Dr. Ben Behnam was recently invited to participate in the inspirational podcast Rejuvenaging, hosted by Dr. Ron Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser is a psychologist, keynote and TEDx speaker, and author of the triple award-winning book Rejuvenating the Art and Science of Getting Older with Enthusiasm. He likes to think of his podcast as a mental gym, a place for information about wellness, positive psychology, and, what he likes to call, goal-achieving psychology. During the podcast, Dr. Ben and Dr. Kaiser discussed healthy ways to cope with hair loss, from both a physical and psychological perspective. If you didn’t get a chance to tune in, here are some highlights that you won’t want to miss.
The First Step in Coping with Hair Loss is Realizing that You’re Not Alone
Whether you’re male or female, if you’re in life’s second half-century, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re experiencing some type of hair loss. According to American Hair Loss Association, 85 percent of men and 50 percent of women lose a significant amount of hair by the age of 50. So when you look at the numbers, you’ll find that most people are experiencing some sort of hair loss by age 50.
Dr. Ben defines hair loss in two ways: thinning and balding. When someone’s hair is thinning, you can see their scalp through the remaining hair. When people are balding, hair is completely missing, and you can see their heads.
Female Hair Loss No Longer Carries a Stigma
A couple of years ago, no one talked much about female hair loss. It was taboo. But now, over 50 percent of Dr. Ben’s patients are women with hair loss issues. Hair loss is becoming much more accepted in society. When women talk about their hair loss, it’s good because putting the conversation out there benefits both men and women.
It’s Important to Identify the Underlying Reason for Your Hair Loss
There are different reasons why people lose their hair. Three common reasons include nutritional deficiencies, anxiety, and genetics. Treating hair loss means understanding the cause.
Common nutritional deficiencies Dr. Ben often finds in his patients are low Vitamin D, iron, and biotin. Those vitamins are necessary for hair growth. Vegetarians who don’t get enough protein in their diets also tend to experience issues with hair loss. When Dr. Ben finds that patients are lacking vitamins or protein, he supplements their diets with additional proteins and collagen. He also adds Vitamin D and iron.
Many times, Dr. Ben’s patients have already seen another doctor and are on medication for hair loss, but their hair still isn’t growing. By the time they go to him, he doesn’t need to add another medication. He’s just helping with lifestyle changes, so the medication works better. Without the proper foundation, hair loss medication can’t work. What you eat affects how you look.
Hair Loss and Mental Health are Closely Intertwined
Anxiety can lead to hair loss in a few different ways. One, when people are anxious, they are more likely to pull on their hair. Physical manipulation will lead to more hair loss. Unfortunately, patients can also experience a lot of different stressful situations that can lead to hair loss. One example is an 18-year-old patient with alopecia who did not go on birth control and could not use condoms for religious reasons. She got pregnant and had to make difficult choices. She hid her pregnancy from her parents and experienced great stress from the ordeal. In situations like this, where stress is a hair loss trigger, Dr. Ben offers support by giving referrals to a therapist.
Diagnosing Hair Loss Requires a Specialist
When someone experiences alopecia, Dr. Ben uses a holistic approach to treatment. He looks at mental status, home life, stress levels, metabolic, and other health issues. He believes that he should look at everything when he’s making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan.
Seventy to 80 percent of men are relatively easy to diagnose. They don’t have nutritional deficiencies, mental issues, or any factors that would cause alopecia. They have clear-cut cases of male pattern hair loss. But then there’s that 20 percent that doesn’t fall into that category. Women are also a bit more challenging to diagnose. Every case is different, and he believes that you have to evaluate each case individually.
People with Androgenetic Alopecia Can Regrow Their Hair
Depending upon the cause of your hair loss, treatment is available to help regrow your hair. People who experience male and female pattern hair loss tend to get good results with available medications. Medications used include Finasteride, which is Propecia, a prostate medication that’s used to block testosterone. Dr. Ben has seen excellent results with patients who use Finasteride. Rogaine, which is a topical product sold over the counter, is also called Minoxidil. Minoxidil is an oral medication used to control high blood pressure. Since Minoxidil dilates the blood vessels, more oxygen reaches the scalp and causes hair growth.
Finasteride, Minoxidil, and other hair loss treatments take about 6 months to start seeing results.
You Don’t Have to Experience Side Effects Associated with Oral Hair Loss Medications
One of the side effects of Propecia is erectile dysfunction. So, a couple of years ago, Dr. Ben and Dr. Sean developed a Finasteride alternative. It’s a topical Finasteride, meaning that you’re not ingesting it. Clinical studies have proven that topical Finasteride has a lower risk of sexual side effects, yet it is still effective. The dermatologists were quite excited about the discovery, so they developed Happy Head, their own formula of topical Finasteride combined with prescription-grade Minoxidil. They tested Happy Head with patients and found that patients who experienced sexual side effects with oral Finasteride did not have the same side effects with the topical. The product was researched for two years before being launched nationwide.
It’s Time to Get Rid of the One Size Fits All Mentality When it Comes to Hair Loss
Dr. Ben and Dr. Sean set out to change the hair loss field. After two years of launching Happy Head, it’s still the only company in the U.S. with a customizable prescription hair loss solution that’s available nationwide. Most products on the market are mass-produced. With Happy Head, however, patients can change the concentrations of ingredients, remove ingredients, and replace ingredients. For example, the change can easily be made if you need .25 percent Finasteride rather than one percent. A month later, if the .25 percent isn’t strong enough, the dose can be increased. Traditional corporate thinking is to produce in large volumes to reduce cost. With Happy Head, the needs of individuals are unique, so the product is customized to meet those individual needs.
Fast, Easy Access to Prescription Hair Loss Treatments is Available
Happy Head is a telemedicine website with licensed doctors and pharmacies in every state. It works by going on the Happy Head website to submit photos and complete a medical questionnaire. The process takes about five minutes. Within 24 hours, a doctor reviews the information you provided and writes a prescription. You receive a bottle in three days. There isn’t a charge for the consultation. If the doctor who reviews your case determines that you’re not a candidate, your money is refunded.
If you’re over 50 and experiencing hair loss, you’re not alone. Eating well, managing stress, and living as healthy of a lifestyle as possible all contribute to the quality of your hair. If you are experiencing male or female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), medications are available to help regrow your hair. Simply visit happyhead.com and complete a brief survey. A licensed dermatologist will review your case and determine whether you are a candidate for prescription hair loss medication.