Propecia® (finasteride) is a drug for an enlarged prostate gland. It works by preventing testosterone from being converted into DHT, so in theory it might prevent or improve male-pattern baldness, and it can now be prescribed by doctors in the USA for this purpose. Because Finasteride is a tablet rather than a lotion it is more convenient than Minoxidil. It works best if the ‘bald’ areas have lots of fine, thin hairs. Also, younger candidates seem to respond slightly better than older subjects. In any case, if your hair loss is extensive, it will not work. It should be taken indefinitely if hair growth is to continue.
Recognized side-effects, experienced by around 2% of users, include erectile disfunction. In trial studies, side effects ceased after dosage was discontinued.
Call today and you’ll be able to speak with a hair loss expert at Charles Medical Group. We’ll provide expert opinion of the most recent developments in hair loss today, what causes it and what is effective today (including FDA approved remedies, surgery and non-surgical methods).
Minoxidil (and other highly televised remedies)
Minoxidil is a vasodilator and originally was exclusively used as an oral drug (Loniten®) to treat high blood pressure. It was, however, discovered to have the interesting side effect of hair growth and reversing baldness, and in the 1980s, Upjohn Corporation produced a topical solution that contained 2% minoxidil to be used to treat baldness and hair loss, under the brand name Rogaine in the United States. Treatments usually include a 5% concentration solutions that are designed for men, while the 2% concentration solutions are designed for women.
As a drug to combat hair loss, the most common side effect is itchy scalp.
If a person uses minoxidil to stop hair loss for a length of time and then stops taking the drug, hair loss will occur again.
Treatments That Probably Don’t Work
Thousands of products for baldness are advertised on TV and on the Internet. They claim to make hair re-grow, or simply to stop further loss. Most charge high prices and simply use minoxidil which can be purchased over-the-counter in your local pharmacy for approximately $10.
Other products, most likely, are a complete waste of money. Most have not been assessed by proper research studies, and aim to persuade a consumer by a single ‘true life’ success story. Because hair loss is often noticeable for a month or two and then stops for a few months it is easy to imagine that a product is having an effect. Without proper, recognized research studies, treating hundreds of people with the product and an equal number with a control group version of the treatment, it is impossible to know one way or the other about effectiveness and safety. So before trying a treatment, ask the company for a copy of published evidence and the credentials of the firm testing the product.
Wash your hair daily with a mild shampoo. Dirty hair lies flatter and looks more sparse. Avoid anything that could make the hairs likely to break. After washing don’t rub your hair vigorously or use a hot hairdryer. Rather, pat the hair dry with a soft towel or use a low setting on the dryer or, even better, let it dry naturally. Use a brush with soft bristles. Use a creame rinse detangler to undo any tangles, rather than pulling with a comb. Protect bald areas from sun damage.
Propecia® is a registered trademark of Merck Pharmeceuticals, Inc.
Rogaine® is a registered trademark of Pfizer, Inc.