Don’t Recede Into the Background… Stay Ahead of the Hair Restoration Curve
Where hair restoration all began and where we're headed now...
The first truly remarkable recorded instances of surgical hair restoration took place in the late 1930's. It was at this time that a highly experimental Japanese surgeon by the name of Dr. Shojui Okuda determined the viability of grafting small segments of existing hair onto patches of burn victim's skin. Okuda was essentially using a hole-punch device to transfer fairly sizeable chunks of skin and hair between various parts of the body. Despite his moderate success, it's undeniably a pleasure to state that the hair restoration and grafting industry has come a long way since then.
Modern practices for hair restoration involve robotics, cell cloning, follicular excision, and a smattering of other technology developments that are quickly filling in all of the hairless gaps across the globe. While finding a cure for baldness is still likely a long way away, solutions for cosmetically side-stepping the issue are rapidly evolving. And the market for hair restoration treatments is expected to continue expanding as male cosmetic markets grow and consumers of all genders become more willing to experiment with newer, modernized techniques.
What to expect in 2019?
FUT to FUE
Over the past few years, the hair restoration industry has seen a rise of FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) over the more traditional FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation). While both methods are still often seen as equally viable, the former is gaining popularity because of the decreased noticeability of the loss from the harvested areas. It's also seen as a fairly more precise procedure that is becoming even more so due to modern technological advances in treatment devices and robotics. Ultimately, FUE leans further toward the growing general aesthetic industry trend of diminishing invasiveness, downtime, scarring, and all of the other typical negative factors typically associated with surgical procedures.
By extracting individual follicular units rather than "patches" of hair, FUE offers increased precision, faster healing times, and practically no scarring. Until recently, FUT was the preferred method for hair restoration in situations where the patient required larger transplantation areas or where cost was a factor. As we proceed into 2019, however, advances in FUE treatment technologies will likely eliminate most of that cost disparity and make it the number one transplantation method regardless of the patient's circumstances.
As of early 2018, the name for Follicular Unit Extraction was officially changed to Follicular Unit Excision by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). To the average patient, this name change probably doesn't make much of difference. However, it demonstrates an industry-wide recognition of the developments taking place involving this procedure. By switching "extraction" with "excision", the procedure takes on a subtle, and yet powerful new air of precision and honesty about the surgical aspects involved.
The ARTAS Robotic Procedure is widely recognized as the top of the line treatment device for mechanically assisted FUE. It's incredibly precise, efficient, and relatively easy to use, opening new doors to aesthetic practices hoping to offer state-of-the-art transplantation methods. This new tech leads to less pain and recovery time for the patients, decreased episodes of fatigue or errors for the surgeons, and a faster and more effective overall FUE procedure.
The ARTAS is opening up doors toward more advanced forms of cosmetic procedures that involve in-depth computer imaging, A.I. (artificial intelligence), and previously unavailable fine-motor assistance. In practically every corner of the aesthetics market, tech is leading consumers and practitioners to a future of increased precision, minimized pain and recovery time, and better overall outcomes.
On another end of the hair restoration spectrum lies the ongoing advancements in biotech, namely those in hair cloning. To be sure, this process isn't actually "cloning" per se. It also should be noted that this approach is still very much in its infancy, however, its potential to disrupt the entire industry is tremendous.
Hair cloning actually relies on follicular units that have been extracted or excised via robotic-based FUE procedures. It then involves taking healthy cellular pieces out of those units and placing them into a petri dish of existing cells. The replicated cells with new components are subsequently injected into the problem areas on the patient's body.
With this type of procedure, the healthy cellular components extracted through FUE can actually be kept frozen for future use. This means it's entirely viable for patients to undergo the initial process if they know or predict that they are likely to become bald at a later time. This also falls in line with the ongoing aesthetics industry trend of choosing preventative over reactive treatment types.
Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)
Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is quickly becoming a go-to procedure for those hoping to avoid surgery while still receiving semi-permanent results. The process is akin to tattooing, in which a needled-device is used to inject pigment directly into areas of the scalp. The most common candidates for this treatment are men with closely-shaven hair or with areas of the hairline that can be corrected without the need to add length.
Much like robotic-based FUE procedures, computerized machines are utilized during SMP treatments to ensure complete, balanced, and accurate administration of the pigment. Again, this falls in line with the aesthetic device manufacturing trends that focus on non-invasive and less expensive alternatives to surgery. And due to the non-surgical nature of SMP, it's quickly becoming a go to for MedSpas and other forms of cosmetic practices that were previously unable to deliver hair restoration options.
Another non-surgical hair restoration trend to look out for involves a recent amplification of the use of Minoxidil-based over-the-counter treatments. Newer brands targeting a younger, more millennial male (and female) audience have been popping up with modified versions of Minoxidil creams, ointments, and dyes.
This market movement corresponds to the growing audience of younger males that are becoming interested in preventing hair loss or treating it in much earlier stages of its gradual life-long progression. It also touches on an increased desire for patients (both male and female) to treat hair loss in areas of the body or face, including eyebrows, beards, or even eyelashes. And in order to provide the full spectrum of treatment options and to maintain a competitive edge, many MedSpas and other forms of practices are offering these over-the-counter products from their offices.
Better Tools for Marketing Hair Restoration Treatments
As the industry continues to develop, it's becoming slightly easier to navigate hair restoration from a marketing perspective. Still, most would-be patients maintain an unsavory view of surgical hair treatments due to the less-than-appealing outcomes of many older and now outdated procedures. That's why it's important to use every tool at your disposal to reach a larger audience in new, exciting, and innovative ways.
At New Look Now, we're focusing on providing aesthetic practices of every type with high-end predictive imaging technology. Our goal is to optimize and streamline your marketing efforts while providing your prospective patients with an engaging and educational tool for "trying on" potential treatment options. With our advanced treatment simulations, you can show your patients incredibly accurate depictions of how they could look after undergoing specific types of procedures. Patients can try on procedures in the comfort of their own homes or in your offices during events or consultations.
New Look Now's predictive imaging technology can be used throughout your existing and future marketing endeavors and has been proven to generate more leads, improve consultation-to-appointment conversion rates, and increase total practice revenue. You can contact Ashton Leavitt, our Senior Sales Executive, to discuss your options for implementing our predictive imagine tech in your latest marketing strategies. Or, simply leave us your info and we'll get back to you to as soon as possible.