We get asked about hair loss products a lot in the clinic. There are a huge number of different hair loss products and treatments available to buy at what might seem like a fantastic price.
One question we get asked a lot is ‘Do they actually work?’ Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most popular products and tell you if they do work, or if they’re a waste of money.
A lot of people suffer with thinning hair and decide to head to the shops on the hunt for a revolutionary thickening shampoo. However, in most cases, you’re not going to find a life changing shampoo that will restore thinning hair.
Most thickening shampoos don’t actually fix thinning hair, as there is no way they can promote the growth of new hairs. Thickening hair products help the hair appear thicker, however; this is only a temporary mask. Most products just change the texture of your hair and enhance how it looks and simply fakes the appearance of thicker hair.
Hair loss medication is something we’re often asked about at the clinic the two most popular medications we get asked about are finasteride (often called propecia) and minoxidil, both of which help to treat hair loss.
Finasteride works by blocking the enxyme, Type II 5 alpha-reductase that, reduces the level of the hormone in the scalp, which shortens the hair growth cycle and allows the hair to revert to a normal growth cycle.
This can after time stop your hair loss and increase new hair to grow. Finasteride does, however, have side effects that you should consider, these include; decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, breast tenderness and enlargement, rashes and swelling of the lips and face and testicular pain. The side effects are reversed once treatment has been discontinued.
Minoxidil was originally used as an oral drug to treat high blood pressure, however, it was discovered to have an interesting side effect of hair growth and reversing baldness. A topical solution that contained 2% minoxidil was used as a hair loss treatment to treat baldness under the brand name Rogaine in the US, and Regain outside the US.
The treatment will work to encourage hair growth, however, the key to using minoxidil is to use it early, as the best candidates are those with thinning hair, not those who are bald. Once you stop using minoxidil after prolonged use, hair loss can increase. Side effects include; dryness and irritation of the skin, hypotension, headaches, irregular or fast heart beat, blurred vision and chest pain.
If you’ve experienced hair loss at any point in your life you would have noticed caffeine shampoo in stores and on the TV, and you’ve probably seen the claims that they will stop your hair loss.
Caffeine shampoo is a treatment designed to stimulate hair growth with the use of caffeine extract. Caffeine has been proven to stimulate hair growth, however, there is not enough evidence to prove that it works with hair on the scalp.
The chemical, caffeine, can help to promote hair growth by targeting DHT, the hormone that is responsible for hair loss. This is something that happens inside the body, and there is no evidence that applying caffeine based products directly to the hair will help with hair loss.
Laser hair growth is a product you can actually buy and use at home. The lasers are thought to promote hair growth. Research indicates that the laser is absorbed into the cells and this triggers enhanced cellular activity. It is thought that the laser can make ageing cells more active to help promote hair growth.
However, the exact mechanism of how the lasers work and promote hair growth has not yet been explored and it has only been indicated how it is believed to work. Some studies have shown that the treatment can show some results after around 26 weeks of using the treatment. The results on different areas of the scalp can vary, meaning the treatment might take well on one area and promote growth, but not work on other areas, resulting in uneven hair growth.