If you are starting to lose your hair, it's a good idea to look for treatments as early as possible. Many of the treatments on the market will be especially effective in reducing or slowing the rate of hair loss, with some users also showing some regrowth.
Finasteride is a prescription medication that is primarily used to reduce swelling and growth in the prostate gland. It is also used in an 'off-label' basis as a treatment for male hair loss. It works by blocking the conversion of naturally occurring testostorone into dihydrogentestostorone (or DHT), which is the hormone responsible for shrinking the follicle in male pattern baldness. It is effective for 90% of users in reducing the rate of hair loss, and some users who start treatment early in their hair loss also see some regrowth. The medication needs to be maintained or the hair loss will recommence. Many users who have hair transplant surgery also use Finasteride ((or similar treatments) to ensure that their hair transplant stays looking lush.
Dutasteride has a similar mechanism to Finasteride and blocks two pathways of converting testostorone to DHT. Clinical trials have shown that it is slightly more successful than Finasteride in reducing hair loss but also has a slightly higher rate of side effects, including erectile dysfunction and loss of libido so may not be suitable for all users. It also requires a prescription from a doctor.
Minoxidil (lotions or creams)
Minoxidil can come as a lotion or a cream and users rub it on to their scalp to stimulate hair growth. Again it tends to be most effective when started early in the hair loss process. Some users use it combination in with Dutasteride or Finasteride for maximum impact. It is a good idea to check the percentage of Minoxidil in lotions if you are comparison shopping, as cheaper products often have a lower percentage of active ingredients. Some users will find Minoxidil useful while other may not, as the enzyme sulfotransferase is required and not all people have high enough levels of this enzyme to make the Minoxidil work effectively.
If you are suffering from hair loss you should make an early appointment to see a hair loss specialist. The majority of non-surgical options will be most effective when treatment starts early in the hair loss process. A specialist can help you to explore which options might be best suited to your hair loss and lifestyle.