Hair Loss Treatments
Male pattern hair loss is a natural part of the aging process for most men however, there are various different ways in which this type of hair loss can be avoided or slowed down. Prescription treatment, medical therapies, surgery and other over-the-counter methods mean that hair loss doesn't have to be inevitable.
Propecia is the most popular prescription treatment for hair loss. Propecia works by preventing testosterone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair follicles to shrink. By blocking the production of DHT, hair follicles can return to their normal size and start growing hair again.
Find out about the effective hair loss treatment Propecia
Propecia is available as an easy to take daily supplement. In medical trials 99% of men who took Propecia regularly experienced no further hair loss, and over two-thirds of them experienced significant hair regrowth. Side effects are uncommon, although about two in 100 men who use it experience a loss of sex drive. Propecia is available from HealthExpress, if you take an online consultation and are approved for the medication.
Topical steroids and steroid tablets
There are several creams and ointments which are widely prescribed for alopecia areata. Though their long-term benefits are not known, there is some evidence to prove they can make hair grow by protecting hair follicles from damage.
Minoxidil lotion (sold as Regaine)
Regaine is one of the few over the counter treatment that is proven to help with hair loss. This lotion is applied to the scalp several times a week and can stimulate re-growth after two to three months. It can take up to a year for the maximum response to be achieved, and Regaine will need to be applied consistently for the effects to remain.
This is the use of hormonal drugs to directly block the action of DHT. Some of these are similar to oral contraceptives and female hormone replacement therapy. Anti-androgens should only be applied under the supervision of an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) or a dermatologist with expertise in hormone therapy.
Immunotherapy is the application of a chemical solution called diphencyprone (DPCP) to a small area of bald skin. This is repeated every week, using a stronger amount of the solution until eventually the DPCP causes an allergic reaction and the skin develops mild eczema (dermatitis). Many people see hair growth after about 12 weeks. A possible side effect to this treatment is a severe skin reaction, although this can be avoided by increasing the DPCP concentration gradually. Less common side effects include a rash and patchy-coloured skin (vitiligo).
UV light treatment
Two to three sessions of light therapy are given every week, which involves exposing the skin to UVA rays. Hair loss treatment can take up to a year to produce maximum results. Responses vary and there is a high relapse rate. Side effects include nausea, pigment changes and an increased risk of skin cancer. It's therefore not a recommended treatment. Safer home UV treatments have recently become available in the form of hand-held hair lasers.
Hair transplant surgery
Though surgery offers a long term solution to male pattern baldness, it's expensive and carries a number of potential risks. Hair surgery involves rearranging your scalp skin so as to minimise the bald areas and maximise those areas where hair is still growing.
When considering surgery, you must remember that your hair loss could well continue around the reconstructed areas. This may look unsightly unless you're prepared to invest in further surgery in a later date.