September 5, 2021

Alternatives to Hair Transplants in the UK

One of the most popular ways to fix your hair loss is through a hair transplant. However, hair transplants are expensive, making them non-ideal for most individuals. Besides being expensive, there are lots of cons associated with hair transplants such as causing scars, itching, and many other which makes it not the best option out there. So, in this post, we have decided to gather some 7 alternatives to hair transplants.

So, without wasting much time, we will take a look at some of the alternatives out there.

1.Minoxidil

One of the most common non-surgical alternatives to hair transplants is minoxidil. Minoxidil has been available since the late 19, and it was created as a treatment for high blood pressure. Even though it was effective, doctors noticed that some of their patients regrew their hair while under treatment.

Minoxidil has been recommended by the FDA as a solution to hair loss for baldness in men since 1988. However, in 1992, the FDA also approved it for the treatment of pattern hair loss in females. It is important to note that only 2% of topical minoxidil is recommended for hair loss recovery, using any dosage that can cause severe illnesses such as stroke, chest pains, or fainting.

How Minoxidil Works:

Minoxidil helps hair grow in two ways:

The first-way minoxidil causes hair growth is to change the hair cycle by inducing the anagen phase. It induces the anagen in two ways:

  • The first way is to cause hair follicles to move from the anagen phase to the telogen phase.
  • And the second way is to prolong the anagen phase to cause the hair to grow.

In addition, minoxidil causes hair growth is to increase blood flow to your scalp. This process causes the scalp to be nourished with the necessary nutrients needed to stimulate growth. It increases blood flow by dilating the blood vessel by making them wider, causing more blood to flow through to the scalp.

Generally, minoxidil has a vasodilator effect which causes it to induce hair growth. This is because it causes new blood vessels to form during the anagen phases, which increases blood flow and induces hair growth.

The second way minoxidil causes your hair to grow is by simulation of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Studies have proven that Minoxidil stimulated the increase of VEGF in the body which caused an increase in the growth of the human dermal papilla cells. The human dermal papilla cell is responsible for hair growth and hair formation. The VEGF hormone is also responsible for cell survival and multiplication.

Would Minoxidil Work For Me?

As effective as minoxidil is, a clinical study proved that minoxidil only worked for 60% of people who have a hereditary form of hair loss. This means minoxidil gives results to 3 out of 5 men who take it. Out of the three, only two are expected to see increased hair growth while the other is expected to have moderate hair growth.

Minoxidil has been proven to be more effective on people under the age of 40, and it isn't recommended to individuals under the age of 18. Also, it isn't recommended for people with cardiovascular disease.

Finally, minoxidil doesn't work for people who have a receding hairline or front scalp baldness.

Side Effects:

There are three types of side effects with minoxidil. These are common, less common, and rare.

The common side effects people experience when using minoxidil include frizziness and hair dryness. This is experienced due to the alcohol solution contained in minoxidil. When applied to the scalp, minoxidil causes the hair to flake which is why we recommend you use a conditioner on your hair before applying minoxidil. This dryness and frizziness can lead to your scalp being itchy and sometimes redness of the scalp from excessive scratching.

If you are about to use minoxidil for the first time, you should expect to shed some hair in the first week or two. This is because minoxidil shortens the resting phase, which forces all hair to fall off for new hair follicles to be formed.

For less common side effects, might be an allergic reaction to minoxidil, which is why we recommend you visit your dermatologist before using minoxidil. Some allergic reaction includes swelling of the forehead, oozing of the heard, and in severe cases swelling of the face.

In rare cases, you might experience some dizziness or an increase in your heartbeat rate. With cases like this, be sure to contact your doctor.

2.Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP was used as a remedy for hair loss in 2006, and ever since then, it has been one of the most recommended ways to prevent hair loss, and induce hair growth.

PRP harnesses the power of your growth factors to develop a solution specific to your needs. With this method, dormant follicles are rejuvenated to produce new hair follicles.

So, How Does It Work?

PRP involves a specialist drawing your blood, and then spinning the blood in a centrifuge. The spinning action causes the blood to separate into three components, which are the plasma, buffy coat, and erythrocytes. The platelets are extracted together with the plasma and then injected into the scalp to cause the hair to regrow.

The concentrated platelets and rich plasma contain a variety of growth factors. So, when it is injected back into your body, these growth hormones rejuvenate all dormant cells and then increase the growth factors in the scalp to stimulate hair growth and thicken hair.

Some of the growth factors found in PRP include:

  • Epithermal Growth Factor: This growth factor is responsible for angiogenesis, and growth of the epithelial cell.
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor: This growth factor is responsible for collagen production, and cell growth.
  • The Insulin-like Growth Factor: This growth factor activates the osteocytes and protects the cartilage cells.
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor: This is responsible for the new generation and growth of the vascular endothelial cells.
  • Transforming Growth Factor: This is responsible for inducing cell apoptosis.
  • Platelet Driven Growth Factor: This growth factor is responsible for cell growth, repair of blood vessels, and collagen production.

