Causing an emotional hit to self-esteem and self-confidence and causing embarrassment and frustration, hair loss can be a hard battle to fight. It can also be an expensive and frustrating one. With so many products on the market, options for surgical remedies, and even hair replacement, it can be difficult to even know where to start. The really difficult part in that is that stress can cause additional hair loss. So where do you start? Hopefully, this information on the topical treatments for hair loss will be a good beginning.
- Minoxodil: Probably the most easily recognizable name in the hair loss market, Minoxodil has been sold for years under the brand name Rogaine. The only treatment that is FDA approved to treat hair loss; it was once only available by prescription. Now available over the counter, Minoxodil acts on the hair at its growth phase to increase the size of the hair follicles. By massaging one mL into a dry scalp twice a day, most see results within a few weeks. The potential side effects are dryness and mild skin irritation but both are very rare. The only downside of Minoxodil is that if you stop using it, any new hair growth will fall out.
- Melatonin: While it is widely known as being an all natural sleep aid, liquid melatonin has shown promising results in growing hair. A recent study showed that women who used a solution of melatonin and alcohol everyday for six months showed a significant increase in new hair growth. The downside to the new growth was that it was limited to the back of the head. The other downside is that liquid melatonin can be very difficult to come by.
- Spironolactone: Once used orally to treat hair loss, studies have also been done using Sprionolactone in a topical form. While a cream containing 5% of the medication was shown to stop hair loss but not promote new hair growth, a liquid solution of 1% of the medication has shown to aid in both.
- Ketoconazole: Often a main ingredient in hair loss shampoos, Ketoconazole is also available in a topical solution. The anti fungal first came on the market as an ingredient in shampoos to treat scalp dermatitis and dandruff. It is not completely understood why it works to stop hair loss and aid in new hair growth but it is believed that because it also has anti inflammatory properties, it aids in the health of the scalp and hair follicles. Ketoconazole is often used in conjunction with Minoxodil to achieve even better results from both products.
- Prostaglandins: One of the most promising new products coming to the market is prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a main ingredient in glaucoma medications and it was noticed that patients taking these medications had an increase in the growth of their eyelashes. The prostaglandin bimatoprost gained FDA approval in 2008 to treat eyelash alopecia which led to studies on its effectiveness in treating hair loss and at what dose. Though final results are not yet available, early findings are very favorable.