Do you want to have a full, thick head of hair, but consider a hair transplant too expensive, too dangerous or too extreme? Luckily there are 7 effective non-surgical methods that can be used to restore hair.
In this post, I’ll introduce you to the dangers of surgical hair restoration. I’ll then outline the numerous non-invasive methods – some natural and some not – and how you can make the choice between the options available to you.
Before I get started, I would recommend you take the six-question quiz at the end of this article if you’re serious about stopping hair loss and regrowing your hair.
The results will give you an idea of the cause of your hair loss, as well as the methods you can use to combat it.
As with any procedure which requires you go under the knife, there’s always risk of complications and side effects.
Surgical hair restoration (the most common of which is hair transplant) is no exception, meaning it’s important to understand all that can go wrong before proceeding.
Some of the most common side effects of hair transplantation, the most common surgical treatment method for hair loss, include:
Of course, another major concern is scarring.
Aside from side effects, though, there are also misunderstandings surrounding the outcome of such a procedure.
As you can see, there are many side effects and unknowns associated with surgical methods of hair restoration. So, what’s the other option?
Aside from the obvious difference between these two restoration methods, it’s also important to look at the outcomes they provide (and the manner in which they provide it).
The main difference is that non-surgical methods typically aim to solve the issue at the source, while surgical methods aim to cover the issue.
As a matter of fact, when you go the surgical route, you’ll very likely be back within the next 10 – 15 years because hair loss reoccurred.
With non-surgical methods, however, you can treat the issue at the source and prevent further loss from occurring. Sometimes, you can even reverse the loss that occurred.
For those who are less than thrilled with the side effects associated with surgical hair replacement options, there are non-invasive options at your disposal. I don’t recommend all of them, of course. However, let’s take a look at some of the most common.
The two most common treatments available over the counter are minoxidil and finasteride. They are the only two FDA-approved hair loss medications currently on the market.
Minoxidil was first created as a treatment for ulcers in the 1950s, and it was later further developed as a medication in the treatment of enlarged prostate.
However, an unlikely side effect was in its treatment of hair loss. As a result, it was soon released under the brand name of Rogaine.
The mechanism through which Rogaine works is still a bit of a mystery. Though, it’s main mechanism is believed to be dilation of the blood vessels.
What does vasodilation have to do with hair loss?
In sufferers of male-pattern baldness, hair loss is caused by DHT. As the hormone attaches to the hair follicles, it triggers an inflammatory response that eventually leads to hair miniaturization.
As the follicle miniaturizes, it becomes more difficult for the blood vessels to deliver blood to the follicles. Eventually, this leads to the follicles’ death.
When the blood vessels dilate, however, they can then deliver oxygen and vital nutrients to the follicles. In simplest terms, Rogaine doesn’t stop the cause of hair loss; instead, it works by enabling hair follicles to survive in a hospitable environment.
The second FDA-approved medication for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia is finasteride, first approved in 1992 under the brand name Propecia.
Unlike minoxidil, finasteride actually targets the issue – DHT. However this can have some unpleasant effects.
While DHT is the culprit for hair loss, it’s still an important hormone that plays a major role in the body (mainly, the sexual organs). As such, blocking DHT altogether (as finasteride does) can mean sexual side effects.
For example, users of finasteride may experience a decreased sex drive, inability to have and/or maintain an erection, and low-volume emissions. In addition, these side effects have been shown to continue even after use has ceased.
A newer treatment option for hair loss sufferers, Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been proven to be effective for both men and women. It works by:
While what it does is known, how it does it is still a bit of a mystery.
Some researchers speculate that the therapy may act on the mitochondria directly and alter cell metabolism.
Other researchers believe it may be responsible for the opening of K+ channels.
While LLLT is regularly performed in the offices of hair loss specialists, you can also use this therapy at home with the help of combs and helmets.
Both methods of use have had positive results, and both have been shown to have very little, if any, side effects when used regularly.
In 2007, the laser comb was first approved by the FDA for use in men. In 2011, the same was achieved for women.
