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.”
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman's hair loss.
Like Anderson, he started to lose hair at 21 and tried similarly baroque remedies. “At the time, there was nothing except the snake oil you found at the back of muscle magazines.” He rubbed cayenne pepper into his scalp; he hung upside down; he visited a company that promised a miracle cure that turned out to involve a wig glued on to his head. He looked up a few British trichologists and surmised that trichology was a “study of bullshit” then visited an eminent hair surgeon whose eagerness to perform surgery immediately put him off the idea. It was the discovery of Propecia that ultimately “saved” him. “The drug stopped my hair loss. I had no adverse side effects. I regrew my hair on the crown.”
Hair loss in alopecia areata occurs in three different patterns: patchy alopecia is circumscribed, oval-shaped, flesh-colored patches on any part of the body; alopecia totalis involves the entire scalp; and alopecia universalis involves the whole body. Evaluation of the scalp may reveal short vellus hairs, yellow or black dots, and broken hair shafts (which are not specific to alopecia areata). Microscopic examination of the hair follicles demonstrates exclamation mark hair (i.e., hairs that are narrower closer to the scalp and mimic an exclamation point; Figure 44). Nail pitting is also associated with alopecia areata.
When you're investing considerable time and money on a mix of hair treatments and cures, the last things you should be doing are those that will only aggravate your condition. Likewise, when your hair has finally grown back, the last thing you would want is for you to go through another horrific episode of hair loss. Preventing further - or another case of hair loss, and stopping it before it actually happens should be your goal.
7/26/18 Update: After positive early data, various trials of JAK inhibitors such as Ruxolitinib and Xeljanz are underway. Columbia researchers have had positive results with Xeljanz in 11 out of 12 subjects achieving some regrowth with no adverse side effects over 16 months of treatment. Investigators at Stanford and Yale are conducting three trials of oral and topical tofacitnib and Locks of Love Foundation is fuding another ruxolitinib study. At this time, there are about 15 publications looking at JAK inhibitors and their relationship to alopecia and its variants.
Finasteride inhibits an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes hair loss in men, and unlike minoxidil, this drug can actually help hair grow back, as well as prevent further loss. All you have to do is take one pill a day, and according to Dr. Evan Rieder, dermatologist in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, two-thirds of men taking this treatment will see improvements in hair density over time.
As I entered a small operating room at Bernstein’s Midtown East medical practice, a front-desk secretary shouted out, “Hope you got a strong stomach!” Inside, a patient dozed in an operating chair, while nurses held a strip of back-of-the-head skin—something like a fat hairy caterpillar—with tweezers. They began dissecting the follicular units under a microscope.
Quietly, however, progress churns. Joseph is the pseudonymous proprietor of the Web site Follicle Thought, a popular destination for hair-loss obsessives. Follicle Thought is dedicated to “what’s next,” Joseph told me. “What could be coming? Obviously we have other things to cure. But, like, what is the world doing about hair? Hundreds of millions of people really want it. It’s a really deep, emotional, psychological issue for people.” He paused. “I’ve put so much thought into that question.”
Finasteride has limitations though, such as the requirement of daily treatment, a limit to how many damaged hair follicles it can revive, and that it may lose its effectiveness overtime for some people. This drug has shown to be better at preventing further hair loss than reversing it (regrowth). Just keep in mind that some side effects might make the hair loss seem more appealing.
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.”
Hair pieces and wigs. One of the most traditional answers to hair loss, wigs and toupees are perfect for severe cases where full coverage is needed. Wigs can be made either from real human hair, animal hair or synthetic fiber. The materials are sewn together into certain hair styles and are worn on top of the real hair. For those who want to cover up only bald spots or add volume to thinning hair, hair pieces and hair extensions are also available. These are balls of hair that can be attached at the base or clipped to portions of the head.
“Re the post 10/17/18 I really liked your response to the request made by one of your readers to email companies asking for information. So I decided to do what you suggested and sent emails to Organ Technologies, Rivertown and Follicum (no particular reason) basically thanking them for their work and wishing them success with their products. Interestingly I received a very nice response from Organ Technologies which really surprised me. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the sentiment is to be thankful and encouraging to what is being done appose to being negative that we have yet to get what we all want.”
When it comes to a hair growth shampoo, you have two options: prescriptions or over-the-counter treatments. Prescription shampoos like ketoconazole are anti-androgenetic, meaning they prevent testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), two hormones associated with hair loss by targeting hair growth at the site of the follicle and helping to interrupt the hormone cycle locally that causes thinning,” explains Dr. Schweiger. “Over-the-counter growth shampoos typically contain amino acids and antioxidants to provide the components to rebuild hair as well as reduce damage and inflammation.”
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.
To do the exercise, simply rub the fingernails of both hands - except the thumbs - against each other as hard as possible. Make sure not to let the surface of the nails rub against each other - just the tips. In acupressure therapy, it is believed that the hair follicles on the scalp are connected to the fingernails and by doing the exercise, it will stimulate blood circulation and nutrients into the follicles, therefore promoting hair growth.
Farrell makes what he calls “hair systems.” They’re not quite wigs or toupees—you can keep them on for weeks at a time. They cost more than a thousand dollars. Farrell was in New York for a week, holding meetings with clients in his hotel room. Now his rolling suitcases were packed. Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Russia: he’s almost always on the road, satiating international demand for high-end hair pieces.
If you’re looking for an au naturel option, look no further. This shampoo has been an Amazon best seller since 2012. It smells great, lathers well, and has no harsh chemicals mixed in. Pura d’or has elimated all the bad stuff from this shampoo—no Parabens or SLS. It does have a ton of good stuff too! Practically every clinically proven natural ingredient that aids against hair loss is packed into this shampoo. Nettles extract, he shou wu (fo-ti), argan oil, B vitamins, biotin, and saw palmetto.