Even though modern folklore, and even some limited scientific studies, have suggested that the mother's side of the family is largely responsible for a genetic predisposition toward baldness, the truth is balding is not all our mothers' fault. In fact, doctors now say baldness patterns are inherited from a combination of many genes on both sides of the family. There are some environmental factors that come into play, too.
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.
“The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The root cause of this type of hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone that shrinks certain hair follicles until they eventually stop producing hair.
Studies show that Propecia is effective for 86 percent of men who use it, but doctors interviewed by USA Today say that "anyone who expects miracles will be disappointed." They explain: Only about one-third of men in the early stages of hair loss will regrow some with Propecia. These doctors say that it "primarily slow(s) down hair loss and improve(s) hair quality." As reported at HairLossHelp.com, a five-year study published in 2001 found that Propecia continued to prevent hair loss but there was a "progressive decrease in the amount of hair grown over the five-year period." Experts say that it is effective at growing back more hair than minoxidil (Rogaine) but that it can take up to a year to see results.
If a pregnant woman comes in contact with crushed or broken Finasteride tablets, wash the contact area right away with soap and water. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in Finasteride, a healthcare provider should be consulted. If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby swallows or comes in contact with the medicine in Finasteride, the male baby may be born with sex organs that are not normal.
If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard about all the negative effects smoking has on your health. But did you know that smoking could cause hair loss on top of facial wrinkles and premature graying of hair? Research has determined that there’s a link between smoking and hair loss. If you want to keep from going bald, it may be a good idea to quit smoking as soon as possible.
According to holistic nutritionist and founder of Kore Kitchen Meryl Pritchard, getting plenty of healthy fats like omega-3s can jump-start hair growth. "Healthy fats are essential to hair health since our bodies can't produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own. Therefore, it's important to get these fats through our diet: "They nourish hair follicles to give strands that strong, shiny, lustrous glow like in the Pantene Pro-V commercials." Tempting, right?
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.
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 »
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You may have hereditary hair loss, but you don't need to live with it forever. Women's ROGAINE contains topical minoxidil, the only FDA-approved over-the-counter ingredient clinically proven to regrow hair. ROGAINE works by getting inside your scalp to revitalize follicles and stimulate hair regrowth. That's why ROGAINE is the #1 dermatologist-recommended product for hereditary hair loss in women. The sooner you start, the better your chances of regrowing your hair.
When it comes to prescriptions, Propecia (finasteride) stands as the strongest oral option for treating balding. If used consistently, this hair-loss treatment stops the progression of pattern hair loss, caused by genetics, for most users -- no messy application necessary. Although the drug has yet to earn FDA approval for treatment of women, recent studies have shown that it is both safe and effective for female users. See our full review »
"The majority of men lose their hair not through stress, or bad diet, or lack of sleep, but through the genetic trait of male pattern baldness which is hard to treat through shampoos or supplements alone. Women lose their hair for very different reasons, but the argument still stands that a lot of the hair loss products on the market are just offering false hope. That said, there are a few that really work."
Unfortunately, there has been little research into female-pattern baldness. The AHLA says, "While many drugs may work to some degree for women, doctors are reluctant to prescribe them, and drug companies aren't exactly falling over themselves to test existing or new drugs specifically for their ability to prevent and treat female-pattern baldness." The only FDA-approved treatment for hair loss in women is 2 percent minoxidil, although some doctors will prescribe other drugs off-label.
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.”
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?
Many physicians recommend that patients engage in a combination therapy that includes minoxidil and Propecia (Est. $75 per 1-month supply) with prescription. Propecia is an oral medication with finasteride being the active ingredient. Finasteride was originally developed by Merck to treat enlarged prostate glands. Excess hair growth was a surprise side effect of the drug and led to the development of Propecia, which was approved by the FDA for treatment of male-pattern baldness in 1997. It has not been approved for women.
And though this treatment appears to be safe and somewhat effective, it’s hard to tell who will react well to this low-level light therapy, which is why the doctors I spoke with were hesitant to fully endorse it. “We’re not sure what the optimal power is, what the optimal wavelength is, we don’t even really know the mechanism of action of how this is working,” says Rieder. Plus, it doesn’t work on everyone. “There are subpopulations of patients who do respond to low-level laser light, but this is not easily predictable,” explains McMichael, though she adds that the risk of using the LaserComb is low.
But in November, after 10 years of research, Rogaine introduced a new 5 percent minoxidil formulation for women. It’s a mousse (instead of a liquid) that needs to be applied only once a day instead of twice, which means that it can be more easily incorporated into a woman’s evening skin-care routine. Teal replaces the blue and silver palette of the men’s Rogaine, and the packaging bears a lotus flower. (Also last year, Pantene introduced its Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women, which is 2 percent minoxidil.)
Joseph Greco, Ms. Telford’s practitioner, who shares a patent for a process to remove growth factors from platelets, said he gets results in 80 percent of patients, more than half of whom are female. Roughly half of them fly in and out, often on the same day, he said, because the procedure doesn’t require downtime and has minimal side effects. (Small clinical studies suggest further research is necessary but acknowledge the procedure’s “excellent safety profile.”)
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.
"I recently started using your hair growth products, and now there is no looking back. My hair has always been really thin and fine and growth around the hairline at the temples has been poor. It almost looked like my hairline was receding. I didn't like putting my hair up as I looked like I was going bald. But, not any more. My hair feels thicker, and growth is improving at the temple area. My hair would never grow beyond my shoulders, that's going to be the next test, how long will it grow!! Thank you, after years of irritation with my fine hair things are looking up."
Hair transplants will likely lead to better results in the long run (you are introducing new hairs to the balding areas), but you’ll still need to use minoxidil or finasteride after surgery to maintain the results. Like all hair loss treatments, hair transplants are best when combined with other methods, and you’ll want to speak with your doctor to see what combination is best for you.
Stop use and ask a doctor if chest pain, rapid heartbeat, faintness, or dizziness occurs sudden, unexplained weight gain occurs your hands or feet swell scalp irritation or redness occurs unwanted facial hair growth occurs you do not see hair regrowth in 4 months May be harmful if used when pregnant or breast-feeding. Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
This study claims laser therapy does have some sort of effect, but I’ve never found any people who swear by it, like for minoxidil, finasteride, and keto. I wouldn’t waste my money on it. To be honest with you, I’m on minox, fin and keto for about 3 years now and still experience sheds every once in a while. I wouldn’t worry about it. While my hair is shedding my hairline is staying intact. How often do you use the keto shampoo?
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.