Question: : I am 75 yo female with thin, fine, straight, body-less hair. I use a laser helmet for 20 minutes every other day for the past 5 months. I have had two PRP sessions. I still have areas that are thin and sparse. Since my hair is so flat it accentuates my bald areas. I was thinking of getting a perm to increase a look of fullness. I have been reading and I think an acid perm would be better. What would be your suggestions?
Answer: Hi, Carol. As we are hair loss specialists, we can only give you general advice on which perm is best for your hair.
You would be better off directing your question to a hairdresser with specific experience and expertise in this area, especially as they are likely to need to examine your hair in order to assess its potential responsiveness and suitability.
Whilst perming can be harmful to the hair, causing chemical trauma hair loss, in some cases, we understand the acid perm you mention is supposed to be the least damaging. This is because it should have a pH level similar to that of the hair's natural pH.
However, because even acid perms have added ingredients to speed up the processing time, these are still not recommended by Belgravia hair loss specialists for anyone with weak, brittle or thinning hair as these additives can change the perming solution's pH to approximately 7-7.5 which means that it is no longer acidic and may even be alkaline, if it is above a pH 7.
This already risky processing technique is then more likely to cause additional damage, particularly to already weak or thin hair. However, if you do decide to go ahead with this, do make sure it is carried out by an experienced hairdresser who is specially trained in this area.
Acid perms require heat to be added as part of the process, otherwise the acidic pH won't penetrate the hair's cortex. With this in mind, there is a risk of thermal trauma, particularly if it is done by someone who does not have the requisite level of specialist training.
Furthermore, perming involves breaking some of the strongest keratin bonds in the hair and will, therefore, change the hair's keratin structure. When disulphide bonds are broken, there is always a risk of hair breakage, which can cause it to look even thinner and more frazzled, especially if carried out by someone inexperienced.
If you believe you have a particular issue with hair loss, it is worth consulting your doctor or dermatologist in case this is related to an underlying health issue. They may be able to offer you treatment for this problem which may then help your hair growth to return to normal.
Although the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) trend it is having something of a moment, currently no significant, reliable scientific proof exists that suggests PRP can treat hair loss or encourage regrowth.
At Belgravia we offer HairMax LaserBand LLLT devices as the company has a good reputation of producing products that have been cleared by the FDA for safety and efficacy, and - as the originators of authorised home-use LLLT devices - have a solid track record in this area.
There are now many products on the market that claim to offer low level laser therapy but, instead of medical grade lasers, use at least some LED lights. These do not treat hair loss or encourage hair growth so it is important to ensure you get the most effective LLLT hair loss solution you possibly can.
Other hair growth supporting products you may want to try include highly-targeted hair supplements, such as Belgravia's proprietary one-a-day Hair Vitalics for Women. These contain a specially-formulated blend of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts including biotin, selenium and zinc, known to contribute to the maintenance of normal healthy hair.
There are also a range of cosmetic tricks you could try to make your hair appear temporarily fuller, including using hair loss concealers, or even using dry shampoo on the roots after washing your hair which can give an instant injection of volume to otherwise limp hair.
If you do try this option, remember not to use dry shampoo regularly instead of washing your hair as this may further contribute to hair loss.
As before, it is worth having a chat with your hairdresser as they are likely to be able to recommend styling products, and possibly a new hairstyle, that will help you to hide thinning and make the most of your hair.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.