Recently published news in The Washington Post says that an estimated amount of $3.5 billion per year is spent on hair loss treatments by the alopecia patients in America.
There are many hair growth products readily available for purchase, but 90% of the hair loss cure solutions DO NOT provide satisfactory hair growth results.
One of the studies by The American Hair Loss Association indicates that hair loss is a major health issue that is emotionally distressing and mentally tormenting for millions of individuals.
In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the best-known hair loss treatments for men and women. We shall also look at a few of the common hair fall treatments that do not involve the normal prescription medicines.
What Are The Treatments For Hair Loss?
You might be seeing a lot of advertisements and publicity in all platforms of media on numerous brands of hair care products promising hair fall prevention and growth of new hairs. There are also good numbers of prescription medicines available for hair fall cure.
However, most of the men and women who use these medicines are not able to fully reverse the hair fall and grow new hair.
Some of us who suddenly lose hair due to surgical or drug treatments may start to use wigs, hairpieces, hair weaving, etc. as a temporary solution to the hair fall. And if the hair from eyebrows and eyelashes is fallen, many would turn to eyebrow pencils to draw the lost hairs.
The alternative medicines, mostly the oil-based herbal solutions are found to be effective in promoting hair growth to a certain extent but not in cases of male and female pattern baldness.
There is no permanent solution to the hair fall. Most of the hair fall treatment results give only a temporary solution and in some cases, it may not even work at all.
The men who are deeply concerned and excessively worried about the hair loss issue readily try out every hair growth product widely advertised on all media platforms hoping for the best results…but most of those products do NOT work as promised by the manufacturer.
Before you go for any particular hair growth treatment, it is important to verify the actual results of it from people who have used it before. A good dermatologist can also advise you on the good treatment solutions for hair re-growth.
It is good to avoid those hair care solutions not approved by the FDA or not recommended by the American Hair Loss Association.
Going by the facts, it is noticed that the hair growth medicines are most effective at the early stages of hair fall. Once a person has already turned bald, the possibility of hair re-growth with medication offers only limited scope.
Hair Loss Treatment For Men
Men’s hair loss treatment has undergone tremendous advancement in the last decade or more.
The most notable change came with the advent of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors like Propecia and the use of advanced surgical hair fixing technologies. Anyone willing to spend a handsome amount of money for the hair replacement treatments can get back the natural-looking hairs without much difficulty.
The following are the most effective hair loss treatments for men that seem to work at least to some extent if not totally.
Currently, this is the most popularly used medication used to treat alopecia. In most cases, this topically applied lotion appears to provide modest hair growth on areas of the scalp that has become bald.[2,3]
It is a lotion that needs to be applied twice a day on to the alopecia affected areas of the scalp. As going by customer satisfaction results, this product seems to work quite well and over 50% of men who used it were able to delay the hair fall and increase hair growth.
Fortunately, Minoxidil side effects are practically nonexistent except for a few minor incidents like mild skin irritation or itching.
This medicine helps in preventing the testosterone hormone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The hair follicles shrink because of the DHT; so blocking its production allows the hair follicles to regain their normal size and strength.[8,9]
This medicine should be taken only with the recommendation of the physician and it to be taken in pill form once a day.
Propecia can cause some side effects in some individuals; like skin allergy, digestive disorders, nausea, etc. This is strictly not meant for women and lactating mothers as it can result in birth defects, menstrual disorders, and other health issues for both mother and newborn child.[10,11]
Avodart (dutasteride) is an alternative medicine for Propecia, but a much stronger drug with a higher dosage.
Alopecia areata occurs when the hair follicles are damaged by the immune system of the body. Corticosteroid is a type of steroid (hormone) that can help in suppressing the immune system (autoimmune-attack) that damages the hair follicles.
A corticosteroid solution needs to be injected on the scalp where the alopecia has set in. This injection needs to be repeated in every few weeks and usually, the improved hair growth and stoppage of hair falls are noticed within four weeks of this treatment.
However, this injection can be quite painful, and atrophy disorder (thinning of the skin) might occur in some of the users.
This cream should be applied once a day and washed it off after an hour. Anthralin can be a bit irritant to the skin and may cause brownish discoloration and mild swelling.
This is a prescription medicine usually used for Alopecia Totalis (complete loss of hair on the scalp) and this pill to be taken once a day by the patient.
This is effective in promoting the re-growth of hairs but the prolonged use of this pill can cause unwanted side effects in the patient and, for this reason, use of Cortisone pills are discouraged.[20,21,23]
The diphencyprone lotion is applied on the alopecia affected areas of the scalp and let the application remain there for the overnight duration, and this process needs to be repeated twice a week for a few successive weeks.
This medicine produces allergic contact dermatitis and this helps in reversing the autoimmune attacks on the hair follicles and restoring hair follicles to their normalcy and usual hair growth.
As for side effects, some patients may experience severe itching, burning, blistering or mild swelling on the treated areas. But none of the side effects will have any lasting effect on health as it would be back to normalcy after a few hours or a day.[27,28]
Hair Loss Treatment For Women
The options on hair loss treatment for women are limited as most of the alopecia treatment can hamper the ‘motherhood health’ of the women. In fact, the FDA has not approved most of the popular alopecia medicines as safe for women.
Many of the treatments prescribed for the men, which we just discussed above paragraphs, are also conducive for women; except those specifically addressing the androgen hormones.
The hair loss cures for women are more effective if the right treatments are administered at the initial stages when the alopecia sets in.
