Last Updated on March 18, 2023 by [email protected]
- What it is
- Hair transplants
- Laser treatment
- Lifestyle changes
- Alternative remedies
- Hair care
- Prevention tips
- Professional advice
Hair loss in men can be caused by either genetics, or the environment.
Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is an inherited trait. According to Medline Plus, it affects more than half of men over the age of 50. However, stress or other autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata can also affect hair loss in men.
Hair loss can’t always be prevented, but thankfully, there are treatments and remedies that might slow down the process.
Before you go out and buy supplements and special tonics, learn which ones have shown some promise in preventing or treating hair loss.
Here are 17 hair loss treatments you can talk with a doctor about.
What is hair loss in men?
It’s normal to lose around 50 to 100 hairs every day. Usually this loss isn’t noticeable because new hair grows to replace the hair lost. Hair loss and baldness occur when hair falls out too quickly, or new hairs stop growing.
Depending on the cause of hair loss, you may notice slowly thinning hair or a sudden bald patch. Hair loss can impact just the hair on your scalp or entire body.
Causes of hair loss in men
Hair loss in men could be caused by:
- Genetics and family history: If your relatives have hair loss, you’re more likely to develop it. Male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition where people gradually lose hair. This could show up as a slowing receding hair line or thinning patches on the crown of the head.
- Medication conditions: Some medical conditions like hormonal problems or autoimmune diseases cause hair loss. For example, thyroid problems, scalp infections, or trichotillomania (a hair-pulling disorder) could lead to thinning hair or bald patches. An autoimmune condition called alopecia areata develops when the immune system attacks hair follicles resulting in bald patches.
- Medications and medical treatments: Hair loss is a potential side effect of several medications for conditions like cancer, depression, gout, heart diseases, and arthritis.
- Stress: Chronic stress or stressful events could lead to temporary hair thinning.
1. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two medications to treat male pattern baldness:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine). Rogaine is available OTC as a liquid or foam. Apply it to the scalp twice per day to encourage hair growth and prevent hair loss. Minoxidil can take 4 to 6 months to see results. Results also depend on proper application and dosage.
- Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar). Finasteride is a pill that you take daily. It’s only available with a prescription from your doctor. The FDA states that generally, it will take at least 3 months of daily use to see results from the drug.
For both minoxidil and finasteride, it may take up to 1 year to see results, and you’ll need to keep taking them to maintain the benefits.
2. Hair transplants
The two most popular hair transplant procedures are follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction.
Keep in mind that both hair transplant procedures are considered surgery, so they can be expensive and may cause some level of discomfort.
There are also certain risks, including infections and scarring. You may need to do multiple hair transplant treatments to get the desired outcome.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
FUT is the more “classic” method. It involves removing some skin, typically from the back of your scalp, where there’s an abundance of hair. Then, a surgeon removes the follicles from that strip of skin. Finally, they reinsert the hair follicles into the part of the scalp where you’re experiencing hair loss.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
In FUE, a surgeon removes hair follicles directly from the scalp and transplants them to the bald parts of the scalp. Direct hair implantation (DHI) is a modified version of this technique in which a specialized tool is used to complete the procedure.
3. Laser treatment
Laser treatment is thought to reduce the inflammation in follicles that keeps them from regrowth for some types of hair loss, like alopecia areata. For other types of hair loss, a 2014 reviewTrusted Source suggests that treatment from low-level laser therapy (LLLT) may increase hair growth through other mechanisms.
There are limited studies to support the effectiveness of laser treatments for hair loss. But a 2016 reviewTrusted Source determined that LLLT is safe and effective when used to treat male pattern hair loss.
According to a 2019 reviewTrusted Source, more research on LLLT is still needed.
4. Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard about all the negative effects smoking has on your lungs. But did you know that smoking may be associated with hair loss?
A 2020 studyTrusted Source of 1,000 men found that the majority of those who smoked had some amount of hair loss, compared with less than half of the participants who did not smoke.
If you smoke, quitting may help decrease hair loss.
5. Scalp massage
Not only do massages feel wonderful, but they may help with hair loss, too. Massaging the scalp stimulates the hair follicles.
In a small 2016 studyTrusted Source, healthy Japanese men who received 4 minutes of scalp massage each day for 24 weeks had thicker hair at the end of the study.
Research from 2019 also found that scalp massages were associated with self-perceived improvements in hair density.
A balanced diet may help keep your hair in tip-top shape. Make sure you’re including a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins in your diet. Try to limit your intake of sweets.
A 2019 reviewTrusted Source associated certain vitamins and minerals found in food with healthy hair. Try adding these:
·iron-rich foods, including lean beef, beans, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified grains, and eggs
·foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, flax seeds, egg yolks, hemp seeds, and walnuts
·high protein foods, like eggs, lean meats, and seafood
Last but not least, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
7. Reduce stress
Stress can really do a number on the body, including your hair. Hair loss may be a result of a stressful lifestyle.