Helmets have shown similarly positive results, however they have not yet been FDA approved.
As a natural and highly-effective treatment for hair loss, microneedling is a therapy that has been practiced for years in the treatment of scarring and wrinkles.
In recent years, however, microneedling has also been applied to the scalp and its positive effects have had life changing results for hair loss sufferers.
But what exactly is microneedling?
Microneedling is a therapy that involves the intentional infliction of wounds. These wounds are very small (hence the ‘micro’), but it’s what happens during their repair cycle that makes this such a popular dermatological treatment.
When skin is damaged, it undergoes a cycle consisting of three stages. They are:
Essentially, the inflammation that occurs during recovery triggers the proliferation (production) of new cells. These new cells contain healthy hair follicles, enabling the growth of healthy, strong hair.
You think this all sounds too good to be true? Take a look at this study which tested the effects of minoxidil vs minoxidil + microneedling:
As is clearly seen, the group which underwent both methods outperformed the group which only used minoxidil.
Does this mean you have to use minoxidil alongside microneedling for positive results? Absolutely not! However, you can combine it with more natural methods, including my own minoxidil alternatives.
While I recommend you incorporate numerous natural methods into your hair loss treatment regime, natural oils and extracts are a great place to start.
As its name implies, pumpkin seed oil is an oil which is extracted from the seeds of the pumpkin. The oil contains valuable minerals and nutrients, and it offers excellent support when applied topically or consumed.
In addition to its mineral support, however, pumpkin seed oil has also been shown to promote hair growth and treat male-pattern hair loss.
In 2014, a study was performed which studied the effects of oral PSO supplementation. 76 men participated within the study, and all of them suffered from mild to moderate pattern hair loss.
One-half of the 76 men received a 400mg capsule of PSO each day, while the other half received a placebo.
To track changes in the scalp of each participant, photos were taken and a process known as phototrichography was performed.
Over the course of the 24-week study, results were tracked.
These results showed that PSO outperformed the placebo, and this means it’s an effective treatment in androgenetic alopecia. Its mechanism? That’s believed to be its inhibitory effects on 5-alpha-reductase.
Perhaps a more unlikely candidate for hair loss treatment than pumpkin seed oil, reishi mushroom (G. lucidum) is an herb that has been used in Asia for over 2000 years.
This unique herb – while commonly used as an antioxidant and immune booster – is also quite helpful in the fight against hair loss. How helpful?
We know that sensitivity to DHT is the main culprit of hair loss. As such, blocking 5-alpha-reductase (the enzyme responsible for testosterone’s conversion to DHT) can put a stop to hair loss without cause issues related to DHT blocking.
In 2005, reishi was tested against 18 other species of mushrooms. Not only did reishi prove to be an effective blocker of 5AR (blocking about 70%), it was the most effective of the studied mushrooms by far.
So, what does this mean for sufferers of male-pattern baldness? It means that reishi can effectively inhibit the production of DHT and this leads to less hair loss and even possible regrowth!
While a proper diet can’t cure all, it can help to get your body into a healthier, more natural state of being. As a result, you may experience positive changes, including hair regrowth.
Essentially, our bodies function best on the more basic side of the pH scale. However, the foods we eat can tip the scale either way, and much of the modern diet actually brings us over onto the acidic side.
This is because foods within the typical diet are highly acidic themselves, including alcohol, carbonated beverages, red meat, dairy, and sugary grains.
You can bring your body’s pH back to basic, but it will take some diet changes. What kinds of changes, you ask?
The main change I recommend is the introduction of alkaline foods. Foods such as broccoli, pumpkin, coconut, almonds, tofu, and chia can all be easily added into your diet.
The best way to go about this introduction, especially in the beginning, is with a morning smoothie. In fact, my favorite smoothie contains many alkaline foods that offer nutritional support. And, it’s delicious!
The reality is, not everyone will have the same experience with different treatment methods. Some hair loss sufferers may go the surgical route and be overjoyed by the outcome, while others may regret their decision.
