The first realisation of hair loss is terrifying for most, expected for some and a non-issue for only a few. For those who really want to keep their hair though there are actually plenty of solutions with that are EVIDENCE BASED. That means backed up by research that proves they work. The treatments all have their various pros and cons but they all work much more effectively if started early. In this post I’m going to briefly describe the various pros and cons of hair loss treatment.
Finasteride is the most evidence based and one of the most effective treatments. It blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone which is responsible for male pattern hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone seems to have fairly limited effects elsewhere except for shrinking the prostate, reducing ejaculate volume and very rarely (1-3%) causing sexual dysfunction. It’s very cheap and there is evidence that it regrows hair as well as prevents hair loss.
Minoxidil has the next most evidence. The original use is to treat high blood pressure but minoxidil also has a hair loss prevention effect. It is available as a lotion and more recently in a foam form. It occasionally causes some scalp irritation but otherwise has next to no side effects. It’s a bit more expensive at around $100 every 4 months. Like finasteride it will regrow as well as prevent hair loss.
Low level laser therapy is very expensive at around $2500 and can also cause some scalp irritation but it definitely seems to work well at regrowing and preventing hair loss. The only problem is it’s only been studied up to 6 months so it’s impossible to say how long its effect lasts.
Ketoconazole shampoo is for dandruff and there are studies showing it works as well as minoxidil. There is no long term data and it probably is most effective in those who actually have dandruff. It’s about $20 for a small 100mL bottle but you only need to use it twice a week and it has no side effects.
Hair transplants are very effective but incredibly time consuming and require an experienced surgeon. The operation actually involves meticulously transplanting individual follicles for hours. The cost is close to $15,000 but it’s likely to last a very long time and may be a permanent solution.
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