At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for balding. Doctors can treat hair loss, but not stop balding altogether. This is bad news for the countless men, women, and children who struggle with hair loss. There is good news, however. There are a number of treatments on the market that slow a person’s rate of hair loss and even stimulate new growth.
As people age, hair thinning is a natural consequence. In some people, however, hair loss is excessive and starts to produce not just thinned hair, but also bare patches of scalp. Additionally, some people start to bald long before they reach an age at which balding may be considered normal. Even children can experience hair loss.
Some people do not try to stop balding. They may simply make the best of the hair that remains by trying new hairstyles that cover bald patches or even wearing wigs or hair pieces. Others may simply accept the changes in their appearance and decide to do nothing at all. A significant percentage of those who experience hair loss, however, seek out remedies to stop balding.
There are many drugs on the market that help slow hair loss and encourage new growth. One of them is minoxidil, which is available without a prescription. This medication works to treat baldness caused by two types of conditions: androgenetic alopecia, which is pattern baldness, and alopecia areata, which may be caused by an autoimmune problem. It comes in a liquid or foam form and is rubbed into the scalp, helping to prevent continued hair loss and encourage new growth. The hair that grows because of its application is thinner than normal and may not grow as long, but it’s often enough to blend in with a person’s existing hair, covering the area.
Some people use corticosteroids, which are steroid hormones, to stop baldness. Effective in treating alopecia areata, this method involves injecting a steroid hormone into the affected person’s scalp, continuing the injections on a monthly basis. Sometimes doctors prescribe corticosteroids in pill form as well. Doctors may also recommend corticosteroid ointments, but they tend to be less effective.
Often, medications are not as effective as people would like, and balding may begin once more after the patient discontinues treatment. Many medications designed to stop balding also produce unpleasant side effects. For this reason, some people turn to hair transplant surgery as a solution for balding. Hair transplants involve covering bald areas with existing healthy hair. This type of surgery is effective for covering baldness, but can be both uncomfortable and expensive.