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Robotic Hair Transplants & Hair Restoration
Flagship: 110 East 55th Street, New York, NY
212-826-2400 - [email protected]
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Dr. Bernstein answers frequently asked questions about hair transplantation, hair loss, and medical treatment for hair loss.

Hair Restoration Answers

Can Propecia After Hair Transplant Cause Shedding Of Normal Terminal Hair?

Q: I have been reading various articles and forum postings and it would seem that a person utilizing Propecia might experience increased “shedding” of hairs (outside of the normal hair cycle) around the 12 week mark after a hair transplant and lasting around 2-4 weeks. The forum postings suggest that one will not only see the miniaturized hairs being lost, but also normal terminal hair in greater than expected levels. Does an explanation exist to explain this increase in shedding hairs? — B.T., Manhattan, NY

A: Our understanding is that finasteride only affects miniaturized hairs — i.e. hair affected by DHT — and that this is all that should be shed. Remember, however, that much of the thinning a bald person experiences is due to thousands of partially miniaturized hair, and these can look very much like a full terminal hair in its early stages.

See our page on Shedding After A Hair Transplant.


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Hair Restoration Answers

What Does Hair Transplant Procedure Do To Existing Hair?

Q: What does the hair transplantation process do to your existing hair? — R.V., London, UK

A: When we perform hair transplant surgery, we transplant into an area that is either bald or has some existing hair. The hair that is existing is undergoing a process called miniaturization. What this means is that the hairs are continuing to decrease in size – both in diameter and in length. When we perform a hair transplant, we don’t transplant around the existing miniaturized hair on your scalp, we transplant through it. And the reason why we do that is because the miniaturized hair, the fine hair that is being affected by DHT, is eventually going to disappear, so you don’t want there to be any gaps.

So the question is, does the hair transplant actually destroy the existing hair? The answer is that it doesn’t destroy, but it can “shock” it. In other words, creating recipient sites (that the grafts are placed into) will temporarily alter the local circulation of the scalp and this can cause some of the hair in the area to be shed. The reason why hair may be shed is that hair is naturally cyclical. In other words, hair is normally growing, shedding, and then regrowing again. When you stress the scalp, the growing hair may be shed prematurely, but then it regrows.

If you think about the process of electrolysis, it makes sense that you don’t damage follicles from making recipient sites during a hair transplant procedure. In electrolysis used to treat unwanted hair, you stick a needle in the follicle, and you turn on an electric current. And you burn it. And then what happens to the hair? It usually comes back and you need to do it a few more times, even though we are applying an electric current via a needle placed directly in the follicle. So it makes sense that by just inserting a fine needle – the tool commonly used to make a hair transplant site – into the skin, one would not destroy hair follicles. However, the cumulative effect of making hundreds or thousands of recipient sites does shock the follicles and, as a result, some may shed their hair.

It can occur with general anesthesia – when the scalp is not even touched – and it can occur with oral medications, from pregnancy, or after psychological stress. So if you have hair restoration surgery and there is shedding, and it takes six months to a year for the transplanted hair to grow in, during this time hair transplant patient will experience some thinning. Since miniaturized hair is going to eventually disappear anyway, some of the miniaturized hair that is shed may not return. But if it is healthy hair, and it is shed, it will grow back. And, of course, the transplanted hair will be growing in as well during this time.

I am often asked to describe how much can be expected to be shed. The answer is that it is an amount that is often noticeable by the patient, but not noticeable by anyone else.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Nioxin Be Used With Propecia Hair Loss Medication?

Q: Can Nioxin be used if I am taking Propecia? — G.H., Chicago, IL

A: Yes, they can be used together (Propecia is an oral medication and Nioxin is a topical hair product), but remember that only the medications minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) have been shown to prevent hair loss.

Read more about Hair Loss Medications.

Read more about Nioxin.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Which Handheld Laser Therapy Device Do You Recommend?

Q: I am interested in trying home laser therapy for my androgenic alopecia? Which handheld laser device do you recommend? — N.M., Northfield, NJ

A: There are several handheld lasers currently marketed as a home use treatments for androgenic alopecia. To my knowledge there has never been a clinical study comparing different laser devices. Most of the devices use diodes to emit a narrow band red light. This wavelength of light is actually similar to those that are used in hair removal lasers, except they are at a much lower intensity. The theory is that high intensity laser damage hair follicles causing hair loss, but low level laser energy can have a bio-stimulation effect and actually induce hair growth.

If you would like to try laser therapy for hair loss, I suggest using a HairMax laser comb. This is the only device that is FDA approved. They sell a few different “strengths” of lasers for different costs. They have not shown any clinical evidence supporting one laser comb versus another. The more expensive ones have more diode lights so it would be reasonable to conclude that they are “stronger” and require less frequent use. I have patients who have used the “mid tier” laser comb, the Premium Lux 9 successfully, so that is the one I recommend to other patients.

Read more about Laser Therapy.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Tell If I Will Be A Candidate For A Hair Transplant?

Q: Can I tell before I start to bald if I will be a candidate for a hair transplant. — T.E., New York, NY

A: Usually not. The main reason one is either a candidate or not is the stability (permanency) of the hair in the back and sides of ones scalp – the donor area. Since the top of the scalp usually thins first, if the top has not started to thin, the donor area will always appear to be OK. It is only when you have significant thinning on the front or top of your scalp can we actually begin to assess the stability of the donor area with any degree of accuracy.

