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Hair Loss Treatment Options

  • Friday 19 August 2022
  • 6 minute(s) read

Millions of men and women across the globe experience hair loss or thinning hair, so it’s important to remember you are not alone. Back in the day, your only options for hair loss treatment may have been bad wigs or toupées, but there are many more modern procedures and medications available today to battle hair loss. Read on to learn more about potential hair loss treatment options.

Hair Loss Medication

Once your doctor diagnoses you with hair loss, the first line of defense is typically a prescription medication like minoxidil or finasteride. Minoxidil is a vasodilator, meaning it opens up the blood vessels, expanding the hair follicle. Researchers are unsure about the exact mechanism of minoxidil, but it is believed that the expansion of hair follicles elongates the growth phase of the hair. When the growth phase is prolonged, there should be more hair growth. 

blue pills on a white background

Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, is approved to treat hair loss for both men and women. This drug works the best for men with hereditary hair loss and women with thinning hair. If you start using minoxidil at the first sign of hair loss, you can help slow or prevent further loss. 1

Should I Use Minoxidil Foam or Liquid?

Minoxidil is available in a topical liquid solution and a foam. The solution comes with a dropper for easy application. On the other hand, minoxidil foam is applied with a spray bottle. Minoxidil foam contains a higher concentration of the active ingredient, so this version may be more effective. However, liquid minoxidil may be more suitable for users with an irritable scalp. Plus, liquid minoxidil may be applied twice a day instead of once for added effectiveness. Depending on your treatment needs, the liquid or foam version of minoxidil may be more suitable.

Generally, most users view liquid minoxidil as easier to apply. The dropper helps you measure the correct dose of minoxidil quickly and accurately. But minoxidil foam is highly convenient because it does not drip and is absorbed into the scalp quickly. The foam version also makes it easier to apply to larger areas of skin. If you are not satisfied with the results of either version, you may look into combining minoxidil with another hair loss medication.

Oral Finasteride Tablets

Another common hair loss medication is finasteride, also known as Propecia. Finasteride is only approved for men with male pattern baldness, which presents as hair loss at the crown and middle of the scalp. Finasteride decreases dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp, a powerful hormone that causes hair follicles to thin. 1 When DHT is reduced, more hair growth is possible.

Because finasteride is also approved to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men, you may find it in different dosage strengths. For hair loss, you will generally be prescribed 1 mg per day. While on finasteride, your doctor may need to monitor your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Due to the effect of finasteride on the male sex hormones, finasteride tablets are not approved for treating hair loss in women.

Medicated Shampoos

You may experience hair thinning for several reasons, but often a medicated shampoo is all you need to stop the shedding if your condition isn’t severe. Medicated shampoos contain active ingredients that add volume to existing hair. They can help with hair breakage and damage to prevent hair from falling out from the root. Medicated shampoos can also supplement your scalp with nutrients and offset the negative effects of styling products like hair gel or hair spray. Minoxidil is used in some medicated shampoos, but they may also contain essential oils, vitamin B3, histidine (amino acid), and Phyto-caffeine.

Hair Transplant Surgery

Hair loss medications do not work effectively for everyone, so your doctor may recommend hair transplant surgery. Hair transplants work best for men with male pattern baldness, women with thinning hair, and anyone who has lost hair due to a burn injury. Hair transplants do not work well on areas with scar tissue or with those who have lost hair due to chemotherapy.

Hair transplants occur under local anesthesia. There are two types of hair transplants: follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). With FUT, a strip of skin is cut from the back of the head, and the surgeon separates the scalp into small sections. The surgeon will then implant the sections of follicles in the necessary area to achieve natural-looking hair. 2

An FUE involves making small holes with a blade in the scalp area that needs hair restoration. The surgeon will then place hairs into the holes, transplanting hundreds of hair follicles. You will have to cover your head with a bandage to protect the scalp as you recover. You may lose some hair after either hair transplant surgery, but you will not be able to determine the full results of your surgery for 8 to 12 months post-procedure. 2

a doctor performing a hair transplant on a man

Laser Comb

Laser combs are a fairly new treatment method for hair loss. This painless hair loss option uses a low-intensity laser to stimulate hair follicle growth. A laser comb looks like a traditional hairbrush and works as a handheld laser therapy device. A laser comb should be used three times weekly for 10 to 15 minutes for best results.

Researchers conducted double-blind clinical trials with laser hair devices in one study published in the National Library of Medicine. One hundred twenty-eight males and 141 female subjects were randomized to receive a laser comb or fake laser device in the study. The subjects used the devices three times a week for 26 weeks. 3

At the end of the study, researchers found a statistically significant difference in hair density between those who used the laser comb and the fake device. Therefore, researchers have found that laser combs may be a helpful device for those with mild hair loss. The long-term effects of laser devices have yet to be studied.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes alone may not encourage hair growth, but they may prevent further hair loss. Changing your habits and using hair growth treatments like minoxidil may encourage positive results.

grilled chicken and zucchini noodles in prepared containers

Minimizing stress is also essential to your hair health. One meta-analysis completed through the University Hospital Hamburg compiled the results of several studies comparing the effect of stress on hair. This data collection found that stress can cause an inhibitory factor on hair growth in mice exposed to long-term stressors. The data also found that the mice also experienced inflammatory body responses, which also lead to a disrupted hair growth pattern.4

Losing hair can be a sign of significant stress, and you may need to find some relaxation techniques to combat chronic stress. It is essential to curb any damaging stressors in your life so your hair growth can return to normal. Regular exercise and talk therapy can be helpful in reducing your stress. If you want to learn more about hair loss treatment options, visit mailMymeds.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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