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.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of hims, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
"This is an oral, prescription-only medication with the brand name Propecia that’s also FDA approved to treat hair loss," says Spencer. Male pattern hair loss occurs when a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) prevents hair follicles from getting the nutrients they need. Finasteride works by blocking the production of DHT, which protects the follicles.
Central centrifugal cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs most often in women of African descent. It begins in the center of the scalp. As it progresses, the hair loss radiates out from the center of the scalp. The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain, or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.
2. Pyrithione zinc shampoo. Traditional volumizing shampoos will give the hair you have a lift so it looks fuller (we like the sulfate-free L’Oréal Paris EverPure Volume Shampoo, $8). But some research suggests shampoos with the antidandruff ingredient zinc pyrithione can mitigate hair loss that’s caused by conditions like dandruff, says Mirmirani. Try Head & Shoulders Deep Moisture Shampoo ($6), and use a conditioner without silicones — they can make hair appear limper, especially if it's applied near the roots (we like Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Conditioner, $9).
Do not lose sleep over it. The more one obsesses over the loss of hair, the more depressed one can get. This can lead to unhealthy habits that can only worsen or aggravate hair loss, such as consuming too much sugar or sleeping less, which can contribute to increased stress and physiological trauma to the body. Proper management of the depression that comes with hair loss is important. Having a strong support group that one connects with and shares feelings and advice is a big help. It's also a big boost if one can learn how to make the most of their appearance to divert attention from their head by playing up other features of their body, such as wearing make-up or putting on a statement jewelry or a striking piece of clothing.

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.
Less common causes of hair loss without inflammation or scarring include the pulling out of hair, certain medications including chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition including iron deficiency.[2][3] Causes of hair loss that occurs with scarring or inflammation include fungal infection, lupus erythematosus, radiation therapy, and sarcoidosis.[2][3] Diagnosis of hair loss is partly based on the areas affected.[3]
Promote natural hair growth by eating a good hair loss diet. Here are five of the top foods for hair growth, including nuts (which contain  omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E and copper), oysters (rich in zinc), sweet potatoes (omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, K and E), eggs (a good source of protein, plus biotin, other B vitamins, zinc, selenium, sulfur and iron), and spinach (iron, beta-carotene, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C).
Certain foods have also been found to aggravate or worsen hair fall, such as sugar, which triggers the overproduction of the male hormone, androgen, which in turn causes the hair follicles to shrink in size and for hair to fall out or stop growing. Fish products that are known to contain high levels of mercury like tuna, mackerel and swordfish can also cause hair weakening and excessive hair fall. Studies have also found that fried foods are associated with the production of high levels of DHT.

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.
What to do: Like anemia, simple supplementation should help the problem. So can dietary changes. Find natural vitamin B in fish, meat, starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruits. As always, eating a balanced diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein and “good” fats such as avocado and nuts will be good for your hair and your overall health.

Hair changes about as fast as grass grows, which is to say it’s extraordinarily slow and not visible to anyone checking impatiently in the mirror every day. But during regular follow-up appointments, Harklinikken uses high-tech equipment to photograph and magnify the scalp and count new hairs and active follicles, which motivates users to adhere to the regimen. Too many people give up on treatments like Rogaine and low-level-light devices before they’ve had a chance to work, Dr. Senna said.


Disruption of the hair growth cycle. Some major events can alter the hair's growth cycle temporarily. For example, delivering a baby, having surgery, going through a traumatic event, or having a serious illness or high fever can temporarily cause shedding of large amounts of hair. Because the hair we see on our heads has actually taken months to grow, a person might not notice any disruption of the hair growth cycle until months after the event that caused it. This type of hair loss corrects itself.
Observe proper hair care practices. The right hair care practices promote a healthy hair growth at the same time as it reduces and prevents hair damage such as breakage. Washing your hair with a mild, preferably natural, shampoo and conditioner with biotin should be an important part of your hair care routine. Go for cool showers instead because hot water can dehydrate your hair strands and lead to dry, thin hair that is easy to break. Lower temperature can help lock in moisture. Limit the use of the blow-dryer.
Instead, you may want to add vitamin D (about $15) to your shopping cart. A vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate hair thinning and make it almost impossible for any over-the-counter product to reverse hair loss, says Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York City, who recommends taking 5,000 international units of D3 a day (and it’s generally beneficial for bone health in women over 40). “There’s also a link between low iron and zinc levels and temporary hair shedding, called [telogen] effluvium,” says Rogers.
Do not lose sleep over it. The more one obsesses over the loss of hair, the more depressed one can get. This can lead to unhealthy habits that can only worsen or aggravate hair loss, such as consuming too much sugar or sleeping less, which can contribute to increased stress and physiological trauma to the body. Proper management of the depression that comes with hair loss is important. Having a strong support group that one connects with and shares feelings and advice is a big help. It's also a big boost if one can learn how to make the most of their appearance to divert attention from their head by playing up other features of their body, such as wearing make-up or putting on a statement jewelry or a striking piece of clothing.
Other medical conditions — most commonly telogen effluvium and seborrheic dermatitis — can also cause hair loss, but most people can trace their follicular woes back to androgenetic alopecia, so we focused our search there. We started with more than 200 products, including all-natural solutions and high-tech gadgets, while skipping treatments that focus only on volumizing or thickening hair. We also limited our scope to the scalp, and left out specialty products designed only for eyebrows or beards. 

