There are a range of hair loss medications that are known to have varying degrees of efficacy for hair loss problems, which are well known to us at the Harley Street Hair Clinic. There are some medications that have been proven to stop hair loss. The most well known of which are called Finasteride or Propecia. These medications are used to treat other issues and concerns, too.

 

How do hair loss medications work?

Some of the most common hair loss medications work in the same way to battle hair loss. They inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone that causes hereditary balding. This hormone can affect hair follicles that are genetically vulnerable by breaking them down and preventing hair growth in the future. By using medication to inhibit this process, patients can experience renewed hair growth. Not only does the medication halt or slow the process of hair loss, but it can even cause hair to begin to grow again.

One important thing to note is that hair loss medication is not hair growth medicine. Although it can rejuvenate growth and has been proven to be effective on the top or the crown of the head, the front of the hair line is less responsive to these medications. This area may resist the medication more than the crown of the head, and so it is often recommended that patients take the medication to halt hair loss, and then use other methods, such as a hair transplant, to replace lost hair that will not re-grow on its own. This is because hair restoration surgeries are long term solution that could reshape a hairline more effectively and more reliably than hair growth medication.

 

Propecia/Finasteride

Finasteride, which is marketed under many different names including; Proscar, Propecia, Fincar, Finpecia, Finax, Finast, Finara, Finalo, Prosteride, Gefina, Finasterid IVAX. This hair loss medication is an antiandrogen which acts by inhibiting type II 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is used as a treatment in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in low doses, and in prostate cancer in higher doses. Additionally, it is registered in many countries as a hair loss treatment for androgenetic alopecia.

In a 5-year study of men with mild to moderate hair loss, 48% of those treated with the branded hair growth medicine, Finasteride 1mg experienced some regrowth of hair, and 42% had no further loss. Average hair count in the treatment group remained above baseline and showed an increasing difference from hair count in the placebo group, for all five years of the study. Finasteride is effective only for as long as it is taken; the hair gained or maintained is lost within 6-12 months of ceasing therapy. In clinical studies, Finasteride, like minoxidil, was shown to work on both the crown area and the hairline but is most successful in the crown area.

 

How Does Finasteride Hair Loss Medication Work?

Finasteride, when used as a hair loss medication, works to stop hair loss by blocking the enzyme, Type II 5 alpha-reductase, and in doing so it reduces the level of the hormone in the scalp which shortens the hair growth cycle and allows hairs to revert to a normal growth cycle. This can, in turn, stop hair loss and increase new growth in men with male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Continuous use once a day for 3-6 months is required before any notable benefit is visible, and effects are reversed 6-12 months after treatment is discontinued so continuous use is recommended to sustain benefit.

 

Does Hair Loss Medication Have Any Side Effects?

When taken at the recommended dose, the possible side effects of Finasteride are usually mild and generally have not caused the men to stop taking the medicine. As with all standard prescriptions, hair loss or hair growth medications, including Finasteride, have seen some side effects in both men and women. These include:

  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased volume of ejaculate
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • Rashes or skin irritation
  • Itching and swelling of the lips and face
  • Testicular pain

Please note, these side effects are temporary and only experienced throughout the course of you taking hair loss medication.

 

Other Things To Consider About Finasteride / Propecia?

Some users, in an effort to save money, buy Proscar instead of Propecia, and split the Proscar pills to approximate the Propecia dosage. Doing so is generally considered unadvisable if women of pregnancy age are in the household; this is because finasteride, even in small concentrations, can cause birth defects in a developing male fetus. The birth defects involve the development of male genitalia (no such effects have been noted in developing female fetuses). On most product inserts, it will be mentioned that the dust or crumbs from broken Propecia tablets should be kept away from pregnant women.

 

Regaine/Minoxidil Hair Growth Medication

Minoxidil is a vasodilator and originally was exclusively used as an oral drug (Loniten®) to treat high blood pressure. It was, however, discovered to have the interesting side effect of hair growth and reversing baldness. In the 1980s, Upjohn Corporation produced a topical solution that contained 2% minoxidil to be used as a hair loss treatment, to treat baldness and hair loss, under the brand name Rogaine in the United States, and Regaine outside the United States.

Treatments usually include 5% concentration solutions that are designed for men, while the 2% concentration solutions are designed for women. It is unknown how the drug stimulates hair growth; some experts believe that minoxidil dilates the blood vessels around hair follicles, increasing the nutrient supply and encouraging increased hair growth.

The key to using Minoxidil to stop hair loss is to begin using it early. The best candidates are those who are thinning but not bald. Those with a higher density of hair at the beginning of treatment are good candidates. If the hair growth medication is stopped, after prolonged use, hair loss may increase.

How To Apply Minoxidil Hair Growth Medication 

Two daily applications for up to four months may be required before evidence of hair regrowth is visibly noticeable. The onset and degree of hair regrowth may be variable among different patients treated with this medicine. If hair regrowth occurs, two daily applications are necessary for additional and continued hair growth (unless your doctor directs otherwise). The initial hair growth may be soft, downy, colorless hair that is barely visible. After further treatment, however, the new hair should be the same color and thickness as the other hair on the scalp.

