The Independent Pharmacy

The Best Hair Loss Treatments For Men

Andy Boysan
Andy BoysanBPharmDirector & Superintendent Pharmacist

Reviewed on 2 Jan 2024

Today, men have access to effective solutions considered the best hair loss treatment for male pattern baldness. The most proven options work by targeting the hormone responsible for this common type of progressive hair loss in men. As hair follicles on the scalp become smaller over time, the hairs they produce become finer and appear thinner.

Medications such as finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Regaine) work against this hormone to help stop hair loss. This can reactivate the shrunken hair follicles to grow new hairs. Other options, like laser therapy, work to encourage hair growth across the entire scalp. Permanent solutions are also available like hair transplant surgery to move full, healthy hair follicles to thinning areas. Non-prescription products like caffeine shampoos may provide extra support when used with medical treatments.

Regaine For Men: Extra Strength Solution
Regaine For Men: Extra Strength Solution
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It's understandable to feel concerned about hair loss, and it’s important to know that starting treatment early, before hair follicles have shrunk too much, can make a big difference. It takes consistent use for at least 6 months to allow the treatment of hair loss time to work. By following medication guidelines properly and sticking with a regimen, many men see significant re-growth that can be maintained long-term. Remember, everyone's experience with hair loss is unique, and factors like age and genetics play a role. It's okay if your journey is different from others. It’s important to have realistic expectations, and trying different approaches or combination therapies can optimise outcomes.

In this guide, we'll explore the best hair loss treatments for male patients.

Medications

Finasteride and Propecia

Finasteride, also known as Propecia, is a pill that has been shown to effectively treat hair loss in men. They work by blocking the production of a hormone that causes scalp hair follicles to shrink over time. As the follicles get smaller, the hairs they grow get thinner and thinner until they stop growing altogether. By lowering levels of this hormone, oral finasteride protects hair follicles and promotes regrowth.

Multiple major studies have shown finasteride’s ability to stop hair loss and regrow hair. In one 5-year study of over 1,000 men, 83% of patients taking finasteride maintained the hair they had or achieved visible regrowth. In contrast, only 28% of men who did not take the medication had the same results. Starting treatment early on provides the best results, but significant regrowth is still possible if hair follicles have not completely shrunk.

Positive effects emerge around 3-6 months into treatment, with optimal regrowth occurring between 6-12 months with consistent daily use. Continued treatment is necessary to maintain benefits. It’s natural to worry about side effects. While sexual problems are quite rare, occurring in less than 2% of men, it's important to talk openly with your doctor about any concerns. However, for those who experience them, stopping treatment makes them resolve quickly. Doctors recommend patients monitor side effects and report any unusual symptoms. Overall, research shows finasteride to be safe and effective for most men suffering hair loss.

Dutasteride & Avodart

Along with finasteride, dutasteride is another medication proven to treat hair loss. Often sold under the brand name Avodart, it works similarly to finasteride in that it lowers levels of the hormone that causes follicles to shrink. These medications help hair follicles grow back to their normal size, allowing them to produce healthy, thick hair again.

Research shows dutasteride can be even more effective than finasteride for stimulating new hair growth thanks to its higher level of hormonal suppression. However, it may also increase the risk of potential side effects. Doctors may prescribe dutasteride for men not responding sufficiently to finasteride but will monitor more closely for potential sexual, glandular or mental health symptoms.

Treatments from Doctors

Hair Transplant Surgery

Hair transplant surgery is a proven permanent solution for regrowing hair in men. It works by taking healthy hair follicles from fuller areas of the scalp and transplanting them to thinning spots or bald patches. The most advanced and commonly used techniques today are FUE (follicular unit extraction) and FUT (follicular unit transplantation).

In FUE, individual follicles are removed one by one from the back of the head using tiny instruments. This leaves only tiny dots behind that are hard to see. In FUT, a narrow strip of scalp containing multiple hair follicles is extracted. The follicles are then carefully separated from this skin segment. The scalp is stitched closed afterwards. FUT offers more follicles to transplant in one session but causes a linear scar where the strip was removed.

When done properly, transplanted follicles grow well long-term since they resist the effects causing original hair loss. Risks like infection and scarring are low with experienced surgeons. Recovery involves some discomfort, swelling or itching for up to 2 weeks. Multiple procedures are usually required to achieve the desired thickness. Candidacy depends on having sufficient healthy follicles to transplant.