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.
Both emotional and physical stress (such as a serious illness or recovery from surgery) have been associated with hair loss. It is possible that stress induces hormonal changes that are responsible for the hair loss, since hair loss is a known consequence of other hormonal changes due to pregnancy, thyroid disturbances, or even from taking oral contraceptives.
The cause of female-pattern hair loss is unknown, but doctors said there is a strong genetic component. The risk can come from male or female relatives. Though it looks as if the hair is falling out, that's not really what's happening. Cotsarelis said hair follicles are becoming smaller and producing hairs that may be so small that you can't see them.  Women tend to retain more normal, thick hairs than balding men do.
Less common causes of hair loss without inflammation or scarring include the pulling out of hair, certain medications including chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition including iron deficiency.[2][3] Causes of hair loss that occurs with scarring or inflammation include fungal infection, lupus erythematosus, radiation therapy, and sarcoidosis.[2][3] Diagnosis of hair loss is partly based on the areas affected.[3]

Finasteride inhibits an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes hair loss in men, and unlike minoxidil, this drug can actually help hair grow back, as well as prevent further loss. All you have to do is take one pill a day, and according to Dr. Evan Rieder, dermatologist in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, two-thirds of men taking this treatment will see improvements in hair density over time.


Instead, you may want to add vitamin D (about $15) to your shopping cart. A vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate hair thinning and make it almost impossible for any over-the-counter product to reverse hair loss, says Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York City, who recommends taking 5,000 international units of D3 a day (and it’s generally beneficial for bone health in women over 40). “There’s also a link between low iron and zinc levels and temporary hair shedding, called [telogen] effluvium,” says Rogers.
Patterned hair loss is a progressive hair loss that occurs in a specific pattern. The pattern in men is different to the pattern in women. Men develop recession at the temples, thinning and eventually a bald spot on the top of the head (vertex scalp), then ultimately total baldness over the entire crown. Hair above the ears and at the back of the head is relatively spared.
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]
"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!"
The truth is, the amount of propylene glycol in hair loss treatments is not likely to cause any real harm and the FDA has given the chemical approval for many uses. But even though it is safe, we wanted to ensure that our top picks would be as comfortable to use as possible. So when Dr. Khadavi told us that “a third of my patients get irritated from minoxidil products because of propylene glycol,” we decided to cut any treatments with it. In any case, it’s the minoxidil that helps curb hair loss and not the propylene glycol.
Congenital triangular alopecia – It is a triangular, or oval in some cases, shaped patch of hair loss in the temple area of the scalp that occurs mostly in young children. The affected area mainly contains vellus hair follicles or no hair follicles at all, but it does not expand. Its causes are unknown, and although it is a permanent condition, it does not have any other effect on the affected individuals.[24]
Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
Symptoms of hair loss include hair loss in patches usually in circular patterns, dandruff, skin lesions, and scarring. Alopecia areata (mild – medium level) usually shows in unusual hair loss areas, e.g., eyebrows, backside of the head or above the ears, areas the male pattern baldness usually does not affect. In male-pattern hair loss, loss and thinning begin at the temples and the crown and hair either thins out or falls out. Female-pattern hair loss occurs at the frontal and parietal.
Are you worried about hair loss? If so, you’re not alone. Roughly 9 out of 10 guys admit that male pattern baldness is something that’s a source of stress and anxiety. By virtue of being here, however, you’ve taken more action than a lot of men have regarding hair loss – you’ve started researching ways to prevent, stop, or reverse male pattern baldness.
If you're going through or about to enter the menopause, changes in your body may also have an effect on your hair. "Hair loss becomes more prevalent leading up to and after the menopause" reveals Anabel. That being said, "it's important to realise that our hair ages, and as we get older, hair naturally gets finer. It's a totally normal part of the ageing process."
Tissue expansion. In this procedure, a material called a tissue expander is inserted under portions of the scalp with hair. Saline water is injected for six to eight weeks in order to expand or stretch this portion of hair-bearing skin. The bags are eventually removed and the expanded hair-bearing skin is cut away and moved to the adjacent bald area. This is typically used to address hair loss as a result of burns or injuries on the scalp.
Dull hair will be the next one on the list of common hair problems that are mentioned in this article. The dull hair will not only make you uncomfortable but also make you look older than your real age. Dull hair can be caused by chemical damage, heat styling damage, improper styling techniques, and sometimes environmental soils as well as stresses, which can roughen the hair’s cuticle.
See a doctor. While it may be easy to treat hair loss that's caused by stress or other physical or emotional shock, other types, especially those caused by medical conditions, require expert attention. Do not self-medicate. A medical test is necessary to determine the real cause of your hair loss. A medical diagnosis is important in order to rule out other factors that might be the cause of your hair loss. On the surface, it's easy to attribute hair loss to stress or the lack of sleep, but it is highly possible that the hair loss may be caused by an unknown or undetected condition related to hormones or genetics. With the right diagnosis, you'll be able to get the right medication and course of treatment.
×