The Complete Guide to Hair Loss Treatment in India

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and will not be responsible for any damages caused due to the information given here. This is just general advice sourced from various sources. Consult a medical practitioner before doing anything.

Introduction

Guys, you are not alone. 1 out of 4 men start losing their hair before the age of 30! So, don’t feel bad, it’s not just you.

Like many people who, as most of us in the office, suffer from short height, bespectacle-ment, unreasonably outgrown bellies, birth face cuts…baldness is something you have to be mature about.

Note: Although Alopecia affects both men and women it is more common among men. This guide is primarily written for men but some of the treatment options will work for women also.

Why this guide?

We understand that you might be in a very emotionally vulnerable condition, since it’s a matter of pride for most of us.

And so, you will set out to seek treatment options. And options you will get, loads and loads of them. Friends, relatives, neighbors and companies will come to you with all kinds of treatment options. This explosion of information will leave you overwhelmed, unsure of which way to go.

This is why we wrote this guide. We want give you an unbiased overview of the many options available for hair loss treatment in India.

When you are better informed you will make better decisions. If not, you are going to let some sleazy individuals take advantage of your desperation and make matters way worse than they ever could have gone on their own.

Hair loss – Definition and different types

Know this stuff? Want to go straight to the treatment options? Click here and we’ll take to you right there.

Hair loss, also known as Alopecia in medicinal terms or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or the body.

This guide is mainly about Androgenic Alopecia also called pattern baldness or pattern hair loss, the kind that is most prevalent. However, we will mention in brief about other types just so you are aware.

  1. Androgenic Alopecia: Also called Pattern hair loss, it is caused by hormones or genetics, this is the kind of hair loss that is most prevalent and the one which we’ll be talking about in this article.
  2. Alopecia Areata: An auto immune disease condition where the hair is lost from some or all areas of the body. Often, it creates few bald spots on the scalp.
  3. Anagen Effluvium: Sudden loss of hair in the growing (anagen) phase. It usually happens when people come in contact with some toxic chemical agents or go through chemotherapy.
  4. Telogen Effluvium: It is the temporary shedding of hair lines, usually caused by excessive emotional or psychological stress, use of some medications, some vitamin or mineral deficiency or a stressful medical event.
  5. Scarring Alopecia: Loss of hair which is usually accompanied by scar marks. It could happen with inflammatory skin conditions or some skin disorders that could destroy the ability of the hair to re-grow.
  6. Involutional Alopecia: Natural process of losing hair due to thinning as you grow old.
  7. Traction Alopecia: Caused by putting on a pulling force, usually by the kind of hairdos that require this pull, such as ponytail, braids and such.

Pattern hair loss – What is it and what causes it?

Pattern hair loss is believed to be due to a combination of genetics and hormones. In men, the hormone to blame is called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

No need to be old, unhealthy, no need to sniff toxic agents or go to chemotherapy, no need to have a ponytail or excessively itchy skin condition… even after all the health and youth – BAM, hair loss.

Pattern hair loss can affect anyone male, female or otherwise. However, it is rampant in males in contrast with other genders. While it is known how it works in men, the causes are yet to be understood in the case of women.

And so that makes even more room for us to focus this article, keeping it simple and tackling only the male perspective of this illness, but ladies do take notes nonetheless.

Let’s begin.

First you need to know the main two players, both called Androgens. Androgens are a group of hormones that play a role in developing male traits. We will talk about two types, one is called testosterone and the other one’s a tongue breaker – dihydrotestosterone.

  • Testosterone is a hormone which constructs how your male body should behave, think, response and be like. Testosterone makes you a man!
  • Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is made by an enzyme called 5α-reductase which uses testosterone to make it. One dihydrotestosterone is 5 times more potent than a testosterone and functions as the same.

Well, if you thought it was all easy so far, now comes the part where it’s gonna be a bit tricky.

There is a third thing to know here called follicles.

Now what are these little critters? A follicle is where hair grows from. All hair follicles have androgen receptors, as in, the androgens mentioned above bind to them.

Now the thing is that the follicles on your head are way too different from the follicles of your face and body.

You see the more DHT your face and body follicles bind with, the more you grow your beard, mustache, chest jungle, pubes and leg fly traps.

However, the same DHT that helps you become a man on your face and body, when reacts with the follicles of your head then they work the same way as pesticides do on a fertile ground. They make it barren over time.

