The Best Hair Loss Treatments That Come In The Mail
All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The decision to start using a hair loss treatment is a big one. If given the choice, its safe to assume that most of us want to keep our hair. Wouldn’t it be nice to opt out of receding hairlines, general thinning, and patchy crowns? Thankfully that’s more affordable than ever, thanks to generic drug offerings . Its also becoming easier to actually obtain these drugs, thanks to the world wide web. Companies are connecting customers directly with doctors, cutting out the in-office appointments, pharmacy commute, and days of waiting for your appointment. Now you can simply order everything online, get video consultation on your particular case, then receive your pills and potions in the mail.
The pills are finasteride , which fights the hormone byproducts that lead to hair loss. The potion is minoxidil usually in a 5% concentration. It increases blood flow and nutrient delivery to your follicles, which in turn strengthens and fortifies them, thus preventing further shedding. Both finasteride and minoxidil can resuscitate existing, dormant follicles as well as prevent or slow future loss. Combined, they are doubly potent.
Advanced Remedies For Female Hair Loss
Laser therapy, hair transplantation, and platelet-rich plasma therapy are more advanced options available to men and women suffering from severe hair loss.
Laser therapy irradiates photons into scalp tissues to stimulate hair growth and is the least invasive of the three treatments. You can undergo clinical laser treatment or buy one of the various products, like brushes, bands and caps, for low-level laser therapy available in the market.
Although the therapy is proven to be safe and tolerable, it is quite expensive. The is scientific research suggesting that the treatment results are promising, yet inconsistent, meaning that it provides good results for some people and little to no result for other.
When choosing a hair loss treatment, remember that not the price, but the ability to address the cause of thinning makes it effective. If your hair loss is due to hormone imbalance, supplements wont work. And if your hair loss is due to nutritional deficiency, hormone therapy will do more harm than good.
In some cases, regrowth can be achieved by managing stress, refusing from harmful hair routines, and stimulating hair growth with DIY remedies. In some cases, it might be better to invest in minoxidil treatment and laser therapy in the initial stages of hair loss rather than waste precious time hoping home remedies can help. Ally with an expert trichologist to help you find the best route to take.
Putting Everything Together: Best And Worst Treatments
Now that we have reviewed the available data we can compile it in one table.
Table 1. All hair loss treatments with available data ranked from least to most effective
There are 14 treatments in the table. Values for seven of these were taken directly from Gupta et al. The other seven were added separately.
The third column is the plausibility of the hair counts values. It is a largely subjective measure. There are three possible values: high, medium, and low. For each treatment, we used the following criteria for plausibility:
Also Check: How Much Postpartum Hair Loss Is Normal
Snake Oils Or Legitimate
There is still no complete cure for baldness. But topical hair loss treatments such as special shampoos and various scalp treatments can compliment proven treatments such as Propecia, Rogaine or surgical hair restoration.
However, many of the claims made by these topical hair regrowth treatments are unproven and even false. Below are various categories of topical treatments.
For in-depth information about virtually all topical treatments visit the Hair Loss Learning Center.
Can I Take Minoxidil And Finasteride Together
For most people, this is, in fact, the best way to treat hair loss. Twice daily application of 5% minoxidil and once-daily, oral finasteride appears to be the most effective way to treat hair loss. It tackles both the prevention of hair follicle damage and stimulating hair growth by healing follicular damage.
Also Check: Can Finasteride Cause Hair Loss
A Dermatologists Diagnosis Is Best Before Treating Hair Loss
If you think you have FPHL, its important to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis. Women develop hair loss for many reasons. Other common causes of hair loss in women can look a lot like FPHL. Each of these causes requires different treatment. Without the right treatment, hair loss often continues.
You can find a dermatologist in your area by going to Find a Dermatologist.
What Is Finasteride And How Does It Work
Finasteride is often prescribed for hair loss under the brand name Propecia. In a different prescription strength and under a different brand name, doctors also prescribe finasteride to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia .
