Who can you trust for advice about your hair?

It happens to everyone who is worried about hair; you start to see some loss in the shower or when you brush your hair and you panic.  You panic because hair loss is not just a medical issue; it is much more emotional than many other medical conditions.  People wonder, “How could hair loss happen to me?”

The next step is almost always the Internet where you learn that

1)     You are (thankfully) not alone and…

2)     Everyone wants to sell you something.

Follow The Money!

It is true.  The hair loss industry accounts for billions of dollars (that is BILLIONS with a “B”) because, let’s face it – most people would pay anything to get their hair back.  Everyone knows this, and that is why so many folks on the Internet are trying to take emotional advantage on the situation.  In this kind of environment – whom can you trust for good advice?  Here are suggestions for a few quality forums where you can get your answers without having to spend a penny.

1)     International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (www.ishrs.org).  This is the organization for doctors who specialize in hair medicine and hair restoration surgery.  When you look good and are pleased about your hair – they look good.  Plus, after decades of dealing with the baggage left over from the old days of “plugs” and “flaps,” they have a vested interest in improving the industry’s standards.  They have also recently gained representation in the American Medical Association (with its high bar for ethical standards) and are the only source for pro bono hair surgery.

2)     American Board for Hair Restoration Surgery (www.abhrs.org).  If a doctor is serious about expertise in hair transplant surgery, they can apply to take the oral and written exam offered by the ABHRS.  It is offered yearly in the United States and can also be taken at varying locations throughout the world, but eligibility must be proven with at least 50 cases, before and after photographs, and training, not to mention letters of recommendation from fellow hair surgeons.  Because the requirements are so rigorous, only about a hundred hair doctors worldwide have elected to take the exam and passed.  For a patient who is looking for a dedicated and proven hair doctor, this is a potent indication of a physician’s dedication to the art of hair transplantation.

3)     International Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons (www.iahrs.org), the Women’s Hair Loss Project (www.womenshairlossproject.com), and the American Hair Loss Association (www.americanhairloss.org).  These are organizations that provide forums for patients to discuss their hair loss and share stories, resources, and support one another as they deal with hair loss.  Some, like the IAHRS, will recommend surgeons who have met their own standards for quality in addition to paying a membership fee.  Others like the American Hair Loss Association and the Women’s Hair Loss Project simply provide information and support for hair loss sufferers.  A recent evaluation by Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org) in May 2010 also noted the IAHRS and the AHLA as sources for information regarding the claims of various hair remedies.

While information from these latter sources is by no means definitive (i.e. they are not written by doctors unless they are the ISHRS or ABHRS), and other hair loss forums exist, these are a much better beginning for your hair loss information search than clicking on a banner ad from Yahoo.  Be discerning in your search for information.  Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Finally, checking with your doctor, particularly one with interest and special training in hair loss, is one of the best moves you can make to find trustworthy sources of information.

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