A scalp with hair loss in the frontal region

The Ultimate Guide to Hair Loss Treatment

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Hair loss is a stressful experience whether temporary or permanent. It can cause serious trauma and deep emotional distress. Some people experience low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

One may even need to see an in-person therapist or seek online therapy to help deal with these problems. Normally, therapy helps manage feelings of loss, grief, shame, and sadness. Therefore, therapy is worth exploring if your hair loss problem adversely affects your normal daily life.

In this guide, we will explore hair loss treatments, their pros, cons, and other tips relating to hair regrowth. We hope to help you make the best decision in your journey towards regrowing your hair.

Hair Loss vs Hair Shedding: What’s the Difference?

Distinguishing hair loss from hair shedding is important before considering the best treatment options. Here is how hair loss differs from hair shedding.

Hair loss refers to alopecia, a condition that disrupts normal hair production. It is different from hair shedding, which is a normal process where one may lose 50-100 hairs daily.

In hair shedding, hair can still regrow from the affected follicle. It is often not the same case with hair loss because alopecia damages follicles. As a result, new hair does not grow or may take longer than normal to regrow.

Hair Loss Treatment Options, Their Pros, and Cons

Hair loss requires you to begin proper treatment right away to improve your prognosis. Timely treatment helps prevent further hair loss, protects healthy hair follicles, and stimulates hair regrowth in the affected areas.

Normally, a dermatologist helps diagnose the exact cause and choose the best hair loss treatment. The hair loss treatments below can help you understand what to expect. Their pros and cons can enable you to settle for the most effective and safest treatment.

A scalp with hair loss in the vertex (crown)

Dutasteride (Avodart)

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a type of hormone linked with hair loss or male pattern baldness. Dutasteride (Avodart) is one of the medications that help reduce DHT levels in the body and protect against male hair loss.

How effective is dutasteride? Is it better than finasteride?

Clinicians prescribe this drug off-label, as it is not FDA-approved for treating male pattern baldness. Even so, it is more effective than alternative medical treatment.

Evidence shows that dutasteride is far better than finasteride in treating male hair loss. It also slows down hair loss and helps promote hair regrowth in people with male pattern baldness.

Cons of dutasteride

Dutasteride has a few cons. First, it causes more severe side effects compared to alternative treatments. For instance, dutasteride leads to low libido or sexual drive. It also makes it difficult for you to get and maintain an erection.

In addition, this drug might trigger reproductive problems. Dutasteride might increase the likelihood of prostate cancer progression for persons who take it for long. These side effects make dutasteride a less desirable treatment for young and sexually active men.

Where can you buy dutasteride (Avodart)?

One can buy dutasteride (Avodart) online. However, one must first speak to a licensed medical practitioner because dutasteride is a prescription drug.

Finasteride

Finasteride is another highly effective hair loss treatment. Unlike dutasteride, it has FDA approval for the treatment of hair loss in men but not women. As a result, women struggling with hair loss normally get an off-label prescription of this drug.

Pros of finasteride

The biggest advantage of finasteride is that it improves the total hair count in just 48 weeks.

It also undoes the hair loss process and increases the density and length of hair in the affected region.

Cons of finasteride

Even so, finasteride has several cons. Existing evidence suggests that this drug causes similar adverse reactions as dutasteride. As such, sexual dysfunction remains a huge concern.

Finasteride can also lead to impotence or erectile dysfunction in men. This adverse sexual reaction often persists long after stopping treatment. One may take a few months or years to recover or regain sexual function. About 20 percent do not recover their sexual function six years or more after they stop taking it.

In addition, finasteride can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. It thus raises serious reproductive health concerns when prescribed to young and sexually active men.

Finasteride shedding is also common. It occurs in the first few months and is not a bad thing. Shedding allows damaged and weak hair strands to fall off and give way for stronger strands.

Where can you buy finasteride?

It is not possible to buy finasteride over the counter in any US state. Finasteride is only available as a prescription. Therefore, you should see a qualified health provider to prescribe this medication.

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a common treatment for male-pattern baldness. It has received FDA approval for managing this condition.

This drug is available in topical (2% and 5% solutions) and pill form (oral medication). Unlike the topical solution, the FDA has not approved oral minoxidil for treating hair loss.

Pros of minoxidil

Normally, oral minoxidil achieves better hair regrowth than 5% minoxidil solution. It also leads to a significant increase in the terminal hair count. Thus, it is more likely to improve hair density and ensure the head is full of mature hair.

Topical minoxidil also promotes hair regrow in just 6-12 months. It further helps stimulate hair regrowth in the vertex and frontal scalp area. However, better results occur in the vertex than anywhere else on the scalp.

Cons of minoxidil

Despite these benefits, using minoxidil for hair loss treatment has a couple of cons. For instance, it might trigger contact or irritant dermatitis on the scalp.

In addition, stopping minoxidil leads to progressive hair loss in just 12-24 weeks. One must continue treatment for the rest of their lives to maintain good hair density and prevent progressive hair loss.

Minoxidil shedding is also a concern for many people taking this drug. The process takes a few weeks to resolve. It may persist for as many as 8 weeks. Even so, hair shedding gives way for new and noticeable hair growth.

Where can you buy minoxidil?

Oral minoxidil is not available over the counter. If you live in the US, you will need a doctor’s prescription to buy the pill or oral form of minoxidil.

However, one can purchase the topical minoxidil over the counter. It is also available on eCommerce stores such as Amazon.

Hair transplant

A hair transplant is the best hair loss treatment option. It is often regarded as hair restoration or hair replacement. It is a more permanent solution and often yields a natural look.

Conditions for a successful hair transplant

People with hair loss must meet specific conditions to increase the chances of a successful hair transplant. For instance, they must have adequate healthy hair on their scalp to facilitate the process.

The surgeon performing a hair transplant should also have proper skills and experience for a higher success rate.

Pros of a hair transplant

A hair transplant involves getting healthy hairs from one scalp region and moving them to a bald or thinning area.

It leads to thicker-looking hair and is best recommended for people with inherited permanent baldness. Those with alopecia areata should not have a hair transplant.

Cons of a hair transplant

Despite the many benefits, a hair transplant is expensive and usually costs $5000-$20000. Cost depend on the number of grafts, a surgeon’s charges, and other fees.

Although hair transplants can last a lifetime, hair loss may still occur. Over time, this hair loss can lead to a patchy hair appearance. One will therefore need follow-up transplants to maintain a natural look.

In addition, some hair follicles might die after a transplant. One may need a touch-up procedure to fill areas where new hair does not grow.

A low success rate and demand for follow-up transplants in the future might significantly increase the cost of this procedure.

People who undergo hair transplants risk developing scars or an infection. They might also experience swelling, pain, and bleeding on the scalp incisions.

How can you improve the success rate of a hair transplant?

Adhering to post-surgery instructions usually improves the success rate of a hair transplant. Undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy before a hair transplant might boost the chances of success. It also leads to better hair density and faster skin recovery.

If you want to learn more about the two most common types of hair transplant, check out FUE vs FUT: Which is The Best Hair Transplant Method?