In the past few years, medicine has made tremendous strides in the treatment of men’s hair loss. With the advent of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors such as Propecia and the evolution of surgical hair restoration, for many, living with noticeable hair loss is no longer inevitable. For the first time in the history of mankind, it is now possible to stop or slow the progression of hair loss and to replace lost hair through surgery with completely natural results. However, with that said, the vast majority of hair loss treatments being marketed today are still nothing but “snake oils.”
You’ve all seen the ads in the back of men’s magazines, you’ve heard the commercials on the radio and you’ve seen the infomercials promoting miracle treatments for hair loss. The bottom line is that the vast majority of advertised “treatments” do not work for the prevention and treatment of hair loss. If a hair loss treatment is not approved by the FDA or recommended by The American Hair Loss Association, chances are you are wasting your precious time and money. Remember, successful treatment of hair loss is greatly dependent on early intervention. It is critical to begin treatment with an effective product as soon as you notice the onset of hair loss.
The following two treatments have been clinically proven to successfully treat hair loss in men to varying degrees.
Finasteride is the generic name for the brand name drugs Proscar and Propecia. Finasteride was originally developed by Merck as a drug to treat enlarged prostate glands (Proscar). During the trials on men with prostate problems an intriguing side effect of hair growth was observed. Since finasteride had already been approved by the FDA to treat enlarged prostates in men, Merck and Company decided to pursue the possibility of developing finasteride as the first pill to treat male pattern baldness.
On December 22, 1997 the FDA approved a 1mg dose of finasteride for the treatment of androgenic alopecia in men (male pattern baldness). Propecia is the first drug in history to effectively treat male pattern baldness in the vast majority of men who use it.
How Propecia/Finasteride Works:
Finasteride’s hair-raising success is due to its ability to specifically inhibit Type II 5-alpha-reductace, the enzyme that converts testosterone into a more potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Propecia’s 1 mg dose of finasteride can effectively lower DHT levels by as much as 60% when taken daily. It is DHT that shrinks or miniaturizes the hair follicle, which eventually leads to baldness. This 60% reduction in DHT has proven to stop the progression of hair loss in 86% of men taking the drug during clinical trials. 65% of trial participants experienced what was considered a substantial increase in hair growth.
At this point, the only truly effective medically proven way to arrest the hair loss process is to lower DHT levels. The American Hair Loss Association recommends finasteride as the first line of attack for all men interested in treating their male pattern baldness.