Understanding the Hair Loss Treatments Options

It pays to have some basic understanding of the existing hair loss treatment options before you decide on your treatment. The hair loss treatment options can be, in the first place, divided into surgical and non-surgical therapies. There are only a few surgical techniques currently used but the non-surgical spectrum is wide and confusing. There seem to be thousands of non-surgical treatments available to those who wish to avoid hair transplant surgery. Propecia and Rogaine might be the best known medicinal hair loss treatments, while dried fruits of saw palmetto and a Chinese herb, He Shou Wu, also known as Fo-Ti, are the natural ingredients most frequently found as the main active ingredients in alternative hair loss remedies.

The non-surgical hair loss therapies can be in principle divided into medicinal and alternative treatments, whereas when considering methods of application, they can be administered as oral treatments, topicals and others, such as LaserComb. Irrespective of the aforementioned breakdowns, hair growth treatments work either by blocking the activity of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), also called anti-androgens, or by stimulating hair growth.

DHT is a biologically-active metabolite of the male hormone testosterone and it is held to be the main cause of both male and female pattern baldness. DHT causes hair miniaturization as the hair becomes finer and thinner with every new hair growth cycle until the hair follicles refuse to produce another hair and die. The exact mechanism by which DHT acts on hair follicles is not known, though. Finasteride, better known under its trade name Propecia, is the only clinically-proven and FDA-approved anti-androgen used for treating male pattern baldness. It acts by preventing the creation of harmful DHT in the scalp. Since the introduction of Propecia, many other drugs and natural therapies have emerged claiming anti-androgen activity. Some of them are thought to work by a different mode of action than Propecia, such as preventing DHT from binding to the receptor sites in the hair follicle or blocking activity in the androgen receptor itself.

Minoxidil, also known under its trade name Rogaine (Regaine in Europe), is the best-known hair loss medicine amongst hair growth stimulants. It is assumed that hair growth stimulants work by stimulating epithelial growth of hair follicles and some of them may also counteract the hardening of the hair follicles but the exact mechanism of their action has never been described. One thing that all hair growth stimulants appear to have in common is their ability to increase the length of the hair growth cycle, thus improving the ratio of hair in the growth phase and to increase the hair’s thickness.

The natural hair loss remedies are assumed to work by the aforementioned modes of action and are often presented as safer alternatives than medicinal treatments. There are not too many hair loss treatments out there that have been clinically proven and independently verified to be effective in treating baldness. Of those few existing, all happen to be medicinal drugs. Natural hair loss remedies have still to live up to their originator’s claims.

When deciding about the most suitable hair loss treatment option, you should consider approaching the problem from different angles. It is best advised to use a combination of anti-androgen and hair growth stimulant, such as a Propecia/Rogaine combo. Alternative, hair loss treatments, for instance herbal remedies, should largely be considered as a method of fine-tuning this basic regimen in order to achieve additional benefits.

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