Searching for a baldness cure? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 50% of men and a large number of women start showing signs of hair loss by age 40. And while pattern baldness isn’t a medical issue that’s hazardous to one’s health, it can cause a great deal of emotional pain and distress.
In an effort to reverse hair loss and boost self-esteem, Americans spend millions of dollars a year on various products and treatments. Understanding the causes of hair loss, and which hair loss cures are actually worth the money, can help you determine what steps to take in the battle against baldness.
Causes of Hair Loss
For years, many victims of male pattern baldness assumed that the fault lay with a relative on the mother’s side of the family. However, new research suggests that pattern baldness stems from genes inherited from both the mother and the father, as well as numerous environmental factors. The following can increase a person’s risk of hair loss:
- Radiation exposure
- Certain medications
- Hormone disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Physical and emotional stressors
- Sudden weight loss
If you don’t know what’s causing your hair loss, or if the baldness occurs suddenly, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor for an examination.
Male Pattern Baldness
The most common type of hair loss in men, male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, impacts approximately half of all men by the time they’re 50 and more than 80% by the time they’re 70. For most men with this condition, hair starts falling out near the temples and on the crown of the head. Experts believe this process occurs as the growth phase of each hair becomes shorter, while the resting phase becomes longer.
Female Pattern Baldness
Many women would be surprised to learn that they, too, are at risk for hair loss. While less common than male pattern baldness, severe female pattern baldness affects 20% of women, and more than 50% of women suffer mild hair loss. According to the American Hair Loss Association, hair loss is a serious condition that can have a profoundly negative effect on a woman’s quality of life.
Is There a Hair Loss Cure?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple cure for hair loss. However, numerous treatments, including amino acids for hair loss, exist to help hair loss sufferers increase growth and boost quality of life. Depending on the degree of hair loss you’re experiencing, doctors may recommend medicated shampoos, drugs, supplements, and even more invasive treatments to cure pattern baldness.
One of the most common treatments for male and female pattern hair loss, Rogaine was originally used to alleviate high blood pressure. However, research shows that this drug can help both women and men regrow lost hair. According to one study, 13% of female Rogaine users saw moderate growth, while half had minimal growth. Another study reported higher figures: 60% saw new hair growth on the medicine.
Additionally, some hair loss patients see improvement by taking iron supplements and other vitamins. Nutritional supplements are particularly important for individuals who suffer from iron deficiency, which may include vegetarians and those with a history of anemia. Individuals experiencing hair loss may also benefit from eating a diet rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
If you are suffering from male pattern baldness, your doctor may also prescribe the prescription drug Propecia (generic name: finasteride). Women and children, however, must never take or handle Propecia, as it can be absorbed through the skin.
If you’re looking for a faster baldness cure, you might want to consider low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or hair transplantation. With LLLT, doctors use light and heat to stimulate new hair growth. The goal is to shift follicles back into the growth phase of the hair cycle. Around for more than 60 years, hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves removing a strip of scalp from the back of the head, where hair tends to be thicker and transplanting it to the top or front. While this treatment is often very effective, it may involve side effects such as folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles.
Tips for Hair Regrowth
While there’s no easy cure for baldness, you can take steps to minimize hair loss and encourage new growth. Because heat styling causes bonds in hair to break, it’s best for those experiencing hair loss to avoid blow drying and straightening hair. If you do choose to use heat styling tools, try not to leave them on any section of hair for more than 10 seconds. You can also protect your hair by avoiding dyes and bleaches, which are known to weaken the shaft.