Pulse: Health: My Hair-Raising Adventure

Hair loss isn’t just a problem for men. It’s a major issue for women, too

A month later, I returned for the full-day procedure, made painless by Novocain injections in my scalp and a small dose of Valium. He cut out a long swath of hair across the back of my head (which quickly grew back) and separated it into tiny two- or three-follicle grafts, which he placed around my hairline. Aside from some swelling, I had only mild discomfort, and seven months later, my new hair has grown in and looks as if it’s been there forever. The procedure costs from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on the area to be covered.

Gloria Harrelson at Images Hair Studio in Jenkintown specializes in a less costly procedure called tech hair volumizing, a process that gently knots strands of synthetic hair to the client’s own tresses. She charges $250 an hour for what is typically a two-hour procedure. And at the Pierre & Carlo salon in Center City, Elline Surianello hand-ties her custom-designed, real-looking hair pieces into your own sparse supply at a cost of $1,800 to $3,800, plus periodic maintenance fees.

While cosmetic hair attachments can be satisfying camouflage, Cotsarelis cautions that you should avoid tight hair weaves and heavy extensions attached with glue, because they can damage and destroy healthy follicles. He’s optimistic that in the next 10 years, we’ll see better topical drugs for hair loss, as well as permanent solutions, like hair cloning, currently in early clinical trials. With them will come assurance that what’s hair today won’t be gone tomorrow.