Finasteride works totally differently from minoxidil in treating hair loss. This medication is whats known as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Rather than improving blood flow, finasteride acts on hormones that cause many of us to lose our hair. Specifically, it fights male pattern baldness that is a result of the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone . Finasteride blocks the conversion into DHT.
Don’t Miss: Do Shampoos For Thinning Hair Work
Buying Guide For Best Hair Loss Treatments For Women
Hair loss is usually thought as a problem that affects only men, but many women experience hair thinning and loss as they age, too. There are many reasons why someone might start to lose hair, but regardless of the cause, it can wreak havoc on a womans self-esteem and confidence.
Fortunately, there are plenty of OTC hair loss treatments that can help slow the loss or even regrow hair. But not all hair loss treatments for women are the same. If you dont choose an effective product, youll just be wasting your time and money.
Fortunately, our handy shopping guide has plenty of tips to help you pick the best hair loss treatment for your needs. If youre ready to buy, check out our top recommendations.
Limitations Of This Approach
This paper exercise has severe limitations. These become apparent when we consider the ideal way of comparing all hair loss treatments. That would be one single study. It would be carried out by one research team, using one protocol. It would look like this:
A large interdisciplinary team of scientists with unlimited funds would recruit thousands of volunteers. All the volunteers would fulfill the same inclusion and exclusion criteria. Their baseline hair count would be recorded using a single set of criteria.
The volunteers would then be randomly assigned to one of the dozens of treatments. At the end of six or 12 months, their hair counts would again be carefully recorded. Blinded dermatologists would also subjectively assess the before and after photos of the entire head.
Such a study is practically impossible. It would be prohibitively complex and expensive. A handful of institutions and multinational companies would have the funds and logistics to carry it out. Yet none have the financial motivation to do so.
The only alternative is to piece together data from many different studies, which is what this article does. The problem, of course, is that crucial factors differ from study to study. These include the participants, the technicians, the methodology, the length of treatment, etc.
We also had to make decisions when selecting studies to include, such as whether to include studies with women and whether to include data from non-peer-reviewed sources.
You May Like: Can Hrt Help With Hair Loss
Gone Today Hair Tomorrow
As has been mentioned earlier, there are many causes for hair loss, and just as many alleged cures for it. However, as of this writing, there are only two FDA-approved treatments that have been properly tested and vetted.
One of these products is Minoxidil, known commercially as Rogaine. Minoxidilwhen used as an alopecia treatmentis a topical solution, sometimes presented as a foam that helps promote hair regrowth in whichever area of the body it is applied to. Officially, the FDA has only approved Minoxidil for use in treating androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss, however, research shows that it is often used for off-label treatment of other types of alopecia.
Minoxidil is of particular interest to hair loss researchers, since even though it has been proven effective to a certain degree, the exact mechanism through which it achieves hair regrowth is not yet fully understood. It is also the only one of two treatments that is safe for women to use when treating hair loss.
The other approved hair loss treatment is Finasteride. This is a drug that was originally created to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, which it achieved by reducing the size of an abnormally enlarged prostate. However, it was eventually discovered that Finasteride also promoted scalp hair growth in men by blocking the very same enzymes that caused the enlarged prostate symptoms it was originally created to combat.
Children 10 Years Of Age And Younger
Alopecia areata often begins during childhood. If your child has difficulty coping with the hair loss, treatment can often help regrow hair.
Treatment options for children 10 years of age and younger are:
Corticosteroid you apply to the bald spots: Prescription-strength corticosteroids can help regrow hair. You apply this medication once or twice a day. For children, this alone can be an effective treatment.
Minoxidil: Also known by the brand name Rogaine®, minoxidil can help maintain the regrowth after you stop applying the corticosteroid. It has few side effects, so its considered a good option for children.
For children older than 10 years of age, treatment options are based on the amount of hair loss.
