General concernsIt is easier to prevent the aging and falling out of healthy hairs than to regrow hair in follicles that are already dormant. Propecia is the only treatment that has been demonstrated as an effective maintainer. There are products that have good success rates with regrowth, including the scientifically proven finasteride (marketed in the U.S. as Propecia) and minoxidil (marketed in the U.S. as Rogaine, and some places as Regaine). Without preventive treatment, in three double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies, 72% of the balding men on placebo had lost hair compared to baseline by 24 months. This is compared to 83% of participants on Propecia experiencing either no more hair loss or regrowth. See Prevent Hair loss, don't Regrow?
The prospective treatment of hair multiplication'/hair cloning, which extracts self-replenishing follicle stem cells, multiplies them many times over in the lab, and microinjects them into the scalp, has been shown to work in mice, and is currently under development, expected by some scientists to be available to the public in 2009-2015. Subsequent versions of the treatment are expected by some scientists to be able to cause these follicle stem cells to simply signal the surrounding hair follicles to rejuvenate.
The below treatments are some of the most prominent. Generic brands, often with identical chemical structure or the same active ingredients, may be equally effective and are cheaper.
Interestingly, placebo treatments in studies often have reasonable success rates, though not as high as the products being tested, and even similar side-effects as the products. For example, in Finasteride (propecia) studies, the percent of patients with any drug-related sexual adverse experience was 3.8% compared with 2.0% in the placebo group. Proponents of alternative therapies believe that the majority of cases of hair loss that progress despite treatments do so because the people believe no such cure can occur. In this view, this belief, which is prevailing in the modern civilised world and continuously reinforced by medical science, is the main obstacle for effectively finding and applying a cure.
While treating hair loss most successfully is a multi-faceted, ongoing experiment for the individual, there are three principles, sometimes called The Three P's that are considered important to help produce success and avoid the somewhat common mistakes that can sabotage treatments. The Three P's are: proven treatments first, take pictures, and be patient. The most recommended treatments, in order of proven effectiveness, greatest to least, is as follows: (1) Propecia (2) Rogaine (3) Tricomin (4) Topical Spiro 5% (5) Revivogen (6) Crinagen (7) Folligen (8) Everything else.
The average hair loss treatment takes a minimum of 6 months to begin working, and sometimes up to 24 months to truly see optimal results. Treating hair loss takes time because of hair cycles. The process of hair loss is the process of "miniaturization," which takes many years. Hairs grow in, cycle into dormancy, and then grow in again several months later. Each time they re-emerge, they do so thinner, shorter, and less pigmented. In time, they become so small that they are no longer noticeable. This can take many years. New hairs only grow in 2 or 3 a year, which is why it can take a year or more to be able to detect the success of a treatment.
This difficulty can be increased because many (scientifically proven) treatments often cause initial periods of shedding, as some resting hair follicles are ejected and a new cycle of growth begins, hopefully with a thicker follicle. Discontinuing treatments can also cause periods of shedding, though this hair loss is generally considered to be temporary, not affecting the baseline.
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Diet and Lifestyle
Hair multiplication (future treatment)