Why does this happen? Well, the follicles on your head are sensitive to DHT. However, not everyone’s follicles are overly sensitive to DHT as it depends on an individual’s genes. It could be less or more sensitive, if it is more, then after a couple of years the DHT affected follicles start to die out and become barren. This process is called ‘Miniaturization’.

So if you’re followed carefully, you must have realized that to reduce or stop hair loss, we must block this DHT guy. The first treatment option in our list is going to do exactly that.

And with that we are done with the “What causes it” bit and ready for the “How to cure it” bit.

Phew…that WAS long, we know, but nonetheless necessary. If you’ve skipped it we highly recommend going back and reading it. And don’t worry, we’ve kept the jargon to a minimum.

1. Medication – The Big 3

This is the first line of treatment recommended by most doctors and for a very good reason as it is very effective. These are three kinds of medicines – Minoxidil, Finastride and Ketoconazole which are creatively given the name “The Big 3”.

1A. Finastride

Price: Approx Rs 60 for a strip of ten tablets.

We begin with Finastride first or also known as Propecia. Finastride is an 5α-reductase inhibitor, which means it works as an anti-androgenic agent which reduces the amount of Dihydrotestosterone by a whopping 70%! This in turn makes the hair loss problem halt, reduce or even fully regenerate in some cases.

1B. Minoxidil

Minoxidil

Minoxidil by Hairgrowthshampoos / CC BY-SA 4.0

Price: A 60 ml bottle costs about Rs 400 to 600.

Minoxidil or known in its other, more Final Fantasy like name Rogaine, is a topical solution which is applied directly on the affected spot on the head to promote hair growth.

It was originally used for ulcers but it was observed that it grows hair as a side effect. To this day nobody has any clear idea about how it does this. But experts believe that it widens the blood vessels around the area of its application which results in more nutrients, oxygen and blood to go to follicles and heal back.

1C. Ketoconazole

Price: A 60 ml bottle of Ketoconazole comes around at Rs 250 approx.

Ketoconazole or better known as Nizoral (who makes these names, have they hired some Dungeons & Dragons fanboy to do this?) Anyway, the third and the final of the big three is Ketoconazole, and although many find it not as helpful as the other two but it does give results when the problem demands hygiene as the answer, you see, Ketoconazole is used in fungal scalp infection. It reduces any inflammatory skin condition or fungal infection which in turn does result in hair loss prevention.

So, why is hair loss such a big deal when these 3 are around?

Well let’s look at the pros and cons of the big threes.

Pros:

  • Easily available anywhere, needs no expert handling and is a non-surgical way to fight such a giant evil.
  • If you don’t want or can’t afford an expensive hair transplant treatment, it’s the next best thing, which is, unlike snake oil and stuff, a doctor approved selection of choices.
  • All these 3 drugs have also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration of United States of God Bless America.

Cons:

  • Have you heard that saying – it gets darker before the dawn, yeah, like that you will lose even more hair before the meds kick in to do their job!
  • Remember Finastride, the first one of the big threes, the one you and us both thought was the punch to the almighty face of Mother Nature and her laws. Yeah that Finastride has some horrible side effects like erectile dysfunction, impotence and great reduction in libido. Youch. But, but there is a very rare chance for that to happen, so yay for most, we guess.
  • You are gonna need to be on these meds for the rest of your life or till the moment when you snag a good wife/husband in your life and a head full of hair has served its purpose.

2. Hair Transplant – The Nuclear Option

A hair transplant procedure is when a doctor takes the follicles from the hair-filled areas like the back or side of your head (the donor area) and puts them on the barren parts (the recipient area).

Price: Ho boy, this is difficult, but let’s do this. Well, usually the price isn’t that definite. It is usually based on how many follicles you want and where you are getting the treatment. It could be anywhere from Rs 20-30,000 to even 2,00,000. And if you wanna do it with swag (go where celebs go) it will be at the very least Rs 5,00,000. Yup.

There are two ways this can be done, first is Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and other is Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

2A. FUT or Follicular Unit Transplant

Ok red flags first. FUT is actually NOT a good idea. It’s pretty bad but you should know what it is, recognize it and avoid it.

What’s basically is done is that the medical professional takes out a small part of the skin from non-bald areas of your head under local anesthesia. The strip of skin is then dissected and tiny hair bearing tissues called grafts are extracted from it. These grafts can hold up to 1-5 individual hair follicles which are then inserted into the bald areas of your head.

