Hair lost to male-pattern and female-pattern baldness won't grow back on its own, but there are medications that can help slow hair loss and even regrow hair. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical medicine that is available over the counter to treat men and women. Finasteride (Propecia) is a pill that is available to men only by prescription. Injectable cortisone may also help regrow hair lost to certain conditions.
“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.”
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.
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 .
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.
One hair loss tablet that targets hormones is Propecia. This targets a specific androgenic hormone (male sex hormone) named dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is present throughout the body, and prompts the growth of hair and spurs sexual development around puberty. However, in later years, it binds to hair follicles and causes them to shrink, occluding hair shafts and making healthy hair growth impossible.
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.
Telogen effluvium - occurs mainly due to the body’s reaction to stress, brought about by, illnesses such as cancer, mental and emotional disturbances, medications such as blood thinners, hormonal imbalances, stress during childbirth and so on. In this condition hair thinning occurs on the scalp. The hair usually regrows after the stress period is over.
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.
"Others are taking hair follicles out of human scalp and growing them with dermal papilla cells," Cotsarelis says. "If they grow in culture, you might be able to recombine them with skin cells and form new follicles. This would let you expand the number of follicles you get for a hair transplant. This may not be that far off -- five to 10 years, maybe. There's very good evidence you will be able to do that."
If you do decide to start treatment to save your hair, a good place to start is with minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine. Don’t expect this hair-loss treatment to create luscious locks; minoxidil is better at slowing down or preventing more loss rather than promoting hair growth. But, according to Dr. Amy McMichael, professor and chair of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology, it is effective “if used as recommended, with evidence of improvement seen around six to nine months.” Simply massage the foam or solution into your scalp once or twice daily, and for best results, use a formula with 5 percent concentration.
Jenn Sinrich is an experienced digital and social editor in New York City. She's written for several publications including SELF, Women's Health, Fitness, Parents, American Baby, Ladies' Home Journal and more.She covers various topics from health, fitness and food to pregnancy and parenting. In addition to writing, Jenn also volunteers with Ed2010, serving as the deputy director to Ed's Buddy System, a program that pairs recent graduates with young editors to give them a guide to the publishing industry and to navigating New York.When she's not busy writing, editing or reading, she's enjoying and discovering the city she's always dreamed of living in with her loving fiancé, Dan, and two feline friends, Janis and Jimi.
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.
Drinking warm water with lemon every morning and before meals has definitely helped increase my stomach acid. I drink it through a straw (I purchased an inexpensive set of stainless steel straws) to prevent damage to the enamel of my teeth. You can also try adding one or two tablespoons of Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the ‘Mother’ mixed in water before meals.
The most common form of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, or, in other words, male or female pattern baldness or hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is genetic and affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States. Among white women in the U.S., an average of 19% are affected by female pattern hair loss, but that percentage increases with age. The prevalence is nearly doubled in Australia at 32% and much lower in Korea and China at < 6%. As of 2015, no studies had been done on the prevalence of female pattern hair loss in Brazil or Africa.
DR. WRIGHT: If stomach acid is low, protein isn’t efficiently digested – and hair and nails are made up of… protein! If we are deficient in protein, our bodies know that we can live without hair or nail proteins, but we can’t survive without heart muscle proteins or other important body proteins. So if we are short in supply of protein, the hair or nails are the first to go.
Because hair concealers work like wigs, choosing one that's right for you is important. More than anything, it should be as natural looking and as subtle as possible. Pick one that matches your natural hair color. Most hair fibers come in nine colors, and if you want to achieve a good color fit, you can blend two colors. Apply first the dark color and then the lighter color.
Dietary supplements are not typically recommended. There is only one small trial of saw palmetto which shows tentative benefit in those with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia. There is no evidence for biotin. Evidence for most other produces is also insufficient. There was no good evidence for gingko, aloe vera, ginseng, bergamot, hibiscus, or sorphora as of 2011.
There’s no such thing as a drug that’s without side effects completely. However, finasteride isn’t as harmful as some of the other types of medicine on the market. In fact, such a small percentage of men experience side effects at all, making the medicine effective and safe. With that said, there are a few things that you should know about the drug before you start taking it.
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.).
Traction alopecia. Unlike the other two that are caused by genetic or natural factors, this condition is self-caused and occurs most in women. Hair loss happens because of the continuous and constant pulling on the hair that puts pressure on the follicles. Pressure on the hair, brought about by wearing tight hair styles, braiding, weaving, or even hair treatments like bleaching, causes the follicles to loosen their grip on the shaft and eventually cause hair to fall out, leaving bald spots on the scalp or very thin hair strands.
Cyproterone acetate was also developed in the 1960s. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones and is an alternative to spironolactone for women with patterned hair loss. It is a weak progestogen and is found in some oral contraceptives (the pill). Cyproterone acetate can also be used to treat acne, unwanted facial and body hair, and hereditary hair loss in women. Cyproterone acetate requires a prescription from your doctor.
Correct ferritin levels maximize your hair’s “anagen” or “growing” phase and encourage your hairs to grow to their full length. When you aren’t getting enough iron through your diet, your body takes ferritin stored in non-essential tissue, like your hair bulb, and gives it to essential tissue, such as your heart. Because your hair bulb is where all your hair cells are produced, this leeching of ferritin can cause your hair to shed before it reaches its maximum length.
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.