Some of you were nice enough to say kind things about my appearance in this photograph taken during the conference I attended at the Business Innovation Factory in Providence, Rhode Island a couple of weeks ago.
If you have been reading TGB for awhile, you know that I'm losing large amounts of hair at the crown and top of my head and after a lot of (futile) research into regrowing hair (nothing works), I've adopted hats as my solution for the foreseeable future.
Last week, at my annual vision checkup, I spotted an advertisement on a shelf for Latisse, the prescription drug that grows eyelashes. You may recall that four or five years ago, actor Brooke Shields was the spokesperson for the product in television commercials. Later, actor Claire Danes took her place:
I mentioned to my eye doctor that if we can regrow eyelashes, we ought to be able to regrow hair on our heads with the same method and it seems odd to me that no one is talking about using or adapting Latisse for that purpose.
He said there are researchers hard at work on that so I checked around the internet. At least one person whose hair is thinning has tried Latisse on his head:
“'I just put three or four drops on each side of my temple once a day,' said Mr. [Richard] Paduda, 32, an insurance worker from Boca Raton, Fla. 'The hair in that area, which was real thin and wispy — all those hairs got thick again, dark,” he told The New York Times in 2011.
That is what is called an "off label" use and although not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), nothing prevents physicians from prescribing Latisse for hair loss treatment.
Dr. Alan Bauman has been prescribing bimatoprost, the generic form of the active ingredient in Latisse, to his patients. He says it has regrown hair in 70 percent of his cases:
“'What we found is that where patients were applying Latisse, especially in areas where the hair was thinner and wispier and less pigmented, the hair grew thicker, stronger and healthier,' he said.
"Though some users of Latisse have experienced skin discoloration, Dr. Bauman said he had never seen any such reaction on the scalp of his patients."
Richard Paduda liked the results but stopped using Latisse after several months because it was too expensive – up to $150 a month and that's only in the small amounts needed for eyelash growth.
Dr. Bauman says his patients have had no side effects but the Mayo Clinic and other medical websites list these difficulties with Latisse:
• Itchy, red eyes
• Dry eyes
• Darkened eyelids
• Darkened brown pigmentation in the colored part of the eye (iris)
• Hair growth around the eyes if the medication regularly runs or drips off the eyelids
I suppose those are relatively minor problems, especially on a head, for anyone who hates his/her baldness and the last one would be a definite plus (but it makes me giggle to think about hair surrounding a person's eyes. Werewolf, anyone?
Dr. Bauman's stated results notwithstanding, according to The Times, neither Latisse nor bimatoprost, is the answer to baldness. The treatment
”...can strengthen and darken hair that grows from a dying follicle, but none can bring a dead one back to life. The result is an enhanced, refortified hairline rather than a brand new head of hair.”
Well, damn. Until I can get over my aversion to walking around with my bald head hanging out in public, I'm stuck with hats.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Roberta Teller: Age Never Mattered to Me Until Now