Does Male Hair Loss Treatment Work (Facts and Myths)?

Did you know that about 85 percent of men experience a significant thinning hair in the age of 50s – according to AHLA (the American Hair Loss Association)? Even some can experience premature hair loss before the age of 21. This is the reason of why there are also a lot of male hair growth products and treatments. The problem is not all of these products work effectively. Furthermore, the cause of the problem often involves numerous different factors – from bad habits of hair lifestyle to certain medical conditions or even a genetic trait.

So, does male hair loss treatment work? The answer of the question can vary from person to person. While some men find a specific treatment can be helpful enough to reduce their thinning hair problem, others don’t!

The facts and myths of male hair loss treatment

Though the problem of hair loss both in men and women have been learned in many years, but in fact this issue is still not fully understood. However, the improvement of the treatment is continuously running – and even now some experts say that this problem is no longer inevitable.

Can your hair loss go away naturally without any treatment or medical intervention?

As mentioned frequently on the previous post, the prognosis of the problem is closely related with the cause of the problem itself. If the problem occurs due to a genetic trait or the effect of certain medical condition, medical intervention is always needed to help re-grow the hair back to normal.

Unfortunately, most cases of male hair loss problem (about almost 95 percent) are categorized into a group ‘male-pattern baldness’ which usually inherited-gene plays a key role. The genetic trait can be derived from either parent.

On the other hand if the problem is not male-pattern baldness or there is no related with a genetic trait or certain health condition, the problem can reverse on its own way! For instance, if the problem is caused by only stress or poor diet – it should reverse itself once you address the cause of the problem.

Which one of specific product you should choose to treat thinning hair?

In fact, not all products of hair loss can fulfill their claims as well as in their advertisements. In other words, not all of them are same in quality and effectiveness in helping improve hair growth. For practical option, it’s much better to see a dermatologist so thus you will get a completely evaluation about anything you should follow to help your hair growth.

How to get your best chance of improving your hair growth?

There are a lot of advertisements in the back of newspapers and male magazines about specific products for hair loss treatments. You may also have seen them on the TV and even radio. And most of them often promise a miracle result of treatment. But you need to know that some of them don’t work for treatment or even for prevention of excessively losing hair.

Moreover, if you consider supplement products – in fact most of them are also not approved by FDA because they not belong to a group of medicine that must be carefully monitored by FDA. However to keep safe, make sure you choose hair-growth products with approval from AHLA and FDA. If you choose one that is not approved by AHLA or FDA, you are more likely to will waste your money and time.

Furthermore, you need to completely understand that your early intervention in treating your hair loss is very important for the prognosis of the problem. If you choose the right one of early intervention, you chance to have a successful treatment is much better than if you start the treatment with the wrong procedure.

In other words, it’s very critical and important to start your treatment with an effective and proper treatment as soon as you find the onset of your abnormal hair loss.

What actually is male-pattern baldness?

As mentioned before, most cases of male pattern baldness involve an inherited gene that may come from mother’s side or father’s side or both. One of early signs of this hair loss problem is receding hairline which then will make M-shaped receding hairline.

Over time, the hair loss not only affects the hairline. It may then affect the hair on top of scalp which then can be potential to lead to a bald spot. If left untreated, there is a chance for the two meet and then can cause a horseshoe pattern. Below is a helpful image (credit to The McGraw-Hill Companies ‘Color Atlas of Cosmetic Dermatology’):

M-shaped_male_pattern_baldness

Does minoxidil (Rogaine) work effectively for male hair loss problem?

This kind of medication was the first type of medicine approved by FDA for male pattern baldness treatment. While some clinical studies found that it can help slow the progression of male baldness and also improve hair growth, but it also can be potential to cause hair growth in the wrong locations of the body such as on the back of hands, foreheads, and cheeks.

The effectiveness of minoxidil also varies from person to person, depending on the degree /extent of hair loss. Unfortunately, this kind of hair growth medicine doesn’t affect anything on the hormonal process that regulates the cycle of growing, resting, and falling of the hair.

In other words, its effect is usually not permanent and therefore you may need to use it continuously – if you decide to take it continuously, make sure to discuss first with a dermatologist! Because it is important to ensure that this medicine is safe enough for your body to be used in long term!

Additionally, though minoxidil is pretty common used for hair growth but the American Hair Loss Association suggests it for the second option of the initial treatment. In other words, it should not be used for the first choice of the initial treatment.

