How To Get Your Hair To Grow Back After Hair Loss
If you want to get your hair to grow back after hair loss, there are a few proven methods which can produce positive results. It can be difficult to distinguish truly effective options from products that have little research to support their claims.
There are many different supplements, shampoos, and even home remedies for sale today, yet most cannot provide evidence for their hair restoration assertions. You may be searching for an option with viable research to support it, as you don’t want to use untested products.
With this in mind, let’s examine three options which have rigorous scientific studies to confirm that they truly work.
Determine The Cause
Before undertaking a regimen to regrow your hair, it is important to first determine if an untreated medical condition is the cause.
Certain medical conditions could be the culprit, and if this is the case, treating the underlying cause may reverse your hair loss. For example, it is well-known that an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause hair loss.
One of only two drugs approved by the FDA to treat hair loss, minoxidil is more commonly known by the brand name Rogaine. Minoxidil has been around for years, and researchers discovered an unexpected side effect of this medication while researching its other uses. They found it tended to regrow hair, and this off-label use quickly became popular. Using minoxidil topically to treat hair loss is now fully approved, and men and women alike have used this product with some success.
Minoxidil’s exact mechanism of action is not fully known, and it works best for small areas of hair loss. In addition, if you’ve experienced hair loss for more than five years, its ability to regrow your hair may be limited. Finally, minoxidil is ineffective for a receding hairline, working only upon the crown (vertex) of the head. According to WebMD, a common side effect is irritation of the skin, including a red rash on the area where it is applied.
More serious side effects are rare, and typically only occur if minoxidil is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. These include feeling dizzy, experiencing an irregular heartbeat, pain in the chest, swollen feet or hands, weight gain, feeling tired or out of breath, and hair growth on other parts of the body.
If you do decide to use minoxidil, it is recommended that you apply it to your scalp twice daily. In addition, recent research has shown that the more potent 5% solution is more effective (which is marketed as Extra Strength Rogaine). Participants of one study experienced 45% greater regrowth of hair after 4 months of use when compared to those men who only used the 2% minoxidil solution.
Known by the brand name Propecia, finasteride has been heralded by the American Hair Loss Association as the first treatment which is effective for most men. Not only can it slow or stop hair loss altogether, it has the ability to regrow hair in many cases. In addition, it is not limited to the crown of the head alone, as it also works to restore a receding hairline.
Finasteride is able to produce such compelling results by interrupting the process by which testosterone is converted into DHT in the scalp. It acts as an inhibitor to the enzyme Type II 5-alpha-reductace, which is necessary to complete this chemical reaction.
When taken every day, finasteride can reduce DHT levels by up to 60%. It is well-known that DHT has a negative effect upon hair follicles on the head, and over time it can cause them to shrink. This process is known as miniaturization, and the diameter of the hair shaft slowly begins to diminish. Finally, the hair follicle falls dormant, meaning that it ceases to produce hair altogether.
It is important to note that finasteride can cause sexual side effects or depression, which may last months or years even after discontinuing its use. This is according to a story by ABC News, though the likelihood of this occurring isn’t clear. Due to the potential long-term side effects of hair loss medications like minoxidil and finasteride, many people have started looking for natural alternatives.
One of the more popular natural hair loss treatments is Jared Gates’ Hair Loss Protocol, otherwise known as the Rebuild Hair Program. Gates’ hair loss treatment is diet focused and uses a combination of different foods, vitamins, and supplements that act like a “natural finasteride” to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Although relatively new to the market, initial results are mostly positive, making it a viable option for men and women who want to avoid medications and take a more natural approach to hair restoration.
If none of the options above work for you, there is a proven third option for getting your hair to grow back after hair loss. Hair transplantation procedures have become popular in recent years due to advancements in technology.
Using hair follicles taken from a donor site on the back of your scalp, hair transplantation can permanently add new hair to balding areas. This permanence is one of the features that most distinguishes it from options like minoxidil or finasteride, as discontinuing their use allows the hair loss process to resume once again. Since the hair follicles are harvested from the back of the scalp, which boasts a natural resistance to the harmful hormone DHT, these transplants should not be susceptible to miniaturization.
You can expect to pay for hair transplantation out-of-pocket, as health insurance does not cover this elective procedure. Completed in an outpatient setting, the process is now minimally invasive and can be accomplished relatively quickly. However, some people prefer a less drastic option or are turned off by the significant cost of this hair loss solution.
Three Viable Treatments
With the three viable treatment options just discussed, you now have several alternatives when it comes to combating hair loss. Minoxidil, finasteride, and hair transplantation all have positives and negatives when it comes to helping you get your hair to grow back after hair loss. Thus, it is necessary to look at your specific situation and determine which treatment option is right for you.