I wonder whether hair loss would get as much attention if it were primarily suffered by women. But Kobren corrects me. “Actually, 40% of hair loss sufferers are women,” he says. “Except women are able to wear wigs and hair extensions and they can camouflage it in a way that men aren’t really allowed to.” He describes female pattern hair loss as a “silent epidemic of biblical proportions” that he puts down to the use of cosmetics and birth control (some women experience hair loss as a side effect to contraceptive pills).
In either sex, hair loss from androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair's growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase. (See "Life cycle of a hair.") That means it takes longer for hair to start growing back after it is shed in the course of the normal growth cycle. The hair follicle itself also changes, shrinking and producing a shorter, thinner hair shaft — a process called "follicular miniaturization." As a result, thicker, pigmented, longer-lived "terminal" hairs are replaced by shorter, thinner, non-pigmented hairs called "vellus."
HairMax is known for their lasercomb products — an FDA approved hair loss treatment. They’ve started to branch out and now they offer a supplement, topical, and this shampoo (as well as a matching conditioner). One of the standout ingredients in this shampoo is the gotu kola. We have a full write up about gotu kola and its relationship to hair loss here.

Other medical conditions — most commonly telogen effluvium and seborrheic dermatitis — can also cause hair loss, but most people can trace their follicular woes back to androgenetic alopecia, so we focused our search there. We started with more than 200 products, including all-natural solutions and high-tech gadgets, while skipping treatments that focus only on volumizing or thickening hair. We also limited our scope to the scalp, and left out specialty products designed only for eyebrows or beards.
There are a lot of reasons why your hair may be falling out. It could be hereditary (which you unfortunately can't control), or linked to health- or diet-related changes. Or it could be as simple as the fact that your scalp is stressed by excess buildup—oil, dandruff, multiple days' worth of dry shampoo—that's preventing new hair from growing. Or your strands are (literally) at the breaking point after daily sessions with the flat iron.
Hair loss is not a hopeless condition. While there are certainly cases of permanent hair loss in men, there are still cases when it's only temporary and therefore can be treated, controlled and prevented. There are treatments and cures available, and many of these, especially those for temporary cases, can be as simple as lifestyle changes -- eating the right foods, learning to manage stress properly, and doing away with unhealthy, nasty habits that can aggravate the condition.
To us, that meant any product with zero proven ingredients, case studies, or FDA clearance — which shrunk our list by a whopping 180 contenders. That’s right, there are only three treatments that have actually been cleared by the FDA and supported with clinical studies: finasteride (commonly marketed as Propecia), minoxidil, and laser treatments. And, since finasteride is prescription-only, it left us with two.
Last fall, the San Francisco startup Hims began a small publicity blitz. Its ads were all over in-boxes and social-media feeds and TV screens; they were even out in real life, on paper placards. Above a picture of a handsome young man with long, luscious dark hair, there was a bold claim: “Thanks to science, baldness is now optional.” Hims, which also sells shampoos and erectile-dysfunction medication, has a minimalist aesthetic, designed by Partners & Spade. (The agency has done work for famed disruptors such as Warby Parker and Casper.) It also has an in-house journal called Savoir Faire. And, within all that attractive packaging and identity branding, the company was very casually offering the holy grail. My latent obsession led me to ask some questions of the ad campaign. It turns out that Hims’s baldness pills are just finasteride, and their topical solution minoxidil. Thanks to expired patents on those products, Hims is able to sell them cheap. And yet ultimately they’re providing the same old solution. Another false prophet.

Joseph and his readership, he said, are convinced that we are at a “peak moment” for the industry. He ticked off “platelet-rich plasma” and “injectable cell therapies” and other high-level technologies that are being developed by companies from New York to San Diego, Tokyo, and Stockholm. He won’t make bets on who’s going to win the arms race. But, he says, “if you were the first, that’d be fun for the trillion dollars that you’d make. Over the next few years? It’s prime time.”
Women’s magazine ‘New Beauty’ recently featured several prospective hair growth therapies in a print article. The feature contains several interesting and worthwhile anecdotes. Check the Articles main page to read about Dr. Cotsarelis’ new research on setipiprant for female alopecia, Histogen’s view on the number of injection sessions which may be necessary to get the most out of HSC, and more.

