A commonly prescribed treatment for women is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is only prescribed to women with AGA during menopause or women who have low estrogen and/or progesterone for other reasons. These female hormones suppress male hormone production and seem to keep hair loss at bay. Physicians, however, do not recommend long periods of HRT treatment because of the increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Unfortunately, there has been little research into female-pattern baldness. The AHLA says, "While many drugs may work to some degree for women, doctors are reluctant to prescribe them, and drug companies aren't exactly falling over themselves to test existing or new drugs specifically for their ability to prevent and treat female-pattern baldness." The only FDA-approved treatment for hair loss in women is 2 percent minoxidil, although some doctors will prescribe other drugs off-label.
About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives; among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. Hair loss often has a greater impact on women than on men, because it's less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman's emotional well-being and quality of life.
A separate study, published in Skin Therapy Letter — a professional reference site for dermatologists — found that women also benefit from using the more potent 5 percent minoxidil treatment. “Patient-reported improvement in hair volume and coverage appears to be greater with 5 percent minoxidil foam,” reads the report. Plus, because the 5 percent treatment is stronger, women only have to apply it once a day to get the same results as they would with the 2 percent treatment applied twice daily.
If you think over-the-counter hair loss shampoos are for you or just want to promote growth and strength, Dr. Schwieger recommends formulas with antioxidants such as vitamin E and ginseng, amino acids, and B-vitamins to help rebuild hair and reduce environmental damage. She cautions against those with parabens, sulfates, and fragrances, which can irritate hair and reduce moisture. Ahead, eight vetted hair loss shampoos to try.
“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?”
decrease in your blood Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. Finasteride can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer. If you have a PSA test done you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Finasteride because Finasteride decreases PSA levels. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range for men not taking Finasteride. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have not been taking Finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider.
PRP for Hair Growth has become one of the most exciting recent breakthroughs in hair restoration, and is not only showing positive results as a stand-alone treatment, it has proved to be a valuable tool during hair transplantation as well. During the transplant process, PRP has been shown to strengthen non-transplanted hair, minimize donor scarring and accelerate wound healing. In addition, PRP has also been reported to improve graft survival and accelerate the growth of the transplanted hair.
Cyproterone acetate is not available in the U.S. Doctors consider it one of the last resorts for treating female pattern hair loss because of its possible toxicity and long-term side effects. As with any drug, side effects other than those listed on the package may occur. Contact your doctor if you notice a side effect that is unusual or particularly bothersome.
Regrow thicker, beautiful hair with Women's ROGAINE® Hair Regrowth Treatment, Once-a-Day Foam. Containing 5% minoxidil, this foam reactivates hair follicles to regrow hair. The only once-daily hair regrowth treatment for women approved by the FDA, this formula is proven to help regrow hair in 81%* of women, with clinical results in as little as 12 weeks and visible results with continuous daily use after 24 weeks. From the #1 dermatologist recommended brand, the once-a-day applied foam can fit into your regular beauty routine. This package of Women's ROGAINE® Foam includes one 60-gram can, a 2-month supply.
In clinical testing, nearly nine out of 10 men noticed results. The solution is intended for men only and is easy to use on a daily basis. Simply dispense 1/2 capful of foam in your hands, part your hair, and apply in the area where your hair is thinning. Use your fingers to massage throughout the hair loss area twice a day and you should notice regrowth in as little as two months. Results last only as long as you use the medicine.
Castor oil is the unsung hero of the hair world—you might even be tempted to ditch your coconut oil for it after reading this. First of all, castor oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties to help combat scalp infections that prevent your hair from growing. Second, it’s filled with omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins, and other nutrients that can penetrate your parched strands and seal your hair shaft to retain moisture. Thirdly, it makes an amazing hot oil treatment—massaging the oil into your roots will help your scalp drink up all of the nutrients and help promote hair growth.
Some doctors prescribe Avodart off-label (meaning to treat something other than illnesses or conditions listed on the drug's label) to patients suffering from male-pattern baldness. Dutasteride, the active ingredient in Avodart, like finasteride, is used to treat enlarged prostate glands, but it blocks both types of the enzyme that create DHT, instead of just one. Studies show that dutasteride is superior to finasteride in treating AGA, but it has yet to be approved by the FDA for that purpose.
