Alopecia. Definitely not a sexy word. The medical definition of alopecia is uncharacteristically simple and understandable: “the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows; baldness”. While most of us would be quite happy to see alopecia taking effect on certain areas of our body, the one area where we definitely don’t want to see it is on our scalp. If you’re reading this article, we can probably assume that you or someone you know is losing their hair. Male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness (yes, there is such a thing) and alopecia areata can all cause us considerable distress over our appearance. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available. One of the most promising to come along in recent years is Formula 82M.
Can it Be Used on Women Too?
There are a number of effective treatments that can reverse hair loss in both men and women. We offer PRP therapy here at MagnifaSkin, which is effective for both men and women. While PRP hair restoration is relatively new, two other treatments have been around for some time. Unfortunately for women, these treatments, minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride, which must be prescribed by your doctor, are only for men. Formula 82M, however, can be used safely on women as well.
What Causes Alopecia?
Losing hair is normal. In fact, both men and women typically lose about 100 hairs per day. We don’t notice this when we’re younger because our body is replacing them at the same rate. Certain conditions can cause hair loss at any age, and most of us will experience alopecia to some degree as we age. Causes include stress, pregnancy, and over-styling, as well as some medications and medical conditions. However, most hair loss is hereditary. If you’re a man and your father went bald, chances are you will too. And it’s extremely common. Past age 50, you have a greater than 50% chance of developing male pattern baldness. 95% of hair loss in men is due to male pattern baldness.
Similarly, if you’re a woman and your mother experienced female pattern baldness (most noticeable in the early stages as a widening of the part), you will likely develop the same condition. Roughly 50% of women over 50 will experience a thinning of their hair that gradually worsens as they age. To make matters worse, some women will develop male pattern baldness.
Male Pattern Baldness: What Causes It?
The answer has a lot to do with what makes you a man in the first place, biologically anyway. Men have more androgens than women. Androgens are hormones like DHT and testosterone that are responsible for typical male traits such as a deeper voice, more body hair and higher muscle mass. You’ve almost certainly heard of testosterone, but what’s DHT? DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone. Think of DHT as super-testosterone. It’s much more potent than testosterone. It attaches to the same chemoreceptors but more easily and once there it stays bound longer. An enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) converts testosterone into DHT. Normally, about 10% of total testosterone is converted.
DHT is Cruel
DHT causes the hair on a man’s body to grow but inhibits hair growth on his head. Without going into a very long and involved explanation, over time DHT causes scalp hair follicles to shrink and the growth phase of individual hair follicles (the Anagen phase) to shorten. Around the age of 50, this manifests as a noticeable thinning of the hair. Of course, some men may experience this at a younger or older age. The effect of DHT on body hair is the reason why older men start developing noticeable hair growth in some very undesirable places, such as ears, nose, and eyebrows while at the same time they are losing hair on their head. Cruel, isn’t it?
In time, growth from the affected follicles stops entirely, and baldness and thinning hair result. The good news is that the follicles aren’t dead, just dormant.
Female Pattern Baldness
Bad news, ladies. Science hasn’t yet figured out why this happens. Some women develop male pattern baldness and the theory is that they have higher than normal levels of testosterone. See the previous section on male pattern baldness to understand what’s going on in this case. Others of us simply experience a thinning of our hair as we age. Left unchecked, this can progress to the point where we can end up almost as bald as some men. Yikes!
Fortunately, Formula 82M can treat both female pattern baldness and male pattern baldness in women. As with baldness in men, though, the follicles aren’t dead, just dormant.
How Minoxidil Works
Minoxidil has an interesting history. Like many drugs it was being researched for something completely different. Discovered in the 1950s by the Upjohn Company (which was later renamed Pfizer), the drug that would become minoxidil was originally being tested as a treatment for ulcers. It didn’t cure ulcers, but the researchers noticed that it was a powerful vasodilator. This means it increased blood flow to the treated area.
It took over 200 variations of the compound before they found one that increased blood flow with minimal side effects, and named it minoxidil. But it still wasn’t being used for hair. In 1979 Pfizer received FDA approval to release the drug in pill form for the treatment of high blood pressure. Minoxidil increases blood flow by relaxing the blood vessel walls, and this relaxation, in turn, lowered blood pressure. In the process of studying the drug in this context, one researcher noticed unexpected hair growth, and through a series of events, minoxidil came to be used as we know it today. Released by Pfizer under the brand name Rogaine, it effectively restores hair growth in almost 50% of men.
Unfortunately, it can’t be used on women, but Formula 82M can! In addition, Formula 82M is more effective in both sexes than minoxidil.
Why Is Formula 82M Better?
First, for the obvious fact that it can treat both genders, but in addition, there’s a lower risk of side effects. Minoxidil use can result in burning or irritation of the eyes, itching, redness, and irritation of the treated area as well as unwanted hair growth on other areas of the body. In rare cases it may make hair loss worse, and a very few people have severe allergic reactions that may include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, tachycardia, headache, sudden and unexplained weight gain, or swelling of the hands and feet. Whew! That’s quite a list.
Formula 82M contains the same concentration of minoxidil as Rogaine, but also the topical steroid flucinolone, oleanic acid, a natural 5-alpha reductase blocking agent, and a number of other proprietary ingredients. The 5-alpha reductase blocker prevents the action that converts testosterone to the DHT that causes the follicles to go dormant in the first place. The topical steroid prevents many of the side effects on the skin itself, and the other ingredients reduce the risk of the remaining side effects.
In addition, Formula 82M is non-greasy. Many users of minoxidil complain that the greasiness interferes with styling their hair. You’re the only one who will know you’re using 82M!
But it Gets Better!
Formula 82M becomes much more effective for many patients when combined with the topical application of tretinoin, which we also can provide. While nobody is sure exactly why combining 82M with tretinoin makes it more effective, it is thought that tretinoin stimulates protein synthesis (hair is made of protein) and it speeds cell turnover which would have the effect of speeding up the hair phases, which would in turn speed the process of hair restoration by 82M. These two treatments together have the potential for substantial hair restoration. In some cases, even complete reversal of hair loss.
Unfortunately, minoxidil and thus Formula 82M have not been proven effective for treating Alopecia Areata, however PRP Hair Restoration can effectively treat this condition. Please visit our PRP Hair Restoration page for more information.
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