I will undoubtedly fall victim to hair loss as I grow older. I’ve always had ultra-fine hair and a widow’s peak that can’t be reasoned with. However, I’m not feeling too devastated. My feelings about my hair are similar to those I’ve have about my dog; they both sit there, are messy, and I will outlast them both. I’d like to keep them, but my dog is getting grey, and there are a lot of shiny heads in my leafless family tree. I understand the social stigma and pain behind it, but I’ve learned to accept my hairless future. But some of you men and women won’t give up without a fight, and here you will find every hair loss treatment that science and research can muster to combat your receding hair line and get rid of hair loss.
This article focuses on – but is by no means limited to – what is by far the most common form of hair loss, androgenic alopecia – which is attributed to heredity. This gradual form of hair loss (also called male/female pattern baldness) has easily recognizable patterns and happens to roughly 1/3 of all men and women. If your hair is falling out in clumps or your hair loss is accompanied by sickness, see a doctor immediately.
Best Ways to Stop Hair Loss
Taking good care of the hair you have left may not stop hair loss, but it could slow down the process.
Comb your hair gently, and after a shower, let your hair air dry rather than attack it with a blow dryer or towel. Perms and hair treatments such as dyes won’t damage your hair unless you do these things incorrectly or too often. Not eating a balanced diet can also speed up hair loss, and in cases of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia – malnutrition can be the cause of hair loss.
There are currently two hair loss medications that are FDA approved to stop hair loss and help you to grow new hair.
The first medication is called Minoxidil, which you probably know as Rogaine. It isn’t known how this drug helps to stop hair loss, but it can be used by men and women. It is known to stop hair loss best in younger individuals, and it is always best to start any hair loss treatment early. Use can be accompanied by itchiness and irritation, and some women report growth of facial hair. If you stop using Minoxidil, your hair loss will resume and any hair gained will be lost.
The second drug approved to stop hair loss is called Finasteride, which you may know as Propecia.
Unlike Minoxidil, Finasteride is a prescription hair loss treatment, and it should only be used by men. Finasteride is taken once daily in pill form, making it much less time consuming than Minoxidil; however, this hair loss treatment can take several months to start working and is known to produce sexual side effects in some men. Like Minoxidil, it will only stop hair loss for as long as you are using the treatment. It should be noted that both of these hair loss treatments produce varying results, and if no improvement is shown, you might as well try something else rather than keep subjecting your body to unnecessary chemicals.
When other, less intrusive treatments have failed to stop hair loss, surgery is an option.
There are many things to consider before pursuing this kind of hair loss treatment. First of all, it is very expensive, and most insurance companies won’t cover it. Secondly, there are many out-of-date facilities using methods no longer endorsed by the American Hair Loss Association – and some practices might accept your money, even though you aren’t a good candidate for the operation. Make sure to ask the doctor to see and talk to previous patients. Call your local medical board and the Better Business Bureau to search for complaints.
Many people who can’t stop hair loss opt for a hairpiece or wig rather than surgery.
Not all hairpieces are made equal, as the craftsmanship, cost, materials, attachment style, and even the hair itself can vary widely. So again, shop around for your specific needs. This, personally, would be the hair loss treatment I choose; I always enjoyed playing “dress-up” as a child, and it would allow me to sport hairstyles never before possible with my fine, flimsy hair.
Alternative Ways to Get Rid of Hair Loss
There are only three hair treatments currently on the market that are FDA approved to stop hair loss and actually help to grow new hair, and those are Minoxidil, Finasteride, and surgery; however, there is a seemingly endless supply of products that promise to stop hair loss. Some products have worked for some and are awaiting approval. The vast majority of hair products may improve your appearance, either by adding volume to the hair you have left, or hiding your bald spots, but they will not stop hair loss or help you grow new hair, which they falsely promise. Something about making a quick buck or some such.
Saw Palmetto is an herbal supplement that is gaining popularity as a way to stop hair loss. The medicinal properties of this plant were first discovered by Native Americans to treat urinary problems, and it has recently been used to treat BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia). It is thought to function similarly to Finasteride, though unlike Finasteride, it can be used by women. You can find Saw Palmetto supplements on Amazon.
Recently, the plant extract Beta-Sitosterol has caught on as an alternative treatment for androgenic alopecia. Like Saw Palmetto, women have also used Beta-Sitosterol. It should be taken with a multi-vitamin, as it can lead to a beta-carotene and Vitamin E deficiency. Amazon has a variety of options for Beta-Sitosterol if you go this route.
What If I Can’t Stop Hair Loss?
It’s strange that hereditary hair loss, or androgenic alopecia, isn’t even a disease, given that so many researchers and patients are seeking a way to stop it. Hereditary hair loss in no way takes away your energy, youth, or virility; it simply may take away your self confidence. If you have done everything you can to stop hair loss, but nothing works, it can be very frustrating. If your hair loss is causing you to avoid social situations (social anxiety) or it is causing you to become depressed, I recommend either seeing a therapist or going to group therapy. It may not be for everyone, but enough people have regained their self worth while battling conditions far worse than hair loss through the support of therapy. Talking about it may help you out.
Will Science Ever Completely Stop Hair Loss?
Yes, I believe that it is only a matter of time before scientists stop hereditary hair loss. First of all, solving the hair loss puzzle would be endlessly profitable, and so there are vast hoards of scientists working on the problem this very minute. Since the mapping of the human genome in 2003, many new projects have been launched around the world to stop all kinds of maladies, such as hair loss. In fact, one such project recently took place in Russia, where scientists studied 50 unrelated families who suffer from androgenic alopecia. There is a strong possibility that they found the gene mutation responsible, which may lead to a treatment to stop hair loss. This is just one of a handful of breakthroughs in recent years, and I can say with some confidence that in some underground redoubt, amongst bubbling beakers and esoteric scientific instruments, someone will stop hair loss once and for all.