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What are the Best Baldness Treatments?

By Ron Marr
Updated May 16, 2024
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It is unlikely that any man or woman on the face of this planet wishes to go bald. People are quite fond of their flowing locks, and hair loss many times symbolizes the end of youth and the onset of age. This is not totally true, for a man can begin losing his hair as early as age 20. Still, going bald can be a traumatic experience. Luckily, there are at least two baldness treatments that will usually stop hair loss in its tracks, and many times lead to re-growth.

In the 1980s, scientists discovered that a naturally occurring hormone in the body, known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) played a role in hair loss. As luck would have it, the Upjohn Corporation was at that time working on a blood pressure drug known as minoxidil. It was noted that minoxidil had the unintended side effect of blocking DHT and stopping baldness, and the drug was soon marketed under the name Rogaine® in America and Canada, and Regaine® in Europe and Asia. It is a topical solution sold in strengths of five percent minoxidil for men and two percent minoxidil for women. These products were also the first baldness treatments ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The only other baldness treatments approved by the FDA are derived from the drug finasteride, marketed by the Merck Corporation under the names Propecia® and Proscar®. Finasteride is taken in pill form and is a potent inhibitor of DHT. It is an extremely effective baldness treatment, and studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of men taking the drug will experience positive results. The down side of finasteride is that it is prescribed only to men. Women of childbearing age should not take or handle the drug, as it is believed to cause birth defects.

Those who prefer to abstain from drug-based baldness treatments have limited options. While there are many alleged baldness cures on the market, most of them are utterly worthless and have shown no measurable results. The ancient Romans used to smear the bone marrow of deer, and rancid hippo fat, on their shining pates. Topical usage of cow saliva was popular during the Renaissance period, and the Chinese were fond of applying ground-up animal testicles. All of these applications no doubt made the users a huge hit at parties.

Some herbalists have suggested that saw palmetto extract is somewhat effective as a baldness treatment, but there is no proof to back up the claim. Rubbing the juice of onions and garlic on the head is another homeopathic remedy. Most who have utilized this method continue to lose hair, however they do acquire the aroma of a fine Italian restaurant. Diet, lifestyle, and stress do play a part in hair loss, but more times than not baldness is simply a result of genetics. Spraying coffee on bald areas is rumored to stimulate hair growth, but the odds are highly against it and one's scalp might get a case of the jitters.

As a final solution, expensive hair transplants are available as baldness treatments. Scalp reductions, wigs, toupees, and hairpieces are all available. If all else fails, and baldness is seriously affecting one’s self image, there is always a hat.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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