What are the Different Types of Non-Surgical Hair Restoration?

N. Swensson
N. Swensson
Both prescription and OTC medications are available to treat hair loss.
Both prescription and OTC medications are available to treat hair loss.

A wide variety of products are currently available that promise non-surgical hair restoration, from medications to hair weaves to shampoos. Medications are available that promise to regrow lost hair and prevent additional hair loss. One medication, minoxidil, is available over the counter and is applied topically. The other, finasteride, requires a doctor's prescription and is an oral pill. Hair restoration medication can cost anywhere from $30 to $60 US Dollars (USD) for a one-month supply. In addition to medicines, wigs and hair weaves may also be used to cover up hair loss. The cost for these products varies widely due to the many different styles and materials that can be used.

Women should not use shampoo with finasteride (Propecia).
Women should not use shampoo with finasteride (Propecia).

Minoxidil, also known by its brand name Rogaine™, is a type of non-surgical hair restoration for men and women. It comes in a solution or foam that is applied directly to the scalp. The medication comes in different strengths, and a doctor or hair regrowth specialist may be able to give advice on which formula will work the best. Minoxidil can be purchased from a variety of retailers, either online or in stores for about $30 USD for a one-month supply.

A wig covers the entire scalp with new hair.
A wig covers the entire scalp with new hair.

A second medication available for non-surgical hair restoration is finasteride, also known by its brand name Propecia™. Unlike minoxidil, which is applied topically, this medication is a pill to be taken orally. This drug can not be purchased over the counter; it requires a doctor's prescription. It also is intended to treat hair loss in men only, as it is not effective for women. While finasteride may help to regrow lost hair and prevent new hair loss, a person's hair may still be somewhat thinner after using the medication than it was originally.

Some wigs are made from real hair that has been donated.
Some wigs are made from real hair that has been donated.

For those who prefer not to use medication, another option for non-surgical hair restoration is to wear a wig or other type of hair piece. Wigs are often used to cover the entire head with a new head of hair, and they are available in almost any color and style. Wigs and other hair pieces can be made from human hair, animal hair, or synthetic materials that look like real hair. In some cases, thinning hair can best be camouflaged with a hair weave, which involves attaching extra pieces to a person's existing hair to give a fuller look.

Finasteride is commonly prescribed to treat hair loss in men.
Finasteride is commonly prescribed to treat hair loss in men.

In addition to medications and hair pieces, a large variety of products are available that promise non-surgical hair restoration. These can be herbal preparations, shampoos and conditioners, or food additives. People looking to reverse hair loss should choose products that are appropriate for their individual needs.

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    • Both prescription and OTC medications are available to treat hair loss.
      Both prescription and OTC medications are available to treat hair loss.
    • Women should not use shampoo with finasteride (Propecia).
      Women should not use shampoo with finasteride (Propecia).
    • A wig covers the entire scalp with new hair.
      A wig covers the entire scalp with new hair.
    • Some wigs are made from real hair that has been donated.
      Some wigs are made from real hair that has been donated.
    • Finasteride is commonly prescribed to treat hair loss in men.
      Finasteride is commonly prescribed to treat hair loss in men.