What is the HAIRCHECK test? This video shows how it is done. It was edited to show the various step quickly (less than 1 minute). Although we only measured three areas on this man’s head, we can measure more regions, which may be important as early balding may show in the top of the head, but not in the front or crown. In this case, we add measurements as needed. We use a 4-pronged temporary tattoo stamp which marks an area 3/4 inch square. All of the hair inside of that area is then gathered up and placed inside the HAIRCHECK instrument. Once inside the instrument, it is squeezed so that the bulk of the hair inside this 3/4 inch area is measured digitally. Each area get a ‘number’ reading. These readings are compared. The normal level for each person is the number that is measured in the back of the head (the area we called the ‘permanent zone’ or the donor area where hair from a hair transplant is usually taken from). This ‘permanent zone’ is a unique area in all men, because it is NEVER impacted by genetic balding so whatever that number appears for this area, that number is the base line where all other areas are compared. In this particular young man, he is clearly not balding because the number reading in each area reads 120, 125 and 120 (this last reading is in the permanent zone). A human error might occur in the 10% range. but I have found over the years that the donor area correlated to the changes in the balding patterns that we see. It helps me in determining the effectiveness of treatment. It is a wonderful test to (1) map out the balding as it occurs over years, (2) to judge the effectiveness of the medications we use such as minoxidil or finasteride and (3) to help patients plan for future hair loss, possibly even a hair transplant if the balding ramps up.
Here is an example of a 19 year old who felt he was balding but needed confirmation because his parents didn’t believe him. Looking at him you can see why, but the HAIRCHECK test confirmed that he was balding. I worked out a Master Plan with him for his short and long term future. For now it would be the drug finasteride, in the future, if the balding developed significantly, a hair transplant may be something he should think about. The value of this test is that he can repeat it every year and see if he is gaining on his hair loss with whatever treatment he is using, or losing ground and if he is losing ground, how fast that is happening. The first visit to our office is free and that includes a HAIRCHECK test as well as the production of a Master Plan with each patient and a prescription for what you may need. Yearly HAIRCHECK tests are critical in controlling this process as much as possible and being smart about it as well. See his photos here.