If one or two applications are missed, restart twice daily applications and return to the usual schedule. Do not attempt to make up for missed doses or use more than 1 ML at a time. Do not use on sunburned skin.

It is important to continue to use minoxidil for the entire time prescribed by your doctor, even if hair growth does not appear within several months. If the hair growth medication is not visibly effective after four months or more, consult with your doctor, as this medication may not be effective for you. It is usually applied in a 1-3% solution twice a day. It must be used for a about six months to see the benefits.

Are There Side Effects Associated With Minoxidil

Major complications are rare, but patients who suffer from heart disease or hypertension should check with their doctor before beginning this kind of hair loss medication.

The most common problem is irritation and dryness of the skin. Large amounts of minoxidil can cause hypotension, headaches, irregular or fast heartbeat, blurred vision, chest pain.

Hair Growth Medication: Natural Vitamins 
If you were wondering whether you can buy hair growth vitamins that will reverse baldness, sadly for men the simple answer is no. In these instances, it might be better to consult a hair transplant surgeon, who will be able to evaluate your eligibility for permanent solutions to baldness.

A vitamin supplement won’t make a hair on a bald head grow, although vitamins are essential to promote growth for the hairs that are already present. Consuming your recommended number of vitamins and minerals will help the hair growth cycle work to the best of its ability and keep hair healthy and strong.

 

Vitamin B

Eight vitamins make up the vitamin B group. As these vitamins are water soluble, they are often broken down and destroyed during the cooking process. This is why wholegrain foods have a higher nutritional value than white floured foods as they aren’t processed. B vitamins are essential for breaking down carbohydrates into glucose as well as maintaining healthy hair, skin, eyes and liver.

If you’re concerned that you are not including vitamin B naturally in your diet, you may want to consider supplements. Vitamin B complex contains riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, niacin, biotin, thiamin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. These are essential, natural hair growth medicines, which could help stimulate re-growth, but not combat complete loss.

VITAMIN B IS FOUND IN:

  • Bulgar wheat
  • Green peas
  • Lentils
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Oats
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Beans
  • Citrus fruits
  • Eggs
  • Cauliflower

 

Vitamins E&C

The principal function of Vitamin E is to transfer oxygen in the blood and improve blood circulation in the scalp. It has an effect on immune function, which improves the health of the hair and reduces the risk of hair loss.

Blood circulation of the scalp is also improved with the help of vitamin C. All capillaries which carry blood to the follicles are maintained by vitamin C, meaning that hair follicles could benefit from better oxygenation and individuals could see improved hair growth when taking this medication. 

VITAMIN E IS FOUND IN:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Tomato
  • Butternut squash
  • Broccoli

There are many other nuts, fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin E.

VITAMIN C IS FOUND IN:

Here are the ten highest sources below:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Berries
  • Kiwis
  • Guavas
  • Peppers
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Papaya
  • Peas (Mange Tout)

Vitamin A’s Effect On Hair Growth   

Although Vitamin A is an essential vitamin required for vision, boosting immune function and skin health, too much of this vitamin can actually lead to hair loss. Too much Vitamin A can actually have a negative impact on the hair and body. If you take too much, the hair follicles can go into overdrive. If this happens it can result in the hair reaching the end of the growth phase too quickly and falling out. This change in the growth cycle means that you won’t be able to grow new hair quick enough to replace the lost hair, leading to hair thinning and in some severe cases, baldness.

Here is a list of some food’s high in Vitamin A:

  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Butternut squash
  • Dried apricots
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Tuna
  • Mango

 

Minerals For Hair Loss

Iron and zinc are essential minerals needed to achieve healthy and strong hair. Iron and zinc can be found within the following foods:

IRON IS FOUND IN:

  • Red meat
  • Lentils
  • Egg yolk
  • Spinach
  • Chicken

ZINC IS FOUND IN:

  • Lamb
  • Turkey
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chocolate

Whether you are taking supplements or including vitamins and minerals naturally within your diet, make sure to check an RDA guide to help you keep on track.

 

Disadvantages Of Hair Loss Medication

Although there are many positives of taking hair loss medication it is important to remember that it is not always the best solution for everyone.

As with all medications, hair loss medications will all have some side effects. The biggest disadvantage of hair loss medication, which is something most people struggle with, is that for the medication to effectively reduce and even stop hair loss you must take it continuously. As soon as hair loss medication is stopped, hair loss will return. This is unrealistic for some due to the ongoing cost as well as not wanting to continually take medication and deal with the side effects.

For some, hair loss medication is not an option for a number of reasons, such as experiencing side effects or not being able to take it in conjunction with another course of medication. For those who are not suitable, there are other hair restoration options available such as Hair Transplants and Advanced Trico Pigmentation that may be suitable.

If you would like more information on hair loss or hair restoration treatments, please contact us today for a no obligation consultation.

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