nonsurgical options

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Scientists know a great deal about the actual mechanics of hair growth, but they have no idea what turns a hair follicle on and off. Just as with any other consumer decision-making, when it comes to hair loss treatments, the old adage of "buyer beware" rings true.  If a hair loss treatment is not approved by the FDA or recommended by the American Hair Loss Association, chances are that you are wasting your time and money. Below is basic information about the most highly recommended FDA approved, non-surgical treatments available. Always speak with your doctor before considering any treatment.


The active ingredient in Rogaine (Minoxidil) was initially used to treat high blood pressure under the brand name Loniten. It was discovered that the drug had beneficial qualities that can actually promote hair growth. Two decades later, no one knows exactly how it works. It is believed that the medication dilates blood vessels on the scalp which may stimulate hair growth.


Minoxidil 2% has been approved by the FDA in both Men and Women to treat hair loss, though it typically works for only about 50 percent of patients. The manufactures of Minoxidil recommend women only use the 2% concentration as the FDA has not approved the extra strength Minoxidil for women. Many dermatologists do prescribe Minoxidil 5% for women with androgenetic alopecia if used under the dermatologists’ supervision. Some small clinical trials have been conducted on 5% Minoxidil for androgenetic alopecia in women showing that indeed the 5% solution is significantly more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2 % solution.m

In both men and women, the location of the hair loss plays a role in how effective the treatment is. The crown of the head is typically much more responsive to Minoxidil than is frontal or hairline loss. Studies have also shown a decrease in effectiveness over time.

Side Effects and Warnings of Minoxidil:

  •   Itchy scalp and dandruff.
  •   Dizziness or rapid heartbeat.
  •   Formulated for scalp application and not recommended for use elsewhere on the        body.
  •   Effects in women who are pregnant are unknown.
  •   If you are suffering from heart ailments or high blood pressure, inform your doctor before  using this medication.


Propecia is an FDA approved drug intended only for male pattern hair loss. The active ingredient in Propecia (Finasteride) was first developed by Merck pharmaceuticals as a treatment for an enlarged prostate. During product trials it was discovered that the drug reduced further hair loss and helped to regrow visible hair. While Propecia has been proven to stabilize further hair loss in most patients and help slightly more than half of patients regrow visible hair, the medication does not work if there is actual baldness rather than thinning hair.

Propecia works by significantly reducing DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) levels which is a natural byproduct of testosterone. DHT attacks susceptible hair follicles and prevents further hair growth, leading to male hair loss. DHT attacks mainly the hair follicles at the temples and crown of the head. According to trials, a 1 mg dose of Propecia can effectively lower DHT levels in the scalp by as much as 60% when taken daily.


Side Effects and Warnings of Propecia:

  •       Reduction in libido in an estimated 30% of users
  •       Reported erectile dysfunction
  •       Gynecomastia, (male breast enlargement)
  •       Reported body fat accumulation
  •       Depression
  •       Reduced Cognitive Function

Combined Therapies:-

Sometimes Minoxidil is combined with Propecia. The results are better than when either medication is used alone. Minoxidil use can also be prescribed for individuals who have had a hair transplant. The medication is often recommended by hair transplant surgeons to promote the growth of the transplanted hair follicles.

Key Differences in Minoxidil and Propecia

  • You can buy Minoxidil without Prescription, whereas Propecia requires one. Minoxidil works locally, and since it is topical, its systemic (internal) effects are minimal, whereas Propecia directly alters the Male Hormonal system. Minoxidil in its 2% form is safe for use in both men and women, whereas Propecia is only safe for use in Men.

Laser Light Therapy:-

In 2007, the FDA approved laser light therapy as a method to restore hair for both men and women. During treatment, infra-red light and UV light waves are directed at areas experiencing hair loss in order to stimulate blood circulation, increase cellular activity, and increase oxygen and nutrient supply to the hair follicle.

Although infrared and UV light treatments have been shown to result in hair growth, there is a chance that the results will only be temporary in over 50% of patients. Additionally, infra-red and UV light treatments have only been shown to be consistently effective for the treatment of mild hair loss. For individuals suffering from severe hair loss this procedure may not offer the best results.