Methods to preserve the rest of my hair

Even though I have had three hair transplant procedures, two FUT/strip procedures with Dr. Matthew Huebner of Natural Transplants and one FUE scar revision procedure with Dr. Daniel McGrath, you must still take some sort of treatment to prevent you from losing your non-transplanted hair.

I liken this to a “fence-open field” effect where if you have a transplant to reconstruct your hairline, you could still end up with a large bald spot if you don’t take some sort of hair loss treatment.

Since February 2014, I have been taking one 1mg pill of finasteride either three to two times a week and I have not noticed any further thinning in my non-transplanted hair.

Before I had my first hair transplant done in 2014, I tried numerous modalities ranging from pills and lotions and sprays to ensure I wouldn’t lose any more natural hair.

What Causes Hair Loss?

When a man loses his hair, he doesn’t automatically go from a full head of hair to a cue ball. The hairs begin a miniaturization process until they become so fine and whispy they fall out. These modalities won’t regrow hair on bald scalp but work by reversing the miniaturization process in thinning hair on the front and back of your scalp.

Before trying any of these modalities, speak with your doctor or a hair transplant surgeon to find out what will best fit your hair restoration needs.

Finasteride — February 2014 to present 

findime
Since February 2014, I currently take 1mg of Finasteride (the generic version of Propecia) three times a week on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule and it has worked well in preserving my native hair. Finasteride is an oral prescription medication that blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by inhibiting an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase. Finasteride comes in a variety of generic forms called Finpecia, Proscor, and Avodart and can also come in 5mg pills where a patient uses a splitter to cut the pill into fourths; although recently doctors and dermatologists no longer recommend doing that.

One month’s supply of 1mg Finasteride costs about $70 but most insurance plans don’t cover it. However, because I don’t take it every day, one bottle can last me up to two months. For as long as I want to keep my native hair, I will continue taking 1mg Finasteride.

Here are the other modalities I have taken over the past three years:

Procerin  —  October 2011 to January 2012, didn’t do anything

procerin

 

Procerin is a foam and pill combination that comes from saw palmetto extract. You take it twice a day every day and it supposedly mimics the effects of Propecia and Minoxidil. I only did it for three months but didn’t see any noticeable change. One three-month supply costs $136. The foam smelled bad and because I had to take it in the evening, I always had to pee in the middle of the night. Although I didn’t take it long enough to see any substantial change, if anything, it’s nothing more than snake oil.

Propecia — February 2012 to May 2012, nothing but side effects

Propecia_Bottle_and_pills
Propecia is the brand name of Finasteride, the drug I currently take that blocks DHT. For three months I took 1mg of Propecia once a day every day but I experienced numerous sexual side effects from decreased libido, difficulty maintaining an erection, and smaller ejaculate volume. Being the brand name of Finasteride, Propecia costs up to $100 per month and is generally not covered by most insurance plans. If you want to take this medication and not go bankrupt, opt for the generic version.

 

 

 

 

 

Minoxidil — May 2012 to December 2013; I kept the hair that I have but I didn’t get anything back.

minoxidil
The generic version of Rogaine, Minoxidil is a topical solution that comes in either a liquid or a foam and dilates the blood vessels in your scalp allowing blood to travel to and nourish thinning hair follicles. Its instructions suggest taking it twice a day every day, however once a day every day is fine so that the liquid will last longer. I switched off between lotion and foam Minoxidil for a while and it did a fine job preventing me from losing any more hair. I found that I got better coverage with the lotion, however the isopropyl alcohol in the lotion irritated my scalp. Drug stores like CVS and Walgreen’s carry their own generic versions of Minoxidil and a three pack can run about $40.

Men can take both Minoxidil and Propecia together as they seem to have a synergistic effect; however, I never took them at the same time as it would have been too expensive to maintain.

Lasercomb — Tried twice during consultations, but never seriously used it

lasercombA low-level laser (LLL or 3L), the laser comb stimulates hair follicles and blocks DHT by emitting a laser onto the scalp. I used it twice during my consultations with Bosley and John Satino, but it’s super expensive ranging from $295 to $495.

 

 

 

 

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy — Never tried; inconclusive  

prp

PRP therapy is the process of drawing your blood, whipping it up into a centrifuge that separates the blood platelets and then injecting the PRP into thinning areas of your scalp to thicken thinning hair. For a long time throughout my research I wanted to have both an FUE hair transplant with PRP therapy included, however FUE is a low-yield procedure and PRP therapy is at best inconclusive in thickening your non-transplanted hair.

Although some pro athletes have recovered from serious injuries and Russell Gibson who has alopecia areata regrew his hair, the jury is still out as to whether or not it helps regrow hair. Some practices I researched talked it up like the next best thing while others said it was a scam that doctors should be ashamed of pushing toward their patients.

17 thoughts on “Methods to preserve the rest of my hair

  1. Kevin

    Hopefully you get good results.
    The ones on the website are not
    what I would consider good.
    For someone that advertises density
    there seems to be a lack of it.
    I looked at the patient Jamie and
    feel bad for him. Whispy thin
    hairs poor results. If you dig
    you will find lots of unhappy
    patients. Lots of the after pics
    are grainy and blurred which
    tells me they are hiding something.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Lance Post author

      In Jamie’s case his hair loss was way more severe than mine and it looked like his donor hair was thin as well so he ended up having two surgeries.

