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ISHRS Operation Restore

August was declared National Hair Loss Awareness Month by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in 2001 in order to raise the public’s awareness of hair loss as a common problem affecting millions of men and women. In appreciation of this cause, Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration has launched a fundraiser for the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery‘s (ISHRS) pro bono program, ‘Operation Restore.’ This program provides free hair transplants for those who experience localized hair loss due to trauma or illness.

Raising Awareness of Women’s Hair Loss

Now is the ideal time to bring awareness to women’s hair loss as the stigma of the topic has begun to diminish. Women’s hair loss is now frequently discussed in the media including television programs like the Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors, and in magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and New York Post.

Background

Androgenetic alopecia (common genetic hair loss) accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in both men and women. While some falsely believe that women do not experience hair loss, about 40 million women in the US alone are affected by hair loss, along with about 60 million men.

Other causes of hair loss include surgical and non-surgical trauma, congenital defects, auto-immune disease, and other medical illnesses. Radiation and cytostatic drugs or other forms of chemotherapy used in cancer treatments also causes hair loss. In cases where hair loss is localized, surgical hair restoration may provide benefit.

Our Cause

We understand the emotional toll hair loss can have on the individuals affected, especially when dealing with their other medical problems. Operation Restore and Bernstein Medical aim to help those who may benefit from hair transplant surgery by assisting in this process and covering expenses.

Dr. Bernstein has worked to advance the techniques of hair restoration and have helped tens of thousands of patients around the world. His pioneering work continues to make hair loss and its treatment more socially acceptable.

Click here to donate to Operation Restore! Bernstein Medical will match all donations made during this fundraising campaign. To qualify for the match, please ensure that you list “Bernstein Medical” in the “This Donation is Being Made on Behalf of:” box. Thank you for your support!

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According to an article published in the journal of Clinical Aesthetic, ((Rassman WR, Pak JP, Jino K, Estrin NF. Scalp Micro-Pigmentation, A Concealer for Hair and Scalp Deformities. Clinical Aesthetic, March 2015, 8(3): 35-42.)) scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is an effective cosmetic solution for millions of men and women who currently have significant scalp deformities for which there are few, if any, good medical treatment options.

Scalp Micro-Pigmentation is a Permanent Hair Loss and Scar Concealer

SMP is a permanent cosmetic tattoo of carefully selected pigments applied to the scalp in a stippling pattern to mimic closely cropped hair. This technique allows a physician skilled in SMP to effectively conceal a variety of alopecias and scars.

SMP can address the following situations:

  • Female hair loss not responsive to minoxidil or cannot be treated with a hair transplant
  • Hair loss due to chemotherapy
  • Deformities from autoimmune diseases, such as refractory alopecia areata or alopecia totalis
  • Scalp scars from scarring alopecias
  • Scars from neurosurgery or head trauma
  • A visible scar from a strip harvesting procedure or punctate scars from an FUE procedure
  • Visible open donor scars from older harvesting techniques – usually those from the 1950s through the early 1990s
  • A pluggy or corn-row look from older hair restoration procedures

Scalp micro-pigmentation can also create the appearance of fullness on an otherwise thinning or bald scalp with or without a shaved head.

The Scalp Micro-Pigmentation Process

The physician skilled in SMP has a variety of tools at hand, including pigments of different colors and viscosities. The pigments can be introduced into the skin using a number of different needle types and sizes.

The physician begins by taking a needle and inserting a tiny droplet of pigment through the top layer of the skin and into the upper dermis. Because the thickness of the top layer of the skin varies across the scalp, the doctor must judge the appropriate depth at each location by both “feel” and visual cues. For example, a portion of the outer skin layer that has more fat and hair follicles will have a different look and will produce a different feel when inserting a needle compared to a scarred or bald scalp.

To place the correct amount of pigment at the correct depth at a particular location on the scalp, the operator of the tattooing instrument must take into account the following variables:

  • The angle and depth of the needle
  • The time the needle is left in the scalp (in order to place the pigment into the upper dermis)
  • The resistance of the scalp, which varies locally across the scalp
  • The particular color and viscosity of the pigment
  • The size and shape of the particular needle

In order to produce the desired shading and create the desired illusion of texture and fullness, the doctor must vary the density of the stippling across the area of application. Because every patient is unique and every area of the scalp is different, the doctor must proceed carefully in order to achieve the desired aesthetic effect and to minimize the chances of the pigment bleeding into the area surrounding the point of application.

