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Dr. Bernstein answers frequently asked questions about hair transplantation, hair loss, and medical treatment for hair loss.

Hair Restoration Answers

After Hair Transplant, When Can I Resume Laser Therapy Treatment?

Q: I am currently using the Hair Max Laser Comb. I am starting on my third week and am scheduled for a hair transplant in one week. My question is: how long do I have to wait to restart the laser comb after my hair restoration procedure? This is not my first procedure and I understand the grafts are delicate for the first couple of weeks. If I keep the teeth away from the scalp and just let the light hit the grafts will this promote faster growth?

A: You can start using the laser comb again right after the surgery, as long as it doesn’t touch the scalp.

At 10 days after the hair transplant you can use it normally, as the grafts are permanent and there is no risk of dislodging them.


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Hair Restoration Answers

What Medications are Used During a Hair Transplant and are they Safe During Pregnancy?

Q: Is it necessary to take medications before, during, or after the hair transplant? Will these medications affect pregnancy? — V.M., Fairfield, C.T.

A: It is not necessary to take any medication for a hair transplant other than the local anesthesia used during the procedure.

Although I would not have a hair transplant during pregnancy, the procedure will have no effect on future ones.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Does Hair Transplant Cost Include State Taxes?

Q: Are state taxes applicable for hair restoration procedures? — N.S., Glendale, N.Y.

A: There are no taxes on cosmetic procedures performed in New York State.

Some states do have taxes. In New Jersey, for example, there is a cosmetic surgery tax of 6%, but not in NY.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Which is the Preferred Treatment for a Young Patient: Hair Transplant or Medication?

Q: I am 25 year old who just started going bald. My doctor confirmed that I have pattern baldness and put me on Propecia and Rogaine. I don’t want to go bald at any age. So, instead of prolonging the process for 5-10 years and then having a hair transplant, isn’t it easier to just let the hair loss continue and then have a HT, so that I can save the money on drugs for years. — Z.B., Greenwich, C.T.

A: It is far better to keep your own hair using medical therapy. The medications (i.e. finasteride and minoxidil) are relatively inexpensive if use the generic forms and will be far less expensive than surgery – even on the long-term. Keeping your own hair will look fuller than a hair transplant, since a hair transplant just re-distributes a diminishing amount existing hair. When the ability to multiply hair (cloning) is available this, of course will change, but this technology is still years away.

Read about the Candidacy for a Hair Transplant


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Hair Restoration Answers

What Hair Loss Medications are Effective DHT Blockers and are they Sold Over the Counter?

Q: Are there DHT blockers that are sold in the pharmacy over the counter? — C.C., — Fairfield County, Connecticut

A: The only effective DHT blockers are finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart).

These medications require a doctor’s prescription and are not sold OTC. Nizoral is a topical shampoo for seborrhea (a type of dandruff) that is sold over the counter, but it is not effective in treating hair loss.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Does Amount of Body Hair Indicate Future Hair Loss?

Q: I have a quite a bit of hair on my chest, back and legs. Is that an indicator of future baldness? — S.C., Short Hills, NJ

A: Although bald people joke around that they wish the hair on their body (and ears) was on their head, body hair is not an early sign of baldness.

Read about the Causes of Hair Loss in Men


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair Loss be Caused by Weight Lifting and Increase in Testosterone Levels?

Q: My son, 25 years old, is seeing hair loss around the hairline. According to your website, he is probably a stage II. He may have a little hair loss at the vertex; right now it is hard to tell. He is very muscular and loves weight lifting, but no drug enhancement. Is there a relationship between weight lifting and hair loss, since I have read that weight lifting increases testosterone levels? — G.S., Pleasantville, NY

A: Yes, weight lifting does increase testosterone, which in turn increases DHT. This can accelerate hair loss, although the effect is generally very slight.

Rather than modify his exercise program, your son may want to consider taking finasteride (Propecia). This requires a doctor’s prescription.


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Hair Restoration Answers

What Does Hair Transplant Evaluation or Hair Loss Consultation Cost?

Q: Didn’t you do free consults in the past? — N.F., Bronxville, NY

A: Yes. It had been in response to the policy of the larger chains. Patients coming to our practice are evaluated by a board certified dermatologist, trained in diagnosing the causes of your hair loss with expertise in both medical and surgical management. Our consults are not just screens for surgery.

Read more information on becoming a new patient on the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website. If you are ready for a hair loss or hair transplant evaluation, click here to schedule an evaluation with the doctor.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair Loss Be Induced By Acne Medication Accutane?

Q: I have hair loss due to a treatment of Accutane. I have been off this medication for about a year and a half now, yet my hair has not recovered. The texture of my hair has completely changed. Given the fact that there is no family history linking me to male pattern baldness, I attribute my hair loss exclusively to Accutane. What should I do? — H.F., Eastchester, NY

A: If the texture alone has changed there is nothing you can do except to wait. The texture should improve over time even though it has already been 18 months.

If there are signs of genetic hair loss (i.e. male pattern alopecia), then finasteride should be considered.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Which is Better: Laser Therapy at Home or Doctor’s Office?

Q: I have thinning hair and have heard about Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for hair loss. I know that I can either buy a machine over the internet or go to a doctor’s office or medical spa for treatments. Which one should I do?

