Accounting for more than 95% of hair loss in men, androgenetic alopecia, or male-pattern baldness, is something most men will have to deal with at some point in their lives. In fact, by the age of 35, two-thirds of men in the United States will be experiencing some degree of hair loss or thinning hair. Even more staggering, approximately 25% of men who suffer from male pattern baldness will begin the process before they are even 21 years old.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to slow or stop your hair loss, and even restore some of the hair you have lost.
While there is no shampoo that can actually stop hair loss completely, there are several hair care products that contain nioxin and are aimed at fighting thinning hair. They are made with natural ingredients that stimulate your scalp and boost blood circulation to better nourish your hair follicles. They also can help improve the look of the hairs your do have left on your head by feeding your hair with nutrients and making it appear fuller and healthier.
Laser light therapy
Low-level laser light treatments can be used either in-office or at home with handheld devices such as the newly FDA-approved Laser Comb. These products work to increase the thickness of your hair by stimulating blood flow to the balding or thinning areas of the scalp. A recent study of over 100 men showed positive results and no side effects, but the long-term effectiveness of this method is yet to be determined.
There are some medications your doctor can prescribe that are specifically designed to treat male pattern baldness. There are two medications that are approved by the FDA to be used for this purpose:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine): This is an over-the-counter liquid or foam that is applied directly to the scalp twice a day to both grow new hair as well as prevent further hair loss. It may take up to four months to see benefits and you will need to continue using the medication to maintain these benefits.
- Finasteride (Propecia): This is an oral medication that is taken daily to slow hair loss and produce new hair growth. Like minoxidil, you will need to take this medication indefinitely to retain any benefits you experience.
Hair transplant surgery
If you have tried other options and are failing to see desired results, your doctor might recommend hair transplant surgery. In most cases of male pattern baldness, only the top of the head is affected, meaning that the hair you have left on the back and sides of your head can be used to restore hair growth in the balding areas. This procedure involves removing tiny plugs of skin containing healthy hair follicles and implanting the plugs into the bald sections of your scalp. You will usually need multiple surgeries to achieve desired results, which can take up to two years and can be very costly. However, the effects will usually be permanent.