Since two-thirds of American males experience some hair loss by the age of 35, it should be no surprise that hair loss treatment is a multi-billion-dollar industry. But how can you know which options really work, and which are best suited to your individual situation? Below are summaries of three of the most popular treatments, listed in order of the hair loss severity they can be used to treat:
- Laser Hair Growth
One of the mildest hair regrowth options is laser hair growth stimulation. You may be more familiar with laser hair removal, but using light at the proper frequency can energize weak hair follicles, encouraging hair growth. Some research shows that laser treatment is most effective when hair loss is first noticed, instead of when it has progressed to severe thinning or baldness. Not all doctors agree on whether or not laser therapy is effective, so it’s best to talk to a hair loss specialist to discuss whether laser hair restoration is a viable path.
- Hair Loss Drugs
Medical treatment for hair loss will generally occur with one of two drugs approved by the FDA for regrowing hair. Propecia (generic name finasteride) was originally developed to address enlarged prostate glands in men. But since one of its side effects was learned to be hair growth, it’s now used to stop and reverse hair loss due to male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). This medication requires a prescription and is only used by men. The other option is Rogaine (generic name minoxidil), which is available without a prescription and can be used by both men and women. Like finasteride, hair growth was only a side effect for the drug’s original application, treating high blood pressure. Propecia and Rogaine are also frequently used in combination.
- Hair Implants for Men
If other treatments have been ineffective, the most extreme — but also most effective — of all hair loss solutions is surgery. In a hair transplant, donor grafts are obtained from elsewhere on the head or body (either via follicular unit transplantation or follicular unit extraction) and then inserted in thinning or balding areas; for men, this typically includes the hairline and top of the head. Although the implanted hairs fall out after the surgery, the active follicles then begin to produce their own hairs, resulting in natural hair regrowth. The cost of hair transplants, of course, is higher than other hair loss treatments because of the surgery involved, but many patients are willing to pay that price because hair transplants offer a permanent solution.
Would you be interested going straight to surgery, or starting with a more conservative treatment such as laser hair growth stimulation? Share your thoughts in the comments.