Minoxidil

Minoxidil (generic for Rogaine) was discovered in the 1980s as an effective medication for hair restoration. It is available over the counter in a 2% and a 5% solution and is known to stimulate hair growth and to decrease thinning of hair. It reverses some of the miniaturization that occurs as a person is going through the hair loss process.

Minoxidil can be used in both men and women and is thought to be more effective in women in some cases. In one study, Rogaine was shown to regrow hair in 85% of men when used twice a day (after four months). With regular use, the fine, miniaturized hair strand looks thicker and stronger.

Formula 82m

Formula 82m is prescription strength Rogaine that can be used in conjunction with laser therapy for hair growth. Men use Formula 82m twice a day for the first 3 months and then treatment can be reduced to once a day, usually in the morning. Women can use Formula 82m nightly. Formula 82m is formulated with minoxidil, retinoic acid, vitamin E, and proprietary ingredients that help with hair retention and thickening. Fine or miniaturized hair can be thickened up with this product resulting in more density and less skin or scalp being visible. For most people, results can be seen in 6-8 weeks but significant results are seen in just 3-6 months.

Finasteride

Finasteride (generic for Propecia) is an oral medication that slows hair loss and in many cases stimulates new hair growth if taken regularly. It blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and therefore is known as the DHT-blocker. DHT is the hormone in the follicles that is responsible for initiating and continuing androgenetic hair loss. By taking finasteride regularly, the levels of DHT are decreased and the progression of hair loss is halted.

You will know in three months if you are benefiting from taking Propecia. The effects should be visible by 12 months and if not, then further treatment may not be helpful. If you discontinue Propecia, you will likely lose any gains that you have made.

This medication is not used for pre-menopausal women.

Spirinolactone

This is an oral medication that may be effective in women experiencing hair loss, especially women with a high testosterone level or with a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It seems to work by “blunting” the effect of the testosterone and decreasing the associated hair loss.

Camouflage Techniques

There are a number of fiber products that are sprinkled on the scalp to camouflage thinning hair. The most common product is “Toppik.” This is very helpful in hiding the amount of hair loss but is not the best long-term solution because most patients find it to be somewhat messy. There are also a number of sprays and dyes that can be applied to the scalp, to create a camouflage for the hair loss.

For some men with strong genetic influences and aggressive hair loss, these camouflage products may be the only long-term solutions.