Prescription Treatments

For those facing more advanced hair loss who haven’t found success with standard medications, it can feel frustrating. There are additional treatments that doctors might suggest to help. These aim to further target the processes causing damage and deterioration of hair follicles.

Oral Antifungals - Ketoconazole, a type of antifungal medication, can help decrease hair loss by decreasing inflammation around follicles in some medical conditions like alopecia areata. It also works by blocking hormones that contribute to hair thinning.

Anti-Inflammatories - Injections called corticosteroids, given directly into areas of hair loss, can lower inflammation and help hair grow back. Other pills or injections may also suppress overactive immune responses attacking follicles.

Combination Formulas - Compounded formulas combine multiple hair growth compounds like finasteride, minoxidil and melatonin into one topical treatment. These aim for greater synergistic effects. Customisation provides stronger solutions if standard approaches prove insufficient over time.

Laser Treatment

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a gentle type of treatment that can stimulate hair growth for some types of hair loss. Handheld devices are available for in-home use. They emit red or near-infrared light waves that penetrate the scalp. This treatment increases cell activity and blood flow around hair follicles, which can lead to new hair growth.

While not as extensively studied as medications, multiple small studies show LLLT helps regrow hair in cases of androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. In one study, over half of alopecia areata patients saw total or significant partial regrowth. It appears most effective for catching loss in the early stages before excessive miniaturisation.

Consistency is vital, as benefits drop off quickly after ending treatment. Maintenance sessions may be needed a few times a month. Adverse effects like scalp irritation are rare if appropriate light settings and session lengths are followed as indicated. LLLT devices have limitations – results take time and vary, and they cannot stop future loss without being paired with other treatments. But they do offer a drug-free hair growth option with few downsides.

Over-The-Counter Therapies

Minoxidil (Regaine)

Minoxidil (also sold as Regaine) is a topical solution available without prescription that stimulates hair regrowth. It works by increasing blood flow and widening blood vessels around hair follicles, promoting the nourishment of the cells needed for healthy growth cycles.

Extensive research supports topical minoxidil as effective for regrowing hair. In studies, over half of men with male pattern baldness saw renewed growth after 4-8 months of consistent daily applications. If you're starting to notice hair loss, it’s best to take action early. This isn’t always easy, but intervening at the early stages can be more effective. Patience is key here, as it can take 2-4 months before you start seeing results. We understand waiting can be hard, but it's important to give it time. For continued benefits, ongoing use is necessary since hair loss resumes 6-12 months after stopping.

The most common adverse side effect is scalp irritation or flaking, which occurs in around 5% of users but is often resolvable by adjusting application type or frequency. No significant safety issues are associated with proper use based on label dosing guidelines. Overall, minoxidil offers a proven topical treatment alternative to medications. Combining it with other growth-promoting therapies may further boost and prolong benefits.

Caffeine Shampoos

Over-the-counter shampoos like Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo and Alpecin Double Effect also show some ability to combat hair loss when used regularly. Their formulas aim to remove the buildup around the hair roots while stimulating blood vessels in the scalp for an energising effect.

Research indicates caffeine helps block the production of the hormone that shrinks hair follicles. Increased blood flow delivers more nutrients to support healthier follicle cell metabolism and growth cycles. One study found men with male androgenetic alopecia saw slowed shedding and thicker hair after daily caffeine shampoo use for 3-6 months.

While less dramatic than prescription treatments, Alpecin and caffeine shampoos provide mild hair follicle stimulation that may slow loss and improve volume when accumulated over time, especially when paired with medical therapies. Consistent use helps maximise hair retention and thickness. Easy integration into existing routines makes these topical methods a complementary addition to a hair regrowth plan.

Lifestyle Changes

While medical treatments are necessary for responding to pattern hair loss, certain lifestyle measures may help slow down thinning and enhance the effects of therapies.

Diet - Ensuring adequate intake of nutrients vital to hair health lays the groundwork for stronger growth. Key vitamins and minerals to monitor are iron, zinc, vitamin D, biotin and protein. Iron deficiency, in particular, extensively contributes to thinning. Supplementation paired with diet adjustments can correct shortfalls.

