Hair Loss Treatments For Men

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,465
    Dr. Ken Washenik, Vice Chair of the Hair Foundation, discusses hair loss treatments for men.

    Kenneth J. Washenik: Hair loss in men can be a tricky situation; it's not one-size fits all. One of the real challenges for men with hair loss is walking into a pharmacy or drug store and using literally countless products that say they might be able to help you. And the reality is we have two medications that are FDA approved and are known to work, they are proven propecia, minoxidil, but one you need a prescription for that's propecia or fenestrate, so you are not going to walk in and just buying that.

    Minoxidil is not a prescription regardless of the form it's in, brand the generic, some other name, read the labels, see if they have minoxidil in it. If they don't have minoxidil, these have not been proved in or established in clinical trials to help hair loss.

    You want to make sure that you are using the proven treatments and then you can look at these other ones and see if anything makes sense for you to add, but don't use them instead of the ones that we know can help your situation. So we talk about important things for hair loss be iron, copper, zinc, biotin, the B-vitamins, now Vitamin-D has a lot of research behind its role with hair growth, but unless you are deficient in those, then we don't really have good evidence that going above normal level is going to help you.

    Having said that, I recommend to my patients and I take it myself, a multi-vitamin, because you don't know if you are a little bit lower one at all. So take something just to kind of show it up and be comfortable that you are not low at any of these nutritional needs for your hair.

    Another area for hair is protein. Hair is just made of protein. So if you are on a protein-restricted diet, then you can also have a negative effect on your hair growth, that's something else to consider. For a lot of reasons you should not hyper-supplement your male hormones, so a body building supplement, a male virility supplement, an anti-aging supplement, if men supplement and take more of an energy of the male hormone than is normally found in their body, it can lead to hair loss. We know that male pattern hair loss is also called in medical textbooks, androgenetic alopecia, so the androgen is driving, so it makes sense if you take extra androgens, you can accelerate the hair loss or make your hair loss worse.

    I am a big believer in combination therapy, propecia, minoxidil; those two drugs work very differently so their mechanisms of action, the way they can help your hair can be synergistic, they can have a more additive effect than they would if you used both individually.

    There are other things you can combine; you can combine a medical treatment or treatments and a device like low-level laser treatment. If you are looking to restore your hairline, then hair transplantation, follicular unit transportation is your number one way to address that.

    If you're just beginning to it and you want to slow down your hair loss, you could pick one of those medications, you can pick a low level laser.

    The situation that you are trying to address for your own particular stage and type of hair loss is going to help drive whether monotherapy or combination therapy is best for you.

    You have to be on any known treatment for hair loss for months before you can see an effect. So jumping on and off treatments is not the way to go. Even proven treatments, I have had people tell me oh, I tried minoxidil, it didn't work, I used it for probably 2 weeks, well then you never gave it enough of a chance and so unfortunately there is no quick fix for hair.

    There are many types of hair loss and even though if you look at men with hair loss, more than 90% would be due to male pattern hair loss, there are other causes. So see a physician, see a dermatologist or a doctor experienced in diagnose again treating hair loss to find out exactly what's going on your particular situation.