Male hair loss treatment is no laughing matter. I know because, at 35 (and still single), I'm loosing my hair. Sure, I've had a good run. And if I were married that would be consolation enough. But I'm not married, so I decided to look into various male hair loss treatments with the hope of finding the best solution.
Male Hair Loss Treatment: Hair Transplantation
Hair transplants are an excellent male hair loss treatment option—if you have money to spend. Transplantation puts your own hair back on top of your head where it belongs. And once complete, it is permanent.
In typical cases of male hair loss, the hairline at the front of the head recedes as hair thins at the crown (the area just behind the top of your head). As male pattern baldness progresses, the thinning areas unite, leaving a U-shaped ring of hair around the sides of the head.
Hair transplantation removes hair follicles from the sides of the head (called donor hair), placing them in the areas that have thinned. Once the scalp has healed, the hair is there for good because the hair follicles from the side of the head are resistant to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a form of testosterone that is the agent behind most male hair loss.
However, hair transplantation isn't for everyone. The best candidate for this approach to male hair loss treatment is someone with curly, thick hair that is close to the color of their skin color. The further your situation is from the ideal candidate, the less likely you are to be happy with the outcome of your treatment.
The largest drawback to transplantation is the money required. And if you are young and still in the process of loosing your hair, transplantation is something to which you must stay committed. After replacing hair follicles in the thinning areas, you continue to loose hair in those places where you haven't had the procedure. This results in additional procedures to fill in your thinning areas until your male hair loss comes to a natural end. But transplantation is still a good male hair loss treatment for those cases that are not responsive to other forms of treatment.
Male Hair Loss Treatment: Pharmaceuticals
The day has finally come when real male hair loss treatment is here. While most non-surgical options are basically snake oil, however two FDA-approved treatments deliver clinically-proven results and are available over-the-counter without a prescription.
Finasteride (Propecia or Proscar)
Finasteride is the best male hair loss treatment on the market. Originally developed as a treatment for men with enlarged prostate, researchers found Finasteride had an interesting side effect: It grew hair! A drug originally developed to treat your prostate that cures baldness? Move over, Rover! Man has a new best friend.
Finasteride has been proven to stop the progression of male hair loss in 86% of men taking the drug during clinical trials. 65% of trial participants experienced a substantial increase in hair growth.
Finasteride works by lowering DHT levels by as much as 60%. DHT shrinks the hair follicle, which leads to progressively thinner and finer hair and often results in eventual baldness. Finasteride reduces DHT by inhibiting an enzyme, called Type II 5-alpha-reductace, that converts testosterone into DHT.
Originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure, Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the FDA as a male hair loss treatment drug.
However, while Minoxidil has been clinically proven to slow hair loss, it's ability to regrow hair is marginal. Unlike Finasteride, Minoxidil doesn't treat the source of male pattern baldness: DHT. As a result, Minoxidil can have disappointing long-term results.
But Minoxidil is an effective male hair loss treatment in a small number of patients making it a good alternative for the 14% of patients who do not find good results with Finasteride.