Hair loss is usually related to aging, heredity and hormonal changes. However, certain types of hair loss such as pattern baldness, also referred to as male pattern baldness, are more common in men, and nearly half of all men begin to bald by age 30. While thinning hair is natural and normal, you can help thicken and regrow your hair. If you’re taking any kind of medication or have health problems, talk with your doctor before using any over-the-counter or prescription treatment for hair loss and regrowth.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment that can be purchased over the counter from most drug stores to help grow hair and prevent additional hair loss. Minoxidil is usually used twice per day, and some people do experience hair regrowth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Regular treatment might be necessary for up to three months before hair beings to regrow. While Minoxidil is FDA-approved, some potential side-effects exist, including irritation of the scalp and unwanted hair growth on the forehead and face. Avoid getting Minoxidil foam or liquid on your skin below your hairline.
Finasteride is a treatment used to help slow hair loss and regrow hair in men. Finasteride is not FDA approved for women experiencing hair loss. Finasteride is believed to work by inhibiting the formation of natural hormones that can cause hair to stop growing, according to Medicine Net. Unlike Minoxidil, Finasteride is prescribed in pill form, which many find easier than using a topical treatment that must be applied twice per day. Side-effects can include impotence and decreased sex drive, though those effects are rare and reversible when use of Finasteride stops. Women should not handle Finasteride capsules to avoid potential complications.
Dutasteride is an FDA-approved drug designed to help men with enlarged prostates, but it is an “off label” treatment for hair loss, according to Medicine Net, meaning many doctors sometimes use it to treat hair loss even though it wasn’t designed specifically for that purpose. Dutasteride is similar to Finasteride, and it might work to slow hair loss and help regrow hair by blocking hormones that cause hair loss in the first place. Like Finasteride, the FDA has not approved Dutasteride for women, and it may cause health problems if used or handled, especially by pregnant women. The side-effects of Dutasteride are similar to Finasteride, and you cannot give blood for six months after stopping Dutasteride use.
Talk to Your Doctor
Some types of medication, particularly steroids such as prednisone and drugs used to reduce inflammation can cause hair loss if they are used over a long period, according to the Mayo Clinic. While treatment of serious health problems is important, other drugs could help without the potential for hair loss and allow hair to regrow. Talk with your doctor about your options.