3 Easy and Effective Treatments for Hair Growth Revealed

As I review the itinerary of my upcoming family vacation in Greece, I can not help but notice how ancient Greeks approached beauty and particularly hair. Per history books, red hair was considered an epitome of beauty and ginger hair was linked with inner beauty and strength. Although hair perceptions may have evolved over the centuries and differ across cultures, as a physician in 2023, I have seen firsthand how patients struggle with hair loss or thinning hair and how these issues impact their self-esteem. Thankfully, advances have led to the development of effective treatments for hair growth. Here I explore three scientifically proven treatments that I recommend to help you achieve healthier and fuller hair.

So without further ado, shall we??

My first go to is Minoxidil: The Gold Standard Treatment

Minoxidil, a topical medication, is considered the gold standard treatment for hair growth. Originally developed as an oral medication for high blood pressure, it was later discovered to have a remarkable side effect: stimulating hair growth. Today, minoxidil is available over-the-counter in topical form, making it easily accessible to those seeking hair regrowth solutions. Fun fact: there is no difference between “Rogaine” for men and women available otc, so you can save some money by buying the men’s version and it works just the same.

How does it work?

Minoxidil works by widening the blood vessels in the scalp, increasing blood flow to the hair follicles. This enhanced blood supply delivers vital nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to the hair follicles, stimulating growth and prolonging the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. Additionally, minoxidil may also increase the diameter of existing hairs, creating a fuller appearance.

How to use minoxidil:

To reap the benefits of minoxidil, it should be applied directly to the scalp once or twice daily, depending on the product’s instructions. Consistency is key, as it may take several months before noticeable results appear. However, it is important to consult with a physician before starting any treatment to ensure proper usage and to rule out any underlying conditions that may be contributing to hair loss.

Next let’s look at Finasteride: A Game-Changer for Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is a common form of hair loss among men. Fortunately, finasteride has emerged as a game-changer in combating this condition. This oral medication works by inhibiting an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Elevated levels of DHT are believed to be a key factor in the development of male pattern baldness. I do however only recommend it for men, even though some small studies have shown mild improvement in women as well when used at a relatively higher dose. But considering that finasteride when used in premenopausal women, can be teratogenic (harmful to the fetus) and has several undesirable side effects, I would avoid it in women and prefer to use either topical or even oral minoxidil.

How does it work?

By blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT, finasteride helps reduce the negative impact of DHT on hair follicles. This results in the maintenance and potential regrowth of hair. It’s worth noting that finasteride is primarily prescribed for male pattern baldness and is not recommended for women.

Consulting a physician:

Since finasteride is a prescription medication, it is crucial to consult with your physician who will evaluate your suitability for treatment. They will consider factors such as your medical history, potential side effects, and any contraindications before prescribing finasteride.

Lastly Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT): Harnessing Light for Hair Growth

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), also known as red light therapy or cold laser therapy, is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes red or near-infrared light to stimulate hair growth. This treatment is gaining popularity due to its efficacy and lack of side effects.

How does it work?

LLLT devices emit specific wavelengths of light that penetrate the scalp and are absorbed by the hair follicles. This stimulates cellular metabolism, improves blood flow, and increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy source for cells. These beneficial effects lead to enhanced hair growth and improved hair quality.

Using LLLT devices:

LLLT devices come in various forms, including handheld combs, helmets, and caps. The treatment duration and frequency will depend on the specific device and the manufacturer. Capillus Pro and Capillus Plus are the ones with good clinical studies backing them and work quite effectively.

If you’re still concerned about thinning hair, it may be worthwhile consulting with an expert physician who specializes in PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections to the scalp which can also stimulate new hair growth by increasing blood flow and the delivery of growth factors directly to the hair follicles. Typically, 3-4 sessions are required for optimal results.

In the end, although hair loss is complex and requires a personalized treatment approach, current therapies allow me to help patients achieve the best and the healthiest hair in a safe and effective manner.

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