To us, that meant any product with zero proven ingredients, case studies, or FDA clearance — which shrunk our list by a whopping 180 contenders. That’s right, there are only three treatments that have actually been cleared by the FDA and supported with clinical studies: finasteride (commonly marketed as Propecia), minoxidil, and laser treatments. And, since finasteride is prescription-only, it left us with two.
Defy hair loss with ROGAINE®, the #1 dermatologist-recommended, FDA-approved brand with a clinically proven formula to regrow hair. Unlike thickening shampoos that temporarily coat the hair, ROGAINE® penetrates deep into your scalp to revive follicles and increase protein production so you can grow new, fuller, thicker hair. The revolutionary formula begins to work on contact with patented Tricho-Prime™ Technology, a proprietary combination of ingredients that primes your scalp for optimal hair regrowth.
While you won’t find a miracle shampoo on the market, nioxin and some other products can help keep your scalp in tip-top shape to improve the look of any hairs you do have left on your head. In fact, feeding your hair with the proper nutrients both inside and out can make it appear healthier, so you might consider using products with natural herbs, such as rosemary and mint.
How to use minoxidil: Be sure that your hair and scalp are dry. Using the dropper or spray pump that's provided with the over-the-counter solution, apply it twice daily to every area where your hair is thinning. Gently massage it into the scalp with your fingers so it can reach the hair follicles. Then air-dry your hair, wash your hands thoroughly, and wash off any solution that has dripped onto your forehead or face. Don't shampoo for at least four hours afterwards.

Men may also experience some sexual and emotional side effects while taking it: In a study published in the June 2011 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr. Michael Irwig of George Washington University found as many as 92 percent of test subjects reporting problems in the bedroom. The study also reported that “the mean duration of finasteride use was 28 months and the mean duration of persistent sexual side effects was 40 months,” meaning that side effects lingered long after subjects stopped taking the pill.
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.
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.

The follicles on the sides of the scalp are more genetically resistant to DHT, which is why male pattern baldness often results in a “crown” of hair. But its downsides are serious. “With women, finasteride is not an option,” says Dr. Wolfeld. “It’s not FDA-approved for women to take, so we don’t prescribe it.” In fact, due to the drug’s effect on hormone levels, pregnant women are advised to not even touch broken or crushed tablets. 

Some 30 million women in the United States have hereditary hair loss (compared with 50 million men), according to the American Academy of Dermatology, though that figure does not include the millions more who struggle with thinning hair because of pregnancy, menopause, stress and other health conditions. Barely 5 percent of women are said to be good candidates for hair transplant surgery because women lose hair everywhere, meaning that, unlike with men, there is rarely a luxuriant spot on the back of the head from which to harvest hairs unobtrusively.
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.
Vitamin E has been used as a home remedy for hair growth since ages. Vitamin E oil is rich in antioxidants and helps to fight the free radicals. It increases oxygen in the body and enhances blood circulation in the scalp. Regular massage with essential oils promotes hair growth and reduces hair fall and split ends. This makes your hair softer and smoother (6).
From what I’ve seen and read they can be quite effective–but come with several risks (scarring and unnatural-looking hairline come to mind). I haven’t dwelled much into it, but basically got FUT (follicular unit transfer), FUE (follicular unit extraction) and DHI (direct hair implant)–which is the newest, similar to FUE, most costly and provides the best results in most cases.

After using a foam-type of minoxidyl, I much prefer Equate's Hair Regrowth Topical Solution for women. The dropper application gives me more control over exactly where the product will go. Walmart has the best price as contrasted with every offer that I've reviewed on Amazon. Most importantly, the solution really works. After three to four months' use, I'm seeing significant growth and other people have noticed it too!
These anti-androgenic effects can be used to help treat hair loss. Nizoral shampoo contains 2% ketoconazole and is prescribed not only for the treatment of scalp conditions, but also in combination with other treatments for androgenetic alopecia. A 1% version is now available over-the-counter, but it may not be as effective as the 2% prescription strength. There are no significant side effects.

