With the plethora of hair replacement services advertised on television, in the newspapers, and online, more and more men are considering addressing their hair loss through non-surgical methods. There are many options for affordable hair replacement for men who have a good amount of hair left on the sides and back of their heads and who are not experiencing a rapid progression of typical male pattern baldness. The less hair a man has on his head, the more difficult it is to implement a successful hair replacement system.
Surgical Methods of Hair Replacement
Before continuing, however, it is worth saying that if affordable, permanent hair replacement can only be achieved through surgery. The most popular method is a hair follicle transplant where viable hair follicles are harvested from a section of hair-bearing scalp to the rear of the head and placed, one by one, into the bald areas. Over a period of six to nine months new hair will grow and cover the exposed scalp.
An alternate method would be alopecia reduction surgery in which the bald scalp is actually removed and the surrounding, hair-bearing scalp is pulled over the gap and reattached. These procedures cost anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000, carry some risk of complications, and involve a recovery period but the hair restoration achieved is permanent.
Non-Surgical Methods of Hair Replacement
Whether as a consideration of cost or a desire to avoid a medical procedure, many men opt to have custom hairpieces or toupees crafted for their use or to investigate hair extensions. Both human hair wigs and synthetic hair extensions can create a natural looking head of hair, but there are maintenance procedures that must be observed with each method.
There are a number of factors that go in to the selection of a hairpiece that will be both serviceable and natural in appearance. Some basic information about the materials used in hairpieces and how they are constructed is essential in making a good choice.
The heart of any custom hairpiece is the base into which the hair is sewn. Polymer bases made of silicone or polyurethane are meant to imitate the appearance of human skin. These bases do not “breath” and they can be hot and uncomfortable. While durable, silicone cannot be dyed to accurately match the color of human skin. Over time, body acids will yellow polyurethane and thus shorten the effective life of the hairpiece.
Mesh bases are normally made from either woven nylon or knitted polyester. These bases tear easily and are vulnerable to damage from body acids. Still, mesh bases are the most popular choice for their ability to create a natural hairline and for their comfort during warm weather.
Based on this information, customers shopping for a hairpiece will encounter four basic styles: a full lace base system (the base is made entirely of mesh), the lace front base system (mesh is used along the hairline and in the front), a full skin base system (the base is made entirely of a polymer), and the conventional base system (a mesh fabric is used at the top with a polyurethane perimeter along the hairline.)
In general, full lace base systems are regarded as the most natural appearing of hairpieces, but they are also the most fragile and will require repairs and replacement fairly frequently. A lace front base system will be more durable while still appearing natural but the use of the two materials causes the sensation of a bump when you run your fingers through your hair.
The durability of a full skin base system is superior, but the hairpieces do not breathe and are hot. The conventional base system is an old standard but does not offer the same standard of natural appearance, especially at the hairline, and thus is falling from favor.
Each of these base materials responds best to different forms of hair attachment. Injection and looping systems can only be performed on the “skin” bases but because of that thicker base material, all the hairs go the same direction so there is a minimum of tangling.
Knotting is commonly used with the mesh base systems and can be accomplished either by double, single, or half knots. Double knotting provides the greatest density while single knots will produce hair that lies flat. Half-knots are small and undetectable and would be appropriate for a more slicked back hairstyle.
The hair itself can be human of European, Indian, or Asian origin. European hair is the thinnest. Asian hair is thicker and more course in texture. The most popular hair, however, is Indian, which is thicker than European but finer than Asian, and best replicates European (or Caucasian) hair when the cuticle layer has been stripped away. (The cuticle is removed to help prevent tangling.)
Synthetic hair is made of nylon, polyester, or modacrylic. Because these substances do not respond well to heat or friction, they are less and less popular in hairpieces. Far and away the greatest numbers of hairpieces constructed and worn today are made of human hair.
Fitting and Style
Working with a fitter, a hairpiece will be selected or manufactured that best matches the remaining hair on your head so the two can be blended and made to look as natural as possible. Style recommendations will also be made in reference to the shape of your face and head. At the very least expect to pay $250 for a hairpiece and remember, there are maintenance costs including the routine use of fixatives.
Fixatives and Re-application
There are many options for affixing the hairpiece from cloth and clear tapes to liquid adhesives that may be solvent or water based. It is not unusual for a client to have to try more than one fixative system to avoid skin irritation or to achieve the most natural results.
It is normally a good idea to find a hair care professional skilled in the application and care of hairpieces. The professional can maintain both your own hair and the hairpiece and take care of re-attachment of the hairpiece after it has been cleaned. You can ask for tips to deal with any emergencies that might occur in between your appointments.
Hair replacement services may also offer hair extensions or hair weaving, which is a viable option for men who still have some thin hair on the top of their heads. In the most basic process, a weft or row of hair (human or synthetic) is woven into the existing hair and filled out with additional pieces that are sewn to it with a needle and special cord.
A more extensive version of this method involves using hand-tied knots to create the track on to which the commercial hair is attached. These processes do not damage the existing hair, whereas methods involving glue and bonding agents can contribute to additional hair loss.
Entities like Hair Club for Men go a step farther and use invisible filaments to create a mesh across the balding area to which the extensions are attached. With this method greater areas of balding can be disguised. Generally when done by a skilled professional a hair weave will need maintenance every 6-8 weeks (sooner if your own hair grows faster.) Fees for the procedure range from $40 to $60 per track added but fees will be greater for more extensive procedures.
While perhaps not as potentially damaging to the scalp as the fixatives used in conjunction with hairpieces, be aware that hair extensions do involve considerable maintenance as well as time for the initial work and follow up tightening and re-weaving. In cases of mild baldness, however, the results can be amazing.
References : www.affordablehairtransplants.com/