Medical therapies for hair loss
Hair loss management can be either approached through medical interventions or surgical ones. By surgery, I do mean hair transplant surgery. Surgery is usually the only way of creating permanent hair growth, as it involves transferring hair from the permanent donor area of the scalp to the balding areas. Nonetheless, it should never be confused with the fact that a person could continue to lose hair that is NOT transplanted hair. For this reason, there is a medical approach to help slow down hair loss and to a LESSER extent cause some degree of regrowth and thickening:
1. Minoxidil: over the counter treatment that should be used daily. Has a 30% success rate in slowing hair loss and a 15% chance of causing regrowth. Approved for use on both males and females.
2. Low level Laser therapy: red light laser combs/caps/helmets that are sold online. Most devices are now FDA cleared. They have a 65% success rate in slowing hair loss and about 30% regrowth. These devices are equally effective and licensed for males and females.
3. Finasteride: prescription only. A 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. Hence reduces the conversion of testosterone to DHT. DHT is responsible for male pattern hair loss, and by taking this medication, you can reduce hair loss by around 90%. About 40% of people taking this medication also experience some hair growth. Ofcourse, since this is a tablet form, there is a profile of side effects that can be experienced. It is nevertheless, quite safe and the most effective medical treatment so far. Finasteride is only to be used for male patients.
There are 100s of products that claim to help with hair loss etc. Some may be effective to some extent. Some may even contain one of the above mentioned active ingredients in them. It is always advisable to read the label and the content. The above three are the only ones that repeatedly show strong evidence in randomised placebo trials so far.