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 alopecia patients in America.
Many hair growth products are readily available, but 90% of the hair loss cure solutions need to provide satisfactory hair growth results.
One of the studies by The American Hair Loss Association indicates that hair loss is a significant health issue that is emotionally distressing and mentally tormenting for millions of individuals.
This article will discuss the best-known hair loss treatments for men and women. We shall also look at common hair fall treatments that do not involve ordinary prescription medicines.
What Are the Treatments for Hair Loss?
You may see a lot of advertisements and publicity on all media on numerous brands of hair care products promising hair fall prevention and growth of new hairs. A good number of prescription medicines are also available for hair fall cure.
However, most men and women who use these medicines cannot fully reverse the hair fall and grow new hair.
Some of us who suddenly lose hair due to surgical or drug treatments may use wigs, hairpieces, hair weaving, etc., as a temporary solution to the hair fall. And if the hair from eyebrows and eyelashes has fallen, many would turn to eyebrow pencils to draw the lost hair.
The alternative medicines, mostly oil-based herbal solutions, effectively promote hair growth to a certain extent but not in male and female pattern baldness cases.
There is no permanent solution to the hair fall. Most hair fall treatment results give only a temporary solution, and in some cases, it may not even work at all.
The men who are profoundly 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, verifying its actual results from people who have used it is essential. A good dermatologist can advise you on reasonable treatment solutions for hair re-growth.
Avoiding hair care solutions not approved by the FDA or not recommended by the American Hair Loss Association is good.
Going by the facts, it is noticed that hair growth medicines are most effective at the early stages of hair fall. Once a person has turned bald, the possibility of hair re-growth with medication offers limited scope.
Hair Loss Treatment for Men
Men’s haMen’shaMen’sss treatment has significantly improved in the last decade or more.
The most notable change came with the advent of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors like Propecia and advanced surgical hair-fixing technologies. Anyone willing to spend a lot of money on hair replacement treatments can get back the natural-looking hair without much difficulty.
The following are the most effective hair loss treatments for men that work 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 provides modest hair growth on areas of the scalp that have become bald.
Rogaine tries to revitalize and reverse the shrinking of hair follicles. This treatment results best when it is used at the initial stages of alopecia when the signs of baldness set in.
It is a lotion that needs to be applied twice a day to the alopecia-affected areas of the scalp. Per customer satisfaction results, this product works quite well, and over 50% of men who use it can delay hair fall and increase hair growth.
Fortunately, Minoxidil’s effects are nonexistent except for minor incidents like mild skin irritation or itching.
Propecia was introduced for the cure of prostate-related diseases, but later on, it was found to work well for a male pattern baldness cure.
This medicine helps prevent the testosterone hormone from converting into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The hair follicles shrink because of the DHT, so blocking its production allows the hair follicles to regain their average size and strength.
This medicine should be taken only with the physician’s recommendation and once daily.
Propecia can cause some side effects in some individuals, like skin allergies, digestive disorders, nausea, etc. This is strictly not meant for women and lactating mothers as it can result in congenital disabilities, menstrual disorders, and other health issues for both mother and newborn child.
Avodart (dutasteride) is an alternative medicine for Propecia, but a much more potent drug with a higher dosage.
Alopecia areata occurs when the body’s immune system damages the body’s hair follicle, a type of steroid (hormone) that can help suppress the immune system (autoimmune attack) that damages the hair follicles.
Corticosteroid injections were quite effective in treating small patches of alopecia, especially at the initial stages.
A corticosteroid solution must be injected on the scalp where the alopecia has set in. This injection needs to be repeated 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.
It is a synthetic, tar-like substance that is used for treating psoriasis. When applied daily on alopecia patches, this cream will bring about new hair growth in 6 to 12 weeks.
This cream should be applied daily and washed 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 the patient is to take this pill once a day.
This is effective in promoting hair re-growth, but the prolonged use of this pill can cause unwanted side effects in the patient, so the use of Cortisone pills is discouraged.
It is also known as diphencyprone and is used for treating alopecia areata. DPCP comprises acetone, which works as a sensitizing agent in immunotherapy for alopecia.
The diphencyprone lotion is applied on the alopecia-affected areas of the scalp and lets the application remain there overnight. This process must be repeated twice a week for a few successive weeks.
This medicine produces allergic contact dermatitis, helps reverse the autoimmune attacks on the hair follicles, and restores hair follicles to their usual hair growth.
As for side effects, some patients may experience severe itching, burning, blistering, or mild swelling in the treated areas. But none of the side effects will have any lasting effect on health as it would return to normalcy after a few hours or a day.
