There are some things we can try; let’s avoid for now at least those cheezy online clinics or dodgy ‘miracle grow’ potions. Okay, you can look there, but be careful. It is probably not an absolute truth that all ‘good’ things must pass through the FDA. However, for our purposes here we’re going to look at a few approved and successful solutions out there.
Here a few things to consider:
1. See a dermatologist. A dermatologist can look at your medical history and a quick review of your scalp to evaluate the cause for balding. It is important to start off on the right foot and that means beginning with a correct diagnosis.
2. Take care of the Basics. Recall from our first article (here), that Male Pattern Balding is linked to men’s hair follicles being genetically sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a by-product of the testosterone conversion process in the body. The net result is that over time hair follicle life cycles decline and regrowth slows.
In all this, let’s not forget the basics about good hair care and healthy living. And the earlier we pay attention to taking care of the scalp, the more likely we can slow hair loss. A Donald Trump roll-over fashion (and potions to hold it there), use of baseball caps, and/or tight pull back hair styles and dyes, blow dryer heat, and many styling products weaken the hair. Weak and short follicles are a permanent condition of MPB; so self-inducing those conditions will simply facilitate the loss.
3. Medications. There are two medications most often prescribed by doctors to address hair loss. They both were originally developed for other medical conditions, but in the process have demonstrated positive effects in hair growth (or slowing of loss).
Minoxidil was originally prescribed to control blood pressure, but as a side benefit it also triggers hair growth. It currently is offered as solution for hair loss and flies under the names of Rogaine, Regaine, Avacor, Loniten (orally), and Mintop, most often over-the-counter. There is a lower-cost generic product as well discussed at the end of this article.
Finasteride was developed to partially block male hormones for men with prostate cancer. By blocking male hormones and suppressing the development of DHT, this product halts hair loss and promotes re-growth. It is prescribed for hair loss under the name Propecia or Proscar and is one of the first drugs to treat hair loss with a high success rate in a majority of men. The 1mg finasteride in Propecia can reduce DHT by approximately 60%, stopping hair loss in about 86% of the men that have used the product. It is also backed by the American Hair loss Association for the first line of defense against MPB.
There are a couple of other options in this area, but these two are the mainstays of pharmaceutical choices.
4. Surgery. Surgery is another option and one that is used by celebs and those brave enough to walk down a doctor’s corridor for cosmetic reasons. Many people find cosmetic surgery very uncomfortable and not an option. While surgery is not for everyone and is relatively expensive, it does show an increasing success rate as medical advances add to our knowledge.
These procedures seem most common:
A hair transplant would move the thicker patches of hair and transplant them into the thinning areas. This option has numerous factors to be considered such as color of hair, age, nature of hair loss, and type of hair follicles.
Scalp reduction works the best if the individual has a small well-defined bald patch. Basically, the bald area is replaced with the skin containing the thicker hair.
Flap surgery is a procedure that takes the area filled with healthy hair and making it larger. This gives the stronger hair more ground to cover and grow, but is best used with individuals who have hair loss over a small area.
5. A Laser Comb? The FDA has recently approved a laser comb that has proven successful for hair re-growth in men. While it has not gone through as many rigorous tests as FDA-approved drugs would, it has been approved as a result of tests showing it can successfully stimulate hair growth.
6. Wig or Toupee. As surgery may not be an acceptable alternative, one could always opt for the more traditional wig or toupee.
With age comes a dramatic lull in hair growth for every person no matter what sex or race; it is a natural condition of the human body. But there are a number of possible solutions available that will keep your hair blowing defiantly in the winds of aging.
With all the current medical advances we’ve seen, there is a good chance that the effects of male pattern baldness (MPB) can be reduced and even reversed.
Some of the products mentioned in this article can be purchased at Shop in Private, including the much cheaper generic Kirkland brand, all found under the ‘hair growth’ tab.
Read Where Has All the Hair Gone?, and accompanying article on this topic.
[Here’s my caveat, and I must say it again. These discussions are not intended as professional or medical advice. You should consult with your doctor when making decisions regarding this or any other medical condition you may have or wish to discuss.]