3 hair loss treatments you need to know about

From rubbing onion juice on their scalps to standing on their head, people go to extreme lengths to try to make their hair grow. Unfortunately, following urban myths like these is unlikely to give you fuller locks.

However, there are effective hair loss treatments available – and many people are taking advantage of them. Highlighting their popularity, Online Doctor LloydsPharmacy has reported a 24 per cent increase in sales of these treatments in 2018. If you or someone you know is experiencing hair loss and wants to do something about it, keep reading. Here are three treatments you should know about.

1. Finasteride
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss. It affects half of all men by the time they reach their 50s, and for some it starts in their 20s or 30s. A genetic disorder, it happens when hair follicles convert the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause the follicles to weaken, shrink and eventually die.  One prescription medicine that’s known to be effective in treating this condition is finasteride, which is better known under the brand name Propecia. Available in tablet form, it works by decreasing the effect of DHT on hair follicles. Research suggests that 90 per cent of men who take it see desirable results, while around two-thirds experience renewed hair growth. However, it’s important to be aware that it can take a few months before effects are visible, and if you stop taking it, hair loss is likely to resume.

2. Minoxidil
Another effective treatment is minoxidil. As well as helping men with male pattern baldness, this can be used by women experiencing female pattern baldness – which is known to run in families and often develops or gets worse following the menopause.  The treatment is applied to the scalp as a lotion and, although it’s not known exactly how it works, it seems to have a stimulating effect on hair growth. Studies have found that it slows hair loss in around half of those who use it, while just over one in 10 experience some regrowth of their hair.  As with finasteride, it usually takes a period of months before any effects are seen, and if you stop using it, your hair is likely to continue thinning.


3. Hairstyle changes
As well as male and female pattern baldness, there are other causes of hair loss.  One of these is traction alopecia, which happens when hair is pulled excessively over a long period of time. Certain hairstyles are known to increase the risk of this type of alopecia, including tight ponytails or braids and hair extensions. Tell-tale signs to look out for are redness or tenderness of the scalp and broken hairs close to the hairline.  If you have traction alopecia, the treatment is simple; you should change the way you style your locks. Try not to do anything that pulls your hair and is likely to cause further damage. This should allow your tresses to recover – although it’s important to bear in mind that prolonged traction alopecia can cause permanent hair loss.  As well as these treatments, there are other ways to tackle hair loss, ranging from steroid injections and immunotherapy to hair transplants. The important thing when you’re assessing your options is to understand the cause of the issue and to get reliable medical advice. If you’re worried about hair loss or you want to know more about the treatments available, you can speak to your GP.

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