The big drawback of this method is that it leaves deep permanent scars around the donor side and that is why most people opt for FUE.

2B. FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction

FUE is basically like FUT only sensible-er and expensive-er.

In FUE, medical professionals instead of ripping apart a chunk of your head, only take out the grafts using a specialized device. These grafts are then inserted into the bald parts of your head by making tiny incisions and placing them in there. And since no chunk of skin is being taken out it won’t leave any scars.

FUE is much more expensive and takes more time compared to the FUT method.

Now, remember, both FUT and FUE methods both take a toll on you. While you will suffer post-surgery stress, skin disorders and post-surgery discomforts in FUE too, they will be comparatively less straining and will take lesser time to recover from and will have lesser visible damage than FUT method. Below are some pros and cons of the Hair transplant process,

Pros:

  • When done correctly, the new hair shall be impervious to the DHT Miniaturization since the follicles are from the area where they are not susceptible to effects of DHT.
  • Also, when done correctly, the new hair shall mix in with your look naturally, you’ll just have to find that good direction and angle.

Cons:

  • Expensive, not everybody can afford it.
  • Even after the hair transplant you’ll have to take Finastride and Minoxidil to safeguard the hair from the non-transplanted part of your head.
  • Post-Surgery Stress and Discomfort will take weeks to recover from, you’ll also have to take lots of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers. You’ll also get a special cap to cover your head and shall be restricted to do basically anything that can cause perspiration.

A word of advice – Be very careful and stay away from cheaper options as a badly done procedure could even kill you. Yes, you heard it right, kill you. There are many instances of this happening with one as recent as in the month of March, 2019.

With two main ways of hair loss treatment out of the way now we are going to talk about three artificial ways of hair loss treatments. If all you want to do is hide your hair loss then these are for you.

3. Hair system: Hairpiece or Hair wigs

A hair system refers to methods wherein the baldness is covered using a hair piece or wig.

This is the most commonly available and most popular hair loss “treatment” method in India. This method is widely marketed as non-surgical and under bold slogans such as “hair fixing in 2 hours”. You’ll see such hoardings in every city in India.

There are two main ways you could do it – Hair Weaving and Hair Bonding.

Fun Fact: People first started wearing wigs because of Syphilis

During the 15th century syphilis had widely spread throughout Europe. The nasty STD among many other symptoms causes hair loss and rashes. So, to hide these symptoms and save themselves from public humiliation people started wearing elaborate hair wigs.

Here’s another one, the word ‘bigwig’ comes from English Royal Aristocracy. The idea was that that the bigger an authority figure the bigger his wig, the bigger the wig the more expensive it would be thus establishing the higher social status.

Ok back to the main thing you’re here for…

3A. Hair Bonding or Fixing

Hair bonding is where artificial hair is “bonded” or “fixed” to the bald parts of your head using a special glue.

The glue used is very powerful and stays on for a couple of weeks. But when it looses its strength the wig becomes shaky and you have to go back and get it “serviced”. Servicing involves removing the wig, cleaning it along with your scalp and reapplying the glue. Most systems need servicing at least once a month.

Price: Depending on the quality of wig and fame of the clinic, you may have to cough up anywhere from Rs 10,000 to Rs 75,000. Plus monthly maintenance can be from Rs 500 to Rs 2000.

Pros

  • They don’t joke with that ‘in 2 hours’ claim. You can actually walk out in 2 hours with a head full of hair.
  • It’s non-surgical.
  • The powerful glue stays on for weeks.
  • If you don’t like it you could just throw it away without any remnants unlike a surgery.
  • When the right kind of hair is chosen it blends really well and it will be really hard to notice.

Cons

  • Mentally stressful, since you may always be worrying if the hairdo looks awkward or noticeable.
  • If you have a sensitive skin the glue can lead to itchiness and other problems.
  • Requires monthly maintenance.

3A. Hair Weaving

It is similar to Hair Bonding but rather than gluing, artificial hair is woven into the existing hair using threads.

As the hair around the thread grows your wig becomes shaky and you need to get it serviced where they will be redo the same “weaving” process again.

Price: Slightly cheaper than Hair Bonding.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t take more than 2 to 3 hours to get a full head of hairdo.
  • No glue, so no itchiness due to reaction with sensitive skin.

Cons:

  • The growth of the normal hair underneath the wig can disrupt the headpiece’s setting.
  • Since the base hair is tightly woven with the artificial hair it could lead to Traction Alopecia!
  • Needs monthly maintenance.

