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.
The most common side effects are itching and other skin irritations of the treated area of the scalp. Minoxidil topical solution 2% contains alcohol, which would cause burning or irritation of the eyes or sensitive skin areas. If minoxidil topical solution 2% accidentally gets into these areas, rinse with large amounts of cool tap water. Contact your doctor if irritation persists.
4. Tinted dry shampoo. Camouflage spots where you’re seeing more scalp than you want to (your hairline, a widening part, a thinning crown) and add volume with a colored dry shampoo (try Orlando Pita Color Boost Dry Shampoo in Light or Dark Tones, $22). But be sure to give your scalp a vigorous shampoo during your next shower — dermatologists recommend keeping your scalp free of styling products so you’re not clogging already taxed pores.
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.
Like minoxidil, finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, was originally created with a different purpose in mind -- to treat enlarged prostate glands -- and researchers observed it came with a side effect of hair growth. Unlike topical minoxidil, finasteride requires a prescription, is taken orally and addresses hormonal causes of hair loss. It inhibits the enzyme type II 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT. As it was the first truly effective treatment for hair loss that provided nearly guaranteed results, finasteride revolutionized the hair-loss-treatment industry.