From Foams and Sprays, to Oils and Vitamins
Men have been coming up with treatments for hair loss for as long as there have been men. In the years since the first medicine man tried to help his patient grow new hair by applying a mixture of animal intestines and positive energy to the scalp, we’ve discovered a ton of different ways to help men fight against male-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Here are 7 different treatments for hair loss, ranging from medicinal to natural and everything in between.
Minoxidil, sold under the brand name Rogaine®, is an over-the-counter (OTC) and widely-used treatment for hair loss resulting from male-pattern baldness. It’s available in both foam and spray varieties, in both 2% and 5% strengths. Minoxidil is applied twice per day to the scalp and has been shown to be effective in treating hair loss for some men. In one study, 352 men used 5% minoxidil over a period of 16-weeks. The study’s authors found that there was a statistically significant increase in hair count over the placebo group, with minimal adverse effects.
If a doctor deems it appropriate, she or he may write you a prescription for finasteride. Finasteride comes in pill-form and is taken orally once-a-day. In clinical trials featuring more than 1500 men, a daily 1mg dose of finasteride was shown to slow the progression of hair loss after one year, and begin to grow new hairs after two years. A small number of men taking finasteride have reported side-effects, so make sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks of finasteride before using it.
Scalp massages are thought to fight against hair loss by stimulating hair follicles. Though there isn’t a ton of evidence to support this theory, a small-study out of Japan did show some positive results. Participants were given a standardized scalp massage every day for six months, and reported having thicker hair by the end of the study. The only side-effect of this treatment is relaxation.
Turns out the harms of smoking cigarettes don’t just play a role in heart disease, cancer, stroke, erectile dysfunction and a whole host of other serious conditions, it might also be linked with hair loss. The author of a 2003 article published in the journal Dermatology suggests that smoking’s effects on hair loss are varied, and can damage the actual DNA of the hair follicle. So, if you were looking for another reason to quit smoking, hair loss might be it.
Those looking to explore natural remedies before moving onto more medical treatments should check out essential oils. Things like Rosemary oil and Peppermint oil have been used in traditional medicines for hundreds of years. There is even some limited evidence that peppermint oil might help with hair growth.
Widely available online and at most pharmacies, biotin is a vitamin that plays a role in nail, skin and hair health. Biotin can be found in many common foods like fish, meat, nuts, eggs and seeds, and is sold as a supplement as well. A 2018 review of 18 different studies of biotin’s effects on hair growth were limited, so there’s no silver bullet here. But a balanced-diet full of vitamins and minerals like biotin can support overall health, including the scalp and hair.
Although stress won’t cause hair loss if you’re not already losing it, it can speed-up the process. Much like having a balanced-diet, limiting your stress levels can have positive impacts on overall health. If you feel yourself experiencing higher-than-normal stress, look for ways to limit it. Exercise, listening to music, meditation and yoga can all be helpful in lowering stress levels.
All the different treatment options for hair loss can be overwhelming, so the best way to go about standing up to hair loss is to schedule a doctor’s appointment. They will be able to assess your current situation and determine the best strategy for moving forward.
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