“It all comes from the tissue taken from the back of the head. The hair follicle has a lot of Type 1 collagen in it,” he said. “We can isolate the hair-growing or collagen-producing cells and use them to start hair growth or regenerate degenerative tendons or tissues of skin. And it is a more natural way of doing it. There is nothing more natural than using your own cells to make your skin look healthy, to heal damaged tendons or to have a thicker head of hair.”
Dry, brittle strands—whether from heat damage or age—can definitely cause your hair to thin out. With more than 5,000 verified customer reviews, the Pura D’or Gold Label Shampoo gets top marks for its restorative, regenerative, and strand-strengthening properties. Among the shampoo’s 17 active ingredients are red Korean seaweed, which is proven to treat alopecia, and scalp-stimulating black cumin seed oil.
Trichotillomania may be difficult to diagnose if the patient is not forthcoming about pulling at his or her hair. Patients typically present with frontoparietal patches of alopecia that progress posteriorly and may include the eyelashes and eyebrows. Bare patches are typical, and the hair may appear uneven, with twisted or broken off hairs. Trichotillomania may lead to problems with self-esteem and social avoidance. Complications include infection, skin damage, and permanent scarring.18

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There have also been studies on the effects of 1% pyrithione zinc shampoo and a 5% minoxidil solution. In one study, 200 men between the ages of 18 to 49 who experienced baldness between type III and type IV on the Norwood scale were given this treatment for a six-month period. They found that minoxidil, when used on its own, was approximately twice as powerful as pyrithione zinc at stimulating hair growth, but that both products were successful at increasing the amount of visible hair when used over a 26-week period.
You’ll find ketoconazole in Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo, and preliminary research indicates that it may be effective in treating hair loss. Researchers found that both 2% ketoconazole and minoxidil regimens improved hair density, size, and proportion of anagen follicles. Ketoconazole also is effective in treating a fungus called Pityriasis that often inhabits the scalp. 

See a doctor. While it may be easy to treat hair loss that's caused by stress or other physical or emotional shock, other types, especially those caused by medical conditions, require expert attention. Do not self-medicate. A medical test is necessary to determine the real cause of your hair loss. A medical diagnosis is important in order to rule out other factors that might be the cause of your hair loss. On the surface, it's easy to attribute hair loss to stress or the lack of sleep, but it is highly possible that the hair loss may be caused by an unknown or undetected condition related to hormones or genetics. With the right diagnosis, you'll be able to get the right medication and course of treatment.

Products like these come from huge pharma companies and are the direct beneficiaries of tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars worth of research and development, compliance, production and advertising. Since drugs have the capacity to significantly change your bodily functions and can cause threatening and undesirable side effects, there’s a need for the government to protect consumers via tough regulations.
Laser treatments are the latest frontier in staving off hair loss, and they’ll be the first choice for fans of sci-fi. As silly as they may sound, these treatments do work — the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2014 reported a “statistically significant difference” in hair density with no “serious adverse events” or side effects.The bad news: Laser treatments tend to be expensive, progress is slow, and they don’t always produce stellar results.
Argan oil is loaded with A, C and E vitamins, all of which have been linked to hair growth. When you use argan oil externally as part of a hair loss shampoo, it can help to boost your scalp’s and skin’s cell production, thus causing healthier hair and skin. Argan oil is good for dry, brittle and thinning hair since it guards against you losing more follicles than you’re capable of growing (which makes hair loss noticeable).
Hair transplantation involves harvesting follicles from the back of the head that are DHT resistant and transplanting them to bald areas. A surgeon will remove minuscule plugs of skin that contain a few hairs and implant the plugs where the follicles are inactive. Around 15 percent of hairs emerge from the follicle as a single hair, and 15 percent grow in groups of four or five hairs.
Disruptions in the normal length of each phase, which can cause hair loss and hair thinning, may be the result of a number of internal and external stimuli. These are also what we call the triggers and causes of your hair loss. As a quick example, dieting can leave the body stressed and in need of important nutrients. Because of this stress, hair growth may be cut shorter than usual and there is an early onset of telogen or shedding of hair.
Hair growth is a giant industry, with estimated annual sales of $3.6 billion. And every one of those dollars goes to products that do not provide actual hair regeneration. Rogaine and Propecia, the market leaders, can slow hair loss, but they don’t grow new hair. They also come with the small risk of serious side effects. In 2011, Men’s Health reported on a Propecia user who “lost all pleasurable sensations in his penis.”

