Propecia (finasteride) is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. It works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that plays an important role in hair loss. Propecia is a prescription medicine and is only approved for use in men. There are other 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors on the market but Propecia is the only one approved for androgenetic alopecia.
Hair may be all about vanity but hair conditions, such as hair loss and balding may have emotional, mental and psychological repercussions: insecurity, the loss of self-confidence, humiliation or embarrassment, self-imposed isolation out of fear of what people might think of how we look with that missing part of ourselves. Hair issues are more than vanity.
Surgical options, such as follicle transplants, scalp flaps, and hair loss reduction, are available. These procedures are generally chosen by those who are self-conscious about their hair loss, but they are expensive and painful, with a risk of infection and scarring. Once surgery has occurred, six to eight months are needed before the quality of new hair can be assessed.
Hair-fiber powders: Colored, powdery fiber sprinkles are commercially available and may work to camouflage balding areas. These colored sprinkles have special properties that help them attach to hair and give a fuller appearance. Toppik is one manufacturer of these products and can be found online. These cosmetic products are available without a prescription, are fairly inexpensive ($20-$40 range), and quite safe with minimal risk. Often these may be used in addition to medical treatments like Rogaine, Propecia, and hair transplants, and they are a great temporary measure to tide one over for special occasions.
Hair loss is not a hopeless condition. While there are certainly cases of permanent hair loss in men, there are still cases when it's only temporary and therefore can be treated, controlled and prevented. There are treatments and cures available, and many of these, especially those for temporary cases, can be as simple as lifestyle changes -- eating the right foods, learning to manage stress properly, and doing away with unhealthy, nasty habits that can aggravate the condition.
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.
Androgenic alopecia. In this condition, hair loss begins at the crown of the head, the top and center, forming the popular horseshoe shape. Because hair thinning seems to follow a particular path, the condition is also commonly referred to as pattern baldness. It is more common among males than females, and is generally thought to be due to genetics/heredity and the natural aging process (about 40% of men start to have noticeable hair loss in their 30s and lose about 65% of hair by the time they reach 60.).
"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."
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It is estimated that 90% of people with hypothyroidism have the thyroid autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own thyroid gland. Despite the prevalence of Hashimoto’s, thyroid antibodies are often NOT tested. You may have Hashimoto’s and not even know it. There are two thyroid antibodies to test for Hashimoto’s: Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).
Pay attention to the foods you eat and how much you’re eating. For example, eating a variety of whole foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals will help fuel your body and the areas responsible for hair regrowth. If you suspect you may be deficient in certain vitamins, visit your doctor to get a blood test and address other dietary issues, such as eating disorders or health conditions that might block nutrient absorption.
Laser treatments. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is used for the prevention and reversal of hair loss. Also known as red light therapy, cold laser, and soft laser, it is a form of light/heat treatment (therefore generally safer) that is used on cases of pattern baldness and alopecia areata. The procedure uses a device that emits light that penetrates into the scalp. The more commonly used lasers are the excimer, helium-neon and fractional erbium-glass. The procedure can increase the blood flow in the scalp to stimulate the follicles that are in resting or dormant phase to go into anagen, and at the same time, prevent the production of DHT, which destroys the hair follicles.
This makes finding reliable information a challenge, and to further complicate matters, successful hair loss treatment doesn’t come in the form of a quick fix. It’s something that takes time to work – usually a couple of months – and requires consistency and dedication. A lot of people simply quit because they don’t see major results in the first couple of weeks and assume that the treatment doesn’t work .
One is how much emphasis the company places on compliance, the major stumbling block in the efficacy of any treatment, said Dr. Senna, an author of studies on the subject. Prospective users are questioned about their ability to stick to a regimen because the extract must be applied every day, and they are told that the more conscientious they are, the better. Users are also reminded and encouraged with regular check-ins.
Laser devices: Brushes, combs, and other hand-held devices that emit laser light might stimulate hair growth. These devices might make hair look more youthful in some people. Because the FDA classifies these products as medical devices, the products do not undergo the rigorous testing that medicines undergo. The long-term effectiveness and safety for these devices are not known.
