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Losing your hair isn’t unusual. About one third of men get some form of hair loss before the age of 30.
On the plus side, there are medications that can help. Talk to us to get expert advice and order hair loss treatment online.
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Male pattern hair loss is balding amongst men. It’s not always easy to identify at first, but early signs include a receding hairline, where hair starts to disappear at the temples of your head, producing a hairline that’s shaped like an ‘M’.
Another sign of it is crown hair loss, where your hair begins to thin at the crown (just off the top of your head). The thinning here leaves a bald spot.
In the areas where your hair is getting thinner, you may also notice that individual strands of hair are more fragile, and they don’t grow as quickly as hair in areas that are less affected.
If you find that you’re losing a lot of hair after you’ve showered on a towel, or on a comb, this can point towards male pattern hair loss. And if the hair on the sides or the back of your head is not affected, but you’re losing hair on top of your head, this can be an early indication of male pattern hair loss too. This is because hair on the sides and back of your head is not as sensitive to the hormone DHT.
With male pattern hair loss, some men are more sensitive than others to DHT (or dihydrotestosterone, which is a type of testosterone in the body). This sensitivity causes hair follicles to shrink, and stops men from growing new hair. It also reduces the lifespan of hair follicles, meaning that you lose hair more often, and at a faster rate.
So you lose hair more quickly, but the hair is also replaced more slowly, and it doesn’t grow back as rapidly.
If male pattern hair loss runs in your family, you’re also more likely to get it. It tends to be hereditary.
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Certain types of hair loss (or alopecia), like male pattern baldness or male pattern hair loss are permanent, while other forms of hair loss are only temporary.
An illness, stress, treatment for cancer, weight loss and iron deficiency can all trigger more short-term hair loss, but it tends to grow back or stop shedding once you recover, and usually doesn’t require treatment.
But given the long-term nature of male pattern hair loss, treatment is often needed to help stop any further hair loss, or to help hair grow back.
There’s no ‘cure’ as such, but hair loss products like Propecia, Finasteride and Regaine can stop further hair loss where treatment is required, and cause hair regrowth, in many cases. If you continue to use them longer term, they will keep doing as they should.
Hair transplants are available for men with certain types of hair loss, but this is a surgical procedure carried out under local anaesthetic. If you’re browsing the internet for clinics that perform hair transplants, make sure that they’re registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Which treatment you choose is up to you, and it depends on your medical background.
Two of the most effective treatments for hair loss are Finasteride and Propecia. Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia, so it’s slightly cheaper, but they both work in the same way, and contain the same active ingredient, finasteride. They’re prescription tablets that you take once a day.
In clinical studies, 48% of men using finasteride showed an improvement in hair growth after one year (compared to 7% with placebo), and this increased to 66% after two years (compared to 7% with placebo).
An important thing to note here is that you may not see results immediately. It can take between three and six months before you notice improvements with Propecia and Finasteride, and it may be up to 12 months before you see a difference in your hair. Given that these products prevent further hair loss in eight out of 10 men who take it for 12 months though, and two thirds of men benefit from some degree of hair regrowth, patience tends to be rewarded.
But if you don’t see any improvements in your hair after 12 months, let our clinician know. They may recommend trying an alternative hair loss treatment.
Dutasteride is a similar medication to finasteride, Avodart is a well-known branded version, and although it isn’t specifically licensed to be used for hair loss (its intended use is to help with prostate problems) research has shown that it seems to be more effective than finasteride and just as safe.
These tablets stop an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase from converting testosterone into DHT. DHT is a hormone that can cause hair follicles to shrink, and triggers hair loss in men who are sensitive to it. By preventing this conversion from happening, Propecia and Finasteride cut down the amount of DHT in the blood and scalp. This helps to stop you from losing any more hair, and also promotes hair growth.
Yes. But it works in a slightly different way to Propecia and Finasteride. It doesn’t technically stop alopecia, but it really comes into its own with improving hair regrowth. It helps to improve the flow of oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles in the body, which encourages hair growth. Regaine is sometimes referred to as a ‘vasodilator’ on this basis.
It isn’t quite as effective as Propecia and Finasteride: 60% of men have reported an improvement in their hair coverage with it. But because Regaine is used primarily for hair regrowth, and Propecia or Finasteride are helpful at preventing further hair loss, using both can be very successful for some men. If you’d like to use these treatments at the same time, you should discuss this with our clinician first, so that they can decide if both are safe for you to take.
Regaine is available as either a topical solution or foam, so it’s not a tablet that you take. You apply it directly to the scalp. You can also buy it over the counter, so you don’t need a prescription for it.
McClellan, K.J. and Markham, A. (1999). Finasteride. Drugs, 57(1), pp.111–126. Accessed 18 Aug. 2021
Cranwell, W. and Sinclair, R. (2016). Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Nih.gov.
Shanshanwal, S. and Dhurat, R. (2017). Superiority of dutasteride over finasteride in hair regrowth and reversal of miniaturization in men with androgenetic alopecia: A randomized controlled open-label, evaluator-blinded study. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 83(1), p.47.
Regaine for Men Extra Strength Scalp Solution 5% w/v Cutaneous Solution - Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) - (emc). [Accessed 18 Aug. 2021].
Malkud, S. (2015). Telogen Effluvium: A Review. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC RESEARCH.
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