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Hints on Choosing a New Head of Hair

October 20, 1994|JEFF MEYERS

To avoid bad hair days with your transplants or hairpiece, care should be taken in choosing your doctor or wig maker.

For transplants, experts recommend board-certified doctors of dermatology, general surgery or plastic surgery who specialize in hair restoration. Ask for before-and-after photos and phone numbers of patients. Make sure the doctor--and not an assistant--actually does the surgery.

The state medical board "used to receive a lot of complaints about hair transplants," says David Thornton, supervising investigator. "People had unrealistic expectations, and sometimes the doctors were incompetent--there was a lot of scarring."

But in the last few years, techniques have improved. "We don't get a heck of a lot of complaints," Thornton says.

Wigs seem like a simple solution to baldness, but they have drawbacks, experts say. Weaving--bonding the wig to natural hair--can cause those hairs to fall out. A wig needs to be cleaned and styled often, which may necessitate the purchase of a spare.

Hoping science invents a miracle cure for baldness? You may go completely bald before that happens--no breakthroughs are on the horizon, experts say. And don't be tempted to buy products that claim to regrow hair.

"There is no safe and effective and approved over-the-counter product to treat hair loss," a spokesman for the federal Food and Drug Administration says.

The only FDA-approved prescription drug for hair loss is Rogaine, but it has "limited effect," the FDA spokesman says.

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