The Principal Hair Loss Treatments

To begin with, we can split hair loss treatment options into dihydrotestosterone blockers, also called antiandrogens, and hair growth stimulants. Considering methods of application, they can be divided into oral treatments, topicals and others, such as laser therapy. And lastly, hair loss treatments can be broken into natural treatments and medicinal treatments.

The hair loss treatment options can be, in the first place, divided into surgical and non-surgical therapies. Although there are only a few surgical techniques currently used, the non-surgical spectrum is wide and extremely confusing. There appear to be thousands of non-surgical treatment options available to those who want to avoid hair surgery. Propecia and Rogaine might be the best known medicinal hair loss treatments, while dried fruits of saw palmetto and a Chinese herb, He Shou Wu, also known as Fo-Ti, are the natural substances most frequently used in alternative hair loss remedies.

Furthermore, the non-surgical hair loss therapies can be broken down into medicinal and alternative treatments, whereas when considering methods of application, they can be divided into oral treatments, topicals and others, such as low-level laser therapy. Irrespective of the aforementioned breakdowns, hair growth treatments work either by blocking the activity of dihydrotestosterone, also called antiandrogens, or by stimulating new hair growth.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a biologically-active metabolite of the male hormone testosterone that is assumed to be the main culprit in causing both, male and female hereditary pattern baldness. DHT causes hair miniaturization as the hair becomes finer and thinner with each new hair growth cycle until the hair follicles refuse to produce another hair and die. The exact mechanism by which DHT works on hair follicles is not known, though. Finasteride, better known under its trade name Propecia, is the only clinically-proven and FDA-approved antiandrogen used to effectively treat male pattern baldness. It acts by preventing the creation of DHT in the scalp. Since the introduction of Propecia, many other drugs and natural therapies have appeared claiming antiandrogen activity. Some of them are supposed to work by a different mode of action than Propecia, such as preventing DHT from binding to the receptor sites in the follicle or blocking activity in the androgen receptor itself.

Minoxidil, also known under its trade name Rogaine, is the best-known hair loss medicine amongst hair-growth stimulants. It is assumed that hair growth stimulants work by directly stimulating epithelial growth of hair follicles and some of them may also counteract the hardening of the hair follicles but the exact mechanism of their action has never been explained. One thing that all hair growth stimulants have in common is their ability to prolong the length of the hair growth cycle, thus increasing the ratio of hair in the growth phase and to increase the hair's diameter.

The natural hair loss treatments are in principle assumed to work by the aforementioned modes of action and are usually marketed as safer alternatives to medicinal treatments. There are not too many hair loss treatments that have been clinically proven and independently verified to be effective in treating baldness. Of those few existing, all happen to be medicinal drugs. Natural hair loss treatments have still to live up to the claims of their manufacturers and marketers.

When deciding about the most suitable hair loss treatment option, one should think about approaching the problem from different angles. It is best advised to use a combination of antiandrogen and hair-growth stimulant, such as a Propecia with Rogaine. Alternative, hair loss treatments, for instance natural remedies, should largely be considered as a method of fine-tuning this basic regimen in order to achieve additional benefits.

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