The adage, “A woman’s hair is her crowning glory” perhaps holds even more true today than ever before. While male baldness is generally accepted by society (although not necessarily by the individual men affected), hair loss in women remains a condition often left undiscussed – resulting in greater feelings of isolation and poor self-image.
Fortunately, women are now learning that they’re not alone in suffering from hair loss – and, more importantly, are now learning they have options to permanently restore their hair. One such woman shares her story of a six-year struggle with hair loss that finally ended after seeking treatment from Dr. Marco Barusco, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Tempus Hair Restoration.
Describing herself as always active, Janis Gagliardi enjoys a busy life that includes her husband and two adult children. After retiring from her career in nursing, Janis enthusiastically embarked upon her new endeavor as a real estate agent – seeing the common factor that “both are people-oriented jobs.” Seeking to make positive changes in other areas of her life, Janis also became involved in body building. But what she expected to result in improved fitness and well-being coincided with a sudden loss of hair.
Janis reacted the same as most people experiencing the early stages of hair loss. She bought over-the-counter treatments and nutritional supplements that promote healthy hair, but nothing worked. Her hair continued falling out for no apparent reason. She didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs – baldness being among the many serious side-effects of anabolic steroids – or supplements containing exotic, unproven ingredients. For a woman who prided herself on successfully taking on any challenge, watching her hair become increasingly sparse and wispy was an upsetting, frustrating experience.
Wearing ball caps became Janis’ go-to solution for concealing her thinning hair and bald patches. She tried fluffing up her remaining hair, which only succeeded in making the bald areas more conspicuous. Taking the opposite approach, Janis then combed her hair flat, but the effect was similar to that of the much-ridiculed male “comb-over,” and easily undone when the wind picked up. Another cruel blow to Janis’ self-image was giving up her black hair coloring, as it only created a greater contrast against her increasingly visible scalp.
After about six years of Janis’ solo battle against hair loss, the situation was getting worse. When people started asking if she’d been on chemotherapy, she knew she needed help.
Like many women, Janis associated hair restoration with transplants – especially the old-school “plugs.” But a lunch at The Pavilion at Port Orange gave her hope for the possibility of effective treatment. An advertising poster for Tempus Hair Restoration was on display at the shopping complex, leading Janis to ask herself if this could be the solution she had long hoped for.
“I didn’t like the idea of a hair transplant, but wanted to learn my options,” Janis said.
Janis scheduled a free consultation with Dr. Barusco, and was quickly put at ease by him and everyone she met in his practice. “They anticipated my unhappiness and embarrassment,” said Janis. “I was very self-conscious about it.”
Dr. Barusco performed a biopsy to rule out an autoimmune disorder. The result was negative, and his diagnosis of androgenic alopecia opened a treatment plan combining non-surgical treatment, pills, topical medication and laser therapy utilizing the CapillusRX™ laser therapy cap. For this, Dr. Barusco is recognized as an innovative leader.
“For hair loss, usually a combination of treatments works better than monotherapy,” Dr. Barusco said. “The combination provides the optimal environment for the hairs to be both protected against damage and stimulated to grow stronger and thicker. But the treatments must be decided based on each patient’s situation and guided by many factors, so it is important to be counseled by a physician who understands hair loss.”
Treatment and follow-up
Janis described her non-surgical treatment as a painless procedure performed under local anesthesia that took from two to three hours. Follow-up treatment included laser therapy, which she still receives in-office three days weekly.
As her hair gradually began to grow back, Janis felt renewed optimism for a successful outcome. No longer would she feel embarrassed by bald patches – such as the time her husband mentioned he noticed two large areas on the back of her head, which she couldn’t see.
With Dr. Barusco constantly monitoring her progress, Janis showed remarkable improvement over the course of one year.
Janis even has a new hair color of choice – a trendy icy white shade that expresses her ever-youthful outlook and joy from again having a full head of healthy hair.
A lift in spirits
Although Janis had maintained her characteristic upbeat attitude throughout the challenges of her hair loss, Dr. Barusco noticed a lift in her spirits with the regrowth.
“I think that she has even more of a sparkle in her eyes now,” Dr. Barusco said. “She has always been, to me, a very positive, kind and bubbly person, but I think that now she is happier.”
Dr. Barusco and Janis expect to see further improvements. Dr. Barusco stresses the importance of maintenance treatment to experience the best, most long-lasting results after any hair restoration procedure.
“Women really don’t come out and talk about hair loss,” said Janis. “A lot of women have little tricks to hide it, like hats, wigs and ball caps. Hair loss is very concerning to women, more so than men.”
Dr. Barusco’s perspective
Janis learned that women no longer have to suffer in silence and feel isolated over hair loss.
Dr. Barusco offered his valuable insights, gained through years of experience in treating female patients.
“Women lose hair just as men do. Certainly, for women there is more of a stigma about hair loss. A woman with thin or thinning hair may become depressed, withdrawn and may start to shy away from people. So psychologically, it can severely impact their social and professional lives, particularly when the hair loss happens when they are very young.
“In women, particularly, it is very important that a full medical history is obtained, as often their hair loss is a consequence of other problems – such as thyroid disease, rapid weight loss, stress, childbirth, etc. If the underlying cause of the hair loss is not identified and treated as well, their response to treatment may be poor. On the flipside, when we are able to improve their hair, they are the happiest, and become big advocates to other women.
“The main point to drive home is that the earlier we can start treatment, the more hair we will save, and the better the outcome, both short and long-term. So it is important that women understand that this is nothing to be ashamed of, and that there are very effective solutions for treatment. But they have to take the first step, which is a consultation.”
Taking that first step
If you are a woman experiencing hair loss, trying to diagnose and treat yourself will only delay the treatment that can prevent further loss. You are invited to learn more about the innovative surgical and non-surgical hair restoration procedures that Dr. Barusco offers at Tempus Hair Restoration – as well as schedule your free consultation. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your options.