Strategies to reduce stress include:
- regularly exercising
- listening to music
- practicing yoga
- getting enough sleep
Some evidence from a 2014 mice studyTrusted Source suggests that peppermint oil can help with hair growth. Rosemary oil has also been traditionally used to increase blood circulation to the scalp.
A 2013 studyTrusted Source found that rosemary leaf extract improved hair regrowth in mice.
Coconut oil, castor oil, and olive oil are also widely recommended. But according to a 2020 reviewTrusted Source, research on their benefits for hair growth is limited.
9. Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto is a plant with small berries.
While research is narrow on saw palmetto’s ability to treat hair loss, a 2020 reviewTrusted Source found that it may help with hair growth while having few side effects.
Biotin is a vitamin found naturally in foods, like:
- sweet potatoes
There’s some evidence that taking biotin will help slow hair loss, but most of the researchTrusted Source has been done in women with a biotin deficiency. However, there is a lack of evidenceTrusted Source that supplementing with biotin actually has a noticeable effect in healthy individuals.
11. Onion juice
A small 2014 studyTrusted Source showed that the use of onion juice as a topical treatment resulted in significantly more regrowth than just tap water in people with patchy alopecia areata. More research on people with male pattern hair loss is needed.
Bhringraj (Eclipta alba), also called false daisy, is a species in the sunflower family. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s known as an herb that supports hair growth.
Studies, take one from 2008 for exampleTrusted Source, have shown the result that extracts of the herb show better hair regrowth than minoxidil. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.
13. Green tea
Another purported herbal remedy for hair loss is green tea.
In an older 2005 studyTrusted Source in mice, the polyphenolic compounds present in green tea showed promise as a natural remedy for hair loss. But there haven’t been human studies to confirm these effects.
Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is marketed widely in India for hair growth. An older 2003 studyTrusted Source on mice showed positive effects on hair follicles, but no studies have been done in humans.
Hair care tips
15. Be gentle with your locks
Try to be as gentle as possible when brushing or styling your hair. Constantly twisting, twirling, or pulling your hair tight can lead to hair loss.
If you’re worried about hair loss, you may want to avoid the following:
- tight hairstyles, such as pigtails, cornrows, braids, and buns
- chemicals used in perms and hair straightening treatments
- hot curling irons or straightening irons
- bleaching your hair
If you do use chemicals or bleach in your hair, seek help from a trained professional. Don’t try to do it yourself at home.
Visit a doctor
16. Get a checkup
Aside from your genetics, several medical conditions can result in hair loss. You’ll be able to address your hair loss by treating the underlying condition.
The following conditions could lead to hair loss:
- lichen planus
- scalp psoriasis
- alopecia areata
- thyroid conditions
- eating disorders, due to poor nutrition
- iron deficiency anemia
- hair pulling disorder, known as trichotillomania
- celiac disease
If you have any of these conditions, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms besides hair loss, make sure you talk with a doctor to treat the underlying condition. Your hair loss should improve as your condition improves.
17. Discuss your medications with a physician
Certain medications can lead to hair loss. Examples include:
- chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- some blood thinners (anticoagulants)
- some depression medications
- medications used to treat high blood pressure
- some heart medications
- gout medications
- isotretinoin (Accutane), an acne treatment
Ways to prevent hair loss
If you’ve started to notice thinning hair or have a family history of male pattern baldness, you may not be able to fully stop your hair loss. Still, you may be able to slow or prevent some hair loss.
Try these tips to help prevent hair loss in men:
- Find ways to lower your stress levels
- Take care of your overall health with a healthy diet and exercise
- Avoid hairstyles that tug and pull on your hair
- Use hair products to prevent hair loss
- Avoid smoking
- Try scalp massages
- Talk with your healthcare professional to see if any medications or medical conditions could be increasing hair loss for you
Frequently asked questions about hair loss treatments for men
Does hair loss treatment work?
Some people find success with hair loss treatments, like OTC medications, prescription medications, and home remedies. However, they don’t work for everyone.
For example, Rogaine works best for people with hereditary baldness at the back of the head, just under the crown.
Hair transplants are usually more successful than OTC products. However, if you have widespread thinning or baldness, or if your hair loss is due to chemo or medications, they won’t be as effective.
What happens if I stop hair loss treatment?
It depends on the treatment you’re using. If you’re taking an OTC or prescription medication, like Rogaine or Propecia, you’ll have to keep taking it indefinitely in order to maintain results.
How can I permanently treat hair loss?
Hair implants are typically permanent. However, you may need multiple implants depending on your goals.
There are several treatments you may want to try for hair loss. These include OTC and prescription medications, hair implants, and home remedies.
Talk with your doctor first. They can help you figure out the cause of your hair loss and what the best treatment option would be.