Preventing and reversing hair loss

It is easier to prevent the aging and falling out of healthy hairs than to regrow hair in follicles that are already dormant. However, there are products that have good success rates with maintenance and 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). 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.*

Topical application of ketoconazole, which is both an anti-fungal and a potent 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, is often used as a supplement to other approaches.

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.[4] 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.

Regular aerobic exercise can help keep androgen levels naturally lower while maintaining overall health and lowering stress, though weight training may have a detrimental effect on hair by increasing testosterone levels. (There is some evidence that irregular, short bursts of exercise can be worse for health than no exercise at all)

Stress reduction can be helpful in slowing hair loss.

Immunosuppresants applied to the scalp have been shown to temporarily reverse hair loss, though the possibly lethal side effects of this treatment make it untennable.

Saw Palmetto a.k.a. Serenoa repens is an herbal DHT inhibitor often claimed to be cheaper and have fewer side effects than finesteride and dutasteride. This claim however is inaccurate. In studies, Saw Palmetto was shown not to reduce serum DHT levels to any significant extent. Unlike Propecia (finasteride), which reduces serum DHT levels noticeably, Saw Palmetto is not considered an effective treatment for hair loss. It is also not natural as it can and does modify some hormonal processes in the body just as potently as synthetic medications can.

Polygonum Multiflorum is a traditional Chinese cure for hair loss. Whether the plant itself is useful, the general safety and quality control of herbs imported from China can be questionable.

Beta Sitosterol, which is a constituent in many seed oils, can help to treat BHP by lowering cholesterol. If used for this purpose, an extract is best. Consuming large amounts of oil to get at small quantities of beta sitosterol is likely to exacerbate male pattern baldness.

Resveratrol, from grape skins, is a lipase inhibitor. By decreasing the body's ability to absorb fat through the intestine walls, it reduces the total fat and calorie content of a person's diet.

While drastic, broad spectrum anti-androgens such as flutamide are sometimes used topically. Flutamide is potent enough to have a feminizing effect in men, including growth of the breasts.

There are many misconceptions about what can help prevent hairloss, one of these being that frequent ejaculation may have an influence on MPB. While ejaculation significantly lowers levels of relaxin (a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor) in a male's body and does cause testosterone levels to temporarily elevate the claim that frequent ejaculations can cause baldness is often viewed with skepticism. Higher testosterone levels may correlate with both hairloss and increased sex drive in predisposed individuals. Another false reason is "blood-flow" theory which led men to stand on their heads in the 1980's, and can be found in the advertising for many of the fake hair-loss treatments for sale on the internet. While Minoxidil is a vasodilator and is speculated to work, in part, by increasing blood flow to hair follicles, there is no evidence that standing on one's head can alleviate baldness.

Table of Contents:
Psychological implications
Concealing hair loss
Embracing baldness
Common baldness myths