultation with one of The Hair Loss Recovery Program experienced physicians is necessary to provide the best combination of treatments available.

Finally, if your hair loss is too far advanced and you do not have enough donor hair to support Hair Transplantation, then cosmetic improvement with hair systems or/and hair additions, tattooing or use of colored sprays and fibers used topically could result in an enhancement of your image.

If this category fits your description then The Hair Loss Recovery Program with its experienced doctors and technicians can develop a customized COSMETIC PROGRAM to deal with your particular condition.


A number of non-prescription products offer “camouflage” for thinning hair. They are applied to the scalp and/or hair to give the appearance of “fullness” to thinning scalp hair. Some are applied directly to the scalp to disguise the appearance of bald scalp under thinning hair. Some are fibers that attach to hair to “bulk up” the appearance of thinning hair. All camouflage products are offered in a variety of colors to match natural hair color. Camouflage agents may be, for some young men, an acceptable short-term solution to improved cosmetic appearance while they wait for hair transplantation.

Hair Replacement Systems

Hairpieces, Hair Weaves and Extensions Some people want “a little extra” to enhance medical or surgical hair restoration. Other people are temporarily or permanently unable to grow hair and are therefore not candidates for transplantation. And some may want to avoid any type of surgical procedure or may be attracted to the promise of unlimited density and fullness.
In these instances, the answer may be nonsurgical hair addition or replacement. Twenty years ago or more a nonsurgical hair addition or replacement would have been a device called a toupee, hairpiece or wig. In the Twenty-first Century, toupees have disappeared from our vocabulary and a broad variety of hair devices have come into being to address the need for nonsurgical hair addition or replacement.
The modern definition of a nonsurgical hair addition or replacement is “any external hair-bearing device that is added to existing hair or scalp to give the appearance of a fuller head of hair.” Mahoney MJ, Nonsurgical hair replacement. In: Stough DB, Haber RS (eds.) Hair Replacement. Surgical and Medical. St. Louis: Mosby; 1996:399-411. Covered by this definition are hair weaving, hair extensions, hair fusions, hair pieces, hair prostheses and hair-replacing wigs. The material used to extend or replace hair may be human hair (from the patient, if possible), hair-like synthetic materials, or a combination of human hair and synthetics.
When custom-made under the supervision of a specialist, hairpieces and replacements can meet very real needs of selected patients.

Who is a Candidate for Nonsurgical Hair Addition or Replacement?

Total hair replacement by a prosthesis or wig may be an effective temporary measure for a person with temporary total hair loss caused by chemotherapy or a medical condition, and an effective permanent measure for a person with a genetic condition
that renders them unable to grow hair. In situations where the cause of the hair loss is not known, patients should see a physician before choosing a nonsurgical hair addition.
Hair Additions and partial hair replacements may be effective measures for a variety of persons:
  • A patient with inadequate donor hair to provide transplants for all desired scalp areas may find satisfaction with a hair addition recommended by the hair restoration surgeon.
    For example, scarce hair follicles in the donor area may be used to provide a natural hairline in the frontal area of the scalp and a hair addition used to fill in the crown area.
  • A person who is considering hair transplantation, but is not yet ready to commit to the surgical procedure, may use hair additions as a half-way measure until transplantation is undertaken.
In rare instances, a medical condition may rule out surgical hair transplantation. Hair additions under the guidance of a physician hair restoration specialist may be a satisfactory alternative to transplantation.

Working with the Physician Hair Restoration Specialist

Choosing hair additions or replacement requires more than simple selecting “off-the- shelf hair.” Considerations that should be taken into account include:
The hair addition or replacement must be designed to be esthetically pleasing. For example, the hairline should be correctly placed, hair volume and density should be adjusted to avoid “too much” or “too little”, and a total hair replacement should look exactly like a full natural head of hair. Good esthetics requires an experienced specialist.
The material used for the hair device, as well as the materials used in hair-to-hair and hair-to-scalp attachment must be safe for use by the patient. Medical conditions such as allergies to adhesives may make some materials better than others for the individual patient. The variety of choices for hair addition (hair weaving, hair extension, hair fusion, etc.) may be confusing for the patient. To make an informed choice, patients should investigate different devices and actually examine closely someone who is wearing a system in which they are interested. Researching on the Internet is a particularly effective way to learn about the devices and materials that are available. Patients should be wary of fancy, technologically intriguing names and find out what is truly different in a particular device.

Long-Term Care

Hair additions and replacements require regular, long-term care. Hair additions and the scalp underneath must be kept clean by regular cleansing. A condition called seborrheic dermatitis (commonly referred to as dandruff) can develop from failure to keep the hair addition and scalp clean. Total hair prostheses and wigs also must be maintained in a clean condition, and the scalp regularly cleansed.
Both hair additions and hair replacements should be inspected regularly for changes in color or texture. A hair addition can be expected to last about 18 months before it begins to lose its natural appearance and needs to be replaced. Ask for our Platinum Long-Term Care Program.