Stress Reduction – High stress overextends the body’s resources, redirecting efforts away from healthy hair follicle function towards more vital systems. Cortisol elevation may inhibit follicles. Relaxation through yoga, meditation, nature exposure, fulfilling hobbies and social connection ease this strain.

Scalp CareDandruff, oiliness, irritation and clogged pores change scalp conditions to be less optimal for hair growth and hair density. Anti-dandruff shampoos, spot treatments, and exfoliation improve the environment for retention and thickness. Gentle handling preserves delicate new hairs.

While not corrective alone, optimising nutrient intake, managing stress and maintaining a clean, healthy scalp maximises the potential for lifestyle factors to work synergistically with medical hair loss treatments.

How to Choose the Right Treatment

With the range of available options for targeting hair loss, selecting the approach that aligns best with individual needs and goals ensures the greatest chance of success.

Factors that contribute to developing a customised game plan include:

  • Type of hair loss – Options proven most effective for pattern baldness may differ from those for spot baldness. Identifying contributing causes helps guide treatment selection.
  • Severity – Treatment intensity usually correlates with the degree of loss and rate of shedding. Mild cases may respond sufficiently to medications alone, while extensive cases could need hair transplantation with supportive therapies.
  • Personal preferences – Daily use compatibility, side effect tolerance levels, and level of commitment to the regimen duration needed all influence the willingness to start and stick with a given treatment for hair loss.

Seeking help from a doctor, trichologist, or hair restoration specialist is a brave and important step. They can offer expert guidance tailored to your specific needs. Success depends profoundly on consistent adherence once initiated.

Working in partnership with specialists to understand individual case nuances simplifies the once overwhelming process of sorting through hair growth options. Ongoing care ensures sustained outcomes, pivoting approaches as needed over the hair regrowth journey.

Get Started With The Independent Pharmacy

The Independent Pharmacy is an online pharmacy that makes proven hair loss medications accessible through convenient delivery. Patients can fill out a self-assessment questionnaire about their hair thinning condition. Then, our team provides tailored treatment recommendations to purchase, including options like finasteride and minoxidil formulations.

Our specialists help guide clients in understanding factors influencing hair loss type, setting realistic expectations for regrowth ability and selecting appropriate therapies for their case. Usage instructions ensure optimal application routine establishment. Ongoing customised support as needed empowers the best use of topical or oral medications that can slow shedding before progression advances too far.

If you’re noticing visible thinning at the hairline or an expanding patchy hair loss on the crown and want to take action, start your journey with The Independent Pharmacy’s personalised hair retention guidance. Our easy process makes proven treatments just a few clicks away. Take control by exploring suitable medical or supplementary product solutions to meet your hair goals through their convenient services, and get in touch with our team today.

FAQs

Can men regrow thinning hair?

Yes, effective treatment options like minoxidil and finasteride stimulate the regrowth of miniaturised hair follicles for many men. Consistent long-term use is key, as stopping treatment loses benefits. Catching loss early optimises regrowth potential before follicles completely shrink. Following product guidelines, tracking progress with doctors and maintaining lifestyle support enhances and extends good response.

What vitamin deficiency causes hair loss?

Key nutritional deficiencies strongly linked to hair thinning include low iron, vitamin D, zinc and protein levels. Iron deficiency specifically accounts for extensive shedding since iron enables healthy follicle cell metabolism needed for their growth cycles. Correcting inadequacies through diet adjustments and supplementation alongside medical therapies provides a robust foundation that maximises regrowth response.

What home remedies thicken thinning hair?

Natural approaches with mild effects may support medical treatment results when used consistently. Scalp massage boosts blood flow for better nutrient delivery. Anti-inflammatory oils like peppermint, rosemary and tea tree provide nourishing botanical components. Diet and supplements fill nutritional gaps interfering with optimal follicle function. Managing stress and grooming carefully preserves fragile regrowing hairs.

Can I reverse hair loss naturally?

For male pattern baldness, medical solutions offer the most reliable correction since internal hormonal factors drive the progressive shrinking of genetically vulnerable hair follicles over time. Natural remedies cannot alter these processes alone. However, they can optimise scalp conditions, retention and growth cycles to help slow further thinning alongside medications.

Sources:

Hair transplant - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Hair loss - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Dandruff - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

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