Hair loss can be a difficult and frustrating experience. The good news is there are many treatments available to help solve the problem. Here are some of the most medically-approved ways to treat hair loss.
Minoxidil was initially used as a blood-pressure medication, but it was noticed that patients who took it were growing hair in unexpected areas. When tested on those with androgenic alopecia (hair loss caused by male hormones), minoxidil stimulated the growth of existing hair and promoted new hair development.
Minoxidil must be applied topically to the affected area twice a day for it to work. It is important that the product only be used as directed by a physician; it can be harmful if ingested. Minoxidil requires patience, as the results may not appear for four months or longer after beginning treatment.
Minoxidil is most effective when combined with corticosteroids like clobetasol and fluocinonide, which reduce inflammation and suppress the body’s immune response.
Topical or Oral Finasteride
Finasteride is a pill that prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which is thought to cause hair loss. The same mechanism can also be achieved by topical finasteride which treats hair loss but without affecting hormones. It can be absorbed through the skin this way and should not be ingested.
Topical finasteride has been shown to both prevent hair loss and increase hair growth in those who are losing hair or have lost hair already. Like minoxidil, it also requires a consistent application for at least four months before results are noticed.
Corticosteroids are most commonly known for treating inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis. For those with hair loss, topical corticosteroid treatments can help to rejuvenate hair follicles and suppress the immune system, which response to balding skin by trying to slow down or stop hair growth.
Corticosteroids can be very effective when treating alopecia areata (a condition that causes patches of hair loss on the scalp). However, long-term use is discouraged as it may cause permanent hair loss even outside the treated area.
For those who have extensive hair loss, a hair transplant may be the answer. Hair transplants involve removing healthy hairs from one area of the head and transferring them to balding areas. This can lead to permanent results as long as new procedures are performed every few years to maintain the hairline.
Hair transplantation is a complex and expensive procedure that requires time and patience to achieve the desired results. It can also result in scarring if not performed by a qualified physician.
Retinoids are chemical compounds related to vitamin A. They are useful in increasing cell turnover which can result in thicker hair. Retinoids can be found in both oral and topical forms. When applied topically, they have been shown to increase hair thickness by stimulating the growth of new hair cells.
Additionally, retinoids can also be taken orally which has been shown to increase hair growth and thickness. However, some retinoids can affect the liver and should not be used by pregnant women or those with a history of liver disease.
On the other hand, retinoids taken orally are an effective treatment of alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that is autoimmune-related. However, they are primarily used for those with androgenic alopecia.
Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent that treats fungal infections of the scalp. It has also been known to inhibit the production of testosterone, which can decrease hair loss. It is available in both oral and topical forms, but the latter is more effective.
It is important to note that ketoconazole will not work for everyone due to the variety of individual responses involved. The key is persistence; it may take a few months or longer before results are visible. Also, ketoconazole may cause skin irritation and it is recommended that users stop treatment if they notice any redness or scaling.
Saw palmetto is believed to inhibit both DHT and estrogen which are thought to cause hair loss. A saw palmetto supplement is taken orally once or twice daily for six months before it takes effect. It is effective in both men and women. To avoid having the supplement interact with other medications, it should be taken two hours before any other drug.
It is also important to note that saw palmetto has not been studied in pregnant women or children and should not be used by these populations. Anyone who has an allergy to plants in the palm family may also want to avoid this treatment as there have been reports of allergic reactions to saw palmetto.
If you are struggling with hair loss, you may want to consider trying one of these medically-approved treatments discussed. Each option has its pros and cons so it is important that you consult your physician before making a decision. It’s also worth mentioning that diet plays an important role in preventing hair loss as some foods can accelerate or slow down the process.