Read Also: How Do I Thicken My Thinning Hair
The Trouble With Supplements
There is still much research to be done on the topic of hair loss. Because it can often be a symptom and not the actual condition itself, there is no definitive way to tackle it and no way to guarantee that youll be able to stave off its advance well into your later years.
The currently approved and tested hair loss remedies were not initially developed with hair loss in mind, and even then they only address very specific aspects of the condition which may or may not be a viable alternative for certain types of hair loss. Perhaps due to the currently limited scope of vetted treatments, you may notice that there are a staggering number of products that advertise themselves as being a natural alternative to combat hair loss.
Many will make claims that they are FDA approved. Given that most, if not all of these are supplements, they are not under the direct purview of the FDA and as such, not subject to the same scrutiny as Minoxidil and Finasteride. If the companies that manufacture and market these alternative treatments are being transparent, they will state that their supplements are manufactured in FDA-approved facilities, which means they operate in an environment deemed safe by the FDA. That does NOT, however, say anything about the effectiveness of their products.
Shedding Strands Faster Than You’d Like Here’s What Really Helps And What To Skip
Its normal to lose up to 150 hairs a day. But by age 60, about 80 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have a measurable amount of hair loss, says Shilpi Khetarpal, M.D., a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
The cause is usually genetic: male- and female-pattern hair loss. In men, hormones called androgens cause strands to fall out too early. In women, the action isnt as clear, though androgens may play a role for some.
Thyroid problems, stress, trauma, autoimmune disease, and nutrient deficiency can also cause hair loss.
Should you try one of the over-the counter or prescription products touted to help? Heres the lowdown.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Hair Loss Concealer
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Hair Loss
Because so many things can cause hair loss, a dermatologist acts like a detective and begins by asking questions. The dermatologist will want to know whether your hair loss happened suddenly or gradually. Knowing this helps to determine the cause.
A dermatologist also will ask what medicines you take, what allergies you have, and whether you have been dieting. It is important to give the dermatologist accurate information. Like a murder mystery, the slightest clue can solve the case. Women may be asked about their menstrual cycles, pregnancies, and menopause.
The dermatologist also will carefully look at your scalp and hair. During an exam, the dermatologist may pull on your hair. Sometimes a dermatologist needs to pull out a hair to get the necessary evidence. And sometimes a dermatologist needs to look at the hair on the rest of your body to see whether there is too little or too much hair in other areas.
Sometimes the evidence lies in your scalp. The dermatologist may remove a small piece of the scalp. This is called a scalp biopsy. A dermatologist can quickly and safely perform a scalp biopsy during an office visit. A scalp biopsy can be essential to solving the case. Sometimes, a blood test is necessary.
Because so many things can cause hair loss, it can take time to find the cause.
How We Chose These Products
Science is our guide here. Because androgenetic alopecia is so common, there is a bevy of options on the market. Of course, they dont all work, not at reducing hair loss anyways, many of them are incredibly effective at emptying your wallet!
We looked at the research and chose only those treatments that are based on solid evidence and have been tested clinically to assess both their efficacy at treating hair loss and the side effects they may cause.
When we mentioned a brand name for a particular product or treatment, we have ensured that the concentrations or parameters that a brand uses adhere to the guidelines that are backed by research.
When looking at newer treatments with fewer studies, we still checked to ensure that they were conducted with proper research designs.
When compared to a control group , actual hair loss treatments should show a reduction in follicle miniaturization or even a reversal of the process.
Researchers should use clinical photography or other methods to count the number of terminal hairs versus vellus hairs and to assess the number of hairs in the anagen versus telogen phase. They should also use other proven methods to evaluate hair shedding, thickness, and health.
We have only included treatments that are backed by research and have received positive assessments from study participants.
Read Also: What To Do For Hair Loss Female
What Is Your Budget
If money is no object, then you can double- or even triple-down on a set of treatments that work in different ways, to maximize your potential for dramatic success. But not all of us have the budget for the all of the above approach. For those of us on a tight budget, we need to know which path is likeliest to succeed, without breaking the bank.