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.
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.
There’s no cure for baldness, but there are ways to hold on to what you've got. The six dermatologists and the clinical studies point to three methods: minoxidil, laser treatments, and prescription finasteride. The key is finding the combination and hair loss regimen that works for you. A doctor is your best bet for that kind of guidance — but we found a few trustworthy products that will work for most people.
During this procedure, surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units. As a result, the graft looks better than the larger "plugs" associated with hair transplants of yesteryear.
Bumble & bumble had fine-haired beauties in mind when creating this super-moisturizing (but still super-weightless) formula. The shampoo’s trifecta relies on damage-controlling panthenol (or you as you may know it, vitamin B5), strengthening wheat protein, and scalp-loving, deep-conditioning aloe vera. Strands are left prepped for big, voluminous blowouts or to be hand-tousled for texture, movement, and shine.
Besides cost considerations, a hair transplant is generally prescribed as a last resort for permanent hair loss problems. It is also not allowed for people under the age of 25, those with a continuing problem of hair loss, as well as those with other health conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, serious heart problems and hypertension. Patients whose hair loss is caused by other factors, such as a skin or scalp disorder or who suffer from a psychological condition that causes them to pull at their hair are not recommended for this procedure. Since the procedure requires taking a sample from the back of the head, those who do not have enough follicles from this section that can be used for transplant are not also eligible.
Weinstein has big dark eyebrows and a kind face. Kind of an Elliott Gould vibe. I looked at his head. There was a spotty, thatchy outcropping of gray-black hair. Not exactly an overflowing abundance, but hair, to be sure. “I had nothing on top,” Weinstein said. “You can see—I grew my hair back! And it grew back more or less the color I had when I was young.”
Kerastem, a company developing an autologous fat-derived stem cell therapy for hair growth, has reported positive data from their phase 2 trial. The results have come from a 6 month clinical trial involving 70 patients. In this study, the patients received a one-time injection of fat-derived stem cells, and purified fat, into their scalp. Kerastem reports an average increase of 29 hairs per cm2 from the treatment, or an increase of 17% from baseline. The press release does mention that the treatment “successfully stimulates hair growth in people with early stage hair loss”, so that is something to take into consideration when evaluating the results. For more info visit Kerastem’s website.
The history and physical examination are often sufficient to determine a specific etiology for hair loss. It is convenient to divide the various causes into focal (patchy) and diffuse etiologies, and proceed accordingly. Patchy hair loss is often due to alopecia areata, tinea capitis, and trichotillomania. Diffuse hair loss is commonly due to telogen or anagen effluvium. Androgenetic alopecia may be diffuse or in a specific pattern, and may progress to complete baldness.
First, hair grows and gets longer in the anagen phase which can go on for several years. Then, during the ~10-day catagen phase, hair stops actively growing and separates from its follicle, which is what holds the hair in place beneath the skin. Finally, in the telogen phase, the follicle goes into rest mode for several months until the hair falls out. Then, the process starts anew.
Hair changes about as fast as grass grows, which is to say it’s extraordinarily slow and not visible to anyone checking impatiently in the mirror every day. But during regular follow-up appointments, Harklinikken uses high-tech equipment to photograph and magnify the scalp and count new hairs and active follicles, which motivates users to adhere to the regimen. Too many people give up on treatments like Rogaine and low-level-light devices before they’ve had a chance to work, Dr. Senna said.
Rogaine and Propecia, the only commercial hair-loss products that have ever been proven to work, were both discovered accidentally. Rogaine, a topical product known as minoxidil in its generic form, was originally developed as a blood-pressure drug. Scientists do not fully understand its efficacy, but the working theory is that minoxidil protects the dermal papilla from DHT. Propecia, or finasteride, was originally developed as a treatment for enlarged prostates. It inhibits the creation of DHT. Both products have drawbacks. In order to be effective, minoxidil must be applied daily. Because of the hormonal imbalance that finasteride causes, women can take it only if they are postmenopausal. If you stop taking either drug, you will quickly lose the hair you would have lost in the duration of your usage. (Recently, on the actor Dax Shepard’s podcast, Ashton Kutcher confided that he’d stopped taking finasteride. With awe, Shepard said, “I just think that’s so risky of you.”)
The cause of female-pattern hair loss is unknown, but doctors said there is a strong genetic component. The risk can come from male or female relatives. Though it looks as if the hair is falling out, that's not really what's happening. Cotsarelis said hair follicles are becoming smaller and producing hairs that may be so small that you can't see them. Women tend to retain more normal, thick hairs than balding men do.
A few weeks after the Air Force One incident, while addressing a crowd at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump caught himself on a giant monitor. Immediately, he checked his hair. What secrets were these camera angles exposing? Then—as far as I can tell, for the first time ever—he admitted to hair loss. “Oh, I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks,” he said. “I work hard at it. Hey, we are hanging in, we are hanging in, we are hanging in there. Right? Together, we are hanging in.”