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.
I'll start by saying I actually don't have a serious hair loss problem. However, I have always had calics along my hairline, so I wanted to fill them in a little before my sister's wedding. I started using this product about a month ago. I hate that it never seems to dry, so I ended up throwing my hair in a slick bun to hide the sticky look on a number of occasions. But just last week a coworker pointed out that my hairline was filling in, which is when I finally realized that it was working! The wedding is over, but I plan on using it over the course of the next three months to see if I can obtain more permanent results. So far I'm pleased, but the results take time and it's a little pricier than I would like to admit. The twice a day thing is kind of a pain in the arse.
Physicians are reluctant to prescribe systemic treatments (pills or other form of treatment that affects your entire system) because they can tamper with your body's own androgen levels (see Causes for an explanation of androgens). The doctor will first want to confirm that the hair loss is due to an excess of androgen (another name for male hormones) in the system or a sensitized "over-response" to normal amounts of androgen. Therefore, physicians often choose topical treatments, which are applied directly to the scalp.
Laser light therapy is not a baldness solution, and the HairMax takes a time commitment: You have to use the product for 15 minutes a day, three days a week and you have to keep using it indefinitely to get results. Still, laser light therapy has no major side effects, and may be best for men who have noticed some increased shedding and want to maintain more of the hair they have on their head.
Again, you’ll want to visit your doctor to get a blood test to check your levels in these vitamins. For example, women who have iron levels lower than 70 nanograms per milliliter are considered deficient. From there, work with your doctor to find an appropriate dose according to your deficiency level. Excessive or unnecessary supplementation can be dangerous.
NuNutrients Advanced is a potent serum that works at the root of hair loss. It revitalizes hair follicles, helps reduce hair loss, and reduces inflammation, while regrowing hair by reducing the level of DHT (which can degrade hair follicles and inflame the skin). Voted a #1 trusted brand in 2013 and 2014, this effective treatment uses Biochanin A (extracted from Red Clover) to produce results that can’t be achieved with other products. Biochanin A is a natural inhibitor of DHT, subdues hair loss, and modulates free radical damage to the skin and scalp. This helps the hair stay rooted much longer, while increasing the size of the hair follicle for better volume. It also uses Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3 Biomimetic peptides to stimulate the extracellular matrix proteins for stronger hair anchoring. It also prevents hair from falling out and improves the scalp’s health, while adding more volume and increasing the size of the hair follicle.
There are several different types of medication you can buy to help treat hair loss. Procepia and Finasteride are currently the only approved drugs you can take that will effectively treat hair loss. The active ingredient in both treatments (finasteride) works by blocking DHT (the male hormone dihydrotestosterone) that causes hair loss by shrinking hair follicles on your scalp. It has been proven to lead to hair regrowth or to stop hair loss in around 9 out of 10 men in clinical trials.
With those pinned down, it wasn’t hard to determine which don’t actually work. Pretty much all the “active” ingredients listed in ineffective treatments — from biotin and zinc to emu oil and saw palmetto — have never been proven, and are instead marketed based on logical-seeming correlations. It would make sense that biotin, a B vitamin readily found in hair, skin, and nails, could help hair grow more quickly. And caffeine is a stimulant that works in coffee, so rubbing some on your scalp might wake some of those sleepy follicles… right?
Use dropper to apply directly onto scalp on the top and/or crown of head each morning and evening. Apply to towel dry or dry hair (does not need to be freshly shampooed). Allow one to two minutes to dry before applying other treatments or styling products (may apply other treatments, leave-in conditioners or styling product after applying Regrowth Treatment), style as usual.
Our other recommendation is the HairMax Ultima 12 LaserComb. The comb uses low-level lasers to stimulate hair follicles and modulate dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — a hormone that causes the most common type of hair loss. While it sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, the treatment works, and the dermatologists we consulted reported that their patients saw thicker and longer hair when combined with our top pick. The only catch: The comb isn’t as effective as minoxidil treatments, and at nearly $400, it’s a much bigger investment. Still, it’s the best option if you’re looking for a non-invasive, non-chemical treatment.
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.
Aside from medication and lasers, some opt for hair transplants — a procedure where hairs are removed from another part of your body and then transplanted to the thinning or balding areas. Does it work? In a word, yes. Research suggests that most hair transplant recipients report are "very satisfied" with their results. While successful, transplants are also far more expensive than medications, foams, or lasers with costs averaging anywhere from $4,000 or $15,000.
“I think their effectiveness is not as significant as finasteride or minoxidil,” says Dr. Wolfeld, “however, it’s something that can be used quite easily by patients at home. If they use it two or three times a week, I tell them it can help to thicken their hair.” Results can take up to 18 months to show up, so Dr. Wolfeld stresses that patience is a virtue.