So what can you do to make the right decision?
First, you need to understand what’s causing your hair loss. Was it a one-time event that triggered telogen effluvium, or is a chronic issue?
Second, you need to decide whether you want to cover the issue or treat it at the source. It may seem obvious to choose to treat it, but many hair loss sufferers choose the former option for convenience’s sake.
Third, you need to decide how committed you are to long-term results. There’s no doubt that positive hair growth results takes time.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, then certain methods may not be right for you. However, if you value long-term health and real results over quick fixes, then I recommend you stay away from surgical and medicinal methods, and instead follow a much more natural path.
While surgical hair loss treatment methods – such as hair transplants and and scalp reductions – are popular among the hair loss community, they aren’t the only methods out there. In fact, there are numerous non-surgical methods you can use with the same (or even better) results.
Of course, I recommend you go the natural route. This would mean forgoing hair transplants and medications in favor of oils, herbs, manual stimulation, and diet changes. Is it the easiest or quickest route? No. But, it’s the one with the best long-term results.
Are you ready to start on your hair loss treatment journey? Start by taking the one-minute hair loss quiz below!
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
Aside from Rogaine and Propecia – the two most popular hair loss treatments on the market – there are other products out there which claim to have positive results in the treatment of hair loss. Lipogaine is one such product, and in this article I’ll show you if it works!
I’ll look at how it works, its ingredients, how it compares to other products (including Rogaine and Kirkland Minoxidil), and how you can use it effectively. In addition, I’ll share with you some before and afters shared by real users, and I’ll also dig into the natural alternatives you can try instead.
As a BONUS, stick around until the end and take the hair loss quiz. The results will give you a better idea of the cause of your hair loss, as well as what you can do to combat it.
Lipogaine is a hair loss treatment line that consists of a number of products, for both men and women.
The main products in the line are Lipogaine, Lipogaine Sensitive, and Lipogaine Big 3 Shampoo.
Lipogaine is a combination hair loss treatment that combats hair loss in two ways:
For men and women with Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), DHT is the main culprit in hair loss. This is an androgen produced when testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme) interact.
The DHT itself isn’t really the problem; Instead, it’s the sensitivity to DHT that’s the issue.
As DHT makes contact with the sensitive hair follicles’ androgen receptors, inflammation occurs.
As the inflammation continues (which it will if left untreated), a process known as hair miniaturization takes place. Eventually, the hair follicles can no longer produce hair and baldness occurs.
In addition to the hair miniaturization, circulation to the inflamed follicles decreases. As such, oxygen and essential nutrients have difficulty being delivered, and further damage to the follicle occurs.
As claimed by Lipogaine, both of these issues can be treated with use of the product.
While the science behind the product is certainly important to consider, it’s also nice to be able to see how real users of the product have fared.
Some users are quite gung-ho about the product:
While others are more cautiously optimistic:
Overall, though, the reviews seem to be quite positive in regards to Lipogaine use.
This is likely due to its infusion of natural ingredients, because even if minoxidil doesn’t work for the user (as its only effective in 40% of users), the natural ingredients would.
As balding is a common issue in the male population – two-thirds of American men will experience some level of baldness by 35 – it makes sense that most hair loss products are developed with men in mind.
The same can be said for Lipogaine.
In fact, Lipogaine has gone one step further than many other hair loss products and created two separate product lines – Lipogaine for Men and Lipogaine for Women.
As with other minoxidil-containing products, the Lipogaine for Men line uses a 5% solution of minoxidil.
As mentioned above, Lipogaine has a specific hair product line for women. But how does it differ from the male counterpart?
Foremost, Lipogaine for Women contains a less potent dose of minoxidil, 2% as compared to the Men’s 5%. This is common in minoxidil-containing products marketed towards women, as women can suffer from more severe side effects.
