Contrary to popular belief, going bald is not a fait accompli. There are a number of hair loss treatment options which can be successfully implemented prophylactically or to regrow hair.
Hair loss treatment options can be roughly divided into three categories: oral pharmacological agents, topical treatments and procedural treatments.
The cornerstone of hair loss treatment for many years has been alpha reductase inhibitors, the most popular of which has been Finasteride. Finasteride works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to its active metabolilte in hair follicles. The evidence for Finasteride is robust and multiple trials have shown it to be effective in both restoring and preventing hair loss. It does carry a small risk of sexual dysfunction which is in the order of 1-2% but this abates with cessation of the medication.
There is good evidence for using certain topical hair loss treatment options, particularly Minoxidil. Like Finasteride, this treatment is supported by a strong evidence base. When applied topically, its side effect profile is limited but it is probably not quite as effective as Finasteride in regrowing hair. When used together, their effect is additive.
A variety of natural hair loss treatment options have been proposed to treat baldness. Anecdotally, people have probably had the most success with Saw Palmetto, which works similarly to Finasteride. Other suggested treatments include Zinc, Biotin and B complex vitamins. Good quality evidence is lacking for all of these treatments, but they carry a negligible risk of side effects.
There are of course many procedural hair loss treatment options that we cannot provide over the internet. The gold standard treatment for male pattern baldness is a hair transplant. This can achieve good results but is obviously invasive and expensive. The results are also surgeon dependent and some achieve a more natural looking result than others. Laser light therapy is not supported by a great deal of quality evidence and its effect is probably minimal.
Hair loss treatment options are constantly evolving. Injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP) into the scalp is a new and novel treatment. Early results appear promising, but at this stage, quality evidence examining the effect of PRP on hair loss is limited. PRP is costly, invasive and like most other hair loss treatments, the treatment effect wanes with time requiring repeated attendance to a clinic.
Let us know if there are any hair loss treatment options you are curious to hear more about or if you have suggestions for something we are missing out on!
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