Updated: Dec 11, 2020
What is the best all-around hair loss treatment? This is a question that is not as easy to answer as you may think.
Everybody is different, and no two people are going to react to a hair loss treatment in the same way… ever. That being said, some people may be able to regrow their hair taking only a natural supplement: saw palmetto for example, others might only respond well to a man-made treatment like minoxidil, and some people will get the best results using a combination of both.
There are people who swear by natural treatments, and there are those who take finasteride and wouldn’t have it any other way. The purpose of this article isn’t to take sides, but rather to neutrally evaluate both types of treatments. I believe that there is something to be said for both natural and man-made treatments (I use a combination of the two for my own hair loss).
In this article, we will be taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages that come with both types of treatments so that you might have a better understanding of what may or may not be effective for your unique situation.
Advantages and disadvantages of natural vs. man-made hair loss treatments
Whether it be how effective it is, the side effects, or the cost, there are many different reasons why someone might pick one treatment over another. Let’s take a look at some of the important difference between man-made and natural hair loss treatments.
First and foremost: effectiveness
How effective a hair loss treatment is would likely be a major determining factor for most people, and based on current research the man-made treatments take the trophy on this one.
The only three FDA approved hair loss treatments minoxidil, finasteride, and low-level laser therapy (LLLT), are all man-made. To get approval from the FDA is a stringent process that requires each treatment to have shown to be consistently significantly effective throughout multiple trials, and is an important marker for effectiveness.
That is why, currently, these three treatments are the gold standard when it comes to combatting hair loss. Minoxidil has consistently shown to be effective in about 60% of people, finasteride is similar in that it effectively blocks 70% of DHT in around 60% of people that take it, and finally LLLT can significantly increase terminal hair counts and hair growth. All of these statistics have been backed by loads of data.
That is not to say that natural treatments don’t have the potential to be just as effective as man-made ones. But, the problem is that there is much less research surrounding most natural treatments, often only one or two studies, and sometimes only anecdotal evidence. The lack of research makes it very difficult to say with certainty that they are effective, and the statistical data backing the FDA approved treatments sets them apart.
Even though some treatments such as scalp massages, rosemary oil, and a few others have some pretty solid evidence backing their efficacy, if you want the most bang for your buck you would be best to hedge your bets on the man-made treatments.
Another important factor: side effects
This is where natural treatments take precedence over man-made treatments.
Unfortunately, with most of the man-made treatments come with them a whole host of potential side effects, some of which are serious, which ultimately dissuades many people from using them.
For instance, although the side effects are rare and only occur in 4-6% of men, finasteride has a few side effects that may cause a second thought in some people including: decreased sex drive, trouble getting an erection, several other sexual side effects, skin rash, and an increase in breast size and/or tenderness. Minoxidil has several side effects too such as inflammation, scalp burning, reddened skin, and swelling of the face.
The side effects from man-made treatments are normally caused by adverse reactions to the chemicals that are included; a problem that can be avoided by using natural treatments.
Although there is still the risk of being allergic to a natural supplement, it is much lower than that of man-made treatments, plus the potential side effects are generally much less severe. Also, there are natural treatments that have no side effects at all such as scalp massages and the inversion method (granted that you do them correctly).
If you are looking for a lower-risk hair loss treatment you are better off going the natural route, which, if you are lucky and respond well to the treatments, has the potential to help you just as much as man-made treatments could.
Of course, cost, an obviously very influential factor, depends entirely on which treatments you use and how many different ones you implement into your routine. Generally speaking, man-made treatments are going to be more expensive than natural treatments.
Cost is a very important factor to consider. Using LLLT as an example, although it is well-established as an effective treatment, a good laser helmet can easily run you $500+, which is too expensive for a lot of folks. Finasteride and minoxidil can be expensive too, and there are natural alternatives that, although there is a chance they may not be as effective, essentially work in the same way like saw palmetto and rosemary oil.
Most natural supplements should not be crazy expensive. You can get a good hair supplement (like Follicle Foundation) for around $30, just make sure you research which ingredients you want to be included and don’t get tricked into buying overpriced herbal supplements (like Nutrafol for example). And again, some natural treatments are completely free (scalp massages and inversion method, just in case you forgot).
Deciding between hair loss treatments is very much dependent on what matters most to the individual.
If you want the most effective treatments that are currently on the market, then your best bet is to use man-made treatments. But, if you want to avoid side effects and possibly save some money in the process, then you may want to go the natural route.
At the end of the day you need to make sure that when you are starting hair loss treatments you have your priorities in order. This will help you remain consistent with your treatments, which is one of the most important values to uphold when trying to overcome hair loss.