Side effects and concerns: Around the time new hair growth starts, some women experience folliculitis (inflammation of the follicle). This minor complication can be treated with compresses and antibiotics. A more serious hazard is shock loss, the sudden loss of hair that normally grows in the area of the transplant. Shock loss affects 30% to 50% of female hair-transplant recipients; fortunately, the loss is usually temporary, and the hair will regrow. One drawback is that there's a finite amount of donor hair, and it may not be enough to fill in the transplant site as densely as before, especially if the area of thinning hair is large. A transplant procedure can cost from $4,000 to $15,000 and is rarely covered by insurance.
Propecia's 1 mg dose of finasteride can effectively lower DHT levels in the scalp by as much as 60% when taken daily. It is DHT that shrinks or miniaturizes the hair follicle, which eventually leads to baldness. This 60% reduction in DHT has proven to stop the progression of hair loss in 86% of men taking the drug during clinical trials. 65% of trial participants had what was considered a substantial increase of hair growth.
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.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants that prevent hair loss and boost hair growth (25). Many other herbal teas possess similar properties and can be used just like green tea to rinse your hair. Tea rinses have been tested and tried by many people for hair growth, and the results have been positive. Some of the other teas that you can use are bamboo tea, nettle tea, sage tea, or even regular black tea. Just steep the tea bag or a tablespoon of the dried herb in hot water and use it as described above.
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
Rogaine’s foam squirts out just like hair mousse and is applied with “cool, dry hands.” Applying means working the foam down to the scalp where you want to see thicker growth — for it to work, “it has to get into your scalp,” Dr. Wolfeld explains. “If it sits on your hair, it’s not really as effective.” Once massaged, it dissolves into a watery liquid that leaves a tingly sensation, “but no burning!” one of our balding testers was happy to discover.
If you’re a lady and can remember the one difference in directions (or just scope out the instructions online) we recommend saving the cash. Similarly, you could go generic with Equate Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men or Costco’s Kirkland Signature Hair Regrowth Treatment Minoxidil Foam for Men. These alternatives offer the same percentage of active minoxidil and near-identical inactive ingredients for as little as half the price — a great option for both genders.
That meant new products like Hims and Keeps were out.Hims and Keeps are relatively new companies that allow you to set up a subscription for hair loss treatments. Both offer finasteride (after an online consultation with a doctor) or 5 percent minoxidil. However, their minoxidil solutions contain propylene glycol, so we cut them from consideration.
Coming in at number 7 is the tablet formulation from Research Verified. This tablet formulation contains a mixture of multi-vitamin blends and trusted compounds known to promote hair growth and prevent future hair fall. The product is manufactured in US FDA certified labs ensuring high quality. Containing active ingredients such as Saw Palmetto and Ginkgo biloba, help promote natural and lustrous hair regrowth.

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.

Rogaine’s foam squirts out just like hair mousse and is applied with “cool, dry hands.” Applying means working the foam down to the scalp where you want to see thicker growth — for it to work, “it has to get into your scalp,” Dr. Wolfeld explains. “If it sits on your hair, it’s not really as effective.” Once massaged, it dissolves into a watery liquid that leaves a tingly sensation, “but no burning!” one of our balding testers was happy to discover.
There are many potential causes of hair loss, including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. If you notice unusual hair loss of any kind, it's important to see your primary care provider or a dermatologist, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. You may also want to ask your clinician for a referral to a therapist or support group to address emotional difficulties. Hair loss can be frustrating, but recent years have seen an increase in resources for coping with the problem.
Finally, avoid damaging your hair and scalp with harsh products and too much time in the sun. Use sulfate-free shampoos, remember to apply conditioner, and cover up outdoors. If you spend time in the pool, use a clarifying shampoo that removes chlorine from your hair. Also, rinse well with lukewarm or cool water. If you take good care of your scalp and hair, you’ll find that it’s easier to keep your locks thick and healthy.
Not surprisingly, treatments with 5 percent minoxidil work better than treatments with 2 percent minoxidil. A randomized clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2002 found that, in men with androgenetic alopecia, “5 percent topical minoxidil was clearly superior to 2 percent topical minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair growth.” The difference was actually pretty astounding — after 48 weeks, the men who used 5 percent minoxidil experienced 45 percent more hair growth than the men who used the 2 percent treatment.
The truth is, the amount of propylene glycol in hair loss treatments is not likely to cause any real harm and the FDA has given the chemical approval for many uses. But even though it is safe, we wanted to ensure that our top picks would be as comfortable to use as possible. So when Dr. Khadavi told us that “a third of my patients get irritated from minoxidil products because of propylene glycol,” we decided to cut any treatments with it. In any case, it’s the minoxidil that helps curb hair loss and not the propylene glycol.
This procedure can take several hours. First, surgeons remove an elliptical strip 3 to 4 inches long from the back of the scalp and trim the hairs short (A). The strip is then divided into 500 to 2,000 separate follicular units, each containing only a few hairs (). The units are then planted in an equivalent number of slits made in the scalp in the area of missing hair (C).
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).
Side effects and concerns: Around the time new hair growth starts, some women experience folliculitis (inflammation of the follicle). This minor complication can be treated with compresses and antibiotics. A more serious hazard is shock loss, the sudden loss of hair that normally grows in the area of the transplant. Shock loss affects 30% to 50% of female hair-transplant recipients; fortunately, the loss is usually temporary, and the hair will regrow. One drawback is that there's a finite amount of donor hair, and it may not be enough to fill in the transplant site as densely as before, especially if the area of thinning hair is large. A transplant procedure can cost from $4,000 to $15,000 and is rarely covered by insurance.
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.