Thanks for the article with great info. I’ve been taking minoxidil 5% for the last 2 years. I’ve tried a generic minoxidil brand and also Kirkland to no effect. I’ve been hoping it’s maybe slowed the hair loss process. The hair around my crown just keeps getting thinner. Do you think changing to another “better quality” brand like Lipogaine or Rogaine could work? Or does it appear that any minoxidil brand is not going to work?
Women with androgenic alopecia may consider trying prescription ketoconazole at a strength of 2 percent. This drug comes in the form of a shampoo and also goes by the name Nizoral. It’s an antifungal agent and may help reduce the body’s production of testosterone and other androgens that lead to hair loss. You can also find 1 percent strength at your local pharmacy, but it may not be as effective.
Thanks for your response and awesome article! Do you recommend sticking with minoxidil for a period of time (i.e. 6 months) before starting finasteride or do it all at once? I would be on finasteride now if I wasn’t nervous about the potential side effects so my plan was to wait to see if minoxidal does anything for me over the next 3 months or so (at that point I will have been on it ~ 6 months). My shedding has certainly reduced so hopefully it is starting to work. I’m in the very early stages of hair loss. No one would notice (except me and my wife). Just looks my hair part on the top of my head even though it really is thinning.
SmartGraft is a new, breakthrough device that helps surgeons and their specialized teams perform FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplantation. Less invasive than traditional linear “strip” harvesting, Follicular Unit Extraction uses no scalpel, no stitches, no staples in the donor area–allowing for faster healing, less discomfort after transplantation, quicker return to athletic activity and leaving absolutely NO tell-tale linear scar. It yields only grafts which contain as little as a single hair follicle, which — when used artistically — can result in a 100% natural appearance.
This innovative product uses the active ingredient called Minoxidil. Lipogain uses the trusted hair growth promotor Minoxidil in a special delivery system. The minoxidil from lipogain is absorbed very efficiently into the scalp thanks to the new and improved Liposomal system. The product is also fortified with biotin, the most important vitamin for hair growth promotion. It also contains some herbal extracts promoting hair growth as well.
You can maximize your results from minoxidil by dying your hair after two to three months of treatment. Minoxidil tends to create very fine hairs at first, and dying the hair increases the contrast between the hairs and the scalp, making the new hair growth area look denser. This is one common technique in before/after photos for hair loss treatments.
Once male-pattern baldness starts, it’s not going to stop until every last hair on your head has shrunk or shed, though the rate at which this happens differs from person to person and depends on genetics. And since the grind of hair loss is unending, it’s important to start treatment as soon as your hairline starts bothering you. If you’re looking for a more quantitative metric, Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine and member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, assures me that “you have to lose half your hair before the human eye can tell.” (Of course, if you don’t care about losing your hair and are fine with going full Prince William and shaving your head, go for it. We’ve got some recommendations for razors and hair trimmers to help you out on that front.)
Viviscal is a natural hair-growth supplement that promotes hair growth in people with thinning hair. It contains a marine complex known as AminoMar C. This is made of minerals, vitamins, and shark and mollusk powder. These ingredients help to regenerate new cells and strengthen existing cells. You have to take the pills twice a day for at least six months in order to see results. Viviscal also makes a shampoo and conditioner.
Other options include microneedling ($1,200 and up per treatment) and platelet-replacement therapy (also $1,200 and up per treatment), which are usually offered in conjunction. Your scalp will be numbed first so you don’t feel the pinpricks involved in microneedling. They promote hair regeneration by spurring wound healing, and platelet-replacement therapy involves injecting growth factors into those wounds. “Combination therapy typically works better than monotherapy and usually yields results after three monthly treatments,” says Sadick, and should be teamed with an at-home minoxidil treatment.
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.)
