Do Hair Loss Treatments Work? Few cosmetic issues strike fear into the hearts of men more than hair loss. According to the American Hair Loss Association, two-thirds of men will experience some degree of significant hair loss by the age of 35, and 85% will have lost significant weight by the age of 50. While some men are not interested in the prospect of hair loss or baldness, others are devastated by the change and are willing to try anything to maintain their mane. What are hair loss treatments and do hair loss treatments work?

What causes hair loss?

Although the exact cause is not fully understood, hair loss occurs when the natural cycle of growth and rejection is disrupted and the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced by scar tissue. Heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions and certain medications may be behind the root cause of the loss. Age, poor diet and stress can also be important risk factors. In the vast majority of men, hair loss is a normal part of the aging process and is not indicative of any problems.

Are Hair Loss Treatments Effective?

You have probably seen advertisements and pharmacy screens that enjoy the benefits of various pills, liquids and procedures that promise hair regeneration. Some treatments may be effective, but the results vary and are not always guaranteed.

Here are some of the most popular treatments for hair loss:

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

What it is Liquid or foam that is rubbed into the scalp twice a day to grow hair and prevent further loss. Available for both men and women, it takes about 16 weeks to work. The drug must be applied continuously to maintain the benefits.

How it works? The first FDA-approved drug for male pattern baldness, minoxidil “re-activates your natural hair growth cycle by rejuvenating hair follicles that shrink due to hereditary hair loss,” according to the Rogaine website. The site claims that over time, the product can reduce hair loss and rejuvenate “naturally, thicker hair”.

How effective is it? In 16 weeks of double-blind, placebo-controlled 5% localized minoxidil foam in 352 men, there was a statistically significant increase in hair volume and improved hair loss in the minoxidil group compared with the placebo group. Many experts, however, consider the drug a temporary correction because it does not act directly on the hormonal process of hair loss.

Possible side effects Irritation of the scalp, unwanted hair growth in areas close to the face and hands, rapid heart rate.

Finasteride (Propecia)

What it is Propecia is a prescription drug available for men only. It is taken in pill form to slow down hair loss and possibly regenerate. Users must continue to take the drug to maintain the benefits.

How does it work? The first drug in history to effectively treat male pattern baldness in the majority of men who use it, Propecia inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks the hair follicle, which eventually leads to baldness, so reducing levels on the scalp can stop the progression of hair loss.

How effective is it? Clinical trials have found that Propecia finasteride 1 mg can reduce DHT levels in the scalp by 60% when taken daily and this can stop hair loss in 86% of men taking the drug. Sixty-five percent of the participants had a significant increase in hair growth.

Possible side effects Decreased sexual drive and sexual function, increased risk of prostate cancer (both are rare). Women who are or may become pregnant should not touch the tablets. In some men who experience sexual side effects, these side effects persist even after stopping the drug.

Steroid injections

What it is Some doctors use steroid injections to speed recovery from alopecia due to alopecia with corticosteroid injections into the scalp or oral steroids such as prednisone. This treatment is not used for baldness associated with aging is only suitable for people who have been diagnosed with alopecia.

How it works? Steroid injections into the cells of the scalp suppress the local immune response seen in alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. They can allow the hair follicles to function normally again so that the hair can grow back.

How effective is it? In a study of 84 patients, 92% of participants with obese alopecia and 61% of participants with total alopecia (total baldness) recurred in treatment areas.

Possible side effects The injection may cause temporary thinning of the skin and prednisone may cause weight gain, metabolic abnormalities, acne and menstrual problems. The positive results are temporary.

Hair transplant surgery / repair

What it is A surgical technique that involves moving the hair follicles from a “donor area” (usually the back of the scalp) to a thinning area of ​​the scalp.

How does it work? A surgeon removes the skin plugs, each containing a few hairs, from the donor area and then implants the plugs in bald areas of the scalp.

How effective is it? It is mainly used to treat baldness in men, most hair transplants lead to excellent hair growth within several months, although more than one treatment is needed and the results depend on the number of hair follicles. who remain healthy after the transplant.

Possible side effects: Infection and scarring.

Laser treatment

What it is An FDA-approved low-level laser is used to treat baldness in both men and women.

How does it work? Low laser light is absorbed by the cells of the scalp, which, according to proponents, will repair them and encourage regeneration.

How effective is it? According to the New York Times, laser hair restoration will not bring back dead follicles, but it can stimulate the declining follicles, so that existing hair is thicker and fuller.

Possible side effects The researchers said there were no side effects in a study of 128 men and 141 women, but further study was needed to look at the long-term effects.

Do hair loss treatments work?

Do you want to stop hair loss and have healthy hair? Do hair loss treatments work? If you want to grow your hair, your safest bet is to discuss your concerns with your primary care provider and discuss the options in detail. He or she can help you weigh the pros and cons of each method in depth.