The outcome for any particular hair loss treatment varies on an individual basis and what works well for one person may prove less effective for another. Also, some people experience treatment fatigue, meaning that although the results were good to start with, as time progresses, the effectiveness of the treatment declines. In the case of hair loss shampoos, a person may find that they need to change the product to a new manufacturer every 6 months or so.
The following lists the main treatment groups for hair loss.
Rough price guide $5 – $40
A shampoo for hair loss and mild tropical treatments are well suited for reduced growth, early thinning or premature hair loss. By minimizing hair loss and improving hair properties, these shampoos typically give the appearance of thicker hair which can help conceal balding areas more effectively. They are not usually marketed as being able to regrow hair in bald areas, although some shampoos do contain active or medicated ingredients that increase their effectiveness in treating hair loss.
In addition, certain shampoos may be advertised as containing various beneficial vitamins. However, most scientists will tell you that ingesting vitamins in the form of a supplement is the best way to benefit from them regarding hair loss. Of particular importance are members of the Vitamin B family, namely:
- B3 (Niacin) – improves scalp circulation.
- B5 (Pantothenic acid) – reduces grey hairs and improve scalp circulation.
- B7 (Biotin) – reduces breakage, strengthens hair follicles and make hair thicker and stronger.
- B9 (Folic acid) – for faster growing and thicker hair.
These can be obtained easily in the form of a Vitamin B complex supplement. Apart from the B family, Vitamin E helps to hydrate the scalp and condition the hair. Remember though not to exceed the recommended daily allowance (RDA) as stipulated on the supplement label. Over dosing with certain vitamins is not only dangerous but will yield no better results, is expensive and may actually cause hair loss e.g. Vitamin A.
Rough price guide $25 – $100’s
These aim primarily to minimize further hair loss, although the effectiveness varies from individual to individual. This type of medication can be used for early to moderate hair loss and helps a person from losing hair they were genetically predisposed to lose. Although such treatments may slow or stop hair loss whilst promoting hair regrowth, significant hair regrow in completely bald areas (where hair follicles have been destroyed) is very unlikely. Given that these treatments are more intensive in nature than a hair loss shampoo, there are possible side effects to be considered.
Intensive treatments can be broken down to the following 4 categories.
The most well known products in this group contain the chemical Minoxidil e.g the brand Rogaine or Regaine. They are usually applied as a topical solution (either a spray applicator or eyedropper) and are formulated for both men (higher strength) and women to help halt hair loss and improve hair thickness. Up to a third of users may experience hair growth.
Although its mode of action is not fully known, Minoxidil does not reduce DHT or its associate enzyme. The treatment has to be used on a on-going basis (twice a day) otherwise hair loss will return to the normal rate within 2-3 months. Results vary, and where successful, it can take up to a year to be effective.
Possible side effects that have been associated to Minoxidil preparations include irritation, allergic reactions, unwanted body hair growth (especially if the topical solution is not applied carefully), and ironically, some individuals will actually experience additional hair loss!
The drug Finasteride is sold under the brand name of Propecia and some studies have shown it to be more effective stimulating new hair growth than Minoxidil. It is taken in tablet form only by men and helps prevent further hair loss and shedding associated with male pattern baldness.
Finasteride acts by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that converts Testosterone to DHT, and must therefore be taken regularly to maintain results. It should be noted that certain studies have linked Finasteride to possible sexual dysfunction, prostate cancer, birth defects and male breast cancer.
Various combination therapies are available and 3 of the more popular ones include:
|Key Ingredient||Not disclosed||Trichogen||Minoxidil|
|Dedicated Shampoo||No (can use any)||Yes||No (can use any)|
Laser hair loss treatments aim to improve unhealthy and brittle hair follicles. These non-surgical procedures use intense pulses of light in order to stimulate cellular metabolism and repair. An increase in hair growth using this technique has been reported in some studies.
Rough price guide $1000’s – $10,000’s
Used for balding, full male pattern balding or alopecia. Invasive treatments are the most extreme form of treatment and can be painful both in terms of physical discomfort and monetary expense!
Hair transplant surgery takes healthy hair follicles from the donor area, typically from around the back or occipital region of the head, and implants them to thinner or balding areas (recipient area). The transplanted hairs DHT resistant genetics (as compared to the hair in the thinner or bald areas) will continue to grow naturally in its new location for the rest of the persons life.
Therefore, the choice of a hair loss treatment is a personal one based on weighing up the pros and cons regarding the:
- Probability of a successful outcome.
- Degree of distress caused by losing one’s hair, and for many people,
- The degree of discomfort caused by the treatment or risks and health implications associated with possible side effects.
It is for these reasons that many people choose to go the route of a shampoo for hair loss.