First, I am a 39 year-old female and I started using this product about a month ago for genetic hair loss that began last year. My mother, her sister and other family members suffer from hair loss and general thinning of the hair (scalp can be seen.) I was devastated when my ultra thick mane became veil-like. At first, I tried to improve my diet, adding biotin to my daily supplements. Nothing really helped. It just got worse. The final blow came after the birth of my son. Aside from the hormonal clumps of hair that fell out (I cried over this), the thinning continued. Now for the good part: after one month of using this product, I am seeing dramatic results. Knowing that there is an effective and affordable treatment for genetic hair loss is comforting. I realize that I will need to use this product indefinitely, but that's okay. It's fast, easy, relatively inexpensive and it makes me feel better. Man or women - if you fall into the parameters described on the box, please give this a try. I'm so glad that I did.
The most common kind of hair loss is pattern baldness. It happens when hair follicles shrink and stop working. The first sign is the appearance of strands that are thinner and more fragile. Then the scalp becomes more visible as fewer hairs grow to replace those that shed. That’s because the anagen phase becomes too short for the hair to grow out of the scalp. Plus, the hairs that remain aren’t securely anchored. And this condition happens to both men and women.
2. Pyrithione zinc shampoo. Traditional volumizing shampoos will give the hair you have a lift so it looks fuller (we like the sulfate-free L’Oréal Paris EverPure Volume Shampoo, $8). But some research suggests shampoos with the antidandruff ingredient zinc pyrithione can mitigate hair loss that’s caused by conditions like dandruff, says Mirmirani. Try Head & Shoulders Deep Moisture Shampoo ($6), and use a conditioner without silicones — they can make hair appear limper, especially if it's applied near the roots (we like Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Conditioner, $9).
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that perform multiple functions when it comes to healing skin issues. Your scalp is an extension of your skin. When this skin is distressed, it affects your hair growth. When fish oil supplements are taken, this stress is taken away by the anti-inflammatory activity of the omega-3 fats. These fatty acids also ensure the healthy development of the skin’s various layers and also their hydration and nourishment (59, 60). Take fish oil supplements on a daily basis for healthy skin and hair growth. You can take cod liver oil supplements instead of the fish oil ones as they also contain the same omega-3 fatty acids (61).
My scalp is dry, itchy, and irritated everywhere. I’ve been using H&S Clinical Strength shampoo for 2-3 years and its been pretty good at keeping it under control. I’ve been using rogaine for about 1 year now and I’m trying to avoid propecia if possible. Recently my hairline has quickly recede, and I’m not sure what to do. My friend said to start using nizoral every couple days. Do you recommend Nizoral for every few days? If so, what conditioner do you recommend and what shampoo do you recommend for the other days of the week when not using Nizoral? Thanks for your help – great site.
As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it's important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
I have used monoxodil for hair loss now for about 6 years. It works. i no longer have bald spots and have a healthy head of hair. Originally I used the name brand, but i noticed that there was a store brand with the same ingredients. It cost about half of what I was paying. It is very economical to use and simple. I was hesitant at first but it performs beautifully. Once you start using monoxidil you must continue to use it to retain hair growth. Very Important. I took the time to share this because it is a good solution for us with little extra money to spare. Good luck!
SmartGraft is a new, breakthrough device that helps surgeons and their specialized teams perform FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplantation. Less invasive than traditional linear “strip” harvesting, Follicular Unit Extraction uses no scalpel, no stitches, no staples in the donor area–allowing for faster healing, less discomfort after transplantation, quicker return to athletic activity and leaving absolutely NO tell-tale linear scar. It yields only grafts which contain as little as a single hair follicle, which — when used artistically — can result in a 100% natural appearance.
Men taking Propecia run the risk of sexual side effects, but most experts say that it only affects a small minority. The risks are greater for women, especially those who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Experts warn that so much as handling the tablets can lead to serious birth defects. Like minoxidil, Propecia use must be continued for as long as results are desired.
Hair: It’s a natural part of being a human. But when the temperature climbs, and skin is exposed, it’s one of those things that a good many of us want to control. This week, we’re tackling hairlessness, not just the process of hair removal (electric shavers and ingrown-hair treatments and aesthetician-approved tweezers) but also what to buy when you’re losing your hair, and even how to take care of a Sphynx cat. Here, we’re talking to dermatologists and hair-loss doctors about hair-loss treatments that actually work.

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.
About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives; among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. Hair loss often has a greater impact on women than on men, because it's less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman's emotional well-being and quality of life.
Alright, review time. Oh boy did this not work for me! I don't want to give this one star just based on it not working for me, I would rather give my story instead. I have always had thin hair. (Thanks Mom and dad!) Two years ago I started taking progesterone (hormones) and my hair started thinning. I stopped after 3 months and My hair continued to thin and never grew back. (Thanks Doc!) Last month I decided to try rogaine after it was recommended by a friend. (Thanks buddy!) That was probably the worst mistake of my life. In two weeks time 50% of my thin hair had fallen out. (I mean every time I would shampoo or brush, handfuls would fall out.) I followed the instructions to a T and prepared myself for the "shed". I had to stop after two weeks when I held a mirror up and could see bald spots in the back. (This isn't good.) After quitting the shedding has continued. (This could stop at any time.) It has now been a three weeks after quitting, and my hair has finally stopped falling out besides the normal hair loss. (Yay!) You can see my scalp through my hair at the top of my head. (Nooo.) The hair that is left up there is hiding bald spots. There isn't a style I can fix my hair into without seeing a bald spot. (Super sad face.) I was slightly depressed going into this about my hair, now I spend all day stressing about other people having to look at it. (I feel like Quasimodo!) So, besides the hair loss my scalp is super itchy, and I now have dandruff. Two things I never really had before. (The story gets even better!) Went to my family doctor. After he had the opportuniy to examine my hair, he said I looked like a chemo patient. (Again, thanks Doc!) I have started taking a vitamin regime of biotin, iron, and a hair-skin-nails pill. I haven't notice any new growth yet. I imagine it will be a while though. To sum up this experience as depressing is an understatement. I have cried many times but that won't bring any hair back unfortunately. (I haven't gone and looked at wigs yet.) To bring this story to an end I would like to say that it didn't work for me personally. If it works for you congratulations!
Thanks for the article with great info. I’ve been taking minoxidil 5% for the last 2 years. I’ve tried a generic minoxidil brand and also Kirkland to no effect. I’ve been hoping it’s maybe slowed the hair loss process. The hair around my crown just keeps getting thinner. Do you think changing to another “better quality” brand like Lipogaine or Rogaine could work? Or does it appear that any minoxidil brand is not going to work?
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