So many of us are experiencing some form of hair loss, and it strikes both men and women! What are the best solutions for this common problem? The answers fall into three categories.
1. Medications-There are two popular medications available, and both are absolutely proven to stop hair from thinning and re-grow what has been lost! Minoxidil (the active ingredient in the "Rogaine" brand) is an over-the-counter hair growth treatment that is approved for both men and women. It was originally developed as a high blood pressure medication; thicker, darker bodily hair was discovered as a side effect, and the medication was marketed as a hair growth treatment. The treatment for men contains a 5% concentration of minoxidil, and the women's version contains a 2% concentration. Considering its original intention, it is wise to consult a doctor if you are currently taking blood pressure medication and would like to use minoxidil. Also not surprising, minoxidil can thicken and darken hair in places other than just on the scalp-a side effect that may become troubling.
Finasteride (also known by the brand name Propecia) is the second proven hair re-growth treatment currently available. It is a prescription medication that was approved by the FDA in 1997. While it is most effective at preventing loss and creating new growth in the crown area, it can also work on the hairline. There are two main concerns with finasteride. First, it is not generally approved for women since it is proven to cause birth defects in male fetuses. Second, it can cause sexual dysfunction in male patients. Some men taking finasteride have found that reducing the dosage has eliminated side effects.
2. Surgeries-Hair transplant surgery is becoming more and more common, as well as looking more and more natural. During this procedure, hair follicles are removed from an area of the scalp (or body, in some cases). The follicles are harvested either individually in the "Follicular Unit Extraction" (or FUE) method or in a strip. The donor strip follicles are placed into the thin or bald spot. Once the follicles heal, they should produce new hair growth in the area. This is definitely a solution, however the cost of the procedure is a downside. Priced between $3 and $8 per graft, you can have a whole head of hair transplanted, but the expense will rival a car purchase.
3. Cosmetics-These are easily the simplest, most affordable hair loss solutions. This category includes "Hair Replacement" (a newer term for wigs and toupees) as well as hair thickeners, scalp concealers, and natural fiber sprays. Any of these products will give you the look of a full head of hair-restoring your confidence without any side effects!