4. Hair fibers (Spray on hair)

Nope, there’s no magic involved. It’s just tiny hair fibres attaching on to the available hair like a metal to magnet.

These hair fibres are precision cut, featherweight, tiny and they’ve gone through electro static energizing process that makes them cling to existing hair strands making them look thicker and fuller.

Price:

  1. 27gm can of Rebuild’s Hair Fibres costs Rs 699.
  2. 12gm can of Toppik Hair Building Fibre costs Rs 1777.

Pros

  • It’s quick. A solid temporary fix if you don’t want to be that bald uncle at a party.
  • Easy to apply and remove.
  • There are even cheaper spray cans on Amazon, you just gotta browse hard.

Cons

  • You can’t go out when it’s raining or windy as the black stuff spreads all over your face.
  • If you are a sweaty guy or gal, this is not for you.
  • No caps or helmets mate.

5. Scalp micropigmentation

This is just a fancy name for a head tattoo that gives an illusion of a buzz cut. However this isn’t like your average tattoo as it needs special equipment, ink, needles and a specialist.

Price: North of Rs 25,000 at a reputable place but the places are hard to find.

Pros

  • Non-surgical and easy to get done.

Cons

  • This is not widely available and good ones are a very few.
  • The front hairline is always tricky for each individual and may go awry.
  • It is not easy to remove if you are not happy with it as tattoo removal is expensive and painful.

In the case of the next three methods good evidence is lacking but there are many people who claim it works so we’ve have them listed. Try them at your own risk.

6. Dermarolling or Collagen induction therapy

Dermaroller

Dermaroller

It is basically a roller with very tiny needles that prick your skin when it is rolled on. The process of pricking the skin this way is called Dermarolling.

The idea behind this is that it will make the immune system of ours heal these micro wounds and that would in turn result in huge cell turnover, increase in collagen and elastin production. Better absorption of the nutrients as well.

This method was usually used in spas, on faces to remove stretch marks, scars, acne and even for anti-aging effects. It is now claimed that it will also promote hair re-growth by activating the body’s natural healing process by awakening dormant follicles to do their job at double the speed. Apparently.

Price: Rs 200 and upwards.

7. PRP Therapy – Platelet-Rich Plasma

This is going to sound like sci-fi scientific but it’s not. A small machine takes your blood, then spins it so fast it filters into many different densities of liquids. One of them is Platelet Rich Plasma.

That thing is then injected inside where the bald areas are.

The idea is that PRP will regulate larger amount of blood supply, increases thickness of hair shafts and promotes regeneration of follicles.

Price: North of Rs 3000 and needs to be done every three months.

8. Others – Shampoos, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Oils

Various Shampoos

The reason we’ve grouped Shampoo, Ayurveda, Homeopathy and special oils into one heading instead of giving them each of their own is because they DO NOT work in the case of Male Pattern Baldness (MPB).

Then why even mention them you ask?

Because many people swear by these products both online and offline. And we wanted to make a few things clear.

If you remember, we told you at the very beginning that MPB is caused by DHT and the only way to stop/reverse its effects is to block DHT. Most prominent doctors and scientists agree these products do nothing to DHT.

Why then such success stories? Two reasons.

  • These people never had pattern baldness but maybe psoriasis or extreme dandruff or something else which was treated by the above methods.
  • Some ingredients in these products may promote growth in the remaining hair which might slightly cover up the bald areas.

Fun Fact: India introduced the practise of Shampooing to the world.

Shampooing was practiced in India since ancient times using a variety of herbs and their extracts. The word ‘shampoo’ comes from a Hindi word ‘chāmpo’ which in turn comes from a Sanskrit word chapati which means ‘to knead’.

A traveler and entrepreneur named Sake Dean Mahomed is credited with spreading the practice of shampooing in England when he opened the first commercial shampooing vapour aroma masseur bath in 1814. Not just that he also initiated the goodness of Indian cuisine when he opened The Hindoostane Coffee House on George Street, on Portman Square in Central London in 1810.

Conclusion

We really hope that what we presented here was worthy of our article title’s claim.

We wanted to let you be completely informed about hair loss causes and treatments in India and we’ve worked hard on it to make it as accurate and helpful as possible.

However if we missed something, or you have something that can improve this piece even more please do let us know.

Thank you and good luck.

Categories: Lifestyle
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