If you notice the onset of male pattern baldness, finasteride is more recommended for  the first line of the treatment than minoxidil. Then if it fails to work, you may need to consider using other treatments! Again, consult with a doctor /dermatologist for more guidance!

Male hair loss initial treatment with finasteride

This kind of hair-growth medicine is recommended as the first line treatment for androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness), according to AHLA.

Finasteride – what actually is it?

This prescription medicine is actually the generic name of Proscar & Propecia – developed and made by Merck (a pharmaceutical company). In several years ago, finasteride was more focused to treat the problem of prostate (enlarged prostate glands). But in a clinical trial and study on men with problems of prostate who took finasteride, the study showed that most participants experienced good side effect in ‘hair growth’.

male_hair_loss_treatment_illustrationFor this reason, Merck made a decision to pursue the chance of developing finasteride as the first medication for male pattern baldness treatment. And finally it was approved by FDA in December 1997 – particularly for the use of finasteride (1 mg dose) to treat male pattern baldness. Even in general, it is considered more effective if compared with minoxidil.

Unfortunately, it also usually works as long as you use it. In other words, it may not be able to provide a permanent result. Your hair loss problem is more likely to return when you discontinue using it.

How does finasteride regrow hair?

The effectiveness of finasteride for hair growth is due to its unique ability that can help decrease the level of DHT (androgen dihydrotestosterone).

If you have excessive DHT, it can affect the cycle of hair follicle for hair growth. As a result, you are relatively easier to lose hair more than normal. Moreover, lowering DHT level is one of the medically proven ways to reduce and treat hair loss.

Finasteride can help inhibit 5-alpha-reductase (it is a kind of enzyme that can trigger the excessive production of DHT on the scalp). In a clinical trial (according to an article published on Mayo Clinic), the use of 1 mg dose of finasteride that taken daily can help decrease the level of DHT by as much as 60 percent.

How about with hair transplant – more FAQs!

Another option for male hair loss treatment is hair transplant. Unfortunately, this option is not affordable for anyone. The cost that you need to pay for it is closely dependent on the quantities of hair that need to be transplanted. But typically, it can take about $4,000 up to $15,000 – wow … a big deal you need to pay for a small surgery on your scalp!

Where does hair transplant hair come from – how does it work?

This procedure was used in many west countries many years ago. In the US, it was used since 1950s. It is actually a kind of surgery procedure that involves using & removing a hair-bearing scalp’s narrow strip from the back of the head.

The removed hair-bearing scalp then will be filled an area where hair growth is expected (area with no hair or thinning hair). In other words, hair transplant take your own hair (typically your healthy hair that comes from other areas of your scalp such as the back or side of your head).

How long after hair transplant for hair to grow?

After the surgery of your hair transplant, you may have a tender scalp. For this reason, your doctor may prescribe a pain medication and you may need to take it for several days ahead.

You usually also will be asked to use a surgical dressing over your scalp after surgery – and it may take about 1-2 days. If necessary, you may also need to take a prescription antibiotic to help prevent and treat inflammation or bacterial infection.

In general, most individuals who take a hair transplant can return to work about 2-5 days after surgery. And about 2-3 weeks afterwards, your transplanted hair usually will go falling out but then within a few months ahead you should begin to notice and find new growth. Generally, most people can have almost 60 percent of new hair growth about 6-9 months after the surgery – according to WebMD. To help improve your best chance of having new hair growth as much as possible, your doctor may also prescribe Rogaine (minoxidil).

Does a hair transplant last forever or provide a permanent result?

There is a chance to have a permanent result from a hair transplant surgery. However, there are also some side effects you need to consider and concern carefully before taking the surgery.

Does a hair transplant hurt – is it painful? What are the side effects?

Before and during surgery, you may not feel anything. But there is a chance for you to experience inflammation, scaring, infection or even bleeding after surgery. Furthermore if the result of surgery doesn’t work well, you may also have new hair growth with unnatural looking.

Does hair transplant work for everyone?

No, it doesn’t – it is not recommended for everyone! This is reasonable since there are also some side effects that may occur after surgery – as noted before.

In general, it is only recommended if you are healthy. This is purposed to improve the successful rate of surgery and eliminate the risks. Before going to this kind of surgery, you should get a completely evaluation by a dermatologist to determine whether a hair transplant is your option.

Are there any home remedies for male-pattern baldness?

Yes, there are some options. But they are only recommended for a complementary treatment. In the case of male-pattern baldness, home remedies and lifestyle changes alone are often not enough to provide a significant result of hair growth.