Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Is James Franco Showing Signs of Recession?


James Franco's weird, bloody Halloween photo with Megan Fox is raising a few eyebrows, but what's most interesting to me is the 36-year old's hairline.

Franco recently shaved his head for his role in Zeroville, laying bare his hairline which appears to show some signs of recession, particularly at the temporal points. It's common for men to lose hair in their 30s, so hopefully Franco's team will get him started on preventive treatments soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The All-Star Cast of 'Fury' is Fighting More Than Nazis

The World War II action film 'Fury' premieres this Friday, but its all-star male cast is fighting more than Nazis - they also appear to be winning the fight against hair loss! Stars Brad Pitt (50), Michael Pena (38) and Jon Bernthal (38) all have relatively strong, healthy hairlines given their respective ages, which leaves us to wonder, have they been using proactive treatments? 

Pitt, in particular, has a remarkably thick, full hairline for a man his age.

Photo by PR Photos

At 38, both Pena and Bernthal also show strong hairlines (photos by PR Photos):

Ironically, of the film's leading men, the one whose hairline draws the most concern is 28-year old Shia LaBoeuf. With expanding temporal point recession and weakness in the center of his hairline, he might be at risk for more rapid thinning down the line. This is better illustrated in Georges Biard's photo here.

Photo by PR Photos

The risk of male-pattern hair loss increases proportional to age, but so far these Hollywood stars are winning the battle.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Calum Best Undergoing Third Hair Transplant

Photo by PR Photos

A new report by the Daily Mail newspaper in London, claims that British actor and model Calum Best, 33, plans to undergo his third hair transplant next month. Read the article here.

It's a bit unusual to see celebrities openly talking about their hair loss treatments, so kudos to Calum for opening up about his own struggle with hair loss and raising awareness for others. Calum began losing his hair in his twenties, which is actually more common than people think. 

However, there were a few comments made in this article that I feel need to be addressed:

  • "He believes he damaged his hair follicles by pulling it back in a tight ponytail." While it's true that some people can experience a type of hair loss called 'traction alopecia' from wearing tight ponytails, braids or weaves, that's not going to cause a sudden onset of male pattern hair loss. It will cause recession in those follicles directly impacted by the excess weight, pulling, etc., but not elsewhere throughout the scalp. In Calum's case, it's more likely that he was genetically predisposed to male pattern hair loss.
  • "He also thinks he hastened his hair loss by over-bleaching." Harsh chemical treatments like bleaching will only cause permanent hair loss if the follicles are damaged, such as by chemical burns. Damage to the hair strand itself but not the follicle will cause hair fallout, a temporary condition, not permanent hair loss.
  • "He refused to take the clinically proven drug Propecia, which would have halted his hair loss, because it affects the sex drive of 2 percent of patients." I know some patients are concerned about the sexual side-effect risks of finasteride (brand name Propecia). However, the documented medical evidence shows this to occur in only a small percentage of cases and should not be viewed as a general risk. But for those who are concerned about taking it, there are options. Specially compounded minoxidil solutions like Formula 82M, low level laser therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy should all be considered. It's important to understand how a hair transplant works. Once the hair is transplanted from the back of the head, that newly implanted hair will never fall out of your scalp. However, the other follicles in your scalp, the ones that weren't transplanted, will remain androgen sensitive and will be at risk of falling out. Unless you treat those androgen-sensitive follicles, you could continue losing hair around the transplanted hair, creating a weird 'patchy' look that is not at all desirable.


Monday, September 29, 2014

The LeBron James Hair Mystery - Solved

Photo by PR Photos

Only a couple of weeks ago, the media was speculating about LeBron James' miraculously full hairline in his Sports Illustrated cover. Now that hairline is dwindling before our very eyes, and many are wondering, what the heck happened?

