That said, hair loss isn't as bad or as hopeless as it sounds. It shouldn't be cause for added personal stress or social stigma, nor should it be something that should make us feel more self-conscious and less confident as individuals. With the advances in technology, you don't have to be saddled anymore with the uncomfortable choice of wearing an ill-fitting, unnatural-looking hairpiece. There is now a wide array of options available to treat and cure hair loss, whether temporary or permanent.
The follicles on the sides of the scalp are more genetically resistant to DHT, which is why male pattern baldness often results in a “crown” of hair. But its downsides are serious. “With women, finasteride is not an option,” says Dr. Wolfeld. “It’s not FDA-approved for women to take, so we don’t prescribe it.” In fact, due to the drug’s effect on hormone levels, pregnant women are advised to not even touch broken or crushed tablets.
Initially used to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil was the first medication approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness. By applying Rogaine (or a generic version) directly to the scalp twice a day, a man in the early stages of hair loss can often stimulate growth. The American Hair Loss Association points out that results of treatment with minoxidil are limited, but it still endorses using it in combination with other treatments or as an alternative if finasteride doesn't work.
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Hair transplantation is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. A surgeon will move healthy hair from the back and sides of the head to areas of thinning. The procedure can take between four and eight hours, and additional sessions can be carried out to make hair even thicker. Transplanted hair falls out within a few weeks, but regrows permanently within months. Hair transplants, takes tiny plugs of skin, each which contains a few hairs, and implants the plugs into bald sections. The plugs are generally taken from the back or sides of the scalp. Several transplant sessions may be necessary.
Traction alopecia - certain hairstyles such as when you pull on your hair tightly can cause scarring of the hair follicles. If pulling is stopped before scarring to the scalp then your hair will grow back normally. Nervous habits such as continual hair pulling or scalp rubbing can also cause scarring and ultimately permanent hair loss. Excessive shampooing and blow-drying can also cause hair loss.
In fact, hair loss cures and treatments are a dime a dozen. There are cures that are designed for temporary hair loss conditions, and others more are available for permanent cases. It's also important to note that some of these cures are specific to the cause and the type of hair loss, and other treatments don't apply for other cases such as pattern balding. We've listed them all the same in order to give you a good idea of the breadth of choices available.
Finasteride, also known as the brand name Propecia, is a pill that is FDA approved to prevent hair loss. But don’t confuse this for being a miracle cure for baldness. There’s no such thing as a magical cure that stops male pattern baldness. However, finasteride can be an effective way to prevent your hair from thinning because it prohibits the conversion of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is a powerful hormone that causes hair follicles to miniaturize and eventually stop growing hair. You get this benefit as long as you take it properly and consistently as prescribed by your doctor.
Rogaine’s foam squirts out just like hair mousse and is applied with “cool, dry hands.” Applying means working the foam down to the scalp where you want to see thicker growth — for it to work, “it has to get into your scalp,” Dr. Wolfeld explains. “If it sits on your hair, it’s not really as effective.” Once massaged, it dissolves into a watery liquid that leaves a tingly sensation, “but no burning!” one of our balding testers was happy to discover.
That said, there are products that don’t have FDA approval or clearance, but may help prevent hair loss. For example, shampoos with ketoconazole, a chemical with anti-DHT properties, is widely used to treat fungal infections but has become popular among consumers as a hair loss treatment. It makes sense — research shows that ketoconazole actually has beneficial effects on hair growth (especially for those with seborrheic dermatitis).
Men’s Rogaine Extra Strength Solution is the liquid version of our top pick. It didn’t make our final cut because it includes propylene glycol, which causes irritation in roughly one-third of its users. With that said, Dr. Wolfeld finds that it can be even more effective in practical daily use. In his experience, “the solution can penetrate and get into your scalp a little bit better” than the foam — especially if you’re not taking the time and effort to apply the foam correctly. This seems crazy to us since the foam so quickly dissolved into a liquid in our tests, but if you’re worried, try a one-month supply of the liquid and make the switch to foam if you notice any irritation.
Tinea is the medical word for fungal infection, and capitis means head. Tinea capitis is fungal infection of the scalp that for the most part affects school-age children. Tinea capitis is more common in black African or African-American scalps. This condition is rare in healthy adults. Bald spots usually show broken-off hairs accompanied by a dermatitis. Oral antifungals can penetrate the hair roots and cure the infection, after which hair grows back. Sharing hats or combs and brushes may transmit tinea capitis.
Other causes for hair loss or hair thinning can be stress, illness, poor diet, hormone imbalance or your body going into shock. Certain diseases and intensive medical treatment such as chemotherapy are also likely to result in hair loss, but it is best to consult your GP if you go bald at an alarmingly fast rate, especially if you have no family history of male pattern baldness.
There is no hard and fast answer. With Regaine Extra Strength results may be seen after 8 weeks. Clinical studies have shown that for Regaine Regular Strength or Regaine Gel for men regrowth can occur as early as 16 weeks. But remember that everyone is different so you need to be patient. Studies suggest that Regaine should be tried for 6-12 months before deciding whether to continue.