1 out of 4. That’s the average number of men who start losing their hair to Male Pattern Baldness before the age of 30.
You are not alone brother, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
In fact, it’s quite common. Welcome to the club.
Hair loss is a different experience for everyone. And if you don’t care about losing hair, that’s perfectly fine. It’s not always worth stressing about.
Do you have a defined jaw line, a strong brow ridge, a nice head shape and have the ability to grow a decent amount of facial hair? Then hair loss may not be a big deal in your case. You won’t lose much (if any) points in the looks department.
But while this holds true for those men, let’s not forget the other side of the coin – men who just don’t look very attractive if they go bald. If you consider yourself a part of this group, then you might want to consider some sort of treatment, particularly if you are still young (ish).
I firmly believe there is no single best answer for everyone. You have to learn what works best for you. As you may well know, everyone’s different.
So let’s pretend you decided to take action and seek treatment for your hair loss. Do a search on Google or Amazon. What do you find?
Let me spoil it for you; you will find literally tons of snake oil, and all possible natural ways how to treat hair loss, that don’t do anything, except waste your time.
When you just start searching for a way to reverse your hair loss, there is a great possibility you will be misled by companies and people who want to take advantage of your uninformed state.
In order to find products that actually work, you will have to dig deeper. It doesn’t take to be a genius, but it does take time to learn what works and what’s fake.
In this post, you will find a guide to products that actually work (and also some products that are still under question). If you go and search a bit around the web and talk with the right people, you will most likely come to the same conclusion.
So without further delay, here are the:
Hair Loss Treatments For Men That Actually Work
Years have passed, and “The Big Three” is still the best regime you can currently be on. Let’s begin:
1. Finasteride (commonly referred to as Propecia)
You have most likely already heard of it; propecia has an infamous reputation as the male organ destroyer. And you can practically hear the affected individuals scream on the web, warning people to fear for their lives if they dare try the drug.
Now, I’m not a doctor, and before you try the thing, you should definitely get your doctor’s opinion. But I those claims may be a bit exaggerated.
Side effects, which are most often of a sexual nature (like loss of libido and erectile dysfunction), affect only a very small percentage of patients. And more often than not, they are psychological. So the chance for you to experience any side effects is slim.
I don’t work for the company; I don’t get anything out of it. I’m just presenting you my personal experience and impression of the drug, after reading a ton of user feedback on the web, and hearing quite a few real life testimonies. I just won’t leave finasteride out of this article, because it works – very well actually.
If you are reading this and you have experienced side effects from finasteride, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s not the same for everyone. Take a look at this post, you can at least alleviate the adverse effects (naturally).
I repeat; before you go order finasteride online, please first see your doctor. And while you are at it, get a prescription from him as well. Shopping for drugs online can be dodgy, and your doctor knows what’s best for you. Stay on the safe side.
Alright, so what is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a type II 5α-reductase inhibitor, and 5α-reductase is an enzyme that converts Testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
If your hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, they will begin to shrink, and each time they fall out they will become thinner and thinner, until they become so small, they become barely visible to the naked eye. This is the way of Male Pattern Baldness.
Propecia will suppress as much as 70% of DHT. It can do any of the following: slow down, halt, or even regrow some of your hair. Here are some interesting before and after photos.
How do I get it?
You can get it from your doctor, dermatologist, or online. Be wary when purchasing these kind of things online. Do a good research of the website you are buying from. It’s easy to get scammed, get your identity stolen, or something similar on dodgy websites. I would definitely recommend you get a prescription from your doctor.
How do I take it?
One 1 mg pill every day is the most common way of using it. Some use it every other day, or stick to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, as it supposedly has the same effect.
If you manage to get a prescription for generic Proscar (5 mg finasteride), you can cut it into 4 pieces and save some money.
When can I see results?
Some users experience regrowth as early as 3 months, but they often take up to a year.
To sum finasteride all up: Finasteride is a drug approved by the FDA, and for now, is still arguably the best anti hair loss mechanism available. Finasteride works great for hair loss, and has a small chance of side effects. If you plan on starting finasteride, consult with your doctor first.
2. Minoxidil (also commonly referred to as Rogaine)
The second member of “The Big Three” and another extremely effective FDA approved hair loss treatment is minoxidil. Minoxidil was originally an oral medication for high blood pressure. After a while, however, patients started reporting hair growth — everywhere, and so the minoxidil topical solution for treating hair loss was born. Minoxidil is approved by the FDA.
