wikiHow to Choose the Right Hair Loss Option

Four Methods:Addressing Possible Medical CausesChanging Your Hair Care RegimenCombating Hair Loss with Medication, Herbal Remedies, or SurgeryLiving with Hair Loss

If your hair is thinning or receding, there are a variety of steps you can take to fight it. You can start by eliminating any potential medical causes and making simple changes to your hair care regimen. If you’re still losing hair, you can try supplements or drugs like Rogaine or Propecia. Still losing hair? You can choose a surgical option, disguise your hair loss with wigs or hairpieces, or embrace it with a hairstyle suited to the follicly challenged.

Method 1
Addressing Possible Medical Causes

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    Visit your doctor first to see if a medical condition is causing your hair loss. Whether you have just started losing hair or are nearly bald, talking to your doctor is the first step you should take, because if an underlying disease is behind your hair loss, none of the other steps listed here will fix it.[1] Your doctor will perform a blood test and scalp biopsy to see if you have any of the following medical conditions that cause hair loss:[2]
    • Male androgenetic alopecia
    • Thyroid disease and anemia
    • Illness such as a severe infection, major surgery, or even a bad case of the flu
    • Cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy
    • Ringworm
    • Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles
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    Discuss your diet with your doctor. Dietary deficiencies or eating an overabundance of certain vitamins may lead to hair loss, which can usually be reversed by correcting the dietary imbalance. In particular, watch out for:[3]
    • Sudden weight loss
    • Anorexia (not eating enough) or bulimia (vomiting after eating)
    • Too much vitamin A, usually due to supplements
    • Inadequate protein intake
    • Not enough iron
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    Review the medications you are taking. There are many medications that can lead to hair loss as a side effect. You can discuss alternate medications with your doctor. Medications that may thin your hair include:[4]
    • Blood thinners
    • Arthritis, depression, gout, and high blood pressure medications
    • Birth control pills
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs like ibuprofen
    • Chemotherapy drugs

Method 2
Changing Your Hair Care Regimen

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    Take proper care of your hair as an easy, early way to battle some hair loss. This is both the simplest and cheapest option. In fact, most of these steps will actually save you money. This is a good place to start if you are in the early stages of losing your hair. If you have already lost a good deal of hair, you may want to begin with a more aggressive option such as taking Rogaine or Propecia, or having hair transplant surgery.
    • If your hair loss is due to your genetics (such as "male pattern baldness"), you may not be able to do anything to win that battle.
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    Groom your hair less. If you are losing hair, try shampooing, combing, and brushing it less. Let your hair air dry instead of rubbing it dry with a towel or using a blow dryer, and never brush or comb wet hair, as this will make it more likely to break.[5]
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    Do not bleach, dye, or perm your hair frequently. Bleaches, dyes, gels, and other hair products can all make your hair brittle, leading to breakage. If you are losing hair, consider limiting or stopping use of these products.[6]
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    Let your hair air-dry. Frequent use of blow dryers, flat irons, or hair curlers can boil the water in the shaft of your hair, leaving it brittle and prone to breakage. To slow hair loss, let your hair air dry before styling it.[7]
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    Avoid hairstyles that hold hair tightly or pull on your hair. Over years, tight ponytails, cornrows, or braids can cause hair loss. If you are going to use scrunchies or rubber bands, be sure to wear them in different areas of your scalp instead of always forming a ponytail in the same place. If you like cornrows or braids, consider alternating these hairstyles with other ones that put less stress on your hair.

