Well, it depends on the leading cause of your hair loss. You have to assist your dermatologist in determining the reason for your balding head. Causes can be due to genetics, medications, medical conditions, 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 medications causing your condition are ineffective due to genetics. Your treatment goal may also change depending on if you need to promote your hair growth, hide your hair loss, or slow down the process.
Varying Effects of Medication on Hair Loss
Don’t be fooled by manufacturers of hair loss products who say that their creations will work on all baldness types 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 severity or cause.
Plus, there’s also the fact that your doctor will first address the root cause of your hair loss before prescribing certain medications. If an underlying illness caused your balding head, your doctor would treat it first. If medications cause it, you may have to stop taking them for at least three months. Perhaps your doctor will recommend other drugs.
Medications Approved for Hair Loss 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. The benefits of using it disappears once you no longer apply the medication (i.e., the hair stops growing).
- Finasteride (Propecia) requires a doctor’s prescription, and only men can use it. It’s a pill that you must take daily. Like minoxidil use, you should take it continuously to enjoy its benefits. Not all men will experience new hair growth, but many men can slow down the process.
Finasteride has severe but rare side effects in men, including reduced sexual function and sex drive. Women, especially pregnant women, should avoid touching crushed Finasteride tablets for safety reasons.