Results can take awhile to become apparent, so it’s important to be patient and follow the regimen exactly. It is best to begin using these products at the first signs of balding or hair thinning for the best results. Drinking more water, eating a balanced diet, taking a daily multivitamin, and taking advantage of additional supplements like Biotin can also help speed up hair regrowth.
"I recommend that everyone [with any hair loss] take finasteride," says Robert M. Bernstein, MD. Bernstein is associate clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University and founder of the Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration. "To patients who are younger,” he says, “I also recommend minoxidil. But the mainstay is finasteride. The data show that, over five years, it significantly retards hair loss in 85% of users."
It's for this reason that people can be quick to try any remedy that promises results. And we get it; those before-and-after photos will really get to you. The technology behind hair growth and anti-loss treatments has improved in recent years, too, though it's worth noting that some of these treatments can be expensive and unsustainable. Because not everyone can afford to drop 80 bucks on a bottle of growth supplements (or hundos on an in-office treatment), many people turn to natural and DIY alternatives.
While minoxidil has been clinically proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair, most experts see it as a relatively marginally effective drug in the fight against hair loss. Since minoxidil has no effect on the hormonal process of hair loss, its positive effects are at best temporary and usually yield somewhat disappointing results.
The other main hair-loss treatment that was recommended by all four dermatologists I interviewed is finasteride, often called by its brand name Propecia. This FDA-approved medication is only available with a prescription, but these days, it’s found as a generic and ordered online after a virtual consultation, through start-ups like Hims, Keeps, and Lemonaid.