Even if it’s just part of the natural aging process, losing your hair can be traumatic. Our hair is part of our identity; it is what we were used to seeing in the mirror and styling every morning. As the frame to our face it holds its place in our memory and helps others to identify us as well.
When hair loss occurs many men start to search for a cure, which brings up the question: which treatments actually work?
First off, it is important to rule out any underlying reason for your hair loss. If you experience rapid hair loss in a short amount of time (less than a year) you should visit a doctor to find out the cause. You may be sent for thyroid testing or other testing. Patchy hair loss or hair loss that comes along with itchiness or soreness of the scalp should also be examined.
A slowly receding hair line usually isn’t cause for alarm. Known as androgenic alopecia, male pattern baldness is the principal cause of hair loss in men; about 50% of all men have noticeable hair loss by age 40. It is not an indication of illness, as most men with hair loss are healthy. There are two prescription medicines that have been proven effective for treating natural male pattern baldness in men.
Propecia® (active ingredient Finasteride) promotes thicker hair and regrowth by reducing the amount of DHT in the blood; the hormone responsible for hair loss. Those who take Propecia as prescribed normally see improvement after about three months. After five years of treatment, men have a 90% chance of having just as much or more hair on their heads than when they started taking the medication.
Regaine® (active ingredient Minoxidil) is a topical treatment that stimulates the scalp in order to encourage re-growth of hair. Applied regularly, Regaine can be effective after just eight weeks of treatment, although there can be a temporary increase in hair loss during the first few weeks of treatment. This is a positive change, and simply shows that the hair is shifting from the dormant to active phase of hair growth. The medication is safe for long term use, although if treatment is stopped the hair gained during treatment will be lost.
Propecia and Regaine can be taken at the same time, and both are safe for long term use. Neither is available through the NHS, but Regaine no longer requires a prescription and can be purchased from local pharmacies or through an online pharmacy at lower prices. Propecia can be obtained with a private prescription from your GP, private doctor or through an online consultation with a regulated online pharmacy.