Hair Loss Treatments

Treatments ● January 2019

In 30 Seconds

  • The two MHRA and FDA approved drugs that could help with hair loss are Finasteride and Minoxidil.
  • Research shows that Finasteride halts hair loss or regrows hair in 9 out of 10 men taking it consistently. Result.
  • Minoxidil is a vasodilator. It works by widening the blood vessels and increases blood flow in certain areas of the body. It comes in spray, liquid or topical form which you apply directly to the scalp.
  • Other treatments include hair transplant surgery, laser surgery and using wigs or hair pieces. Plus make sure you’re on top of your nutrition to encourage hair growth.

One thing never changes. Throughout history, us men have been trying to hold on to our precious hair. Whether it was to show our wealth and health off – or express devotion to a deity, or let’s face it, make people think “I reckon that guy is in a band”. The way to do it is through thick, windswept hair.

Now bald can definitely be sexy. And in this day and age the choice is yours. But if you’re noticing less on top. And more on the pillow, then it’s time to take action. Luckily, there’s plenty of treatments around.

Here’s our guide to hair loss treatments to help make a change for the hairier.

The Medication Approach

Feel like popping a pill might help? Want to apply a topical solution to your scalp to boost those follicles? The two MHRA and FDA approved medications  that could help are Finasteride and Minoxidil.1

Finasteride

  • Specifically for male pattern baldness. Take 1mg a day.2
  • It works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT – so the amount of DHT produced is reduced.3
  • DHT is the hormone that shrinks the hair follicle, which eventually causes baldness.4
  • Studies show that many men who took Finasteride experienced a slowing down of hair loss – and some even saw new hair growth.5
  • A European study where men were treated with 1mg Finasteride over a five year period “led to a 93% decrease relative to placebo in the 5-year likelihood of developing further hair loss”.6 All good news for your thatch.
Now bald can definitely be sexy. And in this day and age the choice is yours. But if you’re noticing less on top. And more on the pillow, then it’s time to take action. Luckily, there’s plenty of treatments around.
  • Stay zen. Good things come to those who wait. Finasteride may take 3-6 months to see real results. Maximum results may take up to a year.7
  • Slowly does it. When you start taking Finasteride you may notice more hair loss. Don’t worry, this is quite normal and you just need to take it long term, according to the medication’s guidelines.8
  • Don’t stop now. You need to keep taking Finasteride to enjoy the benefits. It works in 9 out of 10 men so the success rates are high. Stay positive.9
  • Gold star. Finasteride is regarded as the most effective hair loss treatment for men by the medical community.
  • Side effects are rare but they can include: a rash, tenderness around the nipples, decrease in libido, problems getting an erection or ejaculating, depression and palpitations.10
  • Finasteride affects Prostate Antigen (PSA) levels which are used for the screening of prostate cancer.11 Tell your GP if you’re taking PSA tests.
Research shows that Finasteride halts hair loss or regrows hair in 9 out of 10 men taking it consistently.12

Minoxidil

  • Minoxidil is a vasodilator. It works by widening the blood vessels and increases blood flow in certain areas of the body.13
“The vasodilating effect causes more nutrients and oxygen to flow through your blood to your hair follicles, potentially promoting growth,” explains Dr Earim Chaudry.
  • Minoxidil is available as a spray, liquid or as a topical foam, which you rub into your scalp.
  • Warning: It may cause you to shed hair initially.
  • New hair may be shorter and thinner than lost hair.
  • You need to stick at it for a minimum of six months to avoid further hair loss – and to start  hair regrowth. So be patient.
  • You need to apply Minoxidil continuously (every day) and keep using it to retain the benefits.
  • Side effects may include: irritation of the scalp, hair growth in unwanted areas such as the adjacent skin of the face and hands, and rapid heartbeat.14

“Both these medications could result in slowing down or preventing further hair loss, and they could boost hair regrowth from follicles which are dormant but are still viable,” explains Dr Chaudry. “However, they cannot do much for follicles that are already inactive. It is important to use them at the early stage of hair loss to obtain more favorable results.”

“Both these medications could result in slowing down or preventing further hair loss, and they could boost hair regrowth from follicles which are dormant but are still viable” explains Dr Chaudry.

Nutrition

You are what you eat. Especially when it comes to hair. Here’s some easy ways to make sure you chow down your nutrients:15

  • Protein is key for strengthening the hair – and stimulating growth.
  • Include lean meat, lentils, beans and dairy, if these are things you can eat.
  • Eat a variety of food daily, including plenty of fresh fruit and veg.
  • Iron, zinc and biotin are all important for hair growth. Make sure you’re getting enough in your daily diet.

Hair Transplant Surgery

Hair transplant surgery makes use of your remaining hair. Most of us start to lose our hair on the top of our heads. Sometimes a bald patch may stay as just that…a patch. So hair transplants are suitable for men and women with androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness).16

  • Hair transplants are not normally available on the NHS.17
  • A dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon takes out tiny skin patches that contain one or more hairs from the side or back of your scalp. Sometimes a larger piece of skin which contains several hair groupings is removed.18
  • The surgeon then implants each hair follicle into the bald areas. Some doctors recommend applying minoxidil after the hair transplant, to help in minimizing hair loss.
  • You might need several surgeries depending on the thickness of your hair and the look you’re hoping for. Genetic hair loss will eventually continue in spite of surgery.
  • Hair transplant surgeries are expensive. They may be painful.
  • Possible side effects include bleeding, scarring and infection.19

Laser Surgery

  • This new solution is FDA-cleared. Not the same as FDA-approved.
  • It works by using a low-level laser that treats genetic hair loss.
  • There are studies to show this enhances hair density (thickness) but it’s still early days when it comes to the proven effectiveness of this treatment.20

Wigs and Hair Pieces

Don’t fancy going down the medical route? Many men prefer using a wig or hair piece as a way to disguise hair loss. If that’s your choice then rest assured that in the last few years there are many realistic options.21

The Takeaway

So whether you decide on Finasteride, or to pump up that protein in your diet – or ideally both –  just make sure you’ve got all the facts at your fingertips. If you have any concerns, talk it out with your GP. Always good to be safe, just in case.

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