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Valley Life

*Foot Notes

April 30, 1999|JAMES E. FOWLER

The American Hair Loss Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering non-biased information on treatment options for hair loss, has a Web site, www.ahlc.org. On the eve of the new millennium, hair-replacement strategies generally involve both the old and the new.

* The new includes prescription drugs, such as minoxodil and Propecia, that will grow some hair on some people. The new also includes various types of transplant surgery, including grafting, scalp flaps, reductions and expansions. Costs vary according to how much hair you don't have--from $2,000 to more than $20,000. Some doctors charge per procedure; others charge a flat fee for the entire job, which may take one to two years to complete.

* The old includes wigs (now often called a hair replacement system), hairpieces, weaves and such. Wigs cost from $150 up. They can be anchored to the head by adhesives, clips, willpower or other methods. But the hair-loss council no longer views suturing as a viable method of attachment because of pain and infection risks. Robert Akre, of A Gentlemen's Choice in Studio City, has been designing custom hairpieces for more than 25 years. His first step is to make a plaster cast of the client's head. He then tailors the hairpiece on the cast. His prices start at about $1,500.

* For people looking to get rid of unwanted hair, methods include waxing, electrolysis and laser removal. Waxing will remove hair for a somewhat longer time than shaving. Electrolysis removes it permanently and costs about $20 per 15-minute session. But it can result in scarring for certain skin types. Sherry Stiles, co-owner of A Laser Beauty Center in Woodland Hills, says the laser will permanently remove unwanted hair, but it usually takes about five treatments. Treatments start at about $20.

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