Also new is the HairMax Laser Comb. It's a red light therapy hairbrush-like device that increases circulation and the biological march that makes hair. It's only approved in men (though some women are using it) and in my experience, is not as good as minoxidil. But in one study, 45% of users reported improvement after eight weeks, and 90% saw improvement after 16 weeks.
Am an Af/Am women 49y.o. almost 50 in a week. Anyway, last april, I removed a weave and saw that around the perimeter of my hairline the hair was so thin, it was virtually bald. I presumed it was due to the weave rubbing against my fine hair; but I later reviewed pictures over the past 8 years and saw how my hair had progressively thinned. My sister and mother confirmed that despite my youthful appearance, the hair thining was likely genetic. I am a can do kinda girl so I sought options. Was evening considering hair replacement "Bosley-style". Long story a little shorter, I boutht this Equate Hair Regrowth after reading just about all of the reviews. Worse thing that could happen was NOTHING, so I would be exactly where I was...thining disappearing hair at the edges. I have used the Equate Hair Regrowth since April 2013 and the hair has regrown around the perimeter and I couldn't be more pleased. I bought for my elder sister 56 y.o. and she had significantly more hair-loss, almost bald edges in fact; now she too has experienced regrowth and was so pleased she recommended it to my mother 74 y.o. and I bought it for her also (she will start applying by the end of the week). Highly recommend this product and note that I have also been taking biotin supplements since April 2013. So, buy Equate Hair Regrowth and biotin for best results. Price can't be beat. Excellent
A clinician diagnoses female pattern hair loss by taking a medical history and examining the scalp. She or he will observe the pattern of hair loss, check for signs of inflammation or infection, and possibly order blood tests to investigate other possible causes of hair loss, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and iron deficiency. Unless there are signs of excess androgen activity (such as menstrual irregularities, acne, and unwanted hair growth), a hormonal evaluation is usually unnecessary.
Domen, I was reading some articles and also the links you’ve provided in your other comments above – they say both Finesteride and Minoxidil only check further hair loss and thicken existing hair – but both can’t re-generate hair that’s already gone from bald spots. I guess the effectiveness of these 2 medications are quite proportionate to age of the native! At 42, I guess, I am old 🙁 Atleast according to Indian standards!!
Laser light therapy is not a baldness solution, and the HairMax takes a time commitment: You have to use the product for 15 minutes a day, three days a week and you have to keep using it indefinitely to get results. Still, laser light therapy has no major side effects, and may be best for men who have noticed some increased shedding and want to maintain more of the hair they have on their head.
Some 30 million women in the United States have hereditary hair loss (compared with 50 million men), according to the American Academy of Dermatology, though that figure does not include the millions more who struggle with thinning hair because of pregnancy, menopause, stress and other health conditions. Barely 5 percent of women are said to be good candidates for hair transplant surgery because women lose hair everywhere, meaning that, unlike with men, there is rarely a luxuriant spot on the back of the head from which to harvest hairs unobtrusively.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
Though, it is important to point out that a lot of these companies are developing procedures that involve implanting hair, which means there is a chance they will be expensive — as we mentioned before, traditional hair transplants are costly. But a few companies and products such as Follicum’s FOL-S-005 and Fidia Pharma’s Brotzu Lotion are being designed as topical treatments.
*Photograph used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This photograph was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. # 60, Gathers RC, Jankowski M, Eide M, et al. “Hair grooming practices and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia,” 660-8. Copyright Elsevier (2009). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
I would not take propeciahelp seriously. The website is far far too bias. The testimonies against finasteride are unverifiable anecdotes, not to mention the drug itself is not powerful enough to elicit the side effects some of these people are claiming. I have suspicions that it is run by a competitor of finasteride, as I have seen the same kind of tactics used against other FDA approved hairloss drugs. Its harder to sell snake oils when their are legitimate drugs out there.
There’s no cure for baldness, but there are ways to hold on to what you've got. The six dermatologists and the clinical studies point to three methods: minoxidil, laser treatments, and prescription finasteride. The key is finding the combination and hair loss regimen that works for you. A doctor is your best bet for that kind of guidance — but we found a few trustworthy products that will work for most people.