Hair loss is more common than you think and it can happen to anyone. According to Michele J Farber, MD of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, causes range from, “androgenetic or hormone-related hair loss, stress related-hair loss, also called telogen effluvium, and dandruff. Medications, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, excess styling, and autoimmune disorders can also cause hair loss and thinning.” But the good news is, there are viable solutions, starting with topical growth treatments.
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.
Men’s Rogaine Extra Strength Solution is the liquid version of our top pick. It didn’t make our final cut because it includes propylene glycol, which causes irritation in roughly one-third of its users. With that said, Dr. Wolfeld finds that it can be even more effective in practical daily use. In his experience, “the solution can penetrate and get into your scalp a little bit better” than the foam — especially if you’re not taking the time and effort to apply the foam correctly. This seems crazy to us since the foam so quickly dissolved into a liquid in our tests, but if you’re worried, try a one-month supply of the liquid and make the switch to foam if you notice any irritation.
I have taken Propecia for 5 years. The first couple of years the side effects were minimal, but after they became more severe. Lacking morning wood, reduced ejaculate, reduced penile sensitivity are real issues. You’re be hard pressed to accuse some of suffering the nocebo effect in these instances. In which case you’re telling the person to just ignore the problems.
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.
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.
According to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, hair health is tied to two things: kidney energy and the blood, which nourish the hair. The solution: acupuncture and Chinese herbs. While there isn't a lot of hard science to back this up, Maureen Conant, a TCM practitioner at Full Bloom Acupuncture in Seattle, says that she's seen women's hair stop falling out and then gradually regenerate after a few months of weekly treatments.