A: The advantage of the in-office LLLT systems are that the units are more powerful and that the delivery of the energy is the same each time. The treatment is also not dependent upon the patient having to remember to do the treatment and does not require the person to spend 15 minutes each time concentrating on using the hand-held machine correctly. It also had the important advantage of requiring an initial evaluation by a physician who can diagnosis the hair loss and make sure that it is the genetic type that may respond to this type of therapy. And the effectiveness of the treatment can more readily be monitored over time.

The disadvantage of the office- or medispa- based system is that the treatments are significantly more costly than the home machine and require periodic visits over an extended period of time – a nuisance for working people, or for those who do not live close to a facility offering this service.

The advantage of the hand-held system is that it is much less expensive than the office based machine and it is much more convenient to do the treatment at home than to go to a doctor’s office several times a week. There may also be a potential advantage for patients that still have a significant amount of hair. In these people, the hand-held system (that is able to part the hair) may allow the laser light to more effectively reach the scalp.

The major disadvantage of the hand-held device seems to be with patient compliance as people get tired of having to run the instrument through their hair for 15 minutes several times a week. It is also hard for the person himself to judge if the treatments are working, how to taper the treatments and if, and when, to stop.

Read more about Laser Therapy


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Hair Restoration Answers

Do You Recommend Avodart (Dutasteride) Hair Loss Medication?

Q: I heard that there is a new drug on the market called Avodart for prostate enlargement which might help with hair loss as it blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT better than Finasteride and is more effective than Propecia. Do you recommend taking it and if so what is the dose? — Y.B., Orlando, Florida

A: I am currently not recommending that patients take Dutasteride for hair loss, although it is more effective than Propecia, finasteride 1mg. (Dutasteride 0.5, the dose generally used for hair loss, seems to be slightly more effective than finasteride 5m in reversing miniaturization.)

The reasons that I am hesitant to prescribe it at present are outlined in the Hair Restoration Answers question, “Is Avodart Safe?

In addition to the reasons that I listed in that response, I would also consider that: Dutasteride, unlike finasteride, decreases sperm counts, it can result in persistent decreased sex drive and the incidence is greater than with finasteride. Finally there are a significant number of alpha-type 1 receptors in brain, those affected by dutasteride, but not finasteride.

However, since Dutasteride is approved for older men with prostatic disease, using it for hair loss in this age group (usually in a lower dose) is reasonable.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Does a Hair Transplant Affect the Quality of Your Hair?

Q: I would be so grateful if you could give me some idea on how the quality of the hair that is transplanted is affected by its new ‘home’ and the native neighboring hair. — D.C., Flatiron, N.Y.

Is it likely all the hair that is going to be able to come back to life with Propecia will also mature fully eventually? At the moment there is a big visual difference between the front section and rest of hair. (I understand hair count per cm2 may differ more drastically- I’m thinking here just of the hair shaft thickness.) Also, when I have hair transplants – as I intend to when Propecia has done all it can – will the hairs from the back of my head (thick) stay that thick regardless or will they take on the properties of the new surrounding hair?

A: Hair that responds to Propecia doesn’t always regain the full character of the original hair, so the area may still look thin.

The transplanted hair, however, will look like the original hair and maintain, over time, the same character as the hair in the donor area (where it came from).


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can a Woman be a Candidate for a Hair Transplant?

Q: I am female and thinning can I be a candidate for a Follicular Unit Hair Transplant?

A: If it turns out that you have female pattern hair loss, you may be a candidate a hair transplant, but would need to be evaluated by a doctor who specializes in surgical hair restoration.

In the evaluation, you should have your degree of hair loss assessed and donor supply measured, using an instrument called a densitometer, to be certain that you have enough permanent donor hair to meet your desired goals. For more information about hair loss in women, please see the Diagnosis of Hair Loss in Women page of the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website.

If you are thinking about your hair loss and would like to be evaluated, go to the physician consult page to schedule a consultation.


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Hair Restoration Answers

Can You Perform a Hair Transplant in a Hispanic Person with Wavy Hair?

Q: I am Hispanic and I have thick, black coarse wavy hair. Do you transplant Hispanics and are there any difficulties in performing hair transplants in them?

A: Yes, we treat Hispanic patients. There are no specific issues unique to Hispanics when performing hair restoration procedures. However, things to consider are:

  1. Hispanics have a slightly greater incidence of forming a thickened donor scar than Caucasians (but not as great as African-Americans)
  2. Hispanics often have coarse hair, but a low donor density, so fewer absolute numbers of grafts may be available for the restoration. The coarse hair, however, will make the restoration appear fuller.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why is there a Different Consultation Fee for Diffuse Thinning versus Patterned Hair Loss?

Q: Why is the consult fee more for diffuse thinning than for a regular visit? — B.F., Altherton, CA

A: Diffuse hair loss, more common in women, can be the result of a number of underlying medical conditions and therefore it usually requires an extended medical evaluation.

If you are a male or female with obvious diffuse thinning from androgenetic alopecia (common baldness), or if you have patterned hair loss where the diagnosis is straightforward, the fee is less because an extensive evaluation is not required.

Please visit our Hair Transplant Costs & Consultation Fees page for more information.


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


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