"I recommend that everyone [with any hair loss] take finasteride," says Robert M. Bernstein, MD. Bernstein is associate clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University and founder of the Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration. "To patients who are younger,” he says, “I also recommend minoxidil. But the mainstay is finasteride. The data show that, over five years, it significantly retards hair loss in 85% of users."
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.
It is likely that several genes determine susceptibility to baldness. Some of these genes come from your mother’s side and some from your father’s side of the family. Identical twins lose hair at the same age, at the same rate and in the same pattern. This indicates that genetic factors are more important than environmental factors in causing hair loss.
Take in natural supplements. If you aren't getting enough nutrients from the foods you eat, you can also try taking natural supplements to address your nutritional deficiencies. Multivitamins that especially contain vitamins A, C, and the B-complex vitamins can be taken once a day. Fish oil capsules that contain omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended.
Hair loss vitamins such as Biotin, Niacin (Vitamin B3) and Vitamin C, and minerals for hair loss such as Zinc and Iron, provide essential hair nutrients to nourish healthy and longer hair. Eating enough of these key hair growth vitamins can help prevent hair loss in both men and women. Although some causes of hair loss, such as chemotherapy, illness and medication, may only be moderately affected by a good hair loss diet, in many cases men and women can see great results after only 3-4 months eating more vitamins and minerals for hair growth.
The dermatologist also will carefully look at your scalp and hair. During an exam, the dermatologist may pull on your hair. Sometimes a dermatologist needs to pull out a hair to get the necessary evidence. And sometimes a dermatologist needs to look at the hair on the rest of your body to see whether there is too little or too much hair in other areas.
Very little of the active ingredient, minoxidil, is absorbed into the circulation and therefore general side effects are not expected. You should stop using Regaine and see a doctor if hypotension (low blood pressure) is detected or if you experience chest pain, rapid heartbeat, faintness or dizziness, sudden unexplained weight gain, swollen hands or feet or persistent redness.
Women lose hair on an inherited (genetic) basis, too, but female pattern hair loss tends to be more diffuse, with less likelihood of the crown and frontal hairline being lost. Although some women may notice hair thinning as early as their 20s, the pace of hair loss tends to be gradual, often taking years to become obvious to others. There seems to be a normal physiologic thinning that comes with age and occurs in many women in their early to mid-30s. More women have underlying causes of hair loss than men. These include treatable conditions like anemia and thyroid disease and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These conditions are diagnosed by blood tests along with a historical and physical evidence. Although a few studies have suggested that baldness may be inherited through the mother's family genes, these theories require further testing. Current studies are inconclusive. Although not indicated for female pattern balding, spironolactone (Aldactone) has had some success in treating this condition.
While you won’t find a miracle shampoo on the market, nioxin and some other products can help keep your scalp in tip-top shape to improve the look of any hairs you do have left on your head. In fact, feeding your hair with the proper nutrients both inside and out can make it appear healthier, so you might consider using products with natural herbs, such as rosemary and mint.
Here's what you might be wondering about: unwanted sexual side effects. Remember that finasteride works by blocking DHT, and DHT is a male sex hormone and is also a form of testosterone – this sex hormone just happens to also be linked to hair loss, unfortunately! In clinical tests, approximately 2% of the people who take finasteride reported unwanted sexual side effects like decreased libido, difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, and trouble ejaculating. Of that 2%, half of them reported that the side effect went away after taking the medication for three months, and everyone reported that the side effects went away as soon as they discontinued the medication. Still, that leaves less than 1% of guys taking finasteride with a chance of developing persistent sexual side effects.
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Hair thinning and hair loss are often wrongly thought to only affect men, but in reality both sexes can suffer from the condition. It’s perfectly normal to lose 50-100 strands of hair per day, even 250 on a day when you wash your hair. For some people though, thinning hair can be a real problem. It can happen very gradually or suddenly and it can be a result of a range of conditions, such as stress, genetics, medical treatment or childbirth.
Get the right style. For men who are suffering from pattern baldness, the easiest way to manage hair loss is to ask your barber for a style that will draw less attention to the thinning hair. Shorter hairstyles can reduce the impression of thinning hair, while a longer one can emphasize it. Others often make the mistake of growing their hair on the sides of their head as a way to cover up the thinning at the crown. This is wrong - it only calls attention to the bald spot. Instead, a clean cut on both sides will be better. Avoid also combing over some strands of hair the bald patch as an attempt to cover-up - it only draws attention to it.
While pregnant, many women notice that their mane becomes thicker, fuller, and shinier, thanks to a surge of pregnancy hormones. However, once they deliver, this flood of hormones leaves their body at a rapid pace, often leaving them with little time to adjust. One side effect of this depletion of hormones is hair loss. Thankfully, for many women, their hair goes back to normal a few months postpartum. Check out these other surprising ways you look different when you’re pregnant.
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem. Those levels can rise and still be within what doctors consider “normal” on a blood test, even though they are high enough to cause a problem. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you have the kind of body chemistry that is overly sensitive to even its regular levels of chemicals, including hormones.
Laser therapy is available in salons and administered by a hair professional who has been trained in the procedure. Treatment is usually two to three times a week. Generally, each session involves a short 8-15 minute exposure of the scalp to the laser device. There is generally no prescribed period of time that the treatment should be administered, although the more frequent and longer the duration, the more effective results have been observed. Noticeable hair growth can be observed after 12 to 26 weeks of treatment. The LLLT is also prescribed as a complementary treatment in post-operative hair surgery.
Hair pieces and wigs. One of the most traditional answers to hair loss, wigs and toupees are perfect for severe cases where full coverage is needed. Wigs can be made either from real human hair, animal hair or synthetic fiber. The materials are sewn together into certain hair styles and are worn on top of the real hair. For those who want to cover up only bald spots or add volume to thinning hair, hair pieces and hair extensions are also available. These are balls of hair that can be attached at the base or clipped to portions of the head.
Low ferritin (the stored form of iron) is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Given low ferritin is also a common problem for hypothyroid people, it is important to have iron testing including ferritin especially if you are experiencing hair loss. It is not enough to be told by your doctor that your iron levels are ‘normal’. Ferritin levels are not always tested. Get a copy of your lab results and be sure ferritin has been specifically tested. Even if ferritin is within the ‘normal’ range that doesn’t make it ‘optimal’.
There are several different types of medication you can buy to help treat hair loss. Procepia and Finasteride are currently the only approved drugs you can take that will effectively treat hair loss. The active ingredient in both treatments (finasteride) works by blocking DHT (the male hormone dihydrotestosterone) that causes hair loss by shrinking hair follicles on your scalp. It has been proven to lead to hair regrowth or to stop hair loss in around 9 out of 10 men in clinical trials.