A unique formulation by Ultrax is the Hair Lush. Formulated in a serum form containing caffeine, immediately adds volume to hair. It also contains a proprietary blend of ingredients which are known to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. The leave in caffeine formulations are known to improve the health of hair and Hair lush performs up to expectations.
Topical treatments like Rogaine use the active ingredient minoxidil -- originally used to treat high blood pressure. After researchers discovered that it also promoted hair growth, it was the first drug approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness. It is used topically on the scalp, and the success of treatment is dependent on the user's extent of hair loss. Researchers at the AHLA find its efficacy to be marginal in the long run since it has no effect on the hormonal process.
Side effects and concerns: Minoxidil is safe, but it can have unpleasant side effects even apart from the alcohol-related skin irritation. Sometimes the new hair differs in color and texture from surrounding hair. Another risk is hypertrichosis — excessive hair growth in the wrong places, such as the cheeks or forehead. (This problem is more likely with the stronger 5% solution.) Because the patent on Rogaine (the brand-name version of minoxidil) has expired, many generic products are available. They all contain the same amount of minoxidil, but some include additional ingredients, such as herbal extracts, which might trigger allergic reactions.
For those concerned that the existing treatments lack a certain sci-fi quality, behold the Laser Comb. The Laser Comb recently became only the third hair loss treatment to receive FDA approval. And it is the first that doesn’t use drugs or surgery. By stimulating follicles with a low-level laser, the hand-held device was shown in test trials to increase hair volume in a majority of patients.
The causes behind other types of hair loss -- including alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium and traction alopecia -- and their treatment can be dramatically different. Hair loss is best treated in association with its underlying cause; therefore, it's recommend to seek medical help. Abnormal hair loss can also be a symptom of a more serious disease -- early diagnosis is strongly suggested in these cases.
SOURCES: George Cotsarelis, MD, director, Hair and Scalp Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Andrew Kaufman, MD, assistant professor, department of dermatology, University of California, Los Angeles; medical director, Center for Dermatology Care, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Tom Barrows, PhD, director of product development, Aderans Research Institute Inc., Atlanta. Cotsarelis, G. and Millar, S.E. Trends in Molecular Medicine, July 2001; vol 7: pp 293-301. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery web site. American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery web site. American Hair Loss Council web site. Springer, K. American Family Physician, July 1, 2003; vol 68: pp 93-102. Hair Loss Help web site, "Interview with Dr. Ken Washenik from Bosley." Fuchs, E. Developmental Cell, July 2001: vol 1: pp 13-25.
Men lose their hair for a variety of reasons. Some experience male pattern baldness because of their family history. Genetics play a huge role in the growth cycle of hair. As growth cycles shorten, hair follicles on the scalp begin to get smaller and smaller until eventually the hairs they are producing get too fine and begin breaking off. Read on to find out the best hair growth products for men in 2018.
In clinical studies of mostly white women aged 18-45 years with mild to moderate degrees of hair loss, the following response to 2% minoxidil topical solution was reported: 19% of women reported moderate hair regrowth after using 2% minoxidil topical solution for 8 months (19% had moderate regrowth; 40% had minimal regrowth). This compares with 7% of women reporting moderate hair regrowth after using the placebo, the liquid without minoxidil in it, for 8 months (7% had moderate regrowth; 33% had minimal regrowth).
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of hims, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Experts say that Men's Rogaine Extra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment (Est. $45 per 3-month supply) is a good starting place for men, and some women, in the early stages of pattern baldness. Studies show that approximately 90 percent of the time Rogaine at least slows the progression of hair loss and, for many, hair loss stops completely. It contains 5 percent minoxidil, which studies show to be more effective than the original strength of 2 percent (Est. $25 per 1-month supply). Both forms have been approved by the FDA for topical treatment of pattern baldness, but only the 2 percent strength has been approved for women; although, studies suggest that both forms are more effective on women than they are on men. Minoxidil is also available in several generic store brand products.
Reviews.com has an advertising relationship with some of the offers included on this page. However, the rankings and listings of our reviews, tools and all other content are based on objective analysis. For more information, please check out our full Advertiser Disclosure. Reviews.com strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. The information in our reviews could be different from what you find when visiting a financial institution, service provider or a specific product’s website. All products are presented without warranty.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Its applications are many, and some researchers believe that it may help with hair loss from alopecia areata. How? The needles inserted into the scalp may help stimulate hair follicles and promote regrowth. More research needs to be done in this area, but consider asking your doctor for a referral to a licensed acupuncturist if this treatment sounds appealing to you. (Learn more about acupuncture for hair loss.)