The test involves plucking about 50 hairs from the head, typically at the back of the scalp, so your dermatologist can look at them under a microscope and determine how much of the hair is in the resting, growth, and fall-out phases. Next, a vial of blood is sent to a lab to check hormone and nutrient levels ($100 and up, depending on insurance). If low levels of iron, or high levels of male hormones, like androgens, are contributing to your hair loss, for example, both can be treated through oral supplements or medication.
For the past two decades, scientists have made strides in developing hair loss treatments that are both safe and effective. However, the market is inundated with ineffective products; "99 percent of all products being marketed in the less than ethical hair loss treatment industry are completely ineffective for the majority of those who use them," according to the AHLA.
It's for this reason that people can be quick to try any remedy that promises results. And we get it; those before-and-after photos will really get to you. The technology behind hair growth and anti-loss treatments has improved in recent years, too, though it's worth noting that some of these treatments can be expensive and unsustainable. Because not everyone can afford to drop 80 bucks on a bottle of growth supplements (or hundos on an in-office treatment), many people turn to natural and DIY alternatives.
Finally, avoid damaging your hair and scalp with harsh products and too much time in the sun. Use sulfate-free shampoos, remember to apply conditioner, and cover up outdoors. If you spend time in the pool, use a clarifying shampoo that removes chlorine from your hair. Also, rinse well with lukewarm or cool water. If you take good care of your scalp and hair, you’ll find that it’s easier to keep your locks thick and healthy.
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.
Castor oil, as some might already know, is one of the most popular all-natural "panaceas." Go ahead, Google it: What you'll find is article after article about how the viscous oil can help with shedding, breakage, and regrowth. But unlike rosemary oil and vitamin B5, both of which have studies that back up their aid in hair growth, scientific evidence surrounding castor oil is lacking. (Any testimonials about castor oil for hair growth are anecdotal, coming mostly from blogs, Reddit, and YouTube.)
Many physicians recommend that patients engage in a combination therapy that includes minoxidil and Propecia (Est. $75 per 1-month supply) with prescription. Propecia is an oral medication with finasteride being the active ingredient. Finasteride was originally developed by Merck to treat enlarged prostate glands. Excess hair growth was a surprise side effect of the drug and led to the development of Propecia, which was approved by the FDA for treatment of male-pattern baldness in 1997. It has not been approved for women.
Cimetidine, brand name Tagamet, belongs to a class of histamine blockers used mainly to treat gastrointestinal ulcers. The histamine-blocking action prevents the stomach from producing excess acid, allowing the body to heal the ulcer. Cimetidine also has a fairly powerful anti-androgenic effect and has been shown to block dihydrotestosterone from binding the follicle receptor sites.
Rosemary is one of the first essential oils people choose to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. Rosemary oil stimulates new hair growth and can be used to treat androgenetic alopecia. Mix a few drops of rosemary oil into a carrier oil and massage it into your hair and scalp before rinsing. Do this a few times per week. Add a few drops of rosemary oil into your shampoo and conditioner on a daily basis. Do not use essential oils directly on the skin. Always mix them in a carrier oil or shampoo.
SOURCES: George Cotsarelis, MD, director, Hair and Scalp Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Andrew Kaufman, MD, assistant professor, department of dermatology, University of California, Los Angeles; medical director, Center for Dermatology Care, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Tom Barrows, PhD, director of product development, Aderans Research Institute Inc., Atlanta. Cotsarelis, G. and Millar, S.E. Trends in Molecular Medicine, July 2001; vol 7: pp 293-301. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery web site. American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery web site. American Hair Loss Council web site. Springer, K. American Family Physician, July 1, 2003; vol 68: pp 93-102. Hair Loss Help web site, "Interview with Dr. Ken Washenik from Bosley." Fuchs, E. Developmental Cell, July 2001: vol 1: pp 13-25.
Propecia is no joke. Fair enough, you’ve been fine on it, but I can assure you that there are more people than you think whose lives have been completely destroyed by this drug. Shrinking penis’ and testicles, just 2 of the documented side effects are not nocebo. Many people have not able to reverse the many effects of propecia for years, after only taking the drug in some cases for just a few days !
