The medical community's knowledge of the cause of hair loss and hair loss treatments available has evolved exponentially over the last 20 years. Unfortunately, there is no present "Magic Bullet" to cure hair loss, but there are some very legitimate and good hair loss treatments, be it surgical, medical, or cosmetic. At times it is difficult to differentiate between the legitimate treatments, such as hair transplants, and the gimmick treatments (i.e.- snake oil vendors), so be very wary.
There are many different surgical techniques to correct androgenetic alopecia:
Hair restoration clinics are springing up as quickly as 24-hour mini-marts and fast food restaurants. Unfortunately, the patient is left to determine if a particular procedure is the right match or if a doctor has adequate training to perform that procedure.
There are presently 2 medications that are FDA approved for male pattern hair loss:
There are no other medications on the market that can claim that their product causes clinically significant hair growth. There are products from Glaxo-Welcome and Upjohn that are presently in clinical trials that are showing significant promise, but they are not currently available..
There are a variety of cosmetic treatments, such as:
One needs to be aware that there are many companies and doctors that play on the vulnerability of people with hair loss. There are numerous unethical companies that make claims that their products cause "fuller and thicker looking hair" and hope you interpret that as causing clinically significant hair growth. However, you will never get these companies to put in writing that their product "cause clinically significant hair growth" because they do not!
A partial list of unsubstantiated and/or false claims is:
- This is completely unsubstantiated. The Demodex mite is found in most hair follicle in adults, not in just the hair follicles of balding men. And if the Demodex mite truly did cause hair loss, why doesn't it cause hair loss of the eyebrows, of the beard region, or of the sides of the head where it is also found?
Dr. McAndrews M.D. is a Board-Certified Dermatologist specializing in the treatment of hair loss. He is a Clinical Professor at USC School of Medicine, teaching the residents the latest advances in medical and surgical treatments of hair loss. The single most important lesson he teaches all residents is to make sure a patient with hair loss has realistic expectations about what the various treatment options can achieve.