Treatment for Hereditary Hair Loss: Know Your Options

Despite the fact that hereditary hair loss is quite common, some men are not content to accept their hair loss as a natural part of aging. For these men, there are a variety of hair loss products (i.e. Propecia and Rogaine), and numerous surgical and cosmetic procedures that can help them deal with the condition. What’s right for one man doesn’t necessarily suit the next, and the right hair loss solution depends a lot on lifestyle, budget and other factors.

Here’s a quick rundown on the most common hair loss treatments or solutions to help get you started if you’re one of the millions of men who wish to prevent, reverse or mask hereditary hair loss.

Hair Loss Medications – Propecia and Rogaine

One of the most common ways to prevent and even reverse hair loss is to use Propecia and/or Rogaine, both of which are FDA-approved hair loss treatments.

Propecia is a prescription medication (active ingredient: finasteride) taken orally as a once-a-day pill. Propecia appears to work by inhibiting the formation of DHT, a substance believed to shrink hair follicles and lead to hair loss.

A recent five-year study conducted on a group of men with mild to moderate hair loss found that 48% of those treated with Propecia experienced some regrowth of hair, while an additional 42% had no further hair loss. Research also suggests that Propecia is only effective in treating hair loss when used consistently over a long period of time. Men who discontinue using Propecia generally lose whatever hair they gained during the treatment within about 12 months. While it doesn’t work for everyone, many men have found Propecia to be an effective way of treating their hair loss. But you have to be prepared to stay in "the program" over the long haul.

Rogaine is another hair loss medication that works for some men. Unlike Propecia, Rogaine (active ingredient: minoxidil) does not require a prescription and is used as a liquid or foam applied directly to the scalp, twice a day. As with Propecia, Rogaine takes some time to begin working, and hair loss generally reappears once you stop using it.

Neither Propecia nor Rogaine are appropriate for all men with hair loss, but together these two medications have helped many men either prevent additional hair loss or grow new hair.

Surgery for Hair Loss?

For men who are either not good candidates for or choose not to take Propecia or Rogaine, surgery may be an option to treat hair loss. The most common surgical treatment is called hair transplantation, which involves transplanting hair follicles from the back and sides of the head (which have more hair) to the area of hair loss. Results of hair transplantations vary, and the procedure is relatively expensive.

Another surgical procedure that some men choose to combat hair loss is scalp reduction surgery. This method involves removing sections of the scalp that are bald, and then stretching and sewing together areas that have hair in order to fill the bald spots.

Cosmetic Options

Another popular alternative to mask hair loss is to wear a hairpiece or wig made from human or synthetic hair. Hairpieces are typically attached to the scalp using glue, metal clips, or tape. Although hairpieces are intended to look natural, their overall appearance and quality vary depending on the manufacturer and material(s) used.

Some men turn to hair weaving, in which long pieces of human or synthetic hair are sewn onto natural hair. As with hairpieces, individual results of hair weaves vary, and some men may experience discomfort or even hair loss due to added pressure on the scalp. Over a period of time, some permanent hair loss along the weave area can also develop.


New Technology and the Future of Hair Loss Treatments

Scientists continue to develop new methods of treating hair loss. One recent development is the LaserComb, which is essentially a comb that emits laser rays. The comb is the third hair loss treatment to be approved by the FDA, after Propecia and Rogaine. The LaserComb has shown promising results in increasing hair volume and gives men with hereditary hair loss another option.

Hair cloning is another treatment for hair loss that holds considerable promise. This involves growing and implanting new hair cells in an effort to grow new hair follicles and thereby check hair loss. This technology is still some years away, but scientists are hopeful that it will provide an attractive hair loss treatment in the future.

As you can see, there is a wide range of choices for men who wish to treat or mask their hair loss, ranging from prescription medicines like Propecia to surgical and cosmetic alternatives. To find out more about hair loss and possible treatment options consult your doctor, and visit the online knowledge base at

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