“The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The root cause of this type of hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone that shrinks certain hair follicles until they eventually stop producing hair.
There’s no cure for baldness, but there are ways to hold on to what you've got. The six dermatologists and the clinical studies point to three methods: minoxidil, laser treatments, and prescription finasteride. The key is finding the combination and hair loss regimen that works for you. A doctor is your best bet for that kind of guidance — but we found a few trustworthy products that will work for most people.
"There's never been a single study to show they work," Bernstein says of the alternative remedies. "It's conceivable that some might have some minor impact. But the real problem is that people waste valuable time experimenting with them when they'd be much better off spending their money on something proven to work. The window for Propecia passes, and if you've spent two years with this herbal thing instead, that can make a big difference in the results you ultimately get."
Retin-A, or topical tretinoin, is sometimes used as a combination therapy with minoxidil for androgenic alopecia. It’s important to use this type of medication under the guidance of your doctor. In some circumstances, tretinoin can actually cause hair loss. Some people who have used it at home report that topical retinol creams, serums, and lotions may make hair loss worse.
The third and fourth stages are known as telogen and exogen, respectively. In telogen, the hair is supposed to be at "rest" until it finally detaches itself from the follicle and enters the exogen or shedding stage. Once the hair is detached from the follicle, the follicle remains inactive for about three months, after which a new cycle begins again.
The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day, docs used plugs that resembled cornrows (definitely not natural looking). Today, guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
Just as pregnancy hormone changes can cause hair loss, so can switching or going off birth-control pills. This can also cause telogen effluvium, and it may be more likely if you have a family history of hair loss. The change in the hormonal balance that occurs at menopause may also have the same result. “The androgen (male hormone) receptors on the scalp becoming activated,” explains Mark Hammonds, MD, a dermatologist with Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas. “The hair follicles will miniaturize and then you start to lose more hair.”
This is a short-term cure, applied while waiting for hair to grow, and therefore recommended for those with a mild to medium case of hair loss. In addition to being non-invasive, hair concealers and hair fibers are instant and affordable. Like wigs and hairpieces, they are used to effectively cover up balding spots while not getting in the way of growing hair. Compared to wigs, however, they are more natural looking and blend well with your natural hair, therefore drawing less attention when you're out in public.
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Topical creams and lotions: Over-the-counter minoxidil (also known as the brand name Rogaine) can restore some hair growth, especially in those with hereditary hair loss. It is applied directly to the scalp. Prescription-strength finasteride (Propecia) comes in pill form and is only for men. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AFP), it may take up to six months to tell if these medications are working.
As with transplants, the word toupee conjures an outdated and disagreeable image. The 70s-style rugs have mostly been traded in for spiffier "hair replacement systems." But the basic concept -- a foreign object atop your head -- can only evolve so far. Of course, the effectiveness of hairpieces is tough to evaluate. You may spot an awful one now and then, but the ones you do spot are just the awful ones. Who knows how many masterpieces slip undetected under the radar?
If your doctor recommends it, a product like minoxidil can increase hair growth in male- and female-pattern baldness. Alopecia areata can be helped by treatment with corticosteroid creams or injections on the scalp. If your doctor thinks that nutritional deficiencies are causing your hair loss, he or she might refer you to a dietitian or other nutrition expert.
It will be a mistake if lack of volume does not appear on the list of common hair problems. Happening for both men and women, lack of volume can be the factor that destroys one’s hair and affects his or her look. There are plenty of reasons leading to the lack of volume of flat hair, including thyroid problems, hormone-related conditions, low iron levels, and nutrition. It is believed that the wrong shampoo or inappropriate conditioner can make your hair too heavy and result in lack of volume. Sometimes, product build-up can be the hidden causes for most of the common hair problems, including lack of volume.
These are the best hair supplement pills I've tried (and I've tried a lot). My hair gets greasier faster so I can tell it's helping to nourish and produce healthy oils at the root. I have definitely noticed faster hair growth when I'm using this product vs when I'm not. I actually only do 1 pill per day instead of the 3 (to save money) and it still works well.
While the drug is generally safe for use, some possible side effects are mild irritation of the scalp, dryness and growth of hair on some parts of the body, especially the sides of the face and hands. In some cases, you might observe some increased hair loss around the first few days of use. If the hair fall continues after two weeks upon application of minoxidil, stop the treatment first and see a doctor.
Contact immunotherapy. Another drug that can be administered for cases of alopecia areata is contact immunotherapy and is recommended for severe cases. Diphenylcyclopropenon (DPCP) is applied on the scalp every week, and the dosage of the drug is increased over time until a mild allergic reaction is observed, which signals that the drug is taking effect. Regrowth may be observed within three months from the beginning of treatment.
Finally, if these tests come back normal, your dermatologist may suggest a scalp biopsy of a couple of two-millimeter sections taken from your scalp under local anesthesia ($400 and up). It can determine whether genetic hair loss, telogen effluvium (a condition in which hair falls out from stress or rapid weight gain), or a disease (such as lupus) is the cause of your shedding, and your dermatologist can treat you accordingly.
