How do common hair loss treatments work – and which is best?
No matter the cause, whether it’s genetic, stress-related, a medical condition, or just a temporary phase in life, hair loss is not a vibe. It can affect your self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, and mental health. Thankfully, there are a lot of different treatment options available these days to tackle the problem.
You might be wondering, though, how do they work? And which is the best of the lot? It’s important to explore all your options to find the treatment that works for you. So, let’s break it down…
Topical medications (Minoxidil)
Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, is an over-the-counter liquid or foam solution that can help to stimulate hair growth when it’s applied directly to the scalp. It’s available in 2% or 5% strengths and works by shortening the resting phase of the hair growth cycle and boosting the growth phase. It can even help hair grow a little thicker.
You’d apply it wherever your hair is thinning and massage it into your scalp so that it reaches the hair follicles. Minoxidil isn’t a quick fix though – it can take between two to six months of daily use to see results. You’ll also need to keep using it indefinitely to maintain the results. When you stop the treatment, your hair loss will most likely resume.
Although it’s considered safe to use, Minoxidil can have some unpleasant side effects, including scalp sensitivity or irritation, or hair growth in the wrong places (when the solution comes into contact with your face or hands, yikes). It’s also not safe for use if you’re pregnant (or trying to fall pregnant) or when you are breastfeeding.
If your hair loss is due to a hormone imbalance (menopause, for example), your doctor may recommend some form of hormone therapy as a treatment option, such as estrogen or progesterone.
An anti-androgen drug like spironolactone (Aldactone) can also help – it binds to androgen receptors and decreases the body’s processing of testosterone, which can speed up hair loss in women. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) tend to produce excess androgens, so spironolactone can be helpful in these instances.
As with all medications, there are potential side effects such as allergic reactions, leg cramps, high potassium levels, fatigue, breast tenderness, loss of libido, nausea and vomiting, or dizziness (it’s a lot). You would need to chat to your doctor to keep a close eye on your progress. The drug can take more than six months to take effect, and like Minoxidil, will stop working if you stop the medication.
Ketoconazole shampoo (such as Nizoral) can be a helpful treatment for androgenic alopecia because it decreases inflammation on the scalp, which contributes to hair loss, and improves the strength of your hair. Depending on the concentration of ketoconazole, you may require a prescription from a doctor.
Ketoconazole does have some potential side effects, such as oiliness or dryness of the hair or scalp, skin and hair discoloration, or skin irritation, but a study found that it produced similar results to Minoxidil in improving hair density and increasing the size and proportion of anagen hair follicles.
If you want to go the more natural route, hair oil can help to stimulate hair growth, and is backed by scientific studies, which show that ingredients like rosemary oil are equally as effective as Minoxidil when treating male and female pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia).
Other natural ingredients like green tea contain natural antioxidants (catechins and polyphenols), and scientific studies have found that they can block dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone that drives hair loss.
Dermarolling involves a handheld device with microneedles that gently prick your scalp, which can help stimulate blood flow and promote the production of collagen and elastin in the scalp. This in turn promotes new hair growth and increases the growth phase of the hair follicle. Studies have found that the use of a dermaroller on the scalp can be more effective in promoting hair growth than Minoxidil.
A scalp massage brush is another way to stimulate blood circulation and boost hair growth without any nasty side effects. Scalp massage has been scientifically proven to reduce hair loss and improve hair growth. The brush exfoliates your scalp, clearing away dead skin cells and product build-up, which can make it harder for new hair to grow.
So, which treatment is best?
Of course, you’re probably wondering which treatment for hair loss is the GOAT? At the end of the day, it comes down to what you’re comfortable with and what’s right for your hair. If you want to go the medical prescription route, treatments like Minoxidil, hormone therapy, and Ketoconazole shampoo could result in new hair growth within six months to a year.
If you’d prefer a more natural route with fewer side effects and faster results, hair oil, derma rolling, and scalp massage might be more up your alley. In fact, if you combine these three treatments, your hair may feel fuller and thicker sooner than you’d expect. A scalp massage brush clears away dead skin cells and a dermaroller makes it easier for the hair oil to absorb into your scalp.
Have you tried any of the treatment options listed here, or a combination of approaches? Which one hits different? If you’re keen on natural hair loss treatments, visit our website to shop our Super Roots Hair Growth Elixir, Scalp Rescue Massage Brush, and 1.5mm Derma Roller.
Haircare for the soul, charged with positivity.