People in the first throes of hair loss react in different ways. Some ignore the mounting evidence of excessive shedding in the hope that the problem will simply fix itself (spoiler alert: it doesn’t!). Some change their hairstyle to disguise the problem. Then there are those who turn to medication in an attempt to reverse their hair loss. Non-invasive and relatively affordable, medications are generally an effective first line of defence against hair loss.
In this post, we’re going to look at the medications most commonly used to fight hair loss, as well as some of their most popular formulations. Keep reading to learn more!
The Big Two
Two medications are used above all others and are considered the most effective for treating hair loss. These are finasteride and minoxidil.
Finasteride is an oral or topical medication that works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss. It is FDA-approved for use in men only. Taken daily as a tablet or applied directly to the scalp, it is effective in slowing or stopping hair loss and promoting hair regrowth in men. One study found that after two years of treatment, over 80% of men taking finasteride had either maintained or increased their hair count, compared to 25% of men taking a placebo. In addition, the finasteride group had a significantly higher mean hair count compared to the placebo group by the end of the trial.
Finasteride is available in different strengths and is generally well-tolerated. Like all medications, it can cause side effects, including a loss of libido. For this reason, it should be taken only under medical supervision.
Like finasteride, minoxidil is available as an oral or topical medication. It was originally developed and used for treating high blood pressure, but doctors noticed that it had the unexpected side effect of stimulating hair growth. This led to the development of topical formulations of minoxidil for hair loss treatment.
Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles, which in turn stimulates hair growth. The exact mechanism by which it promotes hair growth is not well understood, but it is thought to prolong the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle and increase the size of hair follicles. Minoxidil is FDA-approved for use in both men and women.
In clinical studies, minoxidil has demonstrated efficacy in slowing or stopping hair loss and promoting hair regrowth. One study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2002, found that after 48 weeks of treatment, over 60% of men and women using minoxidil had increased hair count, compared to 40% of people using a placebo.
Minoxidil is generally safe and well-tolerated, although it can cause side effects such as scalp irritation, itching and dryness. It’s important to note that minoxidil is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as its effects on the developing foetus or nursing infant are not known. Top of Form
Both finasteride and minoxidil can take several months to produce noticeable results, and their effectiveness can vary from person to person, depending on the extent and duration of hair loss. Additionally, they must be used continuously to maintain their effects.
One of the most popular formulations of minoxidil is Maxogaine for Women. It’s a topically applied hair loss treatment product that contains the active ingredients minoxidil and azelaic acid. Used twice a day, it can help stop hair loss and stimulate regrowth in women with hereditary hair loss or thinning hair. While the minoxidil component helps with the delivery of vital nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, the azelaic acid reduces inflammation and helps to keep the scalp in a healthy condition. Maxogaine works particularly well in the crown area, but it can also be used effectively in the treatment of frontal thinning.
Vitruvian Line Hair Supplement mimics the effects of finasteride in that it helps block some of the negative effects of the DHT hormone. Designed for men and women, it also contains vitamins, minerals and natural extracts that contribute to vigorous hair growth and healthy strands. One tablet per day of this supplement provides all the micronutrients hair follicles need to produce healthy hair and help overall health and well-being.
The effectiveness of hair loss medications varies depending on the individual, the extent and duration of hair loss and the specific medication being used. They are an effective defence against hair loss, particularly in its early stages. Strong medication should always be taken under medical supervision.
Ignoring hair loss won’t make it go away, nor will it stop you from worrying about it. What could help is a free consultation with a Vinci Hair Care specialist. If you have a hair loss problem, we’ll identify it and provide you with the most suitable options for treating it. Get in touch and book your appointment today!