Hair Loss Quackery
Hair Loss Treatments And Quackary
Pseudo treatments for hair loss go as far back as recorded history. Everything from incantations to bird droppings have been sold and used in an attempt to reclaim lost hair. Of course none of these “remedies” had any chance of working and in time they stopped making money. However, new “treatments” with at least some tenuous connection to science began to emerge- several of which are with us to this day. Below are some of the modern day “treatments” that I have found to be completely useless and even damaging.
Platelet Rich Plasma for hair loss (Quackary)
PRP is not a drug manufactured by a pharmaceutical company. Rather, it is a method of processing blood that is designed to allow one component of that blood, platelets, to be isolated and concentrated. Once prepared, the PRP is transferred into a syringe to be injected into the thinning and balding areas of scalp. The theory is that “dying” follicles will somehow be rejuvenated or reanimated by the properties of concentrated platelets. There may be some truth to this, but there is no solid evidence to support that there is really any clinical advantage to using PRP. In fact, we argue the opposite. We believe it is inappropriate to use PRP in the scalp for two reasons:
The first is that it has not been shown to actually work
In order for PRP to “function” or be “activated” the skin needs to be injured. This means stabbing the thinning and balding areas with a needle several hundred times. The problem with this method, however, is that over time all that stabbing causes fibrosis which actually accelerates hair loss. At Feller and Bloxham we do not recommend PRP and give it a 3 duck rating for quackary:
Steroid injection for hair loss (Quackary)
It’s amazing how many patients have visited for consultation over the years who have been given steroid injections for hair loss by their dermatologist. They almost never work. While some hair loss may be attributed to medical factors that may respond to steroid treatment, normal male pattern baldness (MPB) isn’t one of them. So how is such treatment justified ? It really isn’t. But here is the so-called “reasoning”: Hair doesn’t just fall or rot out of people’s heads. Rather, hair loss is a sophisticated process of steps. One of these steps includes an “inflammation” stage. So the “theory” is that if the inflammation stage can be halted or retarded, so will the hair loss. This is also one of the justifications for using PRP as well. Since steroid reduce inflammation they should reduce hair loss. At Feller and Bloxham we believe this reasoning is not only false, but irresponsible. A dermatologist who can plainly see that the progressive hair loss of their patient follows the Norwood classification should know better than to inject steroid needlessly. At Feller and Bloxham we do not recommend steroid injection for hair loss and give it a 2 duck rating for quackary:
Low Light Laser Therapy for hair loss (Quackary)
Also known as LLLT. It was all the rage when first seriously introduced in the late 1990s. No matter what hype you read online this “treatment” is pure quackary. Dr. Feller of Feller and Bloxham debated the owner of the largest laser hair comb manufacturer in the world and exposed this man as having no medical or scientific background and disproved right on the air that a major claim he was making about his product was pure nonsense. A few days after the debate the shows host reported that the man said he would never debate Dr. Feller again. Feller and Bloxham do not recommend the use of LLLT in any form.
Expensive Shampoos for hair loss (Quackary)
Many shampoo manufactures advertise that their shampoo will bring “life” back to the dying hair of customers who purchase and use their product. There’s just one small problem: hair isn’t alive. It never was. Only the hair follicles are alive. It doesn’t matter if there are herbs and vitamins in the shampoos. Unless there is “fountain of youth” water in that shampoo it isn’t going to work. All that will happen is that it will wind up in the drain of the shower. No shampoo is going to help hair roots which are deep in the skin. The only possible exception are shampoo companies who include Minoxidil in the shampoo. The problem with this scheme, however, is that for minoxidil to work it needs to be left on the scalp. Obviously shampoo is washed out of the hair during the shower and the minoxidil competent goes right out along with it into the floor drain. These shampoos usually cost more than what minoxidil could be picked up for on its own in any pharmacy or big box store. Because of this, some of these manufacturers have gotten clever and don’t identify that they’ve put minioxidil in the bottle. Rather, they state on the bottle that their product “contains an FDA approved ingredient to treat hair loss”. And rather than writing minioxidil in the ingredients section they use the chemical formula name of minoxidil instead. Would you recognize ” 6-piperidin-1-ylpyrimidine-2,4-diamine 3-oxide” ? Of course not, but that’s the actual chemical formula for minoxidil. At Feller and Bloxham we do not recommend the use of such shampoos. The best shampoo for hair loss sufferers to use in our opinion are thickening shampoos that coat each hair shaft with product that makes the hair appear thicker. The cost of these shampoos are nominal.
Vitamins for hair loss (Quackary)
The benefits and effects of vitamins have been exaggerated to the point of near criminality for decades. Their use in the “treatment” of hair loss has been no exception. Most people living in the western world are not malnourished nor vitamin deficient. Eat a burger, a piece of pizza, or enjoy an ice cream cone and you are most likely getting vitamins. Therefore, taking vitamins for hair loss is going to be pointless. When the body is not deficient in vitamins any excess vitamins introduced into the body are simply excreted as waste. The bottom line is that vitamins and supplements sold for hair loss does not produce better hair, only expensive urine. At Feller and Bloxham we do not recommend any more than the normal daily dose of vitamins.