Read more about how a hair transplant physician evaluates a candidate for hair transplant.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Why Does Vice President Joe Biden’s Hair Transplant Look Unnatural?

Q: There is a famous hair transplant out there, Vice President, Joe Biden. How come it looks so unnatural? — W.S., Los Angeles, CA

A: With Joe Biden’s hair transplant a number of errors were made. Some were unavoidable due to the older technology and some were just poor planning. He had a hair transplant consisting mainly of large plugs because that was the way hair transplants were performed many years ago. But many of those plugs have now been fixed.

The persistent (but avoidable) problem is that Vice President Biden has a low, broad hairline. But when you see a low broad hairline one expects to see the rest of head to be covered with hair. But he didn’t have enough donor hair to accomplish this. With better planning, the hairline would have been more receded at the temples, producing a more natural, balanced look.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Use Toppik if I Had a Hair Transplant?

Q: Can I use Toppik if I had a hair transplant? — C.M., Chicago, IL

A: Yes, but I would wait at least 5 to 7 days after the hair restoration procedure before applying Toppik, Couvre, Derm Match or other cosmetic camouflage products to the transplanted area. For the first 9 days after hair transplants, the cosmetic should be washed out very gently so as not to dislodge the grafts. At 10 days following the hair restoration, the grafts are permanently in place, so you may shampoo as vigorously as you would normally do when showering.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Are There Any Lab Studies Proving that Saw Palmetto Helps Prevent Hair Loss?

Q: Have there been any lab studies proving that Saw Palmetto works to prevent hair loss? — A.B., Yonkers, NY

A: There have been no verifiable clinical studies that show saw palmetto can stop hair loss or cause hair to re-grow. There have been some preliminary tests showing that saw palmetto may be able to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, but its usefulness for androgenetic hair loss has not been documented in controlled studies.


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Hair Restoration Answers

What is the Difference Between NeoGraft and ARTAS Robotic System for FUE Hair Transplant Surgery?

Q: What is the main difference between NeoGraft and the ARTAS robotic system? — H.T., Staten Island, NY

A: The Neograft device is basically a powered FUE tool. It is still done by hand and therefore risks operator induced errors and damage to hair follicles. The ARTAS System, made by Restoration Robotics, uses electronic image-based tracking capabilities to map the individual follicular units. It does so to determine the optimal approach for automated graft harvesting. The robotic harvesting device produces consistently high quality grafts and low dissection rates.

For more information on these systems, visit the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) section or read Dr. Bernstein’s answers to questions on Robotics.

Read about Robotic FUE Hair Transplantation


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Hair Restoration Answers

What Is Saw Palmetto And Does It Prevent Hair Loss?

Q: What is Saw Palmetto? — R.P., White Plains, NY

A: Saw Palmetto is a dwarf palm plant native to North America. The active ingredients can be found in the plant’s brown-black berries. It is proposed that it blocks the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). There is little scientific evidence that Saw Palmetto is actually effective for hair loss.

Read about the treatment of hair loss in men


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Propecia in Semen Harm Fetus upon Conception?

Q: Although I was prescribed Propecia, I have not yet started to take it. I would like to take it now, but my wife wants me to wait until after we have our second baby so as to avoid having the drug in my system when we conceive. She’s concerned that if it’s so harmful to pregnant women, that having it in my sperm is an issue. — L.V., Bellmore, New York

A: There is no evidence that if you take the medication it will affect the fetus. However, your wife should not ingest the drug or handle broken pills during pregnancy.

Read more about Propecia and Side Effects.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Is LaserComb FDA Approved to Treat Hair Loss in Women?

Q: Is the LaserComb FDA approved for women? — V.F., New Rochelle, NY

A: Yes, on June 11, 2011 the FDA cleared the HairMax LaserComb Lux 9 to treat female hair loss and promote hair growth.

Read this article in the Laser Therapy section for more information on this development.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Dandruff Or Nizoral Cause Hair Loss?

Q: Can dandruff cause hair loss? I have a lot of dandruff and use the Nizoral Shampoo for it. And can the Nizoral be a reason I am losing my hair? — K.P., Suffern, NY

A: Dandruff (the medical term is seborrhea) does not cause hair loss as it is a condition that involves scaling and redness on the surface of the scalp and does not involve the growth parts of the hair follicle that lie deeper in the skin. Although Nizoral is an ineffective treatment for hair loss (it is sometimes prescribed for this) it will not cause hair loss.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Does Scalp Med Prevent Hair Loss By Unclogging Pores?

Q: Scalp Med is supposed to unclog pores. How does this prevent hair loss? — O.P., Trenton, NJ

A: The active ingredient of Scalp Med is Minoxidil, which will help reverse miniaturization, the process that causes androgenetic hair loss. Hair loss is not caused by clogged pores, so unclogging them will not prevent going bald. Minoxidil, which is also the active ingredient in Rogaine, is over-the-counter so it is a less expensive way to use the active ingredient.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Should Nizoral Be Used Every Day?

Q: Should I use Nizoral every day? — L.S., Houston, TX

A: The product recommendation is to use Nizoral shampoo twice per week for dandruff, but many patients prefer to use it daily. Other than drying out the scalp, it is safe to use daily. The 1% formulation is over the counter. The 2% requires a prescription.

Read more about Medical Treatment of Hair Loss


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Updated: 2019-11-15 | Published: 2009-07-02


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