Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
Literally jumping right out of the woodwork, the company “HCell” has announced they have been granted an orphan designation from the US FDA for their novel treatment of pediatric alopecia areata. The treatment itself it described as a “topical Injection by regenerating hair through a proprietary blend of commercially procured biologic and autologous tissue.” The company also mentions having a treatment for androgenic alopecia in the works as well. More info to come soon. News release here.
One friend who went bald in his early 20s said that even once he’d readjusted to his new look, the thing that saddened him was that this look would define him pretty much for ever. Another, now in his 40s, found it dispiriting when his hair started falling out in his 20s – “the first sign that my youth was fading…” He decided against Minoxidil and Finasteride – “If I recall correctly, one of the side effects was impotence or diminished libido, which didn’t seem a good trade-off” – and found the idea of surgery “laughable”, so opted to shave it all off, finding some cheer in the new-found solidarity among his fellow balding friends. Still, he says, anti-bald prejudices are real.
Unfortunately, as with the aforementioned minoxidil, you’ll begin to lose your hair again if you ever stop taking Finasteride. Additionally, it may cause erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in men although that’s uncommon. Men who experience these side effects from taking this pill can reverse them; however, that can take up to three months to occur.
The Holy Grail remains a drug that will promote regrowth, but this might not be so far away. Earlier this year, Manchester University announced that an osteoporosis drug had been found to have “dramatic results” promoting hair growth when applied to tissue samples in pre-clinical trials. The resultant frenzy left the PhD student responsible, Dr Nathan Hawkshaw, a little dazed. “Every other week, something comes out about hair loss and it doesn’t generate as much media coverage as what I experienced,” he grumbles. He’s in this for the science – there aren’t many fields where you get to mess around with real human tissue – but such is the distress caused by hair loss and such is the potential customer base that interest is always high.
In most cases though, it's all a matter of attitude. Being bald should not be a cause of stigma. It does not make you less of a person or less masculine, less virile, and less attractive and appealing. In fact, a clean shaven head is becoming a popular trend among men these days, and there are certainly many bald men who have managed to make themselves look clean, elegant and suave despite their hair loss. Learn to come to terms with it. It's hair loss, yes, but not brain damage. It does not affect your core.
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.
While thinning generally worsens after menopause, doctors said hormone treatments typically do not improve hair growth. Minoxidil lotion or foam, which can be purchased over the counter, is the first line of treatment. About half of women who use it have not lost more hair a year later, Cotsarelis said. Spironolactone, a blood-pressure drug, can also help, doctors said. Some may also try finasteride — approved to treat baldness in men — off-label. The evidence that it works in women is weak, Patel said.
Laser light therapy is not a baldness solution, and the HairMax takes a time commitment: You have to use the product for 15 minutes a day, three days a week and you have to keep using it indefinitely to get results. Still, laser light therapy has no major side effects, and may be best for men who have noticed some increased shedding and want to maintain more of the hair they have on their head.
Dupilumab is FDA approved for treating eczema aka atopic dermatitis and sold under the brand name Dupixent. As the story goes, a patient with alopecia totalis (a form of areata which leaves a person’s head completely bald) was being treated for eczema by the drug Dupixent. After 6 weeks the patient first began to notice progress in terms of hair growth and at 7 months she had noticeable pigmented hair growth on her scalp. Notably, the patient stopped taking the dupilumab for a period of time and noticed her growth subsided; when she began taking the drug again the hair improved once more. This provides another useful therapy option for patients seeking treatment for AA. One would imagine a topical version would be worthwhile to investigate.