It is the same as the Minoxidil used for men, but the dosage of Minoxidil should be 2% of the concentration for women unlike the 5% for men.
This hair fall solution for women and men is recognized by the American Hair Loss Association as an effective medicine for fighting androgenic alopecia.
Both of them are the same combinations of potassium-sparing diuretics medicines under different brand names. This medicine is actually introduced for maintaining healthy potassium levels in the body. It is also used as treatments for high blood pressure (hypertension), excess fluid reduction, edema and hyperaldosteronism (a hormonal disorder).[31,32]
Spironolactone or Aldactone is also effective in reducing the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It helps in stopping hair fall by preventing dihydrotestosterone from binding to its androgenetic receptors.[33,34]
Cimetidine popularly sold under the brand name Tagamet is actually a histamine blocker used mainly to treat gastrointestinal ulcers. This medicine also has the ability to block dehydrotestosterone from binding the follicle receptor sites.[33,34]
Interestingly, this medicine has diverse effects on hair growth. Cimetidine is used to treat hirsuitism (excess facial hair growth) in women but at the same time, it is good for preventing androgenic alopecia in women too.
Cyproterone acetate helps to prevent androgenetic alopecia by blocking the binding of DHT dihydrotestosterone to its receptors. However, this medicine should be used as a last option in female pattern hair loss cure as it has several potential side effects that can affect the health of the individual in the long run.
Estrogen and Progesterone
Estrogen and progesterone, also known as hormone replacement therapy, are used as pills and creams to treat the androgenetic alopecia in women who suffer hair loss after menopause due to lack of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Since the contraceptive pills come in various hormonal formulations, only the low-androgen index birth control pills are suitable for the hair loss cure.
However, prolonged usage of contraceptive pills can cause side effects that can lead to unwanted health issues in the long run.
These are normally used for the treatment of hair fall caused by fungal infections.
Lately, it was found these medicines also have the ability to suppress the activities of testosterone and other androgens produced by the adrenal gland that leads to the poor functioning of hair follicles.
It is mostly used as a cream or shampoo and a pill to treat fungal infections. Nizoral based shampoos are used for preventing hair loss.
It is the very same medicine we discussed above as a medical solution to men ’s pattern baldness. This drug inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that results in the suppression of follicle-killing DHT. However, this medicine is more suitable for men as women patients might face childbirth defects and menstrual disorders with prolonged use of it.
Cyproterone Acetate with Ethinylo Estradiol
This is prescription medicine popularly used in the European countries for women’s androgenetic alopecia. It suppresses the male hormones commonly present in a woman that affects the hair fall.
Non-Prescription Medicine Treatment For Hair Loss In Men And Women
So far we had been discussing the popular prescription medicines that help in hair loss prevention in both men and women. There also surgical and natural remedies used as a viable solution for hair loss. Let us have a brief look at some of them.
Hair transplantation is one of the best ways to take care of the alopecia aerate issues faced by both men and women. This is a surgical method in which hair follicles in grafts extracted from healthy hair growth areas and those tiny hair follicle grafts are replanted onto the bald areas of the head.
You can read the complete details on hair transplantation in another article in this blog.
Ultraviolet Light Treatment/ Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT)
This is a phototherapy method used for reactivating the shrunk hair follicles. In this treatment, the bald skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UVA or UVB) rays on alopecia affected areas of the scalp.
The photons of light act on cytochrome C oxidize leading to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is converted to cyclic AMP in the hair follicle cells to release energy and stimulating the metabolic process that is necessary for the growth of new hairs.[47,48]
Hair Growth Vitamins And Oils
Most of the hair loss issues occur due to a lack of hair growth vitamins like biotin and minerals. There are hair growth supplements that contain essential vitamins required for the natural growth of hairs.
Artificial Hair Implantation
In extreme cases of hair fall like alopecia totalis, with no possibilities of hair re-growth, the patients may opt for artificial hair implantation. This is a surgical process that involves the implanting of synthetic fibers into the scalp.
Artificial hair implantation is a very delicate surgery that can be performed only by the well trained and experienced dermatologists. This method is not recommended by most dermatologists because of the huge risks associated with this hair loss solution; the side effects such as skin infections, scarring, falling out of synthetic fibers, the chemical reaction of synthetic fibers, etc. are quite possible with it.
These days a lot of research and tests are being conducted on hair cell cloning. It is a process in which a small number of hair cells extract from the person is injected onto the hairless part of the scalp to regenerate hair growth. This method is still in the initial stages of development. It is probably going to be the emerging hair loss remedy that will change the hair fall treatments of today.
There is a large number of alternative medicines and natural hair loss remedies that have achieved a limited amount of success in treating alopecia. There a large number of people who have benefited from various alopecia treatments that are practiced in Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda and Unani streams of alternative medicines.
The bald-headed people, with no hope hair re-growth, can make use of dermatography (tattoos) to replicate the short natural hair. It is an expensive method that lasts for a year or two at the most. This method is apt for replicating the eyebrow and eyelashes.
Wigs And Hairpieces
One of the easiest ways to take care of male and female pattern baldness is by making use of wigs or hairpieces to cover up the baldness. The cheap wigs that resemble the natural hairs are made up of acrylic or other synthetic substances which usually lasts for six months to one year. However, the use of a wig may cause skin irritations, rashes, itches, and heat.
Real hair wigs are also available for purchase. They are more expensive and difficult to maintain. Like the normal hair, it needs to be set and styled with the hairdresser to look natural and healthy. With good care and protection, it may last up to four years.