Hair loss can be so embarrassing and frustrating that many people dealing with this issue reach for any available treatment. However, some hair loss products aren’t what they seem. While countless hair loss solutions are lining the shelves, a dermatologist is still the best resource for preserving your locks.
If you’re noticing more bald patches or hair around the shower drain, you might head to the drugstore first. There are many over-the-counter hair loss products available, and it’s likely that most of them contain minoxidil. This is the only FDA-approved hair loss medication that’s available over the counter. The FDA has approved minoxidil for both men and women.
Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine, but it’s also available in several generic products. You can typically find it as a liquid or foam in 2% and 5% strengths.
When used as directed, minoxidil can be effective at reversing or slowing down hair loss. It takes an average of six months of regular use to see results, and you will need to continue use to sustain the hair growth. Your hair loss may otherwise return.
While over-the-counter products containing minoxidil can be effective at preventing hair loss or stimulating hair growth, this isn’t the case for all people. Hair loss causes can vary. Thyroid problems, hormonal changes, menopause, immune issues, and radiation are just some of the most common hair loss triggers. Conditions like alopecia areata can also cause hair loss. So, a product may not be effective if your hair loss stems from an underlying condition.
By relying on an over-the-counter product rather than a medical professional, you could be ignoring the root cause of your hair loss.
You should see a licensed dermatologist as soon as you notice signs of hair loss. During your first appointment, the doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, family history, diet, and lifestyle. They may also use diagnostic tools like a blood test, scalp biopsy, and light microscopy to assess your hair, scalp, and overall health. The diagnostic process may require the dermatologist to pluck a few strands of hair from your scalp.
These types of tests can help pinpoint the underlying cause of your hair loss, so the dermatologist can recommend appropriate treatment. If they suspect that your hair loss stems from an underlying condition, they may refer you to another medical professional for further testing.
Professional hair loss prevention and treatment can be more effective than over-the-counter hair products. However, dermatologists may recommend home remedies for hair loss in certain cases. Medical hair loss treatments can include prescription medications, laser therapy, corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and hair transplant surgery. Some individuals will require more than one treatment method, and it can take several treatment sessions to see results.
While hair loss can be frustrating, you don’t need to rely on hats and over-the-counter products. The licensed dermatologists at Pacific Dermatology Specialists are proud to offer the latest hair loss treatments for men and women. We have locations in Montebello, CA and a number of communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, so contact us today to make an appointment near you.