What minoxidil does is it stimulates your hair follicles to grow — anywhere on the body where it’s applied. It works by widening your blood vessels, allowing more oxygen, nutrients and blood to the follicle. But it does nothing to prevent the DHT from shrinking your hair follicles, that’s what finasteride (or a similar 5α-reductase inhibitor) is for.
Ok, when can I start seeing results?
Results should begin to show anywhere between 2 to 6 months.
How do I use it?
Apply 1 ml of minoxidil liquid (or 1 foam squeeze, if you are using the foam version) all over the top of your scalp twice per day, with (at least) an 8 hour window of time in-between. It takes only a few minutes to apply (even less with the foam version). It can be done faster than washing your teeth.
Some users prefer to use it only once per day, as topical Minoxidil has a half-life of 22 hours. However, Pfizer, the manufacturer of Rogaine, claims it can prove less effective this way.
Where can I get it?
Anywhere, it’s a medicine available over the counter. You can check it on Amazon in the links below.
Liquid or foam minoxidil?
Both are equally effective. The topical solution is usually cheaper, but the foam is easier and faster to apply.
The box says it works only on the back of the scalp (vertex). Will it work in the front (hairline) as well?
You bet. But the test was conducted only on the vertex, that’s why it can be only advertised to work on your crown.
What minoxidil brands are available?
There are plenty of Minoxidil brands out there for you to choose from. The most known is without doubt Rogaine (known as Regaine in Europe). Next, you have brands like Lipogaine, Kirkland Minoxidil, Regenepure, Foligain (Europe), and so on.
What is the best minoxidil product?
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and best minoxidil options (the titles link to Amazon):
In the 1980’s, Rogaine was the first brand to patent topical minoxidil as a hair regrowth treatment.
After their patent expired in the 90’s, many new generic minoxidil brands began appearing on the market, finally plummeting the price down.
Both, the liquid and foam versions of Rogaine work equally well. It’s up to you which form you prefer.
Many prefer the topical aerosol, as it’s faster and easier to apply.
Since the FDA pulled every 10-15% minoxidil and anything containing azelaic acid, the golden days of minoxidil products with added DHT blocking substances are over, and a lot of people went back to using regular 5% Minoxidil (Rogaine or generic).
I’m not saying that these products are now bad, they just are not as effective anymore. But they are safer now, supposedly.
Lipogaine used to have 5% azelaic acid, but since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “unapproved azelaic acid”, Lipogaine hid the compound under the name “AzetinolTM”. Sneaky, sneaky Lipogaine.
A study has shown (although only in vitro) that azelaic acid is a potent 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor.
It also contains other ingredients that may prevent hair follicle shrinkage by DHT, for instance, saw palmetto, ketoconazole (which we will talk more about later) emu oil, retinol…
Lipogaine is more costly compared to other regular 5% minoxidil brands. If your money can afford it, then go ahead by all means. The added ingredients may just give you an extra boost. However, they are not as powerful as finasteride.
Same ingredients as Rogaine, but with a lower price tag.
“Why would anyone buy Rogaine, if Kirkland is cheaper? “
Rogaine supposedly uses more quality ingredients, than generic minoxidil brands. That is why people report less itchiness, redness and flakiness when using Rogaine.
Kirkland minoxidil is extremely cheap. A 6 month supply goes for around 25 dollars, and provides the same results.
If you are looking to save some money, go with the Kirkland Minoxidil. They offer even a topical aerosol version now, albeit it’s a bit more expensive.
Rogaine vs Lipogaine vs Kirkland minoxidil
Let’s compare the 3 products mentioned above. These are the takeaways:
- Known and trustworthy brand
- Quality ingredients (lower chance of having side effects)
- Has a higher price compared to other regular Minoxidil products
- Additional ingredients besides Minoxidil, which may aid in reducing hair follicle shrinkage caused by DHT
- Available only in liquid form
- Works just as good
- Side effects may occur more often (only my impression)
The bottom line is: minoxidil is an immensely safe and powerful product, without any chance of producing sexual side effects, and is the second most effective FDA approved hair loss treatment.
It would be unwise to skip it, if you intend to regrow your hair back. And be sure to combine it with a 5α-reductase inhibitor (preferably finasteride), because the medication itself, does nothing to prevent the cause of Male Pattern Baldness.
