The range of hair loss (female pattern hair loss, male pattern baldness) remedies is almost unmanageable (number of medical treatments). We come across various medications in TV adverts, on social media or in everyday conversations about hair loss treatments. Consequently, it can be easy to lose track. How are you supposed to know which medication is the right treatment? Which remedy works against which type of hair loss? And when should another treatment option be considered? In this article, we summarise everything you need to know about the most popular medications for treating hair loss.
We've all been there: the crown of our head is becoming more and more visible, the back of our head is thinning or receding hairlines are forming. After every hair wash and styling, we notice a multitude of hairs falling out and think to ourselves: "It can't go on like this." Hair loss and the threat of baldness (bald spots) can impact on self-confidence, a fact that many people are not prepared to simply accept. And rightly so, as there is a wide range of medicines available to tackle unwanted hair loss. However, caution is advised with these medications, as neither their effectiveness can be guaranteed nor can side effects be ruled out.
When considering which medication is suitable for you, it is important to first determine the cause and type of hair loss. Is it hereditary hair loss? Are you affected by diffuse hair loss? Or do you suffer from circular hair loss, also known as alopecia areata?
This knowledge is decisive for the choice of treatment, regardless of whether this is ultimately carried out with medication or in another form. Under no circumstances should medication be taken without knowing the cause of the hair loss, as it has no effect in this case but can lead to side effects.
In cases of hair loss caused by stress or environmental factors, pharmaceutical drugs are unlikely to help; in this case, a change in lifestyle is required.
If your hair loss is genetic, baldness is pre-programmed and can only be delayed with appropriate medication.
If hair loss occurs as a result of an illness or hormonal changes such as menopause, this must be urgently clarified by a doctor, as in this case it's only a side effect of the actual problem.
Regardless of the suspected cause of hair loss, we recommend consulting a doctor before taking any medication. As some of these products are only available on prescription, it's not possible to purchase them without first consulting a doctor (prescription medication).
At HAIR & SKIN, you also benefit from a hair scan during your free consultation (determine medical condition). This state-of-the-art technology will reveal the causes and possible treatment methods for your hair loss.
The most common hair loss remedies
Minoxidil and Finasteride are among the best-known active ingredients against further hair loss. These are found in medicines such as Regaine, Propecia and others. Alternatively, doctors refer to caffeine or millet extract, which is also claimed to increase healthy hair growth. The advantages and disadvantages of these active ingredients, their application and the type of hair loss to be treated therewith are described below.
Preparations containing the active ingredient Minoxidil are widely used, whereby Minoxidil owes its popularity specifically to the anti-hair loss product Regaine. Minoxidil was originally marketed as a high blood pressure medication, which was found to have a positive side effect of increased hair growth. However, taking it orally can have side effects such as tachycardia or pericarditis as well as unwanted hair growth on the face, back and arms, which is why Minoxidil is now usually applied locally to treat hair loss.
Minoxidil is used to treat androgenetic alopecia (also known as "hereditary hair loss", androgenic alopecia), usually at a 2% concentration for women and a 5% concentration for men. Minoxidil is generally applied to the scalp twice a day in the form of a tincture, hair lotion, foam or shampoo and massaged in. This is where it unfolds its stimulating effect: Minoxidil has been proven to increase blood flow to the scalp. This means that hair follicles and hair roots are better supplied with nutrients. Over the long term, this results in healthier, stronger and thicker hair (better healthcare).
The disadvantage of this active ingredient is that hair loss reoccurs as soon as the product is discontinued (thinning hair). Minoxidil preparations such as Regaine (brand name) only cause mild side effects such as scalp irritation (possible side effect) when applied topically (topical treatment, topical Minoxidil). Daily application can be tedious in the long term. It is also important to warn against Minoxidil's shedding effect: hair can fall out temporarily when using Minoxidil. However, this side effect should disappear after a few weeks.
Good to know: all oral Minoxidil preparations for lowering high blood pressure require a prescription in Switzerland (Minoxidil solution). In contrast, lotions and foams to be applied locally to the scalp are available without prescription (over-the-counter). They are available only in pharmacies as they require a pharmacy prescription. Seek advice from a dermatologist before taking off-label medication.
The active ingredient Finasteride can be used to slow down genetic hair loss in men. This can at least partially slow down the progression of hair loss. The 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor in Finasteride leads to impaired dihydrotestosterone formation. In other words, Finasteride stops hair loss caused by the hair loss hormone. Various clinical studies have shown that Finasteride prevented hair loss in half of all men tested. However, this medication also has some drawbacks: hair loss also resumes after discontinuation of the preparation. In addition, the drug requires a prescription and is taken orally as a tablet. In up to 15% of patients, it leads to side effects such as depressive moods and libido and potency disorders. In rare cases, gynaecomastia (hormone-induced breast enlargement in men) or increased sensitivity with possible nipple pain may occur. Women should also take the medication with caution: Pregnant women or women of childbearing age in particular should not use the medication under any circumstances. As already described, it should also not be taken by men who are currently trying to conceive, as it can deteriorate sperm quality.
Alternative hair loss remedies
If you are looking for an alternative to the medicines mentioned above, you may find what you are looking for in dietary supplements such as biotin preparations, Priorin, caffeine shampoos such as Alpecin, or hair tonics such as Ell-Cranell. They have hardly any side effects, but their effect is also transient.
Conclusion: hair loss medication or other treatment?
In summary, it can be said that the drugs listed above can be effective, but only while taking or using them. In addition, some of the preparations have serious side effects. Overall, they are therefore not a good solution.
If you are looking for a natural and long-term solution to hair loss (an effective treatment), a PRP autologous blood treatment at HAIR & SKIN is the perfect choice. During the PRP treatment, a small amount of your blood is drawn and then centrifuged to isolate the valuable plasma (blood tests). It is then injected into the affected areas of the scalp to supply hair follicles with more nutrients, which has been proven to stimulate hair growth (clinical trials). The result after four to eight treatments: hair loss is stopped and new hair growth is ensured (new hair regrows, enhanced hair regrowth). Your hair becomes denser and appears thicker thanks to PRP (improved hair density). So there you go: you can enjoy full hair again. Learn more about hair transplants at HAIR & SKIN.