Hair Loss Treatment for Women
The options for hair loss treatment for women are limited as most of the alopecia treatments can hamper the ‘motherhood health’ of the women. The FDA has not approved most of the popular alopecia medicines as safe for women.
Many of the treatments prescribed for men, which we just discussed in paragraphs above, are also conducive for women, except those explicitly addressing the androgen hormones.
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.
Many women who have taken up the usage of Minoxidil have reported positive results with this topical application for hair growth with no significant side effects on record.
The American Hair Loss Association recognizes this hair fall solution for women and men as an effective medicine for fighting androgenic alopecia.
They are the same combinations of potassium-sparing diuretics medicines under different brand names. This medicine is introduced for maintaining healthy potassium levels in the body. It is also used as a treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension), excess fluid reduction, edema, and hyperaldosteronism (a hormonal disorder).
Spironolactone or Aldactone is also effective in reducing the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It helps stop hair fall by preventing dihydrotestosterone from binding to its androgenetic receptors.
Cimetidine, popularly sold under the brand name Tagamet, is a histamine blocker used mainly to treat gastrointestinal ulcers. This medicine also can block dihydrotestosterone from binding to the follicle receptor sites.
Interestingly, this medicine has diverse effects on hair growth. Cimetidine is used to treat hirsutism (excess facial hair growth) in women, but at the same time, it is suitable for preventing androgenic alopecia in women too.
It is, by design, a medicine used to suppress the excessive sex drive in men. It is also an effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia and hirsutism in women.
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 individual’s health in the long run.
Estrogen and Progesterone
Estrogen and progesterone, also known as hormone replacement therapy, are used as pills and creams to treat androgenetic alopecia in women who suffer hair loss after menopause due to a lack of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
The contraceptive pills that help in decreasing the production of ovarian androgens are also suitable for curing female pattern baldness.
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 typically used to treat hair fall caused by fungal infections.
Lately, it has been found these medicines can also suppress the activities of testosterone and other androgens produced by the adrenal gland, which leads to the poor functioning of hair follicles.
Ketoconazole is an antifungal drug used to eliminate scalp conditions like dandruff. It is also a good hair loss cure solution, especially for managing androgenetic alopecia.
It is mainly used as a cream, shampoo, and pill to treat fungal infections. Nizoral-based shampoos are used to prevent hair loss.
It is the same medicine we discussed above as a medical solution to men’s men’s baldness. This drug inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which 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 a prescription medicine popularly used in European countries for women’s genital alopecia. It suppresses the male hormones commonly present in a woman that affect hair fall.
Cyproterone acetate and its derivatives are good for preventing male hormone reactions that lead to the development of female pattern baldness.
Non-Prescription Medicine Treatment for Hair Loss
So far, we have been discussing the popular prescription medicines that help prevent hair loss in both men and women. Surgical and natural remedies are also 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 both men and women face. This is a surgical method in which hair follicles in grafts are 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 (LT)
This is a phototherapy method used for reactivating the shrunken 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 stimulate the metabolic process necessary for new hair growth.
Hair Growth Vitamins and Oils
Most hair loss issues occur due to a lack of hair growth vitamins like biotin and minerals. Some hair growth supplements and vitamins are required for natural growth. Natural growth includes coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, and herbal ingredients, which are also popularly used as natural solutions to prevent hair loss and promote growth.
In extreme cases of hair fall like alopecia totalis, with no possibility 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 well-trained and experienced dermatologists. Most dermatologists do not recommend this method because of the enormous risks associated with this hair loss solution; the side effects, such as skin infections, scarring, falling out of synthetic fibers, chemical reactions to synthetic fibers, etc., are possible.
Many research and tests are being conducted on hair cell cloning. It is a process in which a small number of hair cells extracted from the person are injected into the hairless part of the scalp to regenerate hair growth. This method is still in the initial stages of development. It is likely the emerging hair loss remedy that will change today’s hair fall treatments.
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 is 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.
With no hope of hair re-growth, bald people can use dermatography (tattoos) to replicate the short natural hair. It is an expensive method that lasts for a year or two. This method is apt for replicating the eyebrows and eyelashes.
Wigs And Hairpieces
One of the easiest ways to care for male and female pattern baldness is using wigs or hairpieces to cover up the baldness. Cheap wigs resembling natural hairs are made of acrylic or other synthetic substances that usually last six months to one year. However, wig use 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 regular hair, it must be set and styled with the hairdresser to look natural and healthy. With good care and protection, it may last up to four years.