There are two FDA approved medications for male-pattern baldness: Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Finasteride or Propecia is taken orally and can only be used by men. It helps to slow the progression of hair loss and can also cause new growth. Results are usually better towards the back of the head, rather than in the forehead area. It works by reducing the levels of the androgen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is implicated in male pattern baldness. To prevent further hair loss, Finasteride must be continued indefinitely, because stopping it will cause the DHT to rise and hair loss to resume.
Minoxidil or Rogaine is a topical lotion that stimulates and prolongs hair growth. It is thought to do this by increasing the blood flow to the hair follicles and increasing the size of the follicle and the thickness of individual hairs. Regrowth is better in the back of the head than the forehead and may take up to 4 months to show an effect. To prevent hair loss returning, it is essential to continue the topical treatment indefinitely because stopping it will cause the baldness to return rapidly.
Non-Medicinal Hair Loss Treatments
- Laser hair loss treatment or a red light hairbrush has had modest success as over-the-counter treatments to regrow hair.
- Botox injections have been shown to increase blood flow to the scalp, encouraging hair growth.
- Stem cells, growth factors, herbs, and surgical techniques such as transplantation of hair follicles and micrografting are also available to counter hair loss.