Cost of Hair Additions and Replacements

Custom-made hair additions and replacements are generally more satisfactory than off- the-shelf products, but custom-made products are more expensive. As discussed above, hair additions usually must be replaced as they lose their natural appearance over time. Immediate and replacement costs of hair additions and replacements should be considered when making a decision because the long-term investment can be substantial. Hair transplantation involves much greater initial cost, but because the results are permanent, may ultimately be less expensive when compared to costs of hair additions over time.

Changing to Surgical Hair Restoration

Some people may decide at some point to have hair transplantation. Many of our patients have made this transition successfully and are pleased to have their own natural hair growing again.

Synthetic Hair Implants

Synthetic hair has been implanted into the human scalp for more than 30 years, with varying degrees of success. The use of synthetic hair implants is currently banned in the United States due to a number of side effects reported in the 1970s. In some countries other than the U.S., synthetic hair made of newer polymer fibers produced by companies in Japan and Italy is being used as implants in patients who have inadequate natural donor hair for transplantation. Clinical trials of synthetic hair made of these newer fibers are being reported in medical literature and may be discussed in future updates.

Hair Enhancement Products

Hair thickeners have had somewhat of a resurgence in recent times, due in no small part to the general growth in male grooming products on the market. They’ve also come a long way in terms of effectiveness and offering a natural look. Long gone are the days when hair thickening products were nothing more than cheap, baseless products pandering to desperate men and women suffering from thinning hair.

Despite the advancements in hair thickening products however, there are numerous thickeners on the market, and results will differ greatly from one thickening product to the next. Each hair thickener will have optimal results with certain types of hair and, of course, each user’s expectations will have a large bearing on whether a particular hair thickening product works for them.

Hair thickening products cover a wide range of technologies – from products that simply clean the hair and thus remove heavy oils, to products that trap moisture in the hair shaft thus giving more body, through to products that actually bind real hair particles to the hair shaft thereby giving it more volume. Some hair thickeners come in a spray, others in creams, and some require that you hair needs to be blow-dried for maximum effect. Which method of thickening works best for you will be a combination of your expectations, your hair type, and how much money you are willing to pay. The majority of hair thickeners however work by using a hair shaft’s natural negative charge to attract polymers (which have a positive charge) thus trapping moisture causing the hair shaft to swell in diameter and appear thicker.

The main notable aspect about hair thickeners is that they simply do just that – thicken hair. For those people with thinning or light hair, then hair thickeners can add a significant amount of volume to the thinning area, giving the appearance of a fuller head of hair. Hair thickeners do not regrow hair, or delay the onset or progression of hair loss in any way. They are merely cosmetic solutions to thinning hair, and should be treated as such.

Hair Styling Program

Hair Grooming & Styling After Hair Restoration Surgery

Hair grooming and styling are the final steps in giving a person the desired appearance after surgical hair restoration. Transplantation or other surgical hair restoration procedures (see Surgical Hair Restoration Treatments for information about procedures) restore hair to scalp areas where it was lost. Hair grooming and styling, when well done and regularly maintained, improve the final result of hair restoration. If dismissed as unimportant or badly done, hair grooming and styling can adversely affect appearance no matter how successful the outcome of hair restoration.

Our Hair Restoration Specialists can provide grooming or styling recommendations.

Hair Grooming and Hair Grooming Products

In the immediate postsurgical period, a patient should follow hair-grooming instructions of the physician hair restoration specialist. Both physician and patient want to have hair grooming become a part of normal lifestyle as soon as possible. In the immediate postsurgical period hair grooming products (shampoos, conditioners, etc.) that might interfere with healing must be avoided.

After healing is completed, patient can use shampoos, conditioners and styling aids to improve hair manageability and enhance cosmetic appearance.


Shampoos have the multiple purposes of (1) removing excess oil from the hair and scalp, (2) cleansing the hair of environmental dirt and dead skin cells, and (3) reducing the number of bacteria and other micro-organisms that live on the hair and scalp. All commercially available “big brand” shampoos accomplish these purposes. The choice of the shampoo is largely a matter of personal preference, including the usefulness of a shampoo in preparing the hair for styling.

Baby shampoos are mild, and generally leave the hair in good condition for styling. Shampoos sold for adult use may combine cleansing detergents with a number of conditioners to improve hair flexibility – for example, a strong-cleaning detergent such as a lauryl sulfate may remove so much oil that hair becomes unmanageable and subject to static electricity unless appropriately “conditioned”. It may be necessary for the patient to experiment with several shampoos before finding one that is suitable.