2. A strategic cut. Long, layer-free haircuts divert volume from the roots, making your part seem wider than it is, Scrivo says. Going shorter (than your current length — no need for a major chop) helps take weight off so hair can look fuller and bouncier. And layers that angle inward on the sides will build height and body at the crown. If you’re game to try bangs, Scrivo says, they lessen the amount of scalp that shows at the hairline.
Minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil is one of the most common and popular forms of medication for hair loss, particularly pattern baldness, but also generally used in cases of alopecia areata. It is an over-the-counter drug that comes in either liquid or foam form and is applied on the scalp, particularly on the bald patches, to promote hair growth and stop further hair loss.
Finasteride and minoxidil (for men) and minoxidil (for women) have the best level of evidence for medicines used to treat inherited hair loss.footnote 1, footnote 2 How well finasteride or minoxidil works depends on your age and the location of the hair loss. These medicines don't work for everyone, and you should not expect to regrow a full head of hair.
Thinning hair in women is worth investigating for more than its impact on physical appearance. While many conditions that lead to temporary hair loss will go away without treatment or with simple lifestyle measures, others may be signs of potentially irreversible loss or health conditions. Others yet may respond well to treatments to promote regrowth, so starting sooner rather than later is key.
The only nonchemical option offered up by the dermatologists I spoke with — short of a surgical hair transplant or platelet-rich plasma therapy, which is like Kim Kardashian’s vampire facial but for your scalp — was the laser comb. First cleared by the FDA in 2009, the HairMax LaserComb is a handheld laser device that is designed to promote hair growth. As the manufacturer explains in a letter to the FDA, “The device provides distributed laser light to the scalp while the comb teeth simultaneously part the user’s hair to ensure the laser light reaches the user’s scalp,” which, in turn, stimulates the hair follicles.
“For hair loss, I routinely recommend multiple vitamins, and especially evening primrose oil. If there’s any sex pattern to it — if a woman is losing hair in partly a male pattern – -then, the problem is there is excessive conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) at the level of the hair follicle. Evening primrose oil is an inhibitor of that conversion. So almost anybody with hair loss probably will benefit from evening primrose oil.”
Women with androgenic alopecia may consider trying prescription ketoconazole at a strength of 2 percent. This drug comes in the form of a shampoo and also goes by the name Nizoral. It’s an antifungal agent and may help reduce the body’s production of testosterone and other androgens that lead to hair loss. You can also find 1 percent strength at your local pharmacy, but it may not be as effective.
Every part of the body requires thyroid hormone for proper functioning, and that includes the hair follicles. In 2008, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism presented the first evidence that human hair follicles are direct targets of thyroid hormones. This research demonstrated that the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 modulate multiple hair biology parameters from cycling to pigmentation.
An unhealthy scalp environment can play a significant role in hair thinning by contributing to miniaturization or causing damage. Air and water pollutants, environmental toxins, conventional styling products and excessive amounts of sebum have the potential to build up on the scalp.. This debris can block hair follicles and cause their deterioration and consequent miniaturization of hair.. It can also physically restrict hair growth or damage the hair cuticle, leading to hair that is weakened and easily broken off before its natural lifecycle has ended.
Hair multiplication. Similar to the idea of cloning, this treatment involves taking out donor cells from the hair follicles and then growing and multiplying them in a laboratory. Once sufficient samples have been multiplied, these hair cells are then injected into the bald patches to stimulate hair growth. As a relatively new treatment, hair cloning is still in its research phase.
That meant new products like Hims and Keeps were out.Hims and Keeps are relatively new companies that allow you to set up a subscription for hair loss treatments. Both offer finasteride (after an online consultation with a doctor) or 5 percent minoxidil. However, their minoxidil solutions contain propylene glycol, so we cut them from consideration.
"Despite some of the claims, a shampoo or conditioner won’t be able to stop or slow hair loss, nor help with a receding hairline or thicken hair that’s becoming thinner," says trichologist Anabel Kingsley from The Philip Kingsley Trichology Clinic in London. "At best, a thickening shampoo will make hair temporarily thicker for a short period of time, but they certainly won’t help with hair loss or thinning."
Herbal hair supplements are designed to “supplement,” or work together with, a healthy diet, not replace it. However, it’s also important to recognize that the fast pace of life doesn’t always allow for making meals from scratch every day. If you find it hard to meet the recommended daily amounts nutrients because of a tight schedule, you’re definitely not alone.
3. Nutriceuticals. Rogers recommends that her patients try Viviscal Dietary Supplements ($50 for a one-month supply) or Nutrafol ($88 for a one-month supply), both of which can often be picked up in a salon. The former contains marine-based proteins meant to beef up thinning hair. The latter is packed with antioxidants, like ashwagandha and curcumin, and boasts impressive clinical results.