Hair loss can affect just about anyone, and everyone at some or other point in their lives. Although completely natural with aging, it can also occur at a younger age due to reasons such as genetics and hormonal imbalances like low testosterone.
Also known as male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia in medical terms, it is a common condition that about 40% of men experience well before reaching their mid 30s.
Not only can it be embarrassing, but can also cause a great deal of anxiety and stress, thus damaging the overall quality of your life.
Moreover, many people tend to be so desperate to find a quick solution that they end up buying and applying products with no regard for their health, hair, and scalp. This could worsen things!
You see, before you go out looking for remedies, you must know what is causing the hair loss in the first place. It is the underlying cause that helps figure out the type of treatment that will be most effective in a particular case.
By knowing the exact reason, you will be in a better position to target those areas, or risk factors that are directly associated with the condition.
And for that you must speak with a doctor. Most dermatologists would typically ask you a set of questions about your diet, hair care routine, and your medical and family background to find out the underlying cause of the problem. You may also have to go through certain tests such as a blood test, or scalp biopsy if needed.
There are a number of effective treatments that you can choose from once you get to know the specific reason for your hair loss.
So without further ado, let’s go through these options one-by-one so as to find the most suitable:
1. Lifestyle changes & Diet
They say prevention is better than cure! And what better way to prevent hair-fall than having a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients? I bet, there’s none.
Eating healthy foods rich in proteins and vitamin A can not only prevent hair loss but can also reduce and reverse it by providing the required nourishment.
Along with a well-balanced diet, you must also refrain from smoking and alcohol as too much of it can also damage your hair.
By making minor changes in your lifestyle and diet, you can better manage other medical conditions as well which may or may not be a risk factor for rapid hair loss.
2. Medications and OTC Drugs
There are several medications and over-the-counter drugs as well that you can take to manage and control hair-loss.
One of the most common, also approved by FDA is known as Minoxidil or Rogaine. It’s a topical hair loss treatment that promotes hair growth in thin and bald areas. It’s sold in the form of liquid, foam, or shampoo which you can apply in thinning and balding areas of your scalp.
(Tip: Use it twice a day for maximum benefits.)
Finasteride, also known as Propecia, is the best prescription pill for men that reduces the levels of DTH, the hormone that causes hair loss.
Other medications include Methotrexate, Corticosteroid, and JAK inhibitors that have shown immense success in treating various types of hair loss.
Another promising drug that you can use is Phenylephrine, which strengthens the follicle muscles in your scalp and reduces hair-loss caused by over-using the chemicals and styling methods.
3. Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant involves transplanting healthy follicles from one area of your scalp or body to the balding and thinning regions of your scalp. Also referred to as restoration surgery, it is carried out by a dermatologist and you may have to do it more than once to get the desired effect.
The two most common hair transplant procedures are- Follicular unit transplantation (FUT), and Follicular unit extraction (FUE).
(Hair Transplant surgery may not be the best treatment if your hair loss is hereditary.)
4. Laser Therapy
While hair transplant may not be the right treatment for genetic hair loss, laser therapy is certainly the one as approved by FDA. It also works for patients with chemotherapy related hair loss.
Termed as LLLT or Low-level Laser Light Therapy, it can significantly increase the over-all hair density of your scalp by stimulating the epidermal stem cells. No wonder why it’s also called red light therapy!
5. Platelet-rich plasma
Injecting platelet-rich plasma into the scalp is yet another way of boosting hair growth in dead lying areas. Although expensive, this treatment has a higher rate of success in stimulating hair growth in thinning areas within a few sessions.
Immunotherapy is the process of treating a condition with substances that stimulate the immune response. In hair-loss, its goal is to adjust your immune response so that it does not attack your hair follicles.
Known as Contact Immunotherapy or topical Immunotherapy, it is done by applying a chemical on the bald section of your head on weekly basis by either a dermatologist or a qualified nurse.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association has found a successful hair regrowth in 60-70% patients using immunotherapy.
7. Alternative remedies
Apart from these mainstream treatments, there are a variety of alternative remedies that you can try.
There’re many types of oils that you can use for massaging so as to regulate the blood circulation to your scalp. Essential oils such as coconut, castor, olive, lavender, rosemary, cedar-wood, lemongrass, and peppermint can help reduce hair loss and also improve the overall health of your scalp and hair.
Just remember to dilute it down using a carrier oil like jojoba, or grape-seed so as to avoid any major allergies.
You can also use ingredients such as Saw palmetto, Ginseng, onion juice, Bhringraj, Green tea, and Hibiscus in your diet to reduce and manage hair loss.
Supplements can be quite useful too as they contain most nutrients in recommended levels of daily dosage. This includes Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, along with iron, selenium, and zinc, which have been proven to play an essential role in hair growth and retention.
Another vitamin H or B7, also known as Biotin is also known to slow down hair loss.
So before you buy any hair supplement, make sure that it contains all of these essential nutrients.
Along with these treatments, you must also be careful of how you style your hair and what products you use.
Here’s what to do:
- Avoid using too many chemicals including bleach, straighteners, and so on.
- Wash your hair regularly.
- Do not comb wet hair.
- Limit the use of hot irons, and curl irons etc.
- Be gentle with your hair when you brush or comb, use your hands and fingers instead of combing too often.
10. Scalp Prosthesis
Last but not the least, when everything else fails, the ultimate solution to hair-fall remains a wig, hairpiece, toupee, or scalp prosthesis. It’s a custom-made wig that can be designed to perfectly fit your scalp. Although superficial, it looks and appears exactly like real hair and can be a saviour if you’re feeling too low on confidence or self-esteem.
Your last resort when every other treatment fails!