While the ingredients within each product vary mildly, here are the ingredients for the two main products, Lipogaine for Men and Lipogaine for Women:
Water, propylene glycol, ethanol, minoxidil 5% (2% for Women), proprietary herb DHT blocker blend (saw palmetto extract, beta-sitosterol, oleic acid, linolenic acid, apple polyphenol), biotin, niacin, adenosine, vitamin B6 and B12, phosphatidylcholine.
As you can see, a great deal of the ingredients are natural ingredients and nutrients. However, it does contain a few harsher ingredients, such as propylene glycol and ethanol. And, of course minoxidil.
Alongside the two main products of Lipogaine for Men and Lipogaine for Women, the product also offers a sensitive product for both genders.
As a minoxidil-containing treatment, Lipogaine contains the ingredient propylene glycol. This ingredient has been linked to skin irritations, both mild and moderate, and is a common issue for those using Rogaine and other minoxidil brands.
Just as Rogaine created their foam product to remove propylene glycol from the formula, so too did Lipogaine. This new line is known as Lipogaine Sensitive, and it’s an effective treatment for those who react negatively to the regular product line.
Considering that the sensitive product line has the same dose of minoxidil as the original product line, there’s no reason to doubt its effectiveness.
In fact, you may experience better results as your scalp won’t be inflamed or otherwise irritated by the propylene glycol.
Aside from the Lipogaine and Lipogaine Sensitive solutions, Lipogaine also has two shampoo formulas: Big 3 and Hair Loss Prevention.
Both of these products offer additional hair growth support; however, they both do it in different ways.
The Big 3 Shampoo is for actively stimulating the growth of hair. It’s blend of saw palmetto, emu oil, castor oil, and nettle extract speak to this fact.
On the other hand, the Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo is more concerned with strengthening your hair and creating a healthy environment for new hair to grow.
The shampoo you choose will depend on your goals, though you could also alternate between the two.
These shampoos can be used for both men and women.
Wet your hair thoroughly, apply shampoo to your scalp, and lather generously. Rinse completely.
Apply shampoo again, and gently massage into your hair and scalp for one minute. Let sit for 2-4 minutes (or 3-5 minutes for the Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo), and then rinse completely.
The Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo is recommended to be used 3 – 4 times per week, though The Big 3 Shampoo has no recommended usage frequency.
Of course, many individuals with hair loss like to consider all options available to them. This include the big two – Rogaine and Propecia – but also treatments such as Lipogaine. So, how to Lipogaine and Rogaine compare?
First, Lipogaine does contain minoxidil. This is Rogaine’s active ingredient, so both drugs will work similarly in this regard.
However, Lipogaine also contains a number of DHT-blocking ingredients, including saw palmetto and essential fatty acids (such as Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), linoleic, and oleic acid).
In this regard, Lipogaine seemingly has a leg up on Rogaine.
While no studies have been done on Lipogaine specifically, a number of its ingredients have been studied. For example:
Another big name (albeit, non-brand) in the world of hair loss treatment is Kirkland Minoxidil. This is a generic form of Rogaine and, as such, it works just the same.
So, how does Lipogaine compare to Kirkland?
Similar to Rogaine, Kirkland has one major mechanism; that’s stimulation of circulation to the scalp.
However, it’s very likely that Lipogaine works better than Kirkland due to the fact that it has a two-pronged approach to hair loss treatment.
A well-known “side effect” of Lipogaine products (and, really, any minoxidil-containing treatment) is shedding. Why does it occur, and what does it mean?
First, it’s important to understand the hair growth cycle.
There are three main stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Thankfully, each hair follicle goes through the stages independently (otherwise, you’d be completely bald a few times each decade!).
But what does this have to do with shedding?
In order for your hair to enter the active phase of growth, it must first go through telogen phase and shed dead hairs. When you begin using a treatment such as Lipogaine that stimulates hair growth, you’re essentially pushing your follicles into anagen.
As a result, you’ll experience more shedding than usual.
However, the shedding will subside after a few months (typically, by month four). If it doesn’t, it’s best to speak with a physician.
As with any hair growth product, results will vary wildly from person to person. In fact, you can see this clearly in the above photos, with growth rates and time frames varying.