The Rogaine rep we spoke to explained that the different packaging (and therefore different prices) has to do with the FDA-approval process: “We discovered in clinical trials that the hair loss patterns between men and women are different,” she said by way of explanation. “Men typically have that bald spot on the crown of their head, where women generally have a general thinning throughout, but concentrated more on the top of the head. So for FDA approval, we had to come up with two different, gender-specific products, so the directions were more explanatory.”
According to Men’s Fitness, Minoxidil will help slow the hair loss process, preserve the hair you have, and regrow hair more quickly. The six month supply of unscented topical solution is clinically proven to help regrow hair and revitalize hair follicles. The easy-to-use application can be used once daily. Simply apply the solution along the scalp using the dropper.

There are many potential causes of hair loss, including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. If you notice unusual hair loss of any kind, it's important to see your primary care provider or a dermatologist, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. You may also want to ask your clinician for a referral to a therapist or support group to address emotional difficulties. Hair loss can be frustrating, but recent years have seen an increase in resources for coping with the problem.


Beware online stores selling Propecia without a prescription.Finasteride is FDA approved, but buying it online without a prescription can be illegal and dangerous. Prescription-free online stores have a reputation for selling placebos or dangerous replacements. We recommend speaking with a doctor about prescriptions or sticking to save over-the-counter treatments.
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.

Both minoxidil and finasteride require a lifelong commitment, but for users looking for a treatment with permanent results, hair transplant surgery may be the solution. Over the years, surgeons have developed techniques to deliver natural-looking results that are a far cry from early hair transplants, which had a cornrow-like appearance. These procedures are costly and may require multiple sessions depending on the patient.

Why? Unwanted hair growth (sideburns, for example) is a reported side effect of minoxidil. The belief is that a higher concentration of minoxidil would result in more unwanted hair, which is why women are instructed to use it less often. However, the study in Skin Therapy Letter reports that unwanted hair was more common in 2 percent minoxidil solutions than 5 percent, and women are instructed to use Rogaine’s 2 percent solution twice daily — so what gives?
Various essential oils can be added to carrier oils like coconut oil, almond oil, and olive oil to promote hair growth. Some of the best essential oils for this purpose are peppermint oil, tea tree oil, black seed oil, neem oil, pumpkin seed oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, eucalyptus oil, walnut oil, lemongrass oil, and onion oil. Essential oils are full of antioxidants and also contain pore cleansing agents – both these properties can improve hair growth.
Coming in at the fourth position is the all-natural, plant based organic shampoo from PhytoWorx. The shampoo is formulated with plant stem cells to promote hair growth and tackle DHT. Rare plant cells from the plant Malus domestica, along with various essential oils, promote a healthy roots. The shampoo formulation is very easy to use and is completely hassle free. If you are looking for an all-natural formulation, this is one of the best.
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Men's Rogaine Extra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment (5 percent minoxidil) boasts impressive hair growth rates, slowing hair loss for the vast majority of men who use it diligently. The hair-loss treatment is available over the counter and leads to only minimal side effects, all of which go away when treatment is discontinued. See our full review »
Great article thx!! I’m 38 and still have a full head of hair but I started to shed about 3 months ago. Typically ~15 hairs on my pillow when I wake up and 20 or so hairs on my hand after I shower. I also notice hairs on my desk during the day. I never noticed any hair loss before 3 months ago. I started to use rogaine 5% twice a day about a month and a half ago and the shedding accelerated. I read that is normal but should it still be doing this after 1.5 months? I haven’t tried propecia yet as I want to see if Rogaine will do the trick but will if the shedding doesn’t stop. Also, do you think stress can play a part in hair loss? I started a super stressful job about 6 months ago so thinking my hair loss could be related to that.
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.
The truth is, the amount of propylene glycol in hair loss treatments is not likely to cause any real harm and the FDA has given the chemical approval for many uses. But even though it is safe, we wanted to ensure that our top picks would be as comfortable to use as possible. So when Dr. Khadavi told us that “a third of my patients get irritated from minoxidil products because of propylene glycol,” we decided to cut any treatments with it. In any case, it’s the minoxidil that helps curb hair loss and not the propylene glycol.
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.
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