Side effects and concerns: Around the time new hair growth starts, some women experience folliculitis (inflammation of the follicle). This minor complication can be treated with compresses and antibiotics. A more serious hazard is shock loss, the sudden loss of hair that normally grows in the area of the transplant. Shock loss affects 30% to 50% of female hair-transplant recipients; fortunately, the loss is usually temporary, and the hair will regrow. One drawback is that there's a finite amount of donor hair, and it may not be enough to fill in the transplant site as densely as before, especially if the area of thinning hair is large. A transplant procedure can cost from $4,000 to $15,000 and is rarely covered by insurance.
Excessive hair loss led me to this product about six years ago, and having sought advice from physicians ("It's stress"), a vitamin guru ($150 later) and all the information I could glean from the internet, I was wisely advised by my dermatologist to try men's Rogaine. The price, however, was a major deterrent, so more sleuthing led me to Walmart, and their version of Rogaine -- just plain minoxidil, but at an affordable price. Equate did wonders! And has continued to work its volumizing wonders over the years. My hair's thick and shiny, and while it undergoes spells of temporary loss, it always returns in full volume. I couldn't live without this product -- and a three-months' supply for a little more than $18 (5% solution), it's not only a bargain, but a blessing!!
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.
Coming in at the fourth position is the all-natural, plant based organic shampoo from PhytoWorx. The shampoo is formulated with plant stem cells to promote hair growth and tackle DHT. Rare plant cells from the plant Malus domestica, along with various essential oils, promote a healthy roots. The shampoo formulation is very easy to use and is completely hassle free. If you are looking for an all-natural formulation, this is one of the best.
Thinning hair in women is worth investigating for more than its impact on physical appearance. While many conditions that lead to temporary hair loss will go away without treatment or with simple lifestyle measures, others may be signs of potentially irreversible loss or health conditions. Others yet may respond well to treatments to promote regrowth, so starting sooner rather than later is key.
You can also get a hair-loss kit from Hims, which comes with both minoxidil and finasteride. Keeps has one, as well. And though it might seem like overkill to take two different hair-loss treatments at once, this is one of those rare instances where more is actually better. McAndrews calls the combination of orally administered finasteride and topically applied minoxidil a “full-court press” against hair loss. “That’s doing the most you can for preventative medicine.” Rieder notes that taking both drugs together is more effective than taking either one alone.
This procedure can take several hours. First, surgeons remove an elliptical strip 3 to 4 inches long from the back of the scalp and trim the hairs short (A). The strip is then divided into 500 to 2,000 separate follicular units, each containing only a few hairs (). The units are then planted in an equivalent number of slits made in the scalp in the area of missing hair (C).
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First, I am a 39 year-old female and I started using this product about a month ago for genetic hair loss that began last year. My mother, her sister and other family members suffer from hair loss and general thinning of the hair (scalp can be seen.) I was devastated when my ultra thick mane became veil-like. At first, I tried to improve my diet, adding biotin to my daily supplements. Nothing really helped. It just got worse. The final blow came after the birth of my son. Aside from the hormonal clumps of hair that fell out (I cried over this), the thinning continued. Now for the good part: after one month of using this product, I am seeing dramatic results. Knowing that there is an effective and affordable treatment for genetic hair loss is comforting. I realize that I will need to use this product indefinitely, but that's okay. It's fast, easy, relatively inexpensive and it makes me feel better. Man or women - if you fall into the parameters described on the box, please give this a try. I'm so glad that I did.
There are several different types of medication you can buy to help treat hair loss. Procepia and Finasteride are currently the only approved drugs you can take that will effectively treat hair loss. The active ingredient in both treatments (finasteride) works by blocking DHT (the male hormone dihydrotestosterone) that causes hair loss by shrinking hair follicles on your scalp. It has been proven to lead to hair regrowth or to stop hair loss in around 9 out of 10 men in clinical trials.