“I’m 43 years old and my hair has started to thin out a little bit. I started looking into a lot of these different products on the market that claim they can slow down balding in men and some of them even claim they can regrow your actual hair. As I went on the internet and started looking around, I kind of went down a rabbit hole into these different reviews and all sorts of different products from vitamins to topical solutions. Do any of these things do what they claim they can do?”
Some treatments in development hold particular promise for women. Angela Christiano, a hair geneticist and Columbia University professor of dermatology, is hoping to begin clinical trials in a year or two on a procedure in which she dissects hair-follicle stem cells, grows them in the lab until she has several million, then injects them into the scalp, where, a very small study done with a human skin model has shown, they induce new hairs.
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Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness. For many years, minoxidil, in pill form (brand name Loniten), was widely used to treat high blood pressure. Just like finasteride, researchers discovered a very interesting side effect of the drug. People taking the medication were growing hair in unexpected places, such as on their cheeks and the back of their hands. Some people grew hair on their foreheads.
Sure, you can easily pop a hair growth supplement, but honestly, the word's still out on whether or not they're an effective way to help your hair grow faster. Plus, they can contain unnecessary large amounts of minerals and vitamins (ahem, biotin) which can actually wreak havoc in other ways (ahem, breakouts). Thus, eating your way to longer hair is actually a smarter, nutritionist-approved way to make your hair grow faster. Vitamins and minerals occurring naturally in foods are easier for your body to utilize, and they'll naturally deliver a healthier ratio of nutrients—just the way Mother Nature intended.
Hair loss is part of the natural aging process but can also be genetic or caused by a medical condition. It’s crucial to choose a treatment that won’t dry out your hair, will give it volume, and will keep your scalp healthy. If hair loss is caused by hereditary baldness, the FDA has approved minoxidil (Rogaine) at 5%, which is available over the counter. Other hair loss treatments for women contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil and flower extracts. Some products need to be used daily, but others can be used less often. Some take weeks to show results while others help hair growth within days. Some hair loss treatments are more suitable for certain types of hair (dry, oily, combination, or colored).
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.)