While the beginning of hair loss is common among men at the top end of the Millennial age bracket — mid-30s — some reports indicate that more millennial males are losing hair at younger ages. At the same time, ways to counter male pattern baldness and stress-related hair loss are creating an upsurge in hair restoration services, with a high percentage of males in their 20s and early 30s undergoing such surgeries.
“The effects of hair loss can be devastating,” says Dr. Chris Varona, a hair restoration specialist and the owner of Varona Hair Restoration in Newport Beach, CA. “Losing your hair can have a severe impact on your self-image, affecting your confidence and damaging your relationships. However, thanks to advances in modern technology, you don’t have to accept a receding hairline. Millennials like wearing their hair shorter or experimenting with different hairstyles, but they’re also discovering that all is not lost when they start losing their hair — in fact, quite the contrary.”
Dr. Varona explains ways that millennials can retain or restore their hair:
Hair loss prevention. “It’s important to stress the importance of prevention with medications like Finasteride, Minoxidil, or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy to keep as much of their native hair for as long as possible,” Dr. Varona says. “You then plan the surgery in a way to anticipate what it might look like if the patient does lose more native hair as he gets older. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Though hair transplant surgeries like FUE or FUT can create a new hairline from scratch, you don’t have to wait until you’re bald before you take action.”
FUT transplant. In a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT), the surgeon removes a strip of hair from the back of the scalp. “Individual grafts are separated from the strip using a stereomicroscope,” Dr. Varona says. “This technique is great for men or women that know they will never wear their hair shorter than a 3 on the clippers in the donor area. Scarring is minimal and conveniently hidden beneath hair growth.”
FUE transplant. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), which is a newer method than FUT, involves surgeons removing clusters of hair from the scalp and transplanting them elsewhere. These clusters are much smaller than the “hair plugs” of yesteryear due to innovations in micrografting. No linear incisions are made. “Instead,” Dr. Varona says, “the surgeon administers a local anesthetic before using an instrument to make punches around the follicles they want to remove. The doctor reimplants these follicles into holes wherever you want more hair growth. Millennials often like the idea of doing a FUE because they don’t have a linear scar in the donor area to worry about. While the procedure is not completely scarless, the pinpoint scars that can be achieved using certain tools can be imperceptible.” “Arming patients with information is critical so they can make an informed decision,” Dr. Varona says. “Doing a minimally invasive surgery without noticeable scarring on a young, informed patient is perfectly reasonable. Whichever path they take, I’ve seen the positive impact that a full head of hair can have on a patient’s psychological well-being — especially when they’re younger and the image they want to project is so important.”