Cole Whitaker is trying to get back what he's been losing for over 10 years. Every month, he goes to Dr. David Kyle's medical spa in Tulare to get laser hair restoration treatment which starts with high-tech pictures of his scalp.
But it took someone else to notice what Cole ignored for so long. Before he got married last year the wedding photographer offered to fill in the blanks.
"He went back and had to re-touch every one of the photos of my head and had to add hair for me," recalls Cole.
At that moment, Cole knew he had to save what he had left. "That was just something I couldn't control and it is traumatic."
For as long as men have been losing their hair they've been looking for ways to restore it. Many turn to prescription creams and pills, but doctors say those can cause serious side effects.
That motivated Dr. Kyle to look into an alternative laser treatment that he says, is simple, painless and gets results. In fact, he tried it himself.
This is what his hairline looked like, just months ago. Dr. Kyle, DO Medical Spa Physician, says "I look in the mirror and I can see where there used to be skin there's now hair."
The hair restoration process is as simple as sitting underneath the machine which looks much like an old-fashioned hair dryer. In 20 minutes, a patient's session is complete.
Cole says he can even work on his laptop while he's getting the treatment.
The machine uses a "cold" laser light to stimulate the blood flow around the hair follicle which encourages growth.
Dr. Kyle says these before and after pictures show the dramatic results.
A year-long treatment plan is recommended, with a total package cost of about $5,000. And unlike some drug treatments doctors say the laser is suited for both men and women.
Fresno Dermatologist, Kathleen Behr helps her patients find ways to restore their hair. She says for women, hair loss is especially traumatic. "It's less accepted in our society for women not to have hair."
Dr. Behr says the hair restoration laser shows much promise but it's still new. "We don't know all the long-term consequences of it, although it's a very specific wavelength of light not in the area that usually causes skin cancer and other things."
Doctors say the key to success with any hair restoration process is to address the problem early and to expect improvement but not miracles. "When the hair follicles are gone it will not put new hair follicles in but the sooner you start treatment, the more hair follicles you have to simulate into a growth phase."
Cole says he's happy with his thicker hair that now, matches those touched up wedding pictures. "It worked, it really did," says Cole.
The cold laser technology was first used to treat diabetic ulcers but doctors saw an unexpected side effect: hair began to grow where the laser was used. So the laser was adapted for hair restoration which the Food and Drug Administration has approved.