      I don’t think they’re hiding anything as GHT says up front that some patients may need one or more surgeries but it’s based on MANY factors such as existing hair loss, coverage goals, thickness of the donor strip, etc.

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  2. Mo

    But that doesn’t excuse Jamie’s very unnatural, pluggy and very unrealisticly low hairline. I can understand the argument of the donor hair (which still should get more) but that hairline is way to unnatural and spaced apart. I’ve been disappointed with Dr. Bolton as of late.

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  3. Lance Post author

    I can’t speak for GHT or Dr. Bolton but according to the video of Jamie on GHT’s website, he had a second procedure so I would inquire with them on how he looks now after having two surgeries.

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  4. Kevin

    Tbh that’s what kind of scared me off.
    I asked about certain patients results
    by name and they blew it off didn’t
    show any updates. Dr Bolton does
    some of the best work I have seen
    in the crown area but the frontal hairlines
    don’t look natural. I agree with Mo
    they look pluggy and not normal.
    I hope your results with this other
    doctor turn out great maybe he is
    better at the frontal hairline than Bolton.

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  5. rahulmg05Rahul

    Hello Lance, Your results are really amazing. I had a procedure with Dr. Bolton 2 months ago. I wanted to ask you about preventive measures you are taking right now. Are you on Fin alone or do you also use laser comb and minox along with fin ?

    Thanks

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    1. Lance Post author

      Hello,

      Thank you for the comment and congratulations on having your own procedure! I am only taking 1mg finasteride three times a week and have been on it since February 2014. Sorry if this page was a little confusing as there’s a lot of information.

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      1. rahulmg05Rahul

        Hi Lance,

        Thank you for the reply. I had a couple of questions..
        When I run my fingers on the transplanted region I feel very small lumps exist. The surface is not even. Did you also experience the same ?
        After the transplant how do you get to know if things are improving ? I also see few pimples here and there.

        Thank you.

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  6. Lance Post author

    I also felt some lumps and what also felt like small holes/craters in my transplanted skin, especially on the very top of my head where all of the larger multiple follicular units were placed. The pimples are a good sign as that means the hairs are beginning to wake up and sprout but at this point, 2 months post-op, not a whole lot is happening. You won’t really see any difference until about the 4 month mark, so just sit tight.

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  7. Gb25

    Hi lance,

    Great results I look forward to seeing your progress in the coming months. Your website is most informative aswell.

    I am contemplating doing my own procedure with dr. Hubnuer and am going to start taking propecia shortly. But I am apprehensive do to the various side effects. Just curious to know (if you know) why you had side effects with propecia and not finasteride. Aren’t the two the same, aside from one being name brand and the other generic?

    Thanks

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    1. Lance Post author

      Hi and thanks for your comment!

      Yes, the two drugs are basically the same thing as Propecia is the brand name and finasteride is the generic version. I experienced side effects with Propecia because I took 1mg once a day, every day for about two solid months from March to May 2012. When I decided that I would take that drug again in February 2014, I opted for the generic version finasteride that you can get for as low as $8 a month at Costco so that it wouldn’t break the bank and I started taking it much less often on a 1mg every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule. I’m actually starting to take it twice a week now on Monday and Thursday so I can keep my non-transplanted hair and not have any sexual side effects.

      I hope this helps and if you decide to have surgery with Dr. Huebner you’ll most definitely be pleased with this work. He’s a truly gifted surgeon and an artist.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at lance.robert.fuller@gmail.com.

      All my best,

      -Lance

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  8. Matt

    Hey Lance, what’s the generic version of finasteride you take now? I took propecia and had similar side effects. Not the really awful ones that you read about from time to time but a definite decrease in libido and ability to maintain an erection. Have the side effects gone now you have changed that up?

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    1. Lance Post author

      Hi Matt, thanks for your comment. The brand name of the drug is Propecia while the generic is just called finasteride so they’re basically the same drug it’s just that one is more expensive than the other. I started taking finasteride in February 2014 because it was more affordable and I take one 1mg pill twice a week on Monday and Thursday. This schedule allows me to keep my non-transplanted hair without the side effects. When I first took Propecia in 2012, I took one 1mg pill every single day for two months and it was too much for my body hence all of the side effects. I’m sure if I took Propecia on the same schedule I’m on now, it would do the same thing for me but it would just cost more money.

      How often and how long did you take Propecia?

      All my best,

      -Lance

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      Reply
  9. Gb25

    Hi lance,

    I have read online that generic finasteride especially the one from dr. Reddy’s pharmacy in India isn’t effective. It turns out that the one I am on is from this pharmacy. I have spoken to the pharmacist who told me it’s exactly like Propecia. I just wanted to know what your views are and wether your generic is from the same lab.

    Thanks and happy holidays!

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    Reply
    1. Lance Post author

      Hi and thanks for your comment. Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia and they perform the same function in blocking DHT from shrinking your hair follicles. I’ve been using it for almost two years now and I have not lost any more of my non-transplanted hair. How long and how often do you take finasteride and have you continued losing your hair? I don’t know anything about India’s drug laws or its equivalent to the FDA so if the drug you’re on isn’t working, you can always find a different pharmacy or try Rogaine/minoxidil instead. Hope this helps and happy holidays.

      All my best,

      -Lance

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      Reply

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