Aside from the common occurrence of shedding, there are a few other side effects to be aware of, and a few considerations to make before undergoing treatment.
As Lipogaine contains liquid minoxidil, you may experience side effects caused by propylene glycol. These include itching, redness, flaking, and dryness. However, Lipogaine does offer a Sensitive Solution without the presence of propylene glycol, and this can limit symptoms significantly.
In addition, you may experience side effects associated to other ingredients, such as saw palmetto or castor oil. While reactions to such natural products are rare, it can happen.
If you experience a severe reaction while using this product – such as difficulty breathing, hives, nausea/vomiting, or swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat – seek medical attention immediately and cease use of the product.
For best results, you’ll want to apply the product as directed. Take a look at the instructions below.
When applying Lipogaine, the most important part of the process is to ensure maximum scalp exposure. To get this, here’s a step-by-step rundown of the application process:
Step 1: Part your hair into one or more sections. If your hair is long enough, consider using a bobby pin to hold the hair back firmly from the thinning/balding area.
Step 2: Use the included dropper to collect 1mL of Lipogaine.
Step 3: Using the dropper, add Lipogaine to the thinning areas of your scalp.
Step 4: Spread the Lipogaine evenly. There’s no need to massage, but you want a thin film of liquid to come into contact with all parts of the thinning/balding areas of your scalp.
Step 5: Wash your hands.
You’ll want to follow these steps twice per day, using no more than 1mL of product each time. Be sure each application is at least 8 hours apart, and let the product fully dry before using any other products on your scalp.
The application process for women is identical to men, but you’ll have to pay more attention to properly parting your hair. You want the majority of the product to make its way to the scalp.
Step 1: Part your hair into one or more rows. It’s best to use a bobby pin or hair clip to separate the hair most effectively, and to expose as much scalp as possible.
Step 2: Collect 1mL of Lipogaine in the included dropper.
Step 3: Add Lipogaine to the thinning areas of your scalp.
Step 4: Spread the Lipogaine evenly with your fingertips. You want to be sure a thin layer of solution covers the entire section of scalp.
Step 5: Wash your hands.
As with the men’s solution, apply twice per day with at least 8 hours between each application. Be sure to use only 1mL of solution each time.
NOTE: It’s interesting to note that Lipogaine for Women is the only minoxidil-containing product I’ve seen that advises women to use the same dose and application frequency as men.
This is because women are more sensitive to minoxidil. If you do experience side effects, cut back to once per day to see if that lessens them.
A common area of hair loss for both men and women is the hairline. However, Rogaine and other minoxidil-containing products are only claimed to be useful for the crown. Does this mean Lipogaine can’t be used on the hairline?
Fortunately, Lipogaine, Rogaine, and other such products can be used on the hairline. Minoxidil applied to the hairline has been proven effective with very little risk of side effect.
In fact, a 2016 study showed that minoxidil used on the scalp had very favorable results:
As for the other ingredients within Lipogaine (such as saw palmetto, apply polyphenol, biotin, etc.), there’s no reason these cannot be applied to the hairline, either.
Keep in mind that the hairline does tend to have thinner skin (particularly near the temples), and this may increase your risk for side effects.
There are no official directions for the application of Lipogaine to the hairline. However, I can offer a few tips based on my knowledge of minoxidil and other such products.
First, you only need to apply a small amount to the hairline. All you need is enough solution for a thin layer, so two or three drops from the dropper should do the job.
Second, while Lipogaine doesn’t require massage, it doesn’t hurt to get the blood flow going. This will be especially helpful near the temples, and it’s a process that only takes a few minutes of your day.
While Lipogaine Shampoo is seemingly available in multiple locations (including Amazon and eBay), it appears as if the solution (both Men’s and Women’s) is only available from the developer.
This may limit availability for individuals in certain countries, though Lipogaine does claim to mail to many countries around the world.
Similarly, only being available from the retailer will limit any savings as there is no competition.
