What Causes Hair Loss And What Treatments Work

The Most Common Cause of Hair Loss: Male Pattern Baldness

The most common form of baldness and balding in men is male pattern hair loss. This is hair loss due to genetic causes. In other words it runs in the family, coming from either the mother or father’s side. This type of inherited hair loss results in a receding hairline and/or balding at the crown, often followed by total baldness.

Male pattern hair loss (also called androgenic alopecia) accounts for about 95% of all cases of hair loss.

Mild to moderate male pattern hair loss affects about half of all men by age 50, but many men start noticing hair loss at a much earlier age. They notice more hairs than usual in the sink, their comb or on the pillow. Then they feel and see their hair actually becoming sparser. If left untreated, total hair loss – baldness – can result.

Propecia is one treatment that’s been proven effective for genetic hair loss in men. (Read about one highly effective treatment, Propecia, below.)

The Hormone That Causes Hair Loss

DHT is one of many male hormones in the body. DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is important for development early in a man’s life, but it appears to be the main cause of hair loss as men get older. DHT shrinks the hair follicle until it no longer produces visible hair, although fine, fragile peach-fuzz hair may remain.

Researchers have found that men with male pattern hair loss have increased levels of DHT in the balding area of their scalps. Human hair normally follows a cycle of growth, falling out, and new growth. But increased levels of DHT contribute to the shortening of that growth phase, meaning the hair falls out sooner than it should and is not replaced by new, healthy hair.

This results in thinning of the hair on the scalp and eventual hair loss, either partial or total baldness.

How to Control DHT With Propecia

The FDA-approved drug Propecia works by blocking the formation of DHT in your system. The active ingredient in Propecia (Finasteride) interrupts a key process in the development of inherited male pattern hair loss by lowering DHT levels in the scalp.

It’s important to note that there are several other factors that can cause hair loss (disease, injury, stress, certain medications). Propecia is not prescribed for those types of hair loss. It is only recommended for hair loss due to androgenic alopecia, or inherited male pattern baldness.

Some men using Propecia (66% in studies) will experience an actual regrowth of hair while a vast majority of Propecia users (83%) stop losing their hair. So the sooner treatment for hair loss is begun, the better the results will be.

Learn more about Propecia and how it works here: Hair Loss FAQ

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Hair Loss Treatments

There are hair loss treatments for both men and women but the best treatment for each individual may be different. The effectiveness of treatment will depend on the person’s expectations and the cause of their hair loss.

In men who have androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), hair loss occurs in a typical pattern on the forehead area and at the crown of the head. In women with androgenic alopecia (female pattern baldness), hair loss occurs throughout the entire scalp with overall thinning of hair. Both types of hair loss are hereditary.

Prescription treatments such as Propecia only work on hereditary hair loss.

Treating Hereditary Hair Loss

Treatments are intended to prevent hair loss, promote hair growth, and cover bald areas of the scalp. It’s rare that people can regrow a full head of hair. But improvements are possible: hair loss can be halted and some hair may even regrow, depending on the individual and the treatment chosen.

The main treatments that are effective for inherited hair loss include:

  • Medication: They may prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. They include prescription drugs like Propecia, taken orally, and non-prescription lotions like Rogaine, a foam applied to the scalp.
  • Surgery: Involved the transplantation of plugs of hair or moving areas of scalp to cover bald patches.
  • Hairpieces: Worn to cover bald spots.
  • Herbal remedies: May help prevent hair loss and improve scalp health with natural herbs and vitamins but are not FDA approved hair loss treatments and should be viewed with some skepticism.

Surgery Vs. Medication For Hair Loss

Hair plug surgery tends to be more expensive than drug treatments. It can involve multiple procedures taking place over time and, as with any surgery, there’s risk of infection. Hair surgery also involves a certain amount of discomfort and the chance that not all of the transplanted hair follicles will remain healthy.

On the other hand, medication for treating hereditary hair loss is simply a matter of taking a pill each day that has low risk of side effects. The drug slows down the hair thinning process and increases coverage of the scalp by enlarging the existing hairs.

The two most common FDA-approved medications recommended by doctors for hereditary hair loss are:

  • Propecia (Finasteride): a pill available by prescription only. Proven effective for most men.
  • Rogaine (Minoxidil): available without a prescription; a liquid or foam rubbed into the scalp twice a day.

People taking Propecia should not expect to regrow a full head of hair but hair coverage tends to improve on the top of the head and at the middle front (but not on the temples). It’s important to know that when you stop taking Propecia, hair loss resumes.

So as long as you want to keep the regrown or thickened hair, you need to continue taking Propecia. A majority of Propecia users report that their hair stopped falling out and in some cases new hair grew back.

Order Propecia online here.

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