The complete SMP process usually takes two to four sessions.

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Dr. Eric S. Schweiger - Associate at Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair RestorationDr. Eric S. Schweiger, board-certified dermatologist, is quoted in a few recent articles on the effects of chemotherapy on hair, genetic testing for hair loss, and protecting a balding scalp from the sun.

“Coping with Chemo-Induced Hair Loss” was published in a recent issue of Energy Times, a publication focused on wellness and nutrition. Dr. Schweiger commented on the way hair follicles can react to chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients:

Expect changes like “chemo curl.” Eric Schweiger, MD, explains that chemo shocks rapidly dividing cells like hair follicles in the scalp, causing the hair loss. “When the follicles grow again, the shock sometimes changes how they grow, temporarily resulting in a different hair texture and color, which eventually normalizes,” explains Schweiger.

In the article, “Genetic Testing to Predict Hair Loss,” published on HairLoss.com, Dr. Schweiger and Dr. Bernstein discussed the efficacy of genetic tests for hair loss:

[Dr. Schweiger] explains, “I think the test has probably identified a predictor of hair loss but not the only predictor. There is science behind the test and some published research studies; however, the longitudinal, larger studies have not been done, because this testing procedure is just too new.” Dr. Robert Bernstein, M.D., director at Bernstein Medical Center, agrees and adds, “These tests focus on one particular dominant gene, but what is becoming apparent is that hair loss is a complex genetic condition most likely involving several different genes.” He further notes that age, stress, hormone levels, disease and many other factors also are at play in determining factors for hair loss. “Just because a person has the genes for baldness, it doesn’t mean the trait will manifest itself. The truth is the cause and effect have not been proven and differ from person to person, and the association is not anywhere near 100 percent.”

[…]

“Right now, we predict future hair loss based on follicle miniaturization, using advanced microscopic equipment,” says Dr. Schweiger, “and I advise a man to do this at around age 25. If someone presents with more than 25 percent miniaturization, then it’s time to start a hair loss prevention regimen.”

Lastly, Dr. Schweiger contributed featured commentary to an article on HairLoss.com on a topic of importance to those suffering from hair loss, namely, protecting your scalp from the dangerous radiation given off by the sun. In “When You Lose Your Hair, Protect Your Scalp,” Dr. Schweiger encourages bald or balding individuals to take important steps to protect their scalps:

…if you notice your hair thinning or you have baldness of any kind for any reason, it’s important to protect your scalp from sun damage, precancer and skin cancer,” says Dr. Eric Schweiger, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon at Bernstein Medical — Center for Hair Restoration in New York City. That’s because 100 percent of the surface area on top of your head directly faces the sun’s burning rays when the sun is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. “In general, a mild sunburn on your scalp won’t harm your hair follicles. But any exposure that causes blistering can cause scarring and pre-cancer cells, which will harm hair follicles permanently, so you need to take special care of your scalp when exposed to the sun, even for only a few minutes,” explains Schweiger.

Set up a hair loss consultation with one of our board certified physicians.

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Dr. Bernstein summarizes an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:

Curis, Inc., a drug development company, has published data showing the effectiveness of a proprietary Hedgehog pathway activator to stimulate hair growth in adult mice. The study shows that a topically applied small molecule agonist of the Hedgehog signaling pathway can stimulate hair follicles to pass from the resting stage to the growth stage of the hair cycle. The Hedgehog agonist produces no other noticeable short or long-term changes in the skin of the mice.

This study also demonstrated that the Hedgehog agonist is active in human scalp in vitro as measured by Hedgehog pathway gene expression. The results suggest that topical application of a Hedgehog agonist could be effective in treating hair loss conditions, including male and female pattern genetic hair loss.

Preliminary results were presented at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in February 2005. This work was based on a study in 2001 by Sato et. Al. who showed that the Sonic hedgehog gene is involved in the initiation of hair growth in mice.

Reference: Sato N., Leopold PL, Crystal, RG. Effect of Adenovirus-Mediated Expression of Sonic Hedgehog Gene on Hair Regrowth in Mice With Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2001, Vol. 93, No. 24.

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