3. Nizoral (Ketoconazole)
Nizoral (or rather, ketoconazole) is the third anti hair loss component of “The Big Three”. Nizoral is an antifungal shampoo, produced by Janssen Pharmaceutical. Originally it was marketed as an anti-dandruff and anti-fungal shampoo.
After a certain amount of time, several studies have confirmed the active ingredient (ketoconazole), has the ability to aid halting hair loss in men with MPB, as it turned out it has anti-inflammatory, sebum reduction, and anti-androgen qualities.
Nizoral is not as powerful as finasteride and minoxidil, which are mentioned above, but since it has been scientifically proven to help fight hair loss, it would be an excellent addition to your anti hair loss arsenal.
Nizoral is available in two versions: 1% and 2% Ketoconazole, and works great together with minoxidil and finasteride. Without any doubt, Nizoral (or any shampoo containing ketoconazole for that matter) is the best shampoo for hair loss currently available.
Alright, how do I use it?
Generally, you can use the 1% version daily, and the 2% version 2x a week. Moisturize your hair and apply it on the top of your scalp, leave in on for 5 minutes, and then thoroughly wash it off. Check the label for the exact instructions.
Don’t go overboard with Nizoral, over using it can be harmful for your hair and body. If you are in doubt, consult your doctor.
1% or 2%, which one should I use?
Either, they are both effective. The 2% is more potent and requires a prescription (at least in the US, you can get it in over the counter in Europe). The Nizoral 1% is readily available over the counter.
Are there any side effects?
Common side effects include mild irritation or stinging. Click here for more detailed information.
How long does it take to see results?
Nizoral should be taken in conjunction with finasteride and minoxidil. Don’t expect for it to do too much alone, and try to compare results using only Nizoral.
Are there any other ketoconazole shampoo brands?
You bet. If you are having trouble finding the shampoo in your country, here is a complete list of ketoconazole brand names.
There are also popular and more commercial ketoconazole shampoos (albeit only 1%), with beneficial added ingredients (like the ‘Regenepure DR’ and ‘Lipogaine Big 3’ mentioned below). These shampoos also do not contain SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) — a cheap, but effective foaming agent, which can cause irritation and inflammation.
What is the best shampoo for hair loss?
Either get a prescription for the Nizoral 2%, or buy the easily available Nizoral 1%. If you want to go easy on your hair and make it look fantastic, while still fighting hair loss with ketoconazole (and other ingredients), go either with the ‘Regenepure DR’ or ‘Lipogaine Big 3’ shampoo. These, (or any shampoos containing ketoconazole) are the best shampoos for hair loss.
Unlike Nizoral which is marketed as to treat skin infections (like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis), ‘Regenepure DR’ and ‘Lipogaine Big 3’ (not to be confused with ‘The Big Three’ hair loss regime finasteride, minoxidil and ketoconazole) are promoted specifically as an anti-hair loss shampoos.
The products have 1% ketoconazole, and also include beneficial ingredients like saw palmetto, zinc oxide and vitamin B6 (although the evidence for these elements to work for hair loss is limited at this time).
Regenepure DR and Lipogaine Big 3 do not contain sodium laureth sulfate (known to cause irritation, inflammation and redness). Regenepure DR instead even uses Aloe Vera, which in contrast to SLS, fights inflammation. These products will also make your hair look good, thanks to emu and jojoba oil, which add some shine and moisture.
Both shampoos are high quality and can be an excellent alternative source of ketoconazole.
The Big Three Conclusion
There you have it. As of 2015, ‘The Big Three’ (finasteride, minoxidil and ketoconazole) are still the best hair growth products at one’s disposal. When used in combination, rest assured your hair loss is being fought. It will be either severely slowed down, halted or even give you some real regrowth. Just give this regime a reasonable amount of time.
What else is out there?
There are also a lot of other alternative treatments that are proven to work, but they can be either hard to obtain, have a higher chance of experiencing side effects, or possess little evidence to support its efficacy.
1. Dutasteride (
Dutasteride is a dual 5-α reductase inhibitor (out of three), manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, under the name ‘Avodart’. Dutasteride is primarily used to treat BHP (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
Avodart is essentially a much stronger Propecia, as it reduces significantly more serum DHT, but gives you a much higher chance to experience side effects. It inhibits both Type 1 and Type 2 5-α reductase, while finasteride inhibits only Type 2.