The Rogaine rep we spoke to explained that the different packaging (and therefore different prices) has to do with the FDA-approval process: “We discovered in clinical trials that the hair loss patterns between men and women are different,” she said by way of explanation. “Men typically have that bald spot on the crown of their head, where women generally have a general thinning throughout, but concentrated more on the top of the head. So for FDA approval, we had to come up with two different, gender-specific products, so the directions were more explanatory.”


BBC Newsbeat has released a documentary yesterday titled “Too Young To Go Bald.” The program gives a candid look into the lives of several young adults dealing with various forms of alopecia. Chidera Eggerue, a blogger dealing with traction alopecia, meets up with a female British rapper who previously underwent a hair transplant for her traction alopecia. Also in the documentary, vlogger Perry O’Bree who is dealing with androgenic alopecia shares about his own experiences.
Know the different types of wigs. Synthetic wigs are easy to style and are less expensive than human hair wigs. On the other hand, wigs made from human hair have a more natural look and feel, and are more preferred by those with permanent cases of hair loss. Though they take longer to style, human hair wigs are worth an investment if you plan on wearing it for a relatively long period of time.
I know that Follicle Thought has been very useful and inspiring to companies, doctors, and people interested in hair restoration alike. A one-time pledge to my donation page would make a difference in my life and be very appreciated. To make a one-time donation simply click “Become a Patron” on the right sidebar of my Patreon page. Then you can adjust the amount of how much you’d like to contribute; Patreon will call this a “monthly contribution”, however you can cancel your pledge after one month, hence making it a one-time pledge. 😊 I am thankful to all of you who take a moment to visit the page and make a contribution, it means a lot, especially for the hours upon hours I have put into the site to make the best information available to you all.
However, this partnership ended in 2007 due to potential safety issues since SHH can potentially also cause basal cell carcinoma cancer. P&G was not willing to continue with the drug development work, since even a very minimal risk of developing cancer is not worth it for treating a cosmetic problem such as hair loss (at least in the eyes of government). Interesting comment from the at-the-time CEO of Curis:
In just the past few years, we’ve made remarkable strides in understanding Trump’s head. In March, 2016, with Trump the presumptive G.O.P. nominee, Gawker’s Ashley Feinberg published a diligent and compelling investigation, “Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave?” It pointed to a high-end clinic called Ivari International that, for a while, at least, had the kind of complicated ties to Trump and Trump Tower that we’d later see in the dignitaries of various hostile foreign governments.
3. Hair fibers. The best (and easiest) way to hide a widening part or sparse patch is with hair fibers. They’re tiny, charged fibers that adhere to your scalp (until your next shampoo). Toppik Hair Building Fibers ($25) come in a range of colors so you can easily find one that matches your own hair. (In a pinch, you can also brush a powdered eye shadow that matches your hair color along your part.)
That said, there are products that don’t have FDA approval or clearance, but may help prevent hair loss. For example, shampoos with ketoconazole, a chemical with anti-DHT properties, is widely used to treat fungal infections but has become popular among consumers as a hair loss treatment. It makes sense — research shows that ketoconazole actually has beneficial effects on hair growth (especially for those with seborrheic dermatitis).
The more upsetting problem is central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of baldness that starts at the crown of the head and spreads outward. "It's hugely, hugely difficult," said Susan Taylor, a dermatologist at Penn Medicine who specializes in treating women with CCCA. "It affects quality of life." She said it is seen "almost exclusively" in women of African descent. One study found it in 10 percent to 15 percent of black women, but Taylor thinks it's more common. "I could see women all day, every day, with this problem," she said.
Hey Frederique, I removed it because it was no longer available for some reason. I’m not sure how well can these shampoos work if you are going through chemo. How you consulted your doctor about it? Ask if minoxidil is safe for your situation. It may be the best solution for your case since your cause for hair loss is not due to DHT. But please don’t take my word for it, consult with a doctor first.
This medication goes by the name Avodart. It is used for the treatment of BPH also known as enlarged prostate. However, there are a large number of users using it for the off label purpose of treating hair loss. Remember the 5 alpha reductase we mentioned that Propecia blocks? Well there are two types of 5 alpha reductase. Type I and Type II. Whereas Propecia has only been shown to block type II, Avodart blocks both types. This effect overall lowers DHT levels even more, further reducing the risk of damaged hair follicles. However, it faces the same limitations as Propecia. It must be taken daily and may lose its effectiveness overtime.

