Can Men's Hair Loss Be Reversed?
Author: Anabel Kingsley, Brand President Published: March 2022
Male Pattern Hair Loss is a condition most men will experience at some point (from post-puberty onwards) during their lifetime. According to results published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery, 16% of men aged 18-29 and 53% of men aged 40-49 are affected by moderate to extensive hair loss, indicating that the likelihood increases with age1.
Whilst it cannot be cured, there are treatments available to slow, halt and even reverse hair loss, meaning it is by no means a fate you must accept. The FDA have approved two effective treatments for treating Male Pattern Hair Loss: Minoxidil and Finasteride. Here we delve deeper into the treatments for Male Pattern Hair Loss.
1 | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9865198/
Can Hair Loss Be Cured or Reversed?
With the right treatment, Male Pattern Hair Loss can often be successfully slowed and controlled — leaving you more confident about your hair and hairline as a result. Whilst it is a genetic condition that cannot be cured, the key to successfully tackling hair loss is with a diagnosis and suitable treatment plan sought as early as possible. The earlier you begin treatment, the more hair you are likely to be able to keep.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment applied directly to the scalp, which shortens the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle, prolongs the anagen (growth) phase to keep hair in place for longer, and may promote new growth from dormant follicles. Moreover, it acts as a vasodilator, which means it works to stimulate blood flow to the area of application, creating an ideal growth environment for your hair follicles2.
Finasteride is a daily oral medication that works by reducing the production of type II 5α-Reductase, an enzyme that converts your body’s testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the main hormone which causes your follicles to miniaturise, leading to Male Pattern Hair Loss. Some men are more sensitive to DHT than others, which explains why not everyone loses their hair at the same time or rate. Rather than blocking a specific type of hair loss, Finasteride reduces the production of DHT at its source, meaning it should slow or stop hair loss and potentially regrow some hair.
How Effective are Treatments?
Solutions to slow or combat hair thinning must always address the hormonal sensitivity that is present within your hair follicles. The most effective treatments usually involve one or a combination of the following:
- 5α-reductase inhibitors such as Finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia)
- Topical hair follicle stimulants such as Minoxidil
- Topical antiandrogens (included in some of our formulations available following a Consultation with our Trichologists)
- Stress management (stress can raise DHT levels in your body)
Finasteride as an oral (tablet) remedy for male hair thinning
It is known that Finasteride isn’t effective for everyone, but it can help to prevent hair loss at the vertex scalp (crown) for some. A study of 1553 men aged 18-41 with Male Pattern Hair Loss, showed a clinically significant increase in hair counts at the vertex region of the scalp after taking 1mg of Finasteride for two years vs the control group, who experienced ongoing hair thinning3.
Results published by PubMed showed that Finasteride ‘slowed hair loss and increased hair growth’ in men with hair loss around the hairline, as well as producing a significant increase in hair count in the frontal scalp. Significant results continued into the second year of use, highlighting the need for consistency with this treatment4.
3 | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9777765/
4 | Finasteride in the treatment of men with frontal male pattern hair loss - PubMed (nih.gov)
When will I start seeing results?
Finasteride is taken as a daily tablet containing 1mg of Finasteride. Initial results (if the tablet works for you) should be seen after 3-4 months. Being consistent with Finasteride is vital — if you stop taking it, the beneficial effects on your hair will start to wear off after six months, and by 12 months, your hair will revert to its original state before treatment. Any regrown hair will most likely fall out.
Topical Minoxidil for Male Pattern Hair Loss
Minoxidil was originally an oral medication used to treat hypertension, but was also found to encourage hair growth on the face, body and scalp. In trials comparing topical Minoxidil to placebo treatments, results “strongly showed that Minoxidil was effective for promoting hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia.”5
5 | The effectiveness of treatments for androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review and meta-analysis - PubMed (nih.gov)
However, it is important to note that response to treatment will vary, and whilst some men may see an improvement in hair growth, in most cases, maintenance of hair density will be achieved. Where there is a strong genetic predisposition to hair thinning, it may only be possible to slow, rather than stop, further hair loss. The stage of hair loss at which you start treatment will also impact results, since the more advanced hair thinning becomes, the greater the number of miniaturised hair follicles. Therefore starting treatment early will give you the best chance of retaining the hair you have.
When will I start seeing results?
First results should be seen after four months, due to the timing of the hair growth cycle, but your new hairs should eventually grow to match the appearance of the rest of your strands.
Topical Finasteride & Minoxidil as a combined treatment for Male Pattern Hair Loss
In recent years, topical Finasteride has emerged as an alternative form of treatment for Male Pattern Hair Loss. A study conducted in 2021 found that topical Finasteride produced a significant improvement in hair counts vs placebo, which were similar to results from oral Finasteride, but with a reduced likelihood of associated side effects.6
A study comparing topical Finasteride with a solution combining topical Finasteride and Minoxidil, showed that the inclusion of Minoxidil resulted in a significantly greater improvement in hair density, diameter and general appearance7. According to PubMed8, a further systematic review and meta-analysis also backs up the use of topical Finasteride with Minoxidil. It should be noted however, that topical Finasteride cannot be used if taking the oral form (and vice versa).
Information about possible side effects
Concerned about hair loss?
Recieve a tailored male pattern hair loss plan in 2 minutes with our quick questionnaire.