Last summer, I wrote about a suspicious scar at the back of LeBron's head during Game 6. This looked very similar to the long linear scar line that occurs after a strip-harvest hair transplant surgery (this scar is caused by the surgeon having to remove a strip of scalp, i.e., the 'donor area,' in order to supply the follicles for transplantation - and that's why I always encourage patients to seek out the more modern NeoGraft FUE instead). At the time, this seemed to suggest that LeBron had undergone an old-fashioned strip-harvest surgery; after all, his hairline was looking much fuller than it had for some time. However, now that the frontal hair line is thinning again, it's clear that he did not undergo hair transplantation - at least not at the front of his scalp. Transplanted hair is permanent - it doesn't fall out because of male pattern hair loss.

So what is happening with LeBron's on again, off again hair?

Unless the images are being photoshopped, which I don't think they are in every case, the most likely explanation is that LeBron has been using a camouflage powder (like Toppik) to make his hairline appear fuller. It's also possible that he's been using topical minoxidil (either over-the-counter or a compounded prescription version like Formula 82M) and simply stopped using it - although it generally takes about six weeks before we see hair fallout from discontinuing treatment. 

For those who wonder if his hair transplant is "wearing off" or failing him, sorry, but that's just not how it works. 

Mystery solved.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bald and Beautiful - Kudos to Joan Lunden

Photo by PR Photos

Joan Lunden has gone bald for the cover of People magazine! 

The former co-host of Good Morning America recently announced she is battling breast cancer and has begun to experience hair loss as she undergoes treatment. This is an incredibly brave and compassionate act, and it should be commended. According to her interview on ABC, Ms. Lunden decided to be photographed without her wig for the cover in order to "help others." 

I've treated a number of cancer survivors pro bono over the years, and therefore Ms. Lunden's actions are especially touching. My heart goes out to anyone who is battling cancer and coping with the often challenging side effects of treatment. Unfortunately, in some cases the hair does not fully grow back after chemotherapy - or at least not to the same quality that it was originally. This is particularly true for older patients. But there is hope. Patients can utilize certain treatments, like low level laser therapy, to improve the quality, fullness and appearance of the hair. And many doctors have also begun using "Cold Cap Therapy," a new treatment that may help cancer patients protect their hair while undergoing chemotherapy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bruce Jenner's Hair

Photo by PR Photos has a great retrospective of Bruce Jenner's changing hair-do over the years, which is worth checking out for anyone who follows the Kardashians. But what struck me is the former Olympic champion's current hair status. 

At 64 years old, his hair is in relatively good shape. Admittedly, there have been rumors of hair transplants in the past; however, if that's true, the surgeon could probably have done a better job as the part line still has a fair amount of recession.

Jenner has faced a lot of speculation recently over whether or not he's undergoing gender reassignment treatments - and some media outlets have pointed to his long hair as evidence that he is trying to feminize his looks. I don't know about that, and perhaps it's time to cut the guy a little slack. However, if he is trying to grow his hair longer in order to create a more youthful look, he could be using nutritional supplements like Viviscal to help give it a boost, as well as low level laser therapy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why I'm a Fan of Demi Lovato's New Hair Extensions

Photo by PR Photos

Demi Lovato, the 22-year old singer and actress, is almost as well known for her constantly changing hair styles as she is her amazing vocals. Now, she's going one step further by announcing a new line of hair extensions called Secret Color.

Anyone who's read this blog or my media interviews knows that I'm highly critical of hair extensions. In many cases, extensions aren't applied properly or are used too often and the artificial weight upon the hair can strain the underlying follicles, resulting in a permanent type of hair loss known as 'traction alopecia.' Over the years, a number of celebrities have been spotted with bald spots and hairline recession as a result of extensions - one of the most well-known examples is Naomi Campbell.

However, Secret Color is different from traditional hair extensions - it isn't clipped or glued onto the hair, instead it is attached by a simple headband which doesn't put pressure on the hair strands or the underlying follicles. This unique design, which is patent-pending, makes it possible for women to wear these extensions without the risks of causing long-term damage to their hair.

So, while I'm not a fan of traditional hair extensions, I do support Ms. Lovato's safer, healthier design.