Keratin is used in many products designed to enhance the appearance of hair. This is because keratin protein is the key structural material of hair, nails and skin. Keratin fibers, often from wool, can be sprinkled on thinning hair to help cover up the scalp and give the hair a fuller appearance. How does this differ from a hair transplant, and can keratin fibers be a substitute for a hair transplant?
A hair transplant involves moving hair from a thicker part of the scalp to the thinning areas. It is a surgical procedure done while seated comfortably, using local anesthetic.
Keratin fibers attach to the existing hair using a static electrical charge (similar to a weak magnet). They will not stain, smear or run, and they resist perspiration, wind and rain. They stay in the hair until the next shampoo, which is 1 to 3 days for most adults.
A hair transplant lasts a lifetime. In the case of male pattern balding, the “donor” hair is taken from the back and sides of the head, which are not subject to >Continue reading Can Keratin Fibers Substitute for a Hair Transplant?” />falling out. These hair follicles will not shrink and lose their hairs.
Issues: Time and Convenience
Keratin fibers need to be applied to dry hair after shampooing, as part of the styling process. If you are in a hurry, you can blow dry your hair first to save time. An experienced user can apply keratin fibers in 1 to 3 minutes. The results are instant, but the keratin fibers must be re-applied after every shampooing, which could be 2 to 7 times per week.
A hair transplant takes just a few hours to complete, and you can go back to most normal activities the next day. The transplanted hair starts to grow in 2 – 6 months, with full growth in 10 – 12 months; this process is accelerated by taking Dr. Shaprio’s Help Hair products, especially the Help Hair Shake, as directed after the transplant (grows in 6 weeks – 2 months).
Transplanted hair needs no additional care. It is your own hair, so you simply shampoo, condition and style as usual.
Depending on how much keratin fiber you need to cover balding or thinning areas, and how frequently you need to re-apply, you can expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars a year on the product. Accessories such as spray applicators, and additional products like holding sprays also add up. The lifetime cost runs several thousand dollars.
A hair transplant costs several thousand dollars, and some hair loss surgeons such as Dr. Shapiro in South Florida offer interest-free financing. You pay once to keep the hair in place for the rest of your life.
Issue: Amount of Existing Hair
If an area of your scalp is actually hairless, Keratin fiber cannot help that area. Keratin fiber attaches to existing hair. If there is no hair, Keratin won’t stick. If you don’t have much hair left in a balding area, you may need to use a lot of Keratin, to the point that it starts to look unnatural.
A hair transplant does not require that you have hair in the target area. If you have an area on the scalp that is totally hairless, no problem. The transplanted hair will be able to start filling in the area.
Issue: Natural Look
Keratin occurs naturally in your hair, but you were not born with loose fibers in your hair. Television, video and still cameras are usually quite forgiving. The real test is to actually see keratin fiber, artfully applied to the hair, at close range.
A typical hair transplant is your own natural hair moved from one part of the scalp to the other. A modern hair transplant surgeon uses special blades, small bundles of hair, and exquisite skill to create a randomly-appearing natural-looking scalp. Old-fashioned “plugs” of hair in rows are a thing of the past.
A Hybrid Approach
Keratin fiber can be useful for those who want to deal with hair loss immediately, but are still looking into their options. For example, keratin fiber can be used while researching whether a hair transplant, medications, or other treatments would be best in your situation. Keratin fiber can also be used judiciously, with doctor permission, after a hair transplant to create a fuller look until the transplanted hair grows in.
There is no substitute for a hair transplant. A hair transplant needs no special daily maintenance, and it won’t fall out or be washed away by shampoo. It is your own hair and is virtually indistinguishable from a natural hairline, when done skillfully.
Before You Start
Remember that there are many reasons for hair loss. Before trying any treatment or cosmetic approach to dealing with hair loss, see a doctor, dermatologist or hair loss physician for a diagnosis. What may look like a routine case of male pattern balding or female thinning could indicate a correctable hormonal problem or serious medical problem. Disguising hair loss with keratin fiber before discovering the real reason for the hair loss can be dangerous.