How you treat hair loss depends on the cause. You may decide not to treat hair loss if it doesn't bother you.
Some people choose to treat
hair loss with medicines or hair
transplant surgery. Others choose to wear hairpieces (wigs or toupees) or use
different methods of hair styling (dyeing or combing).
If a disease, medicine, or stress is the cause, then treating the
disease, changing medicines, or managing stress
may stop the hair loss.
Treatment for hair loss may help you feel better about how you look. But some medicines may have harmful side effects, and surgery
may carry certain risks.
Inherited hair loss
Treatment for inherited hair
loss aims to prevent
hair loss, promote hair growth, and cover bald areas of the scalp. But
treatment is not successful for everyone, and you should not expect to regrow a
full head of hair.
- Minoxidil. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is
available without a prescription and is sprayed on and/or rubbed into the scalp
twice a day.
- Finasteride. Finasteride (Propecia) is available by
prescription and is taken once a day in pill form.
- Hair Loss: Should I Take Medicine to Regrow Hair?
Surgery includes hair transplants and procedures such as scalp reduction and scalp flaps.
Hairpieces and hair products
Cosmetic approaches to hair loss include:
- Wearing hairpieces.
Hairpieces are made from human or synthetic hair that is implanted into a nylon
netting. Hairpieces may be attached to the scalp with glue, metal clips, or
tape. Hair weaving, which involves sewing or braiding pieces of long hair into
existing hair, is not recommended because it may cause permanent hair loss.
- Using certain hair care products and styling
techniques. Hair care products or perms may make hair appear thicker. Dyes may
be used to color the scalp. But continual use of perms or dyes may result in
more hair loss.
Other concerns with hair loss
cause often stops hair loss, and hair grows back. In some cases, other treatment
Hair care for cancer treatment
Hair loss caused by
cancer treatment requires special care: Use mild
shampoos. Do not use a hair-dryer.
occurs when the
immune system attacks hair follicles, where hair
growth begins. Because hair often grows back within a year, you may decide
not to have treatment. Understanding the come-and-go nature of hair loss with
this condition can help you make the best treatment decision. Children and
teens may need counseling to help them adjust to the hair loss.
Medicines, such as corticosteroids, can be used to treat alopecia areata.
Women taking birth control pills
Women with inherited hair loss who wish to take birth
control pills should use a pill type that does not add to hair loss, such as a
norgestimate or desogestrel.2
Success of treatment
How successful your treatment
is depends on your expectations and the cause of hair loss. Treatment for hair
loss caused by an illness, medicine, or damage to the hair usually is more
successful than treatment for inherited hair loss.