A one-month supply of the product is $25 for men, and $20 for women. If you require the sensitive formula, the price will jump to $29.95 for men and $25 for women.
The Lipogaine Shampoo products are in the same price range, with Big 3 being $25 and Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo being $25.95.
While the results seen by many Lipogaine users are impressive, all-natural methods of treating hair loss can have the very same results (if not better).
This is because unlike minoxidil-containing products, which only mask the symptoms, natural methods can treat the underlying cause. Do you want to learn more? Take a look at some tried-and-true methods I’ve used on my own hair growth journey.
The majority of store-bought shampoos contain chemicals and preservatives. As a result, you may be causing long-term damage to your hair and scalp.
On the other hand, homemade shampoos contain natural ingredients that you selected yourself. This means you can tailor the shampoos to your needs, and know exactly what is going on (and passing into) your body.
While making your own shampoos can seem a daunting task, it’s actually really simple. And, in the long run, it’s also much cheaper! Don’t believe me? Here’s a four-ingredient shampoo that I use regularly:
Mix all ingredients in the container of your choice. Add to wet hair, and massage into scalp for 2-3 mintues. Rinse thoroughly.
As the cleansing agent, liquid castile soap gently cleans the scalp and removes any debris and buildup. The carrot seed oil purifies the scalp and stimulates circulation.
Last, both the maple syrup and castor oil act to hydrate and nourish the scalp. Maple syrup additionally has antibacterial properties, which further improves the environment.
I’m a huge believer that your diet lays the foundation for the rest of your hair growth methods. Without a healthy, balanced diet, many of the methods you employ may be fruitless.
But what is the right diet for hair loss sufferers?
In truth, there is no diet that is 100% capable of reversing your hair loss. However, if you remove common allergens and irritants from your diet, and you replace them with healthy, wholesome alternatives, you’ll be in a much better place.
What do I mean by allergens and irritants, and what are the healthy, wholesome alternatives?
Some common allergens and irritants – both of which can lead to inflammation – include alcohol, red meat, dairy, and carbonated beverages.
The healthy, wholesome alternatives include those foods which are on the alkaline side of the pH scale. For example, kale, spinach, avocado, soy, almonds, olive oil, coconut oil, and flax.
You don’t have to make big changes, but you do want to transition your diet as much as possible. This will enable your body to heal from years of chronic inflammation, and give your hair follicles the opportunity to properly produce healthy hair.
Lipogaine is a product quickly growing in popularity, and one that seems to rival the results of Rogaine. However, it’s not one that I recommend.
As a minoxidil-containing product, Lipogaine can have some negative side effects. And, even if you can overcome these effects, the product only covers up the issue.
Instead, I recommend you take the route that leads to actual treatment of the cause. This includes the two methods mentioned above, in addition to dozens of others.
To get started learning about natural hair loss treatment methods, first take a minute to complete the hair loss quiz below. With these results in hand, you can then go on to make better-informed decisions about your hair loss treatment.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
Minoxidil and finasteride are the only two FDA-approved hair loss treatments on the market. In this post, I’ll take a look at their well-known name brand products – Rogaine and Propecia – and how they compare to each other.
I’ll discuss the various differences between the two products – including mechanisms and side effects – and look closely at the scientific evidence that compares their use.
In the end, I’ll also share with you a natural treatment formula that I’ve used to stop hair loss and regrow hair.
Note: To learn more about the cause of your hair loss, be sure to take the one-minute quiz at the end of the article.
Rogaine was first approved by the FDA in 1988, though the active ingredient minoxidil was in use since 1979 as an anti-hypertensive medication.
To understand how Rogaine works, it’s first important to understand the cause of Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB).
MPB occurs as a result of sensitivity to the androgen hormone DHT. This is produced when testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme) interact.
With DHT produced, it is able to attach to the hair follicles (through the androgen receptor). When this occurs on sensitive hair follicles, this causes inflammation and irritation.
As the follicle inflames, a process known as hair miniaturization takes place. This means the hair has difficulty growing until, eventually, growth stops completely.
