How to stop hair loss
Male hair loss is a very common condition, affecting around 6.5 million men in the UK. There are lots of different type of hair loss, but the most common amongst men is male pattern baldness. This is a type of hereditary hair loss which, for lots of men, is just a natural part of getting older.
In this article we’re going to look in more detail at hair loss and the ways you might be able to slow it down, and in some cases stop it.
What is hair loss?
Male pattern baldness (the type of hair loss we’re talking about in this article). usually starts with a little thinning of the hair at the temples.
The hairline will then recede and a sparse patch will appear on the top of the head. The hairline may then meet the patch, revealing the whole scalp. But is there a way to stop or prevent hair loss?
What causes hair loss in men?
Male hair loss is caused by the hormone testosterone being converted to DHT, which causes hair follicles to shrink. Hair growth subsequently slows down or even stops altogether.
Male hair loss (also known as male pattern baldness or ‘androgenic alopecia’) is usually genetic, although it can also be caused by:
- Extreme stress
- Side effects to medical treatment
- A major life event
- Skin disorders
- Hormone imbalance.
It’s worth noting here that there is no correlation between the level of normal testosterone and baldness.
Hair loss solutions for men
There are a couple of treatments that have been proven to help the effects of hair loss.
Finasteride (sometimes known by it’s branded name Propecia) is a daily tablet containing the active ingredient finasteride. Finasteride inhibits the conversion of testosterone into DHT, a hormone which affects the hair follicles, causing them to shrink. By blocking DHT build up, Finasteride can slow or even reverse the hair loss process.
How effective is Finasteride?
What are the side effects of taking Finasteride?
In rare cases finasteride may cause a skin rash, erectile dysfunction, less desire for sex or tenderness in the nipple area. If you do experience these side effects, they may well disappear quickly as your body gets used to finasteride. If you are at all concerned about the side effects, you should stop taking the treatment and consult a doctor.
Minoxidil, an over the counter treatment, often known by the brand name Regaine, is also an effective treatment for hair loss, it's a topical solution applied to the scalp. It comes in the form of a solution or foam.
Minoxidil is thought to work by increasing the blood supply and flow of nutrients to the hair follicles. This can make the hair stronger and slow hair loss.
How effective is minoxidil?
What are the side effects of minoxidil?
Side effects for minoxidil aren’t that common, but some men might experience skin irritation or headaches.
Hair loss solutions for women
Unfortunately, women can’t take Finasteride, so this is not a hair loss treatment option. But women can use minoxidil on the affected areas of their scalp to treat hair loss. This is one of the only proven hair loss treatments for women.
How long does hair take to grow back?
Although no immediate effect may be seen after your first month of taking Finasteride or using minoxidil, it’s highly recommended that you stick with it for a few months as long as you suffer no adverse reactions.
It can take at least three months to slow down hair loss, six months to grow new hair, and as long as 12 months to verify whether the treatment is effective for you.
If you stop taking finasteride, it is likely that any hair you gained will be lost within 9-12 months.
Can you stop hair loss naturally?
Outside of Finasteride and minoxidil, the only other main treatment for hair loss is a hair transplant. But, obviously, this isn’t an option available to or suitable for everyone.
You might read about hair loss vitamins and how they can help treat hair loss, but there’s limited evidence for these working. However it’s unlikely to harm your health, or your hair, if you do try these vitamins.
For more information on hair loss, visit our hair loss clinic for men or our hair loss clinic for women.