Now, this isn’t something that directly affects me but I know that it massively bothers my dad. His days playing Sunday league are now over and he recently went out with the lads from his team and as a farewell gift, they just rubbed a load of hair removal cream in to his head, so his thinning locks have now totally disappeared! He’s gutted.
Unlike my dad, some people embrace their thinning or receding locks, but if, like him, you’re feeling self-conscious about your changing appearance, you might want to look for an effective treatment. The good news is, there are now medicines available that have been shown to slow or even stop this process. So, although there’s no cure for male-pattern baldness, there are treatment options worth trying – and here are two of the best according to my old man.
The most effective treatment currently available is finasteride. This medicine has been used to combat hair loss since the 1990s and it can show impressive results. Finasteride in the UK is more commonly known under the brand name Propecia and it’s available by private prescription. It works by stopping testosterone from being converted into the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which can damage hair follicles. One of these tablets should be taken at the same time each day, along with a full glass of water. It usually takes between three and six months before the effects are seen, so don’t expect to notice a change straight away. Studies have shown that finasteride is effective in 90 per cent of men who have mild to moderate male-pattern baldness. However, it’s important to bear in mind that if you stop taking the treatment, you should expect to see your hair loss resume within three to six months.
Although not as effective as finasteride, minoxidil is another good treatment option. This is available in lotion form and to use it, you rub it into your scalp on a daily basis. It’s not known exactly how minoxidil works, but research has revealed that it can cause hair regrowth in some users. You don’t need a prescription to get this medicine and you can choose between versions that have either a five per cent or a two per cent concentration of the active ingredient. Bear in mind that the stronger version might lead to more noticeable side effects, like itchiness or dryness in the area you apply it to.
As with finasteride, you have to use this treatment for a number of months to see the beneficial effects and, if you stop using it, your hair loss is likely to resume.
If you’d like to find out more about your hair loss treatment options, you can speak to your doctor or a pharmacist as I am by no means an expert and my dad certainly isn’t! They’ll be able to give you all the advice and information you need to make an informed decision.