In my last blog about products I touched on hair loss/thinning when talking about my hair care regiment. Some of this will be repeat of what I mentioned in that blog along with some new information. Unless asked, I really don't like to mention how thin someone's hair is getting if they haven't brought it up in the conversation. About a year ago, I had a client who I had been seeing for years talk about how he was losing his hair. I didn't know he was talking about his slightly receding hairline and thought he was talking about how he was getting pretty thin in the crown. When we figured we were both talking about different areas, he said, "Wait a minute.... I'm thinning in the back too?". I showed him the spot I was talking about with a hand mirror, he told me I had ruined his day, and I never saw him again. I didn't show him that he was thinning in that area to be like, "Ha ha, you're going bald.", I showed him because I wanted to let him know how he could slow the thinning down and possibly grow some hair back. It would have been the perfect time to try to fight the thinning, it hadn't gotten that bad yet, and once it's all the way gone, it's too late.
When you first notice thinning, there's a couple things you can do right off the bat that are easy and have no cost to you. Don't wash your hair in hot water, and you don't want to traumatize your hair, so when you get out of the shower, just dab it dry. Since growth hormone levels shoot up at night, try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
For shampoo and styling products, only use professional products that don't have any silicone or petroleum in them. Both of these ingredients can clog the follicle and eventually suffocate the hair. Some of the drugs store shampoos create a waxy build up which can make the hair look more shiny, but the same build up occurs on your scalp which can hinder hair growth. Right now I am using the Eufora Complete Shampoo and Revitalizing Treatment for my shampoo and conditioner. Nioxin has a good system too, but after the shampoo and conditioner there is a third step where you put a product on your scalp and I'm afraid that will interfere with the Rogaine I use so I go with Eufora instead.
As for Rogaine, it is only FDA approved to say it works on the crown (that back circle where you see guys get a bald spot), some people have told me they've seen results using it all over, but it's kind of a greasy mousse type product that I don't want to have all over my entire head if I'm not going to see a benefit. It's not bad having it in that circle in the back, especially with how long I have my hair now. The active ingredient in Rogaine is minoxidil, if you can find a generic version with the same percentage of minoxidil it will work the same. I buy Target's brand, and it costs me about $25 for a three month supply. When you first start using the product there will be some shedding, if that happens, don't worry--it just means it's working. If you don't see growth right away, don't get discouraged, it takes a while to work. I think it took about six months for me. I was about ready to give up on it when a friend caught a glimpse of the back of my head and made a comment about how my hair had really grew back, and that he noticed how bald I was getting back there and didn't want to say anything because he didn't think there was anything I could do about it. Before I started taking it, whenever I could go to a bar or club I would make sure I wasn't sitting directly under a light because if I was people would be able to see through my hair in the back.
If you're thinning in other places besides the crown, Propecia may be for you. Propecia does require a prescription, and as with Rogaine, there are some generic versions that will save you some money. Propecia inhibits dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for miniaturising hair follicles, eventually leading to them falling out. You take one pill every day, and your hair loss should stall, then you may eventually see some new growth. There is also shedding with Propecia, I had so much that the girl who cuts my hair commented on it, and I was ready to quit until a client told me that he didn't get the shedding and it didn't regrow any hair either, but his friend who had shedding kept taking it and it "changed his life". There are side effects with Propecia for a very small percentage of the men who take it, I won't go into the numbers here, but at the bottom I'll link the post of a Redditor who did a lot of research about it before he started taking it.
There are some natural products that people claim slow down hair loss like flax seed and saw palmetto. There hasn't been a lot of research on saw palmetto, but what they have done seems promising. Saw palmetto extract may block 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. Not only does DHT cause hair loss, but it's bad for your prostate, so some of these drugs and natural remedies for hair loss help maintain a healthy prostate as well
If you're in the advanced stages of thinning, a hair transplant may be the best option for you. This is where a doctor extracts hair from the back of your head and places it where you are thinning on the top. Granted, this depends on the level of thinning, but to get a decent look, they need to transplant around 25,000 hairs. They can only do around 8,000 in a sessions, so expect a few visits. Transplanted hairs aren't subject to male pattern baldness, so they're there to stay, but your old ones that are there naturally still can, so you'll need to continue or start some type of regiment to keep them as long as possible. There are also several different brands of hair building fibers that can make your hair appear thicker and fuller that it really is. I haven't used them myself, but have seen clients who use them, and it does make the hair appear thicker. You do have to have some hair to work with though, you can't just shake them on a bald head.
Right now my hair loss regiment is Eufora Complete Shampoo and Revitalizing Treatment in the shower, Rogaine on my thin spot in the back right out of the shower, I take a generic form of Propecia at night, and put Rogaine on the crown again before I go to bed. I've found this is what works for me, what your hair responds to may be different, but there are many options to slow down or stop your hair loss on the market today. I've had people ask me if I really want to do all that for the rest of my life, but the way I look at, I'm just doing it to hang on to my hair until they come out with something better or a full on cure, and it seems like they're getting closer to that everyday.
Here is the link to the Reddit post I mentioned above.
Best of luck!