Patients with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis and acne should continue to use the shampoos and other hair-care products they have found to be least likely to aggravate their skin condition. The physician hair restoration specialist may have specific recommendations for the individual patient with a skin condition.

Styling of tightly curled or kinky hair may be made easier by use of a shampoo formulated specifically for this type of hair. Shampoos for kinky hair are usually conditioning shampoos that aid in detangling hair and reducing grooming trauma caused by combing tangled hair.


A hair conditioning agent may be used with, or after, a shampoo to make the hair easy to comb and more manageable for styling. An appropriate conditioner can also add to the luster of transplanted hair. The physician hair restoration specialist may have specific recommendations for the individual patient regarding selection and use of a conditioner.

The general types of hair conditioners are:

Short-contact conditioners are applied during or immediately after shampooing, and are left on the hair for a few minutes before being rinsed off. The short contact time provides little or no long-lasting conditioning, but the hair is made more manageable for wet combing.

Deep “protein” conditioners are applied after shampooing, and left on the hair for up to 30 minutes before removal by a second shampoo. These products contain hydrolyzed proteins derived from animal tissue. The protein conditioners temporarily strengthen hair shafts and repair split ends; to maintain the effect, the conditioner must be reapplied after every shampoo. Protein conditioners are especially useful when hair styling is made difficult by hair damage from dyeing, permanent waving or daily grooming.

Leave-in conditioners are applied after the hair is dried following a shampoo, and left on the hair as a styling aid. The conditioner is removed with the next shampoo. Some of these products are formulated and labeled specifically as blow-dry conditioners see discussion of blow-drying below, or as conditioners for people with tightly curled or kinky hair. The oldest hair-thickening “leave-in” conditioners are pomades and glycerine- based products that are applied to the hair to aid in combing and improve manageability. Newer products cover hair shafts with a thin coating of a polymer. The polymer coating temporarily repairs hair shafts, gives hair more luster, and eliminates static electricity as a styling problem. Hair thickeners and polymer coatings are not usually appropriate for use on fine-caliber hair, as the weight of the coating makes it difficult to style fine hair.

Styling Aids

Styling aids are gels, mousses and sprays applied to the hair after shampooing. Their principal value is to add shine to hair and increase the ability of hair to “hold” a style. Gels and mousses are usually applied before styling, as a styling aid; sprays are usually applied after styling to “hold” the style.

Styling aids can be very useful in (1) holding hair in place and camouflaging freshly transplanted areas, and (2) holding hair in a position to make “less” appear to be “more”. None of the styling aids should be used before postsurgical healing is completed; while not harmful, they can cause stinging and burning on unhealed scalp.

Hair Styling

The simplest forms of styling after surgical hair restoration are combing and parting. Both combing and parting may be revised as necessary when transplantation is accomplished in several sessions over a period of months.

Parting is esthetically most acceptable when the hair is parted in areas where hair growth is uniform. The part should not be made so as to reveal large areas of bare scalp. As transplantation proceeds through several sessions, the part may be done differently after each session to achieve the best possible appearance until hair restoration is completed and the part stabilized.

As the transplanted hair matures, grows in length and increases in diameter, more volume will be realized. Volume is proportional to width of the hair shaft and length of the hair. Hair length can be controlled by the patient; the longer the hair, the more volume is present. Increased volume can be attained by combing the hair to the side of straight back. With the part in the appropriate position, the hair can be combed to the left or right to increase the density horizontally. This is usually limited to four or five inches. When the hair is combed back, the increased volume can help to cover the area behind the transplants and/or the crown. Usually, more length and hence volume can be realized by combing the hair back versus to the side.

Combing can be used to sweep hair over areas of the scalp where an appearance of greater hair fullness is desired. With the use of styling aids such as gels and mousses, hair can be combed into a desired style and maintained in that style until the next shampoo.

Styles that are not as popular after transplants include the “flattop” and “bangs”. A large amount of density is necessary to create the flattop look. Unless a significant amount of hair is present in the area prior to transplantation, or the patient has thick hair shafts, the flattop style cannot easily be accomplished. In order to have bangs, the patient must have isolated frontal hair loss with good density behind the hairline and frontal half of the scalp. Combing thr hair forward reveals any thinning behind the hairline and frontal half of the scalp.

For many patients, careful blow-drying can add body and volume to transplanted hair. Blow-drying is often facilitated by use of a blow-dry conditioner see discussion of conditioners above. The physician hair restoration specialist may have recommendations for the individual patient.

Hair dyes are sometimes used to create an impression of greater hair density, or of younger age, after hair transplantation. Before using a dye, the patient should check with the physician hair restoration specialist for any specific, individualized recommendations.

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