Instead, you may want to add vitamin D (about $15) to your shopping cart. A vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate hair thinning and make it almost impossible for any over-the-counter product to reverse hair loss, says Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York City, who recommends taking 5,000 international units of D3 a day (and it’s generally beneficial for bone health in women over 40). “There’s also a link between low iron and zinc levels and temporary hair shedding, called [telogen] effluvium,” says Rogers.


This is a bestselling shampoo on Amazon. The list of ingredients is extremely lengthy. The product contain a number of natural organic DHT blockers (including saw palmetto) and various nourishing hair vitamins. Additional beneficial ingredients include amla oil, argan oil, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil, green tea extract, niacin and biotin.
*Photograph used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This photograph was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. # 60, Gathers RC, Jankowski M, Eide M, et al. “Hair grooming practices and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia,” 660-8. Copyright Elsevier (2009). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.   

Hair grooming, but more importantly, having a head-full of hair is as important to men as it is to women. To women, it may be an important accessory of beauty, and for men, it adds to a sense of manliness, enhances their looks and makes them more appealing and attractive to women. Balding to men is associated with aging (only old men are expected to lose hair) and therefore, having hair on one's head is a sign of virility and masculinity.

For hair transplant clinics, this is the ultimate goal. Bald people would make a mad dash to their clinics to get their new heads of hair. Since the main limitation of hair transplantation surgery is how many hairs can be harvested from the back of the scalp before it appears thin, stem cloning (the growing of dermal papilla cells) will solve that problem in totality. Recent research that has taken place in California has taken a big step toward the cure for hair loss.
Lately I’ve been receiving a few inquiries from readers about Shiseido and Brotzu release dates. So, I’m going to address the situation here and hope that this will be sufficient until more news comes from direct sources. I estimate that these companies would publicly address the release date of their products by the end of Q3 this year (end of Sept). As consumers we know there’s no guarantees for releases and if one or both of these products reached the market this year it would be a very fortunate situation. So, keep an eye out, but loosen the grip a little. The news will come when it comes. When there is news it will be visible here.
Late last week, HairClone officially unveiled its crowdfunding campaign with the Euro-based crowdfunding company Capital Cell. HairClone is offering equity based crowdfunding, which means anyone who makes an investment (£500 minimum) owns equity in the HairClone company. Full details on the campaign are listed in the latest HairClone article on the main page of Follicle Thought.
In our research and our conversations with experts, one name kept popping up repeatedly: Rogaine. As the first topical brand FDA-approved to help regrow hair (all the way back in 1988), Rogaine benefits from more than 20 years of clinical trials and consumer feedback. Rogaine was the first brand to offer a 5 percent minoxidil foam solution when it debuted Men’s Rogaine Unscented Foam in 2006, and virtually every treatment developed since (for both men and women) has been an imitation or derivation of that formula.
And just like that, more fascinating hair-related research was published in PLOS Biology. A team of researchers lead by Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw of the University of Manchester have identified the drug ‘WAY-316606’ as a potential candidate for hair regrowth. WAY-316606 is an existing drug used to treat osteoporosis. It’s not clear at this time whether WAY-316606 is approved and on the market, or if it was partially developed to treat the bone disease.

