Well, it depends on the main cause of your hair loss. You have to assist your dermatologist in determining the cause for your balding head, which can be genetics, medications, medical conditions, and/or hormonal changes. You can then decide whether you actively pursue treatments or actively work toward acceptance – go bald, in other words.
If you decide on the first option, you shouldn’t just buy every hair loss product that promises hair regrowth within a few weeks of application. You have to talk with your doctor as these products may be unnecessary, such as when your hair loss is caused by medications, or ineffective as in the case of genetics. Your goal in treatment may also change depending on the type of hair loss, such as promote your hair growth, hide your hair loss, or slow it down.
Varying Effects of Medication
Don’t be fooled by manufacturers of hair loss products who say that their creations will work on all types of hair loss because it simply isn’t true. Every person will have unique responses to each product so it isn’t practical to compare your own experiences with others. Your own experience can be better or worse than others depending on several factors, such as the type of hair loss and its severity.
Plus, there’s also the fact that the root cause of your hair loss will first be addressed before certain medications are prescribed. If your balding head was caused by an underlying illness, your doctor will treat it first. If it’s caused by medications, you may have to stop taking them for at least three months, perhaps your doctor will recommend other drugs.
Medications Approved by the FDA
At present, the U.S. Food and Drug has approved two medications for the treatment of pattern baldness.
- Minoxidil can be bought over-the-counter so it’s usually the most commonly used first line of defense. It’s a liquid or foam product that should be rubbed into the scalp two times a day with the effects peaking in at 16 weeks. Once its application is stopped, its benefits also stop (i.e., the hair stops growing).
- Finasteride (propecia) requires a doctor’s prescription and only men can use it. It’s in pill form that must be take daily. Like minoxidil use, it should be taken continuously for its benefits to be enjoyed. Not all men will experience new hair growth but many men can experience a slowdown in hair loss.
But finasteride has serious but rare side effects in men including reduced sexual function and sex drive. In fact, women especially pregnant women should avoid touching crushed finasteride tablets for safety reasons.