This procedure is non-surgical and minimally invasive, which enhances the healing and growth of hair on the scalp by introducing these growth or bioactive factors. This procedure activates your hair follicles and causes them to stimulate growth.

The whole procedure is simple and fast, and once you have your scalp injected, you can go about your day without any side effects. For maximum results to show, most people will have to undergo the procedure two to three times done within a 4-week interval for the best results to be visible.

Would PRP Work For Me?

Before you undergo the PRP procedure, the dermatologist will have to review your medical history and perform a physical exam to determine if PRP is optimal for you. However, studies show that PRP is most effective for male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) and alopecia areata. However, a 2017 study showed that 30 to 40% of patients that underwent a PRP treatment (both male and female) had regrown the hair they lost.

The downside about PRP is that the results aren't permanent, and the patient will have to go for an injection at least once a year. Which means the price can add up over the years. Also, it might be quite an expensive procedure because you might have to redo the procedure 3 to 4 times before results are visible, and also a retouch is required every year.

Another downside to altering PRP is that it isn't effective for every hair loss.

Side Effect Of PRP:

There are no side effects with PRP, this is because it involves extracting and injecting natural body substances back into the body. This means there is no adverse reaction from your body. However, because there is a needle procedure involved (the injection), there is a chance of infection or bleeding from the needle; however, it is less likely to occur.

3.Finasteride

Finasteride is an oral medication for hair loss. It was first invented in 1992 to treat prostate hyperplasia; prostate enlargement. However, in 1997, it got approved by the FDA to be used to treat male pattern hair loss. The FDA recommends that 1 mg tablet should be used to treat hair loss.

How Does Finasteride Work?

How finasteride works are that it suppresses the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. This enzyme helps with the catalysis of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT is a protein that causes that hair follicles to thin out and causes our hair to die. However, finasteride prevents the enzyme from producing DHT, this prevents any follicle shrinkage.

Would Finasteride Work For Me?

Yes, however, it only works if taken consistently. A study showed that 85% of people who took this medication halted their hair loss from becoming worse, while 65% show their hair grow and thicken.

Finasteride has also been proven to be more effective than minoxidil; however, it might take up to a year for you to see maximum results.

Side Effects Of Finasteride:

One common effect of using finasteride and minoxidil containing finasteride is the fact that most people experience sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction and low libido. This is because finasteride suppresses the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, which prevents any testosterone conversion in men. DHT is more potent than testosterone, so when there are low levels of DHT in the blood, your sexual function gets affected.

However, these conditions are reversible, so we recommend you discuss them with your dermatologist before taking the medication. It is important to note that finasteride doesn't affect the concentration of testosterone in the blood. It only prevents the enzyme from converting testosterone to DHT.

4.Laser Light Therapy

Light therapy is a clinically approved hair loss remedy effective for treating baldness, hair loss, and thinning hair.

How Does It Work?

Laser light therapy involves placing a lightweight helmet or cap on your head which throws photons to the scalp of the patient to induce hair growth.

The operation of laser light therapy is simple, it uses the power of photons to improve circulation in the scalp to bring more blood supply to the follicles. The blood flow causes the follicles to be nourished which induces growth.

Studies have shown that poor mitochondria structure can be a cause of hair loss. So, what happens is that when the low lights are absorbed in your scalp, the structure of mitochondria found in the cells in the scalp is improved together with improved ATP synthesis. These two structures are known to regulate the growth of hair and skin ageing. So, when their structures are improved then the hair follicles become stronger which in turn gives you thicker hair.

Would LLT Work For Me?

Well, a study done showed that 85% of people who used LLT were able to halt hair loss, while 55% of people saw their hair regrow. LLT isn't a good option if you have bald. It only rejuvenates follicles that exist. So, if you do not have hair growing, then LLT will not work for you.

You can expect to see results within 12 to 24 weeks while using LLT.

Side Effects Of LLT:

In the beginning stages of LLT, candidates might experience shedding of hair. This is due to an increase in the exogen phase. Another side effect experienced is mild scalp pruritus.

5.Hair Fibers

Hair fibre is quick to get your hair to look thick within a couple of minutes. This process involves spraying hair fibres made from keratin or cotton to match your natural hair to eliminate any signs of hair loss. With the help of static electricity, the fibres get drawn to your thinning hair to make them look dense or thick. This force bonds the fibres to the hair, which can keep them attached for a while.

This option is great for people that have slightly thin hair or just looking for a temporal hair thickening option while waiting to try any of the options on this list.