Hair transplant/surgery. A hair transplant or surgery is the quickest treatment for permanent cases of hair loss, although the most expensive. In pattern baldness, for example, where the top of the head is the most affected area, a hair transplant allows the surgeon to use existing hair to implant it into the bald sections of the head. It works by removing a graft or follicular sample in parts of the head that still have hair (usually this is the back of the head as this area is most resistant to hormonal changes), and placing this graft in the areas that are bald.
Consider other factors besides color. Color is important - your wig or hair piece should match your natural hair to look natural. However, consider also texture. You wig should feel like real hair; it should have a smooth and silky feel. For those that need full coverage, choose a wig that bounces to give the illusion of volume. A wig that has a lacing that fits your natural hair also helps in making sure that you have a more natural looking hairline. 

"Firstly, even the very good ones won’t get to the root of the issue - pardon the pun - and prevent or treat male or female pattern baldness which is caused by genetics, nor deal with hormonal issues at the heart of female hair loss. But they can help make the hair you do have stronger and healthier. And they can be useful in putting a hair loss regime in place, along with medication like Minoxidil or Finasteride and/ or a hair transplant.
Thinning hair in women is worth investigating for more than its impact on physical appearance. While many conditions that lead to temporary hair loss will go away without treatment or with simple lifestyle measures, others may be signs of potentially irreversible loss or health conditions. Others yet may respond well to treatments to promote regrowth, so starting sooner rather than later is key.
An extremely popular organic product. There is significant evidence that biotin aids hair quality, while caffeine and saw palmetto are both somewhat beneficial to hair growth. Saw palmetto blocks the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is often described as a natural (but weaker) alternative to finasteride. For more, see my post on natural cures for hair loss. This Botanical Green Care shampoo product also contains numerous other helpful ingredients such as nettle extract, panax ginseng, pumpkin seed oil, amla oil, bhringraj oil,  niacin, vitamin A, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and more.
BBC Newsbeat has released a documentary yesterday titled “Too Young To Go Bald.” The program gives a candid look into the lives of several young adults dealing with various forms of alopecia. Chidera Eggerue, a blogger dealing with traction alopecia, meets up with a female British rapper who previously underwent a hair transplant for her traction alopecia. Also in the documentary, vlogger Perry O’Bree who is dealing with androgenic alopecia shares about his own experiences.
MAX BioPharma, a company working with Hedgehog pathway therapeutics, wants to test its lead compound for hair growth in  mouse model. If data from this experiment turns out to be positive the company says it will reach out to cosmetic or larger pharma partners to commercialize the product. While we currently don’t know how this therapy will fare for hair growth, in the past we have seen impressive potential from stimulators of the Hedgehog pathway.
McElwee is an associate professor in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in British Columbia, Canada and director of the Hair Research Laboratory in the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHI) at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). A hair research scientist, McElwee is one of only a small group of research scientists worldwide who studies hair biology and associated diseases.

Women’s magazine ‘New Beauty’ recently featured several prospective hair growth therapies in a print article. The feature contains several interesting and worthwhile anecdotes. Check the Articles main page to read about Dr. Cotsarelis’ new research on setipiprant for female alopecia, Histogen’s view on the number of injection sessions which may be necessary to get the most out of HSC, and more.
During a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes tiny patches of skin, each containing one to several hairs, from the back or side of your scalp. Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing multiple hair groupings is taken. He or she then implants the hair follicle by follicle into the bald sections. Some doctors recommend using minoxidil after the transplant, to help minimize hair loss. And you may need more than one surgery to get the effect you want. Hereditary hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery.
Another type of hair loss is alopecia areata, in which hair on the head (and sometimes on the body) falls out in patches. In most cases this type of hair loss resolves itself within a few months, however in some cases it can lead to more severe forms of hair loss such as alopecia totalis (loss of all hair on the scalp) or alopecia universalis (loss of all hair on the body). Alopecia areata is most common in people aged 15-29 and there are various treatments for it: minoxidil, corticosteroid injections, topical corticosteroid creams or lotions, dithranol cream, immunotherapy and light therapy. However none of these can be thought of as a cure for alopecia areata, as they are only temporary solutions.