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We all lose hair on a routine basis, shedding as many as 100 hairs per day across the entire scalp. Normally, these hairs are replaced with time. If you have thyroid disease, however, you may experience hair loss more than others—so much so that your hair on the whole looks to be thinning. Having autoimmune thyroid disease in particular also puts you at greater risk for alopecia areata—excessive and rapid hair loss in specific parts of the scalp that can advance to baldness and also effect other parts of the body, like the eyebrows. Most cases of thyroid-related hair loss are temporary and treatable.

You might think, "It's just hair", but think about this: What would you do if you wake up one day without a single strand of hair on your head? However, as we've mentioned, hair loss is a natural physiological process. In the hair growth cycle, old hair has to be shed in order for new hair to grow. As we age, our body's capacity to produce hair also slows down, similar to when our bones stop growing at a certain point in our lives.
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. 

Medical conditions and medications. A common medical condition that also causes hair loss is hypothyroidism, which can happen in both men and women. Patients suffer from an underactive thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing the hormone, thyroxin, which performs important bodily functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, proper utilization of carbohydrates and fats, and production of protein. Since protein is an important nutrient for the production of keratin, inadequate protein supply in the body due to an underactive thyroid means that hair growth in the follicles is slow. In men especially, hair loss is one of the first signs of hypothyroidism.
Being stressed affects nearly every aspect of our life—even your strands. “Stress affects hormonal levels, specifically cortisol, which then causes hair loss, which only adds more stress to an already stressful situation,” says Penny James, IAT-certified trichologist and owner of Penny James Salon in New York City. “The positive side to all this is once you reduce the stress in your life, your hair will grow back to normal.” She recommends incorporating activities such as yoga or meditation to reduce stress levels. Here’s how to repair damaged hair with items you already own.
Hair Growth Essentials can be used on hair loss caused by: Hormonal imbalance, menopause, stress, hereditary hair loss, thyroid issues, alopecia areata. androgenic alopecia, female & male pattern baldness, immune system problems, infections, allergic reactions, surgery, excessive styling, hair product overuse, skin conditions of the scalp & nutritional deficiencies.
Hair loss – in the form of male pattern baldness – is a genetic disorder. Male pattern baldness occurs when hair follicles convert testosterone into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Affected hair follicles (typically at the sides and the top of the head) become more sensitive to DHT, which causes the hair follicles to shrink, weaken, and eventually die. This slows down hair production and can stop hair growth altogether.
Trichotillomania (pronounced: trik-o-til-uh-MAY-nee-uh). Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder in which people repeatedly pull their hair out, often leaving bald patches. That can leave areas of baldness and damaged hairs of different lengths. People with trichotillomania usually need help from a therapist or other mental health professional before they can stop pulling their hair out.
A more temporary form of hair loss is telogen effluvium or when hair follicles get stuck in the telogen or resting phase and stop growing new hair. Telogen effluvium can occur three months after a significant medical event like childbirth, surgery, or a high fever, but can also be caused by a thyroid imbalance or iron deficiency. Certain medications like blood thinners and birth control pills are also linked to this form of hair loss.

2. High-tech regrowth therapies. Laser treatments ($200 and up) expose hair to low levels of laser light, which boosts hair growth by increasing the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in hair follicles. ATP provides energy to hair-follicle cells, so the more of it that’s around, the more energy hair follicles can use to grow your hair. Sadick says three months of weekly sessions are best when you’re kick-starting a hair-loss treatment.
Alopecia areata: Researchers believe that this is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks its own hair. This causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. People with alopecia areata are often in excellent health. Most people see their hair re-grow. Dermatologists treat people with this disorder to help the hair re-grow more quickly.
Last but not least, greasy hair is also one of the common hair problems that people should be aware of. The hair scalp contains one type of oil known as sebum, which is responsible for keeping the skin lubricated and generated by the sebaceous glands. However, sometimes, these glands work so hard that produce excess oil, resulting in the greasy hair. This type of common hair problems is a real trouble for many people who love the tidiness. To deal with this one, you should try washing your hair with a gentle shampoo in order to control the sebum production.
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.