In order to get Avodart, you will have to convince your doctor to give you a prescription.Personally, I have not tried the drug. If you believe your hair loss is extremely aggressive and has a very negative impact to your life, talk with your doctor.
But let’s remain clear on this, dutasteride is a much riskier solution compared to finasteride. It would be definitely recommended you try finasteride first, and if that does not work well for you, only then start thinking about Avodart. Consult with your doctor.
RU58841 is an experimental drug intended for topical treatment of androgenetic alopecia, acne, and hirsutism.
Since the drug is applied topically, it (supposedly) does not have systemic effects like oral treatments.
How RU58841 works is instead of “killing” the DHT (like finasteride, dutasteride and ketoconazole), it actually prevents it from attaching to the hair follicles.
For now, the drug is still intended as a research chemical only, but you can still buy it online on several websites (for research purposes only).
Dermaroller is a small plastic roller with numerous small needles. The intention of this device is to improve skin and help fight hair loss — doing so by rolling it on the affected area.
“Dermarolling” will cause small incisions on your skin. It won’t hurt, or cause bleeding (unless you apply really hard), but will leave your skin quite red after use.
The way this thing works is by causing minor damage to your skin, this way the skin will start to heal and regenerate, which it wouldn’t do so otherwise. It also (allegedly) adds collagen, and helps absorb nutrients.
Originally, the Dermaroller was designed as a skin care tool, then a study confirmed that when used in conjunction with minoxidil, it can help regrow more hair.
While there is (some kind of) proof, the efficacy of Dermaroller as an effective hair loss treatment, is still largely under debate, and has sparked a lot of controversy.
There are a lot of people online who claim it does wonders for them, but on the other side, there is also an equal amount of people who believe it doesn’t do jack, and may even be harmful to your body.
If you want to try the Dermaroller, then go ahead by all means. However, I would advise you to go easy on it. Don’t use it more than once a week, and don’t apply minoxidil on the day you do.
You can find a lot more information and read real user experiences (with pictures) in this huge mega thread.
4. Topical Spironolactone
Spironolactone (Aldactone) is primarily taken orally as a diuretic, and for treating hypertension and heart failure. Secondarily, it is also used to reduce unwanted or elevated androgen levels in the body (for example, hormone replacement therapy for transgender women, and hyperandrogenism in women).
While this is definitely not our goal in this post, topical spironolactone has some evidence to block DHT from binding to your hair follicle receptors, without going systemic and causing side effects.
Topical spironolactone has never gathered a lot of attention, and has a reputation as a weak topical DHT blocker.
Some users swear by it, but the general tone is that topical spironolactone effectiveness is (still) unconvincing, or frail.
If you want to try it out, topical spironolactone can be bought here.
I would suggest you use it in combination with other, stronger DHT blockers (or preferably just skip it altogether).
What future hair loss treatments are we expecting?
There are a great deal of future hair loss treatments and possible cures slowly emerging (for example hair cloning), but that probably won’t be available anytime soon.
For the time being, the next best things that might happen for us hair loss sufferers in the near future, are CB-03-01 and PGD2 inhibitor.
I know that there are plenty of more promising treatments on the horizon, that aren’t listed here. But rest assured, when a new treatment comes out that produces significant results, and is backed by solid evidence, there will be a huge fuss about it.
For now, stick with ‘The Big Three’.
The Big Three (finasteride, minoxidil and ketoconazole) are still the best hair loss treatment regime in 2015. This routine is relatively safe, inexpensive and will take only a few minutes of your day.
And best of all, it works.
Until something better comes along, stick with what has been proven to work – countless times.
I’m not a doctor, or a so called “hair loss expert”. But it’s not hard to learn what works and what is “snake oil”, after years of reading about hair loss treatments, and trying the products yourself.
In the beginning, if you don’t dig deep enough, it’s very easy to fall for a bunch of lies and half-truths. A lot of companies are successfully misleading people into buying expensive products that do absolutely nothing, except thin your wallet.
And the worst part is; it’s much easier to halt the hair loss, rather than growing the hair back. So for the best results: start early, and use the right tools.
If you have a friend who is experiencing hair loss (and is bothered by it), share this article. Friends don’t let friends buy snake oil.
If you have any questions, constructive criticism, experiences, thoughts or ideas; leave a comment below. I would be happy to make any changes, if you disagree with something written here and have solid proof to back it up.
Until then, may the hair stay with you.