Hair fibres are great for all hair loss conditions, and it fits all hair types. However, they get faded very quickly, and you would be required to apply them in a two-day interval.

The side effect of using hair fibre is that low-quality fibres can cause clogged pores and irritation to the hair. So, you want to ensure that the brand you purchase is reputable and highly rated.

6.Scalp Micropigmentation: Our Recommendation

Scalp micro-pigmentation is what we highly recommend for hair loss. Scalp micro-pigmentation involves creating tiny hair follicles by using a needle to depositing pigments on the scalp, to give you a clean buzz cut.

How Does Scalp Micropigmentation Cause Hair Regrowth?

Scalp pigmentation is simple. What happens is that it causes your hair to look thicker for a while. But also, the needle penetrating your scalp causes the dermal area to open up which stimulates the growth of hair follicles.

Simply put, a scalp micro-pigmentation is a dot-like tattoo designed on the scalp to give you an illusion of real hair growth or thickness.

Would Scalp Micropigmentation Work For Me?

Scalp micro-pigmentation works perfectly for certain situations such as thinning hair, alopecia, cancer, and male and female pattern baldness. So, if you have any of these conditions, and you are looking to have your hair look

If you have lost a lot of hair, and you want to have a shaved look, scalp micro-pigmentation will be the right choice for you. However, if you have noticed a little bit of hair loss, SMP can give your hair an increase in density to camouflage the area a bit better. If you have lost a reasonable amount of hair, then SMP might not be a great option for you.

With SMP, you either need no hair or a significant amount of hair to make it look natural. SMP might not be a good option for you if you have sparse hair because the dots drawn on your scalp wouldn't have a natural look.

Why We Recommend SMP:

The first reason why we recommend SMP is that is compatible with all hairstyles and skin colours. It is a universal tool used for all hair-loss types. As stated earlier, it can be used for scarring, alopecia, diffused thinning, and density treatment.

Another reason why we recommend scalp pigmentation is that it is fast. Unlike other hair loss treatments, the results of scar pigmentation are instant. You do not have to wait days or months to see any results. Also, there is little or no maintenance needed. SMPs aren't permanent; however, one treatment can last up to 6 years.

With scalp micro-pigmentation, you are guaranteed 100% results. This is something that other hair restoration options do not give, and even if they do, it isn't guaranteed for everyone. However, SMP is for everyone and everyone is guaranteed to give you the confidence you need. However, treatment options hair transplant, minoxidil, and many others do not work for everyone.

If you have any skin condition such as scalp acne, then getting SMP wouldn't be recommended, due to the high possibility of skin breaking out. Nevertheless, unlike other hair treatment methods, SMP is great for patients with all hair loss issues. Most commonly for people with receding hairlines, SMP works greats and brings your hairline back to its place.

Compared to other solutions such as hair fibres, SMP doesn't restrict the activities you can engage in. With your SMP done, you can get in the pool, walk in the rain, or engage in any vigorous activity without having to worry about your hair falling off or fading. You SMP will for years, and the great news is, you do not have to do any yearly touch-ups until it lightens.

Scalp micro pigmentation is way cheaper than hair transplant. A typical hair transplant can cost up to from £3000 to £10,000, which can be a heavy hit to most people's wallets. On the other hand, SMP can cost anywhere from £300 to £2500, and with SMP, there is no maintenance cost until your hair fades out.

With a hair transplant, because hair is removed from one area of the head to fill out another area of the head, the patient gets left with a scar. You either get the stip scars or the little white circle scars from FUE, which leaves an ugly mark at the back of your head.

Also, for hair transplants, it takes usually 6 months for you to recover. However, with SMP, it is non-invasive, which means you do not undergo surgery, hence, no need to wait months or weeks to recover.

Why SMP Might Not Be A Good Choice For You:

SMP might not be recommended for people who are looking to regrow their hair. Even though it might happen in certain cases, it is rare. The goal of SMP is to increase your hair density. So, if you are looking to regrow your hair, you might want to try any of the options recommended above.

Looking To Give SMP A Try?

SMP Liverpool provides outstanding results for those suffering from male and female pattern hair loss, in addition to alopecia and scarring.

Founded by head technician Craig Molyneux, SMP Liverpool is the perfect choice for your SMP procedure. He accumulated a wealth of experience and expertise through his 10 years working in Liverpool's best barber's, in addition to training with leading practitioners in the SMP industry. Each client is treated with care and respect, with every procedure tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

Give us a call or send us an email to book a session with us, and we will be glad to have you.

This sums it up for our list of alternatives to hair transplants. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and we would gladly answer them. Also, we highly recommend you visit a dermatologist before trying any of the options above. If you are looking to speak to a dermatologist, then do not hesitate to give us a call or email.

Article written by CraigSMPLiverpool
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