As a Harley Street hair transplant clinic, we often come across queries about non-invasive hair restoration products aimed at reversing male pattern baldness and other types of hair loss, like female pattern hair loss, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium. After all, hair transplant surgery isn’t for everyone.
Hair loss is a sensitive issue. When your hair loss products fail, it can be frustrating and stressful. So which hair loss products actually work?
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Which hair loss products are scientifically proven to reduce hair loss or promote growth
- Which types of hair loss they’re suitable for
- How to decide which product to use.
4 hair loss products that work
Minoxidil is the most recognised non-invasive hair loss product on the market. Also known as Rogaine or Regaine, it comes in the form of a scalp lotion which should be applied once or twice daily. It’s available in 2 strengths: Minoxidil 2% and Minoxidil 5%.
Minoxidil was discovered to be an effective hair loss treatment by accident — so the mechanisms behind how it works aren’t exactly known . It acts as a vasodilator, which means the blood vessels on the scalp open to allow more blood to flow to the follicles, delivering essential nutrients.
Many studies have found Minoxidil to be effective in treating androgenetic alopecia [1-3]. It’s also used to treat alopecia areata and body hair loss.
Learn more about Minoxidil:
- Does Minoxidil work on eyebrows?
- Is it OK to take Minoxidil 3 times a week?
- Does Minoxidil Change Hair Colour? 5 Minoxidil FAQs
Finasteride is an oral hair loss medication. It works by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme known to trigger conversion of testosterone to DHT. DHT is the key hormone that causes pattern baldness, so by blocking production, it can prevent premature hair loss.
Studies show that Finasteride is a highly effective hair loss drug for men with male pattern baldness [4-5]. But since it only works against the mechanism that triggers androgenetic alopecia, it’s not usually effective against other types of hair loss.
Finasteride is also not recommended for use by women, as it can interfere with contraception effectiveness and foetal development in pregnant women.
Learn more about Finasteride:
- Is it OK to take Finasteride 3 times a week?
- Does Finasteride Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
- Can Women Use Finasteride?
Dutasteride is the same kind of drug as Finasteride: a 5-alpha reductase (5AR) inhibitor. It blocks this enzyme from converting testosterone to DHT.
Dutasteride is perhaps less well-known than Minoxidil and Finasteride. But studies have found it to be the most effective hair loss solution of these options for treating androgenetic alopecia [7-9]. One study showed that Dutasteride was between 3 and 100 times more powerful as inhibiting 5AR as Finasteride, depending on whether it was type 1 or type 2 .
Like Finasteride, Dutasteride isn’t usually suitable for use by women.
Learn more about Dutasteride:
- Is it OK to take Dutasteride 3 times a week?
- Dutasteride vs Finasteride: Which is better for hair loss?
4. Caffeine solutions
Research shows that caffeine shampoos for hair loss can work if they’re left on the scalp long enough [10-11]. In fact, certain caffeine concentrations can be as effective as Minoxidil for reducing hair loss over a 6-month period .
Even better, caffeinated formulas aren’t just good for treating pattern baldness. They can also help people with stress-related hair loss known as telogen effluvium, as well as non-specific hair loss [11-12].
Caffeine shampoos can take a long time to boost hair regrowth, and you’ll need to leave the formula on your scalp for an extended time with each use to see results. But if you have mild hair loss, it can be a great way to restore your tresses.
Learn more about the role of caffeine and other natural remedies for hair loss:
- Caffeine And Hair Loss: Is There A Link?
- Vitamins For Hair Growth: A Complete Guide To Hair Supplements
- 4 Foods That Can Contribute To Hair Loss
Do non-surgical hair loss products really work?
These hair loss products really work — but they usually need to be taken continuously and indefinitely for the effects to last.
Some hair loss sufferers have had concerns that Minoxidil actually caused hair shedding after use. This is a known effect of this hair loss product — but it’s nothing to worry about. This happens because Minoxidil stimulates hairs in the resting (or telogen) phase of the hair growth cycle to fall out quickly. Shedding telogen hairs quickly makes room for your follicles to return to the growth phase sooner.
Minoxidil and caffeine shampoos are the only hair loss products that work that are suitable for both men and women.
What do I need to consider when using hair loss products?
- Application – don’t overuse, underuse, or misapply these products. Always follow the guidelines and take advice from professional hair loss specialists
- External factors – heavy styling and heat can cause hair loss, and compromise the effectiveness of some hair loss products, so take it easy on styling products and hairdryers while using these products
- Medical advice – it’s always best to get treatment advice from an experienced professional hair loss clinic who can assess your individual hair loss issues, provide clarity and give you unbiased options.
The extent of your hair loss is also a key factor. Some specialists suggest that using these products may in part be an experiment to see if the product really gives you the kind of hair restoration you’re looking for. You may also need to consider your individual skin type, hair care routine and the convenience of using either a regular lotion or taking a tablet every day.
Some people use a hair loss product in conjunction with hair thickening spray to create the look of denser hair.
What other hair restoration options are there?
If you want a more permanent solution to your hair loss, a hair transplant from a reputable hair transplant clinic is the most effective option.
At the Wimpole Clinic, we offer a free, no obligation consultation to assess your hair loss and give you a clear set of options for your hair restoration and hair care. Depending on the extent of your hair loss, you may benefit from the hugely successful advances in modern hair loss surgery.
If you would like to consider your options in a discreet and experienced environment, book a free consultation with the Wimpole Clinic. You can also see our patient success in our before and after hair transplant gallery and hair transplant clinic reviews.
- Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review
- Changes in hair weight and hair count in men with androgenetic alopecia, after application of 5% and 2% topical minoxidil, placebo, or no treatment
- A randomized clinical trial of 5% topical minoxidil versus 2% topical minoxidil and placebo in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men
- Finasteride: a review of its use in male pattern hair loss
- Efficacy of Finasteride for Treating Patients with Androgenetic Alopecia who are Pileous in other Areas: A Pilot Study in Japan
- Use of Finasteride in the Treatment of Men With Androgenetic Alopecia (Male Pattern Hair Loss)
- The efficacy and safety of dutasteride compared with finasteride in treating men with androgenetic alopecia: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Marked suppression of dihydrotestosterone in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia by dutasteride, a dual 5alpha-reductase inhibitor
- Relative Efficacy of Minoxidil and the 5-α Reductase Inhibitors in Androgenetic Alopecia Treatment of Male Patients
- An Open-Label Randomized Multicenter Study Assessing the Noninferiority of a Caffeine-Based Topical Liquid 0.2% versus Minoxidil 5% Solution in Male Androgenetic Alopecia
- Role of a caffeine shampoo in cosmetic management of telogen effluvium
- Scalp application of antioxidants improves scalp condition and reduces hair shedding in a 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial
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