For individuals concerned about their hair loss, it is important to consider doing everything possible to keep your existing hair.
Medical treatment can delay the rate of hair loss and preserve an acceptable appearance until the physician and patient determines that hair transplantation is the best option. Medical treatment is often continued after hair transplantation to help keep the pre-existing hair.
There are currently two FDA-approved medications that can be used to prevent hair loss:
- Minoxidil (brand name: rogaine), is available without a prescription. It is a foam or lotion applied directly to the scalp, and can be used by both men and women.
- Finasteride (brand name: propecia) is available by prescription only, and is only for men. It is a tablet taken daily, and helps to prevent the formation of the hormone that contributes to hair loss. It may take up 6-9 months before you can tell if one of these medicines is working.
Low level laser light therapy can be an important adjunct to help support thinning hair. A hand-held laser device for use at home or a laser hood for office use provides cool laser light at a fixed wavelength of 660 nm, which helps to stimulate cellular growth factors.
Cosmetic cover ups, camouflage
A number of non-prescription products offer “camouflage” for thinning hair. They are applied to the scalp and/or hair to give the appearance of “fullness” to thinning scalp hair. Some are applied directly to the scalp to disguise the appearance of bald scalp under thinning hair. Some are fibers that attach to hair to “bulk up” the appearance of thinning hair. All camouflage products are offered in a variety of colors to match natural hair color. Camouflage agents may be an acceptable short-term solution to improved cosmetic appearance while they wait for hair transplantation.