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One hard truth: Hair loss is mostly out of your control. “Baldness comes down to your genes,” says Frederick Joyce, M.D., founder of Rejuvenate! Med Spa and a member of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery. “If you have the baldness gene, there are some natural remedies that may make your hair stronger and healthier to slow your hair loss slightly—but they won’t prevent you from going bald. Still, maintaining hair health by eating well and using the right products—combined with medical-grade treatments—can really work all together to help you have a fuller, thicker head of hair.”
During a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes tiny patches of skin, each containing one to several hairs, from the back or side of your scalp. Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing multiple hair groupings is taken. He or she then implants the hair follicle by follicle into the bald sections. Some doctors recommend using minoxidil after the transplant, to help minimize hair loss. And you may need more than one surgery to get the effect you want. Hereditary hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery.
It can cause unwanted hair growth. Some women may experience facial hair growth when they use minoxidil. That can happen if the medication trickles down onto your face or simply as a side effect when you apply it only to your scalp. The risk is lower for women who use the 2 percent concentration of the drug, as opposed to the 5 percent concentration that’s designed for men.
That said, there are products that don’t have FDA approval or clearance, but may help prevent hair loss. For example, shampoos with ketoconazole, a chemical with anti-DHT properties, is widely used to treat fungal infections but has become popular among consumers as a hair loss treatment. It makes sense — research shows that ketoconazole actually has beneficial effects on hair growth (especially for those with seborrheic dermatitis).
Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness. For many years, minoxidil, in pill form (brand name Loniten), was widely used to treat high blood pressure. Just like finasteride, researchers discovered a very interesting side effect of the drug. People taking the medication were growing hair in unexpected places, such as on their cheeks and the back of their hands. Some people grew hair on their foreheads.
I am a 30 year old woman, after my second child, I noticed that my hair was thinning on the top of my head, I had read it was normal for hair to thin and to loose hair while breast feeding and all that, but my daughter is now 18 months and did not see my hair come back to how it used to, so I decided to try this product. I have been using it for about 22 days and I do see the difference, it is not very thick as it used to but I hope with time using the product it will get better. I also see some hair growth, so far so good!! BTW, you need to apply it twice a day, it comes on liquid form and it is very easy to use.
Results from clinical studies of mostly white women ages 18 to 45 years with mild to moderate degrees of hair loss report that after using minoxidil for eight months, 19% of users had moderate regrowth and 40% had minimal regrowth. Of those using a liquid without active minoxidil (a placebo) during the same time period, 7% reported moderate hair regrowth while 33% had minimal regrowth.
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.
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.
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.
1. Minoxidil. It’s the only FDA-approved topical nonprescription medication that can claim to regrow hair — and it should be part of any hair-loss plan if you have serious thinning, says Rogers. Minoxidil has loads of research to back it, but it requires commitment. If you quit using it, your hair will start to lose ground again. Use a 5 percent strength, like Women’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam ($30), once daily to see results in three to four months, says Rogers.
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.
Sure, you can easily pop a hair growth supplement, but honestly, the word's still out on whether or not they're an effective way to help your hair grow faster. Plus, they can contain unnecessary large amounts of minerals and vitamins (ahem, biotin) which can actually wreak havoc in other ways (ahem, breakouts). Thus, eating your way to longer hair is actually a smarter, nutritionist-approved way to make your hair grow faster. Vitamins and minerals occurring naturally in foods are easier for your body to utilize, and they'll naturally deliver a healthier ratio of nutrients—just the way Mother Nature intended.
Instead, you may want to add vitamin D (about $15) to your shopping cart. A vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate hair thinning and make it almost impossible for any over-the-counter product to reverse hair loss, says Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York City, who recommends taking 5,000 international units of D3 a day (and it’s generally beneficial for bone health in women over 40). “There’s also a link between low iron and zinc levels and temporary hair shedding, called [telogen] effluvium,” says Rogers.
Retin-A, or topical tretinoin, is sometimes used as a combination therapy with minoxidil for androgenic alopecia. It’s important to use this type of medication under the guidance of your doctor. In some circumstances, tretinoin can actually cause hair loss. Some people who have used it at home report that topical retinol creams, serums, and lotions may make hair loss worse.
3. Nutriceuticals. Rogers recommends that her patients try Viviscal Dietary Supplements ($50 for a one-month supply) or Nutrafol ($88 for a one-month supply), both of which can often be picked up in a salon. The former contains marine-based proteins meant to beef up thinning hair. The latter is packed with antioxidants, like ashwagandha and curcumin, and boasts impressive clinical results.
Hair loss is part of the natural aging process but can also be genetic or caused by a medical condition. It’s crucial to choose a treatment that won’t dry out your hair, will give it volume, and will keep your scalp healthy. If hair loss is caused by hereditary baldness, the FDA has approved minoxidil (Rogaine) at 5%, which is available over the counter. Other hair loss treatments for women contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil and flower extracts. Some products need to be used daily, but others can be used less often. Some take weeks to show results while others help hair growth within days. Some hair loss treatments are more suitable for certain types of hair (dry, oily, combination, or colored).
The use of PRP “enhancements” such as Extracellular Matrix (ECMs) as well as Stem Cells/Signaling Cells can be added to the PRP to enhance it’s hair growth properties and prolong its effects. When PRP is performed without these enhancements, multiple repeat treatments are needed as often as every other month. Research has shown that the use of ECMs like ACell–derived from porcine/pig bladder, BioD–derived from donated healthy human placenta, Adipose-Derived Stem/Signalling Cells–harvested and separated from the patient’s own fat, and even special exosome preparations can help strengthen the effectiveness and lengthen the duration of the results from a single PRP treatment.
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.
Just letting go is possibly the most challenging of the available options. It’s also the cheapest and ultimately the most effective in the struggle with hair loss. Given the imperfections of surgical, medical, and technological options, there are many who advocate simple acceptance. (BaldRUs.com is one of several sites devoted to embracing the scalp's natural fate.) What's more, the health benefits of happier mirror time -- and fewer years of harmful anxiety -- just might offset the loss of those Samson-like powers.