Method 3
Combating Hair Loss with Medication, Herbal Remedies, or Surgery

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    Use medical or herbal means to combat advanced hair loss. If your hair has already receded more than is to your liking, you may want to take more aggressive action than simply changing your hair care routine. Herbal remedies are an inexpensive place to start, while medications are more potent and surgery offers a quick, though expensive, fix.
    • Herbal Remedies. These remedies are relatively inexpensive and have been shown to be effective, though less so than medication. They are a good place to start if you are budget conscience and not too worried about your hair.
    • Medications. Finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine) are more expensive than herbal alternatives, but also more potent. Start with Propecia, which has better clinical results. If that doesn’t work, consider using Rogaine. These medications can be very effective at treating hair loss because they block the formation of a hormone, DHT, that causes hair loss in men.[8]
    • Surgery. Surgery is the most expensive option – an average of $5,000 in the U.S. – but also yields immediate results. If you want to address your hair loss right away, then this is the way to go.
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    Choose herbal supplements that mimic the effects of monoxidil or finasteride. There are a variety of over-the-counter supplement that have compounds that also increase blood flow to hair follicles like minoxidil or block DHT synthesis like finasteride. Clinical trials have proven some of these supplements to be effective at promoting hair growth.
    • Pumpkin Seed Oil – Patients taking 400mg of pumpkin seed oil once a day showed significant hair regrowth compared to patients on a placebo. There were no significant side effects, including no increase in erectile dysfunction or loss of libido.[9]
    • Saw Palmetto – Taken in doses of 320mg per day. Saw palmetto inhibits the production of DHT and has been shown to promote hair growth, though not as effectively as finasteride.[10]
    • Pygeum – The extract of the African prune tree, pygeum is often combined with Saw Palmetto. Taken at doses of 12 to 25mg per day, it reduces both the levels of DHT in the blood and the number of sites where it can bind and has been shown to effectively treat enlarged prostates, so by extension, may well be useful in treating hair loss.[11][12]
    • Green Tea – Green tea contains DHT blocking compounds and has been shown to promote hair growth.[13]
    • Grape, Peppermint, or Rosemary Oil – When applied topically, all of these have been shown to increase blood flow to the scalp and to thereby improve hair growth. Peppermint oil proved more effective than minoxidil in clinical trials.[14][15][16]
    • Dodder Seed (Cuscuta reflexas) Extract – This extract has been shown in mice to help regrow hair lost due both to excessive DHT[17] and due to the use of cyclophosphamide, a common chemotherapy drug.[18] No recommended human dosage has been established.
    • Soy Drinks and Soy Oil – Consumption of soy products like tempeh, edamame, tofu, and soy milk has been shown to prevent hair loss. Alternately, you can take 300mg of soy oil daily as a diet supplement.[19]
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    Use finasteride (Propecia). Finasteride is an oral drug taken once a day that does a lot more than just stop hair loss. It works by blocking the synthesis of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a chemical that causes hair loss and enlarges the prostate. It has been proven to be effective in both slowing hair loss and preventing prostate cancer,[20] and may also reduce the risk of heart disease.[21] Though reports that it causes erectile dysfunction have reduced its popularity, there is not substantial evidence that it does so.[22]
    • WARNING: Women should not use finasteride. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not even touch broken finasteride tablets, as this may harm the fetus.[23]
    • You can take finasteride with or without food.
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    Try minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil is a topical formula, most effective in the 5% formulation,[24], which works by increasing blood flow to hair follicles. It is most often prescribed for women or men under 40 and is applied topically to the scalp twice a day.[25] The most common side effect is contact dermatitis of the scalp.[26] Consult your doctor to see if it is right for you.
    • Minoxidil is available in 2% solution, 5% solution, or 5% foam.
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    Consider hair transplant surgery for quick results of if medication and herbal remedies fail. Not all hair loss can be stopped through medication or changing your hair care regimen. If you are still losing hair, you may opt for hair transplant surgery, in which small, hair-bearing segments of scalp are surgically removed, and the hairs relocated to balding or thinning areas of the scalp. The surgery typically results excellent hair re-growth and is permanent.[27] The average cost of transplant surgery is $5,000 in the United States.
    • There are two types of hair transplant surgery generally available. One type is follicular unit extraction, which removes individual hair follicles one by one. It does not leave a significant scar.[28] Another type is follicular unit transplantation, which involves transplanting a strip of hair follicle tissue from one area (usually the back of the neck) to the area with hair loss. It can leave scarring.[29]

Method 4
Living with Hair Loss

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    Consider other options if you have already lost most of your hair or if other options don’t work. You don’t have to fight your hair loss. Though they have a certain stigma, there is nothing wrong with hiding your hair loss with a wig or hairpiece. And if that’s not for you, consider embracing your hair loss with a hairstyle that suits you.
    • Choose a wig or hairpiece if you have lost a substantial amount of hair and want the look of a full head of hair. While both can be expensive, they offer an instant fix and, with bonding glue, can be worn like your natural hair.
    • Embracing your hair loss will cost you nothing, will let you stop fighting nature, and as Michael Jordan and Jason Statham show, can make you look pretty cool, too. If you want to stand out in a crowd, ditch the hairpiece and wig and go with a clean, trimmed look, or simply shave it all off.
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    Consider a hairpiece for localized hair loss. Unlike a full wig, a hairpiece (or toupee) covers only the particular area where you are missing hair. A well-made hairpiece will blend in with your natural hair to create the look of a full head of hair. Most hairpieces cost between $500 and $1500, and if bonded with glue, can be used while swimming or showering.[30]
    • For the impatient, a hairpiece offers an instant fix.
    • They also require a lot of maintenance, so if that’s not your thing, consider another option.
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    Use a wig for more extensive hair loss. Just like hairpieces, wigs can be bonded to your scalp with glue or tape so that you can wear them swimming or in the shower. Synthetic wigs cost between $30 and $500, while those made with real hair range from $800 to over $3,000. A well-made, well-fitted should be indistinguishable from your real hair.[31]
    • Wigs require regular cleaning, and for long-term use, you will want to have your wig regularly cleaned and styled by a specialist hairdresser, especially if the wig is made from real hair. If you’re not interested in constant maintenance, pick another option.
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    Pick a hairstyle that’s right for you. If you are not interested in trying to re-grow your hair or nothing has worked, and if transplants or wigs are too expensive or simply not your thing, then you can embrace your hair loss with the right hairstyle. Skip the dreaded comb-over and try one of these instead:[32][33]
    • Disheveled – If your hair is just starting to thin, cutting it in uneven layers and mussing it about will give you a shaggy look that hides your thinning hair. Just don’t try this for too long. Once patches start showing up in your shaggy look, it’s time to go short.
    • The Roger Sterling – Named after the dapper “Mad Men” executive, this hairstyle is for those with a receding hairline but plenty of hair on top. It combines a short haircut with a part and short sides blended in with the top.
    • The Caesar – Inspired by the Roman emperor, this style involves short hair, with the bangs cut on a horizontal fringe and styled forward to help conceal a receding hairline.
    • Buzz cut – The contrast between long hair in some places and no hair in others is not a good one, so if you've lost a lot of hair, the best option is to keep it short. A buzz works particularly well for receding hairlines or bald patches. Think Jason Statham or Andre Agassi.
    • Clean-shaven – It works for Michael Jordan and Patrick Stewart. It can work for you. This look shows that you have fully embraced your baldness and makes you stand out. It also offers easy maintenance.

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Categories: Hair Loss and Scalp Conditions