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Medicine for Hair Growth

by Audrey Sivasothy
  • Overview

    Medicine for Hair Growth
    Medicine for Hair Growth
    Hair loss can have devastating effects on a person's self esteem. Today, a plethora of hair products and gadgets can be found on the market, and many boast spectacular hair-growing capabilities. However, despite the growing number of promising products, there are only a handful of scientifically proven hair-growing medications and treatments currently on the market.
  • Significance

    As we age, the desire to reclaim the full, healthy head of hair of our youth gains importance. Today, nearly 50 percent of all men will experience male pattern hair loss by age 50. Female hair loss is also a growing problem; nearly 30 million women in the United States alone suffer from some form of hair loss or thinning. Fortunately, science has provided us several potential solutions through various medications and treatments for hair loss.
    Female hair loss and thinning due to traction alopecia
  • Causes

    In the current literature, genetics and hormones remain the two most popularly supported causes of hair loss for both genders. However, the science of hair loss and balding is still largely misunderstood, especially for female sufferers. Balding in men is typically brought on by age and genetic predisposition; however, baldness and thinning can affect women at any time without regard to heredity.
    Female hair loss and thinning due to traction alopecia
  • Types of Hair-Growing Medicines and Therapies

    • Cortisone injections: These treatments are injected directly into the scalp at the site of hair loss and are best for hair loss that is triggered by autoimmune disease. Any new hair gained through the treatment is lost once treatment ceases. Cortisone treatments are also available in pill or topical ointment forms. Cortisone pill treatments are much stronger than injection or ointment varieties. • Minoxidil 5% (active ingredient in Rogaine/Regaine): Minoxidil has shown great promise as a remedy for hair loss in clinical trials. This medicine takes several months of diligent use before hair re-growth results can be seen. New hair usually appears in three months, but any re-grown hair falls out once the medication is discontinued. Minoxidil is less effective over large areas of hair loss. • Finasteride (active ingredient in Propecia): Similar to Minoxidil, finasteride has also shown promise as a medicine for male baldness in clinical trials. Hair loss returns after six to 12 months of discontinued use. Finasteride has not been proven effective in women, and it works best on hair loss in the crown and hairline regions of the head. • Essential Oils: While not officially considered medicines, many have used stimulating essential oils such as peppermint oil, rosemary and thyme as therapies to stimulate blood flow to the scalp. This increased blood flow to the region of hair loss encourages hair to re-grow.
    Essential oils are often used as a therapy for hair thinning and loss.
  • Considerations

    Though the treatments highlighted above are promising hair-growth therapies, none of the therapies is a permanent solution to hair loss. Each therapy must be used for a considerable amount of time before results can be seen, and each must be continued indefinitely in order to maintain results. To date, science has simply not provided us with a permanent solution to hair loss.
  • Warning

    Potential causes of your hair loss should be investigated by a licensed dermatologist. Though some hair loss medications and treatments are available over the counter without a prescription, a proper diagnosis should be sought from an experienced practitioner. He or she will be able to suggest an appropriate therapy for your situation.

    References & Resources