Additionally, the inflammation leads to poor circulation to the follicle, and the follicle withers (and, if left untreated, dies).
Unlike Propecia, which works by inhibiting DHT (more on that later), Rogaine works by dilating the blood vessels and improving circulation to the hair follicles.
Essentially, Rogaine makes it possible for your hair follicles to thrive in a hostile environment.
As circulation improves, the follicle is then able to receive oxygen and vital nutrients. This keeps the follicle healthy and can cut down on inflammation. This will also help to stop hair miniaturization and, if treated early, can even reverse it.
Rogaine is a topical solution, and it’s applied twice per day (for men), and once or twice per day for women (depending on solution being used).
The application process will vary slightly depending on which formula you use (liquid or foam).
For best results, avoid applying other hair products for at least four hours. This will give the solution time to absorb fully.
For women, apply this treatment twice per day.
For women, apply this treatment once per day.
As with any medication, there are some side effects to consider prior to treatment.
The majority of side effects associated with Rogaine use are topical in nature. These include itching, redness, flaking, and dryness.
Systemic side effects can occur – such as headache, dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness– though these are more rare. In women, the risk of excess facial hair growth is also a possibility.
If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, including hives, vomiting/diarrhea, or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat, stop use immediately and see emergency medical attention.
Unlike Rogaine, Propecia is a medication taken orally (in the form of a pill). It is taken once per day.
Initially, finasteride was FDA approved in 1992 (under the name Proscar) for the treatment of enlarged prostate. In 1997, it was finally approved under the name of Propecia for the treatment of male-pattern hair loss.
As mentioned, Propecia works by inhibiting DHT. This means that hair miniaturization can be treated before it occurs, or reversed if it’s only in the earliest stages.
The main ingredient in Propecia, finasteride, works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This means the drug works on a biochemical level, and this interrupts the usual balance of hormones within the body.
With less DHT, the hair follicle will no longer have a reason to be inflamed. This means that hair miniaturization will not take place, and any current miniaturization may be reversed depending on severity.
The drug should be taken once per day and, for best absorption, taken on an empty stomach.
As Propecia has a short lifetime in the body, you should aim to take it at the same time everyday for best results. This may not always be possible, but it helps to add it to another habit of yours, such as brushing your teeth when you wake.
As DHT is a vital hormone within the body, its inhibition can lead to some less-than-pleasant side effects.
Common side effects of Propecia use include:
Warning! The sexual dysfunction side effects associated with Propecia – including loss of libido and inability to get an erection – may be long term. This means that side effects can continue long after treatment has ceased.
In terms of effectiveness, let’s take a look at how the two hair loss treatments compare.
In 2003, researchers recruited 99 men (ages 18 – 45) with moderate mid-frontal and/or vertex balding to participate in a comparative study. The men were randomized into one of two groups.
The first group received once-daily oral finasteride (1 mg/d), while the second group received topical 2% minoxidil (1 mL twice daily). Each group continued treatment for 12 months.
At the 12 month mark, the participants were asked if they would like to continue treatment for another year. 83% of the finasteride-treated group and 81% of the minoxidil-treated group agreed to do so.
Researchers randomly counted hairs on the baldest area of each participant’s scalp, and thickness was also measured. This was done at baseline, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
For participants who chose to continue treatment past the initial one-year mark, measurements were also taken at 18 and 24 months.
At 3 months, 33% of the minoxidil group reported slight or moderate hair growth compared to 12% using finasteride. However, the difference between both groups at 12 months and 24 months was insignificant.
For men with male-pattern baldness, Propecia is the more effective treatment. This is because it targets the main cause of hair loss (DHT). However, the side effects make it an unbearable treatment for a number of men.
For women with pattern hair loss, Propecia is not recommended or FDA approved. Instead, Rogaine has shown itself to be an effective treatment.
When hair loss sufferers want improved results, sometimes they combine treatment methods. Rogaine and Propecia are two such methods