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Men and Hair Loss: What Are the Options?

From rugs to transplants to laser combs, the bald truth about hair loss products

Laser combs: The Star Trek solution

For those concerned that the existing treatments lack a certain sci-fi quality, behold the Laser Comb. The Laser Comb recently became only the third hair loss treatment to receive FDA approval. And it is the first that doesn’t use drugs or surgery. By stimulating follicles with a low-level laser, the hand-held device was shown in test trials to increase hair volume in a majority of patients.

The 545 dollar product is a source of great optimism among some -- and some wariness among others. "We've definitely seen some benefit, probably on the order of minoxidil," Bernstein says. "But the study was only six months long. And there's suspicion among many of us about the long-term effectiveness. The process doesn't affect DHT."

Future hope

Even more fantastical than a laser-emitting comb is that longed for promise of a total cure to baldness - hair cloning. By culturing and successfully implanting new hair cells, scientists might be able to grow follicles where once there were none. But don't be fooled by Dolly. Making hair isn't the same as making sheep.

"We've been saying it's 10 years off for many years now. I still say it's 10 years off," Bernstein says. "There are some major scientific barriers to overcome. Then there are the trials to go through, the approval, the cost constraints. But I definitely think it will happen -- someday."

Cotserelis speaks even more guardedly: "Will it be a total cure for baldness? I'd say the future will hold many more treatment options. But there won't be one solution for everyone. You'll still have to use multiple approaches, like you do now."

Get over it

Just letting go is possibly the most challenging of the available options. It’s also the cheapest and ultimately the most effective in the struggle with hair loss. Given the imperfections of surgical, medical, and technological options, there are many who advocate simple acceptance. (BaldRUs.com is one of several sites devoted to embracing the scalp's natural fate.) What's more, the health benefits of happier mirror time -- and fewer years of harmful anxiety -- just might offset the loss of those Samson-like powers.

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Reviewed on March 24, 2008

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