Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is an inherited trait. According to Medline Plus, it affects more than half of men over the age of 50.
You can’t always prevent your hair from falling out as you age. But there are treatments and remedies that might slow down the process.
Before you go out and buy supplements and special tonics, learn which ones have shown some promise in preventing or treating hair loss.
Here are 17 hair loss treatments you can talk with a doctor about.
1. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two medications to treat male pattern baldness:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine). Rogaine is available OTC as a liquid or foam. Apply it to the scalp twice per day to encourage hair growth and prevent hair loss. Minoxidil can take 4 to 6 months to see results. Results also depend on proper application and dosage.
- Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar). Finasteride is a pill that you take daily. It’s only available with a prescription from your doctor. The FDA states that generally, it will take at least 3 months of daily use to see results from the drug.
For both minoxidil and finasteride, it may take up to 1 year to see results, and you’ll need to keep taking them to maintain the benefits.
2. Hair transplants
The two most popular hair transplant procedures are follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction.
Keep in mind that both hair transplant procedures are considered surgery, so they can be expensive and may cause some level of discomfort.
There are also certain risks, including infections and scarring. You may need to do multiple hair transplant treatments to get the desired outcome.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
FUT is the more “classic” method. It involves removing some skin, typically from the back of your scalp, where there’s an abundance of hair. Then, a surgeon removes the follicles from that strip of skin. Finally, they reinsert the hair follicles into the part of the scalp where you’re experiencing hair loss.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
In FUE, a surgeon removes hair follicles directly from the scalp and transplants them to the bald parts of the scalp. Direct hair implantation (DHI) is a modified version of this technique in which a specialized tool is used to complete the procedure.
3. Laser treatment
Laser treatment is thought to reduce the inflammation in follicles that keeps them from regrowth for some types of hair loss, like alopecia areata. For other types of hair loss, a
There are limited studies to support the effectiveness of laser treatments for hair loss. But a
According to a
4. Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard about all the negative effects smoking has on your lungs. But did you know that smoking may be associated with hair loss?
If you smoke, quitting may help decrease hair loss.
5. Scalp massage
Not only do massages feel wonderful, but they may help with hair loss, too. Massaging the scalp stimulates the hair follicles.
In a small
Research from 2019 also found that scalp massages were associated with self-perceived improvements in hair density.
6. Balanced diet
A balanced diet may help keep your hair in tip-top shape. Make sure you’re including a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins in your diet. Try to limit your intake of sweets.
- iron-rich foods, including lean beef, beans, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified grains, and eggs
- foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, flax seeds, egg yolks, hemp seeds, and walnuts
- high protein foods, like eggs, lean meats, and seafood
Last but not least, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
7. Reduce stress
Stress can really do a number on the body, including your hair. Hair loss may be a result of a stressful lifestyle.
Strategies to reduce stress include:
- regularly exercising
- listening to music
- practicing yoga
- getting enough sleep
Some evidence from a
Coconut oil, castor oil, and olive oil are also widely recommended. But according to a
9. Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto is a plant with small berries.
While research is narrow on saw palmetto’s ability to treat hair loss, a
Biotin is a vitamin found naturally in foods, like:
- sweet potatoes
There’s some evidence that taking biotin will help slow hair loss,
11. Onion juice
Bhringraj (Eclipta alba), also called false daisy, is a species in the sunflower family. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s known as an herb that supports hair growth.
Studies, take one
13. Green tea
Another purported herbal remedy for hair loss is green tea.
In an older
Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is marketed widely in India for hair growth. An older
15. Be gentle with your locks
Try to be as gentle as possible when brushing or styling your hair. Constantly twisting, twirling, or pulling your hair tight can lead to hair loss.
If you’re worried about hair loss, you may want to avoid the following:
- tight hairstyles, such as pigtails, cornrows, braids, and buns
- chemicals used in perms and hair straightening treatments
- hot curling irons or straightening irons
- bleaching your hair
If you do use chemicals or bleach in your hair, seek help from a trained professional. Don’t try to do it yourself at home.
16. Get a checkup
Aside from your genetics, several medical conditions can result in hair loss. You’ll be able to address your hair loss by treating the underlying condition.
The following conditions could lead to hair loss:
- lichen planus
- scalp psoriasis
- alopecia areata
- thyroid conditions
- eating disorders, due to poor nutrition
- iron deficiency anemia
- hair pulling disorder, known as trichotillomania
- celiac disease
If you have any of these conditions, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms besides hair loss, make sure you talk with a doctor to treat the underlying condition. Your hair loss should improve as your condition improves.
17. Discuss your medications with a physician
Certain medications can lead to hair loss. Examples include:
- chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- some blood thinners (anticoagulants)
- some depression medications
- medications used to treat high blood pressure
- some heart medications
- gout medications
- isotretinoin (Accutane), an acne treatment
Talk with your doctor before stopping or changing a medication you’re currently taking.
The cost for hair loss treatment depends on which treatment you decide to try.
- Rogaine costs around $40 to $50 for a 3-month supply.
- Propecia costs around $70 for a 1-month supply.
- Hair transplants cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000.
Generic medications, as well as OTC supplements, tend to be less expensive.
Contact your doctor if you:
- experience sudden patchy hair loss
- think a medication may be causing your hair loss
- also have a rash
- have scaly skin
Which hair loss treatment is best for me?
Talk with your doctor to figure out which hair loss treatment may be best for you. While OTC and home remedies may work for some, they aren’t for everyone.
Does hair loss treatment work?
Some people find success with hair loss treatments, like OTC medications, prescription medications, and home remedies. However, they don’t work for everyone.
For example, Rogaine works best for people with hereditary baldness at the back of the head, just under the crown.
Hair transplants are usually more successful than OTC products. However, if you have widespread thinning or baldness, or if your hair loss is due to chemo or medications, they won’t be as effective.
What happens if I stop hair loss treatment?
It depends on the treatment you’re using. If you’re taking an OTC or prescription medication, like Rogaine or Propecia, you’ll have to keep taking it indefinitely in order to maintain results.
How can I permanently treat hair loss?
Hair implants are typically permanent. However, you may need multiple implants depending on your goals.
There are several treatments you may want to try for hair loss. These include OTC and prescription medications, hair implants, and home remedies.
Talk with your doctor first. They can help you figure out the cause of your hair loss and what the best treatment option would be.