Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Has your hair been looking a little flat recently? Maybe it’s not styling like it used to? Has someone recently made a comment about hair loss? If so, you might be in the beginning stages of androgenic alopecia (pattern hair loss). Check out this article we wrote detailing all the telltale signs of hair loss that you should be looking out for.
Male and female androgenic alopecia is a slow, drawn-out process that can sometimes take years. It is primarily caused by DHT: the hormone that essentially causes the hair to slowly die through a process called miniaturization. Each time the hair goes through a cycle, it becomes smaller and smaller, until it eventually doesn’t grow anymore. The quicker you act, the more hair you will be able to save.
The first thing that you will need to do is accept that you are beginning to lose your hair. Being in denial is possibly the worst thing that you can do because not only will more hair fall out, but it will be harder for treatments to be effective once you start them.
Of course, accepting hair loss is much easier said than done, it can be one of the most difficult parts of overcoming hair loss. But it is also one of the most important because once you have accepted it, you can begin to treat it.
If you have accepted your hair loss, read on.
Congratulations. You are very mentally tough and you have already jumped one of the most challenging hurdles in your road to hair loss recovery! Now it’s time to start treatments and get your hair back, right? Yes, but it is not that simple.
Unfortunately hair loss is a complicated subject, and people like to take advantage of that. There is a lot of misleading information on the internet from companies and people alike trying to sell products/services. Often, this leads to people being misguided or confused about what steps they need to take, and in which order, to yield the best results and give themselves the best chance of overcoming hair loss.
Well, the purpose of this article is not to sell you anything. Instead, I want to give you a simple step-by-step action plan that you can follow if you are in the beginning stages of hair loss and don’t exactly know what to do. Following this action plan will give you a good chance of keeping/re-growing your hair by ensuring that you use effective treatments that address all aspects of hair loss.
Step one: talk to your doctor
The first thing you are going to want to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor.
While you might be pretty sure that you have androgenic alopecia, it is always best to check because things like stress, vitamin deficiencies, and more can also cause hair loss.
If your doctor runs a blood test and finds out that your hair loss may be caused by something other than androgenic alopecia then great, you’re in the clear. But, if it turns out that it is pattern hair loss, they may decide to prescribe you finasteride (if not you should inquire about it).
Finasteride is classified as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which is one of the most important treatments that you will need in order to be successful. It is important because it blocks DHT. Without getting into too much detail, like I mentioned earlier DHT is the main hormone responsible for pattern hair loss. By blocking the creation of DHT, finasteride works to stop the progression of hair loss (there are also several natural alternatives if you are not keen on the potential side effects of finasteride). This is very important because stopping hair loss from progressing is the first of two very important steps, which is a perfect segway into…
Step two: regrowth treatments
Finasteride is essential because it stops hair loss from getting worse, but once you have taken care of that you have another problem on your hands: re-growing the lost hair. This is the second of the two important steps.
This is where you are going to find a seemingly endless amount of treatments that claim to regrow hair. But there are two that are much more scientifically proven and trustworthy than the others.
But quick before we get into the two treatments: it is important to note that there are several different potential ways to regrow hair, none of which scientists are sure how they work, but they have been proven to work.
The first treatment is minoxidil.
This is the most popular hair loss treatment on the market (commonly sold as rogaine). It is FDA approved, meaning it has been shown in numerous tests to be effective. How does it work?
Minoxidil is classified as a vasodilator, meaning it helps increase blood flow. Blood carries vital oxygen and nutrients that your hair uses to grow. So, by increasing blood flow to the scalp minoxidil helps the deliverance of important compounds that the hair needs to grow healthy.
The second treatment is called low-level laser therapy (LLLT), another FDA approved treatment.
The mechanism by which LLLT is not entirely understood, but there are two proposed ways that it regrows hair.
The first is that the light from the helmet saturates your scalp with photons, which then create ATP. Your body then uses that ATP to shift hair that is in the telogen (resting) phase to the anagen (growth) phase.
The second proposed way that LLLT regrows hair is that it increases blood flow, similarly to minoxidil.
No matter how it works, the point is that it does. It has been shown it many studies to be effective.
Personally, if you can afford it (laser helmets can be pricey), I recommend using a combination of both treatments to potentially compound your results. But, whether or not you use a combination of the two, the important thing is that by using these treatments you will have both step one and step two of overcoming hair loss covered: stopping the progression of hair loss and re-growing lost hair.
Now on to the last step.
Step three: get into a routine
Another thing that is easier said than done.
Taking finasteride and applying minoxidil twice a day isn’t exactly “fun”, but it is necessary if you want to see success. Finding a way to work the treatments seamlessly into your everyday routine is very important.
One thing you have to keep in mind is to be patient. It may take anywhere from 3 months to a year to see results from your treatments. Give up and you may lose any progress that you made.
It is always best to wait to see if the treatment is working for you. Here is a little piece of advice that has worked well for me over the years of overcoming hair loss:
I like to try a treatment out for 6 or so months. If I start seeing results by then I will keep it in my regimen, if not, I will switch it out with another treatment. This way you can slowly add effective treatments into your regimen without buying them all at once and potentially not knowing which ones are and aren’t effective.
But whether you use my method or not always remember: consistency and patience are extremely important if you want to successfully overcome hair loss and you need to find an effective way to implement treatments into your everyday schedule.
There are two important aspects of overcoming hair loss that need to be addressed in order for you to achieve success: stopping the progression of hair loss with DHT blockers like finasteride, and re-growing hair with treatments like minoxidil and LLLT.
If you cover both of these, you will be ahead of the curve. Over time you can add and take out treatments that do and don’t work for you to eventually craft a highly effective regimen that is tailored exactly to your needs.
Hopefully this simple three-step approach will make navigating the road to recovery a little bit easier for you.