During the trials on men with prostate problems, researchers noted an intriguing side effect: hair growth. Since finasteride had already been approved by the FDA to treat enlarged prostates in men, Merck decided to pursue the possibility of developing finasteride as the first pill to treat male pattern baldness. Minoxidil, a topical liquid solution, was already on the market (see below).
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Her hope is that the procedure (she has helped start a company named Rapunzel to develop it) will eventually become another lunchtime cosmetic treatment. Once a patient has had her cells harvested and cultured, they could be stored indefinitely; then, after giving her doctor a month’s notice (the time it takes to grow the million needed), she could pop in for injections. Costs would likely be on par with hair transplants, roughly $10,000 and up.
Part your hair in the area of hair thinning/loss. Follow the instructions below for using the dropper applicator and apply one mL 2 times a day directly onto the scalp in the hair loss area. Do not use more. Spread the liquid evenly over the hair loss area. If you use your fingers, wash hands with soap and water immediately. Each bottle should last about one month, if used as directed. Use a mild shampoo if you wash your scalp before applying minoxidil topical solution 2%.
Clearly, minoxidil is not a miracle drug. While it can produce some new growth of fine hair in some — not all — women, it can't restore the full density of the lost hair. It's not a quick fix, either. You won't see results until you use the drug for two months. The effect often peaks at around four months, but it could take longer, so plan on a trial of six to 12 months. If minoxidil works for you, you'll need to keep using it to maintain those results. If you stop, you'll start to lose hair again.
In-office laser light treatments or at-home handheld devices, such as the HairMax LaserComb, supposedly grow new hair by stimulating blood flow to the area (think: an amped-up version of a scalp-stimulating shampoo). Just don’t expect the device to make your noggin go from looking like George Costanza’s to Jerry Seinfeld’s. “These lasers won’t grow any new hair. If anything, they may just help you hang on to some of the hair that you already have a bit longer,” says Dr. Joyce.
The other main hair-loss treatment that was recommended by all four dermatologists I interviewed is finasteride, often called by its brand name Propecia. This FDA-approved medication is only available with a prescription, but these days, it’s found as a generic and ordered online after a virtual consultation, through start-ups like Hims, Keeps, and Lemonaid.