The pull test helps to evaluate diffuse scalp hair loss. Gentle traction is exerted on a group of hairs (about 40–60) on three different areas of the scalp. The number of extracted hairs is counted and examined under a microscope. Normally, fewer than three hairs per area should come out with each pull. If more than ten hairs are obtained, the pull test is considered positive.[27]
One is how much emphasis the company places on compliance, the major stumbling block in the efficacy of any treatment, said Dr. Senna, an author of studies on the subject. Prospective users are questioned about their ability to stick to a regimen because the extract must be applied every day, and they are told that the more conscientious they are, the better. Users are also reminded and encouraged with regular check-ins.
However, researchers are still working to determine the best dose needed, whether the results are lasting, and whether they can develop a topical form of the drug, Day said. She added that patients should be aware that Tofacitinib has side effects. It's already associated with an increased risk of serious infections, as well as stomach and intestinal tears, according to Pfizer, the manufacturer.
A more temporary form of hair loss is telogen effluvium or when hair follicles get stuck in the telogen or resting phase and stop growing new hair. Telogen effluvium can occur three months after a significant medical event like childbirth, surgery, or a high fever, but can also be caused by a thyroid imbalance or iron deficiency. Certain medications like blood thinners and birth control pills are also linked to this form of hair loss.
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.
As I mentioned before, the causes of hair fall are innumerable, and so it becomes crucial to get to the root of the problem. The best way to go about dealing with the problem would be to get the correct diagnosis to begin with. This can be made simpler by finding the areas where thinning is most prominent and also monitoring how much hair you are losing whenever you comb or shampoo. Consult a physician to find out whether you have any underlying medical issues causing the hair fall.
Why? Unwanted hair growth (sideburns, for example) is a reported side effect of minoxidil. The belief is that a higher concentration of minoxidil would result in more unwanted hair, which is why women are instructed to use it less often. However, the study in Skin Therapy Letter reports that unwanted hair was more common in 2 percent minoxidil solutions than 5 percent, and women are instructed to use Rogaine’s 2 percent solution twice daily — so what gives?
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Its applications are many, and some researchers believe that it may help with hair loss from alopecia areata. How? The needles inserted into the scalp may help stimulate hair follicles and promote regrowth. More research needs to be done in this area, but consider asking your doctor for a referral to a licensed acupuncturist if this treatment sounds appealing to you. (Learn more about acupuncture for hair loss.)

Hair-fiber powders: Colored, powdery fiber sprinkles are commercially available and may work to camouflage balding areas. These colored sprinkles have special properties that help them attach to hair and give a fuller appearance. Toppik is one manufacturer of these products and can be found online. These cosmetic products are available without a prescription, are fairly inexpensive ($20-$40 range), and quite safe with minimal risk. Often these may be used in addition to medical treatments like Rogaine, Propecia, and hair transplants, and they are a great temporary measure to tide one over for special occasions.
"My hair began to thin when I was 28 years old. Now I am 44 and the top of my head is bald. Recently, I considered using medicine to treat my hair loss and see if any hair would regrow. After reading the literature and talking to my doctor, I decided not to take medicine because it is unlikely to make a huge difference in my hair—and I don't want to take medicine forever!"
According to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, hair health is tied to two things: kidney energy and the blood, which nourish the hair. The solution: acupuncture and Chinese herbs. While there isn't a lot of hard science to back this up, Maureen Conant, a TCM practitioner at Full Bloom Acupuncture in Seattle, says that she's seen women's hair stop falling out and then gradually regenerate after a few months of weekly treatments.
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"The majority of men lose their hair not through stress, or bad diet, or lack of sleep, but through the genetic trait of male pattern baldness which is hard to treat through shampoos or supplements alone. Women lose their hair for very different reasons, but the argument still stands that a lot of the hair loss products on the market are just offering false hope. That said, there are a few that really work."
Alopecia areata - bald patches develop on the scalp, beard, and possibly eyebrows. eyelashes may fall out as well. This is thought to be an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the hair follicles and leads to hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body. However, the hair follicles are alive so there is potential for hair to regrow when the underlying problem has resolved. Growth may occur even without treatment and even after many years. In most cases hair loss only happens in a few places, leaving a few bare patches. In some cases though, the disease can advance to total loss of hair from the head (alopecia areata totalis) or complete loss of hair on the head, face and body (alopecia areata universalis).
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