Not surprisingly, treatments with 5 percent minoxidil work better than treatments with 2 percent minoxidil. A randomized clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2002 found that, in men with androgenetic alopecia, “5 percent topical minoxidil was clearly superior to 2 percent topical minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair growth.” The difference was actually pretty astounding — after 48 weeks, the men who used 5 percent minoxidil experienced 45 percent more hair growth than the men who used the 2 percent treatment.

Two clinical trials have been ran as a proof of concept for Histogen. Terminal hair count and hair thickness noticeably increased after just 12 weeks. Due to this success, Histogen plans to conduct a Phase 1 Clinical Study in the United States. This will be an injectable which when injected into the scalp will stimulate dormant hair follicles and induce new hair follicle formation (think Botox but for hair follicles instead of skin cells). HSC660 is an ongoing female hair loss trial that will run for 22 weeks and a late stage (Phase 3 trial) for men has initiated in Mexico. Histogen founder Gail Naughton even went so far to reveal commercialization, “We’e in very late-stage negotiations with some huge retail partners,” she says. It may not be a magic bullet, but it would sure be nice to have an alternative/supplement to Rogaine that actually stimulates growth.
We've heard it all before: clients waking up one day in shock after discovering a coin-sized bald spot on their heads; women agonizing over the strands of hair they see on the shower floor; men looking for topical creams and shampoos to prevent the early onset of balding. Even more are tales of men and women on the search for the perfect wig or toupee to cover up the loss of their hair as a result of medication for a chronic illness.
Can an iron deficiency cause hair loss? Iron deficiency anemia occurs when a person does not have enough iron in their body or the body cannot use its supply properly. This can cause a variety of symptoms, which may include hair loss. In this article, learn about the link between an iron deficiency and hair loss, as well as the treatment options for both. Read now

See a doctor. While it may be easy to treat hair loss that's caused by stress or other physical or emotional shock, other types, especially those caused by medical conditions, require expert attention. Do not self-medicate. A medical test is necessary to determine the real cause of your hair loss. A medical diagnosis is important in order to rule out other factors that might be the cause of your hair loss. On the surface, it's easy to attribute hair loss to stress or the lack of sleep, but it is highly possible that the hair loss may be caused by an unknown or undetected condition related to hormones or genetics. With the right diagnosis, you'll be able to get the right medication and course of treatment.


Stay away from tightly bound styles, like braids, buns, or ponytails. Resist twisting or rubbing your hair. And gently wash or brush hair, switching to a wide-toothed comb if necessary to prevent too much pulling at the roots. Hot rollers, curling or straightening irons, hot oil treatments, bleaching, and other chemical processes are other things to avoid.
Anti-androgens. Androgens include testosterone and other "male" hormones, which can accelerate hair loss in women. Some women who don't respond to minoxidil may benefit from the addition of the anti-androgen drug spironolactone (Aldactone) for treatment of androgenic alopecia. This is especially true for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) because they tend to make excess androgens. Doctors will usually prescribe spironolactone together with an oral contraceptive for women of reproductive age. (A woman taking one of these drugs should not become pregnant because they can cause genital abnormalities in a male fetus.) Possible side effects include weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.

Hair loss is more common than you think and it can happen to anyone. According to Michele J Farber, MD of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, causes range from, “androgenetic or hormone-related hair loss, stress related-hair loss, also called telogen effluvium, and dandruff. Medications, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, excess styling, and autoimmune disorders can also cause hair loss and thinning.” But the good news is, there are viable solutions, starting with topical growth treatments.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is another vitamin that you can find in a lot of men’s hair loss shampoos. Like biotin, niacin and its derivatives are scientifically proven to increase hair growth when topically applied to hair growth areas over the course of several months. However, it's important to call out that this pilot study used female participants.
Hair transplants will likely lead to better results in the long run (you are introducing new hairs to the balding areas), but you’ll still need to use minoxidil or finasteride after surgery to maintain the results. Like all hair loss treatments, hair transplants are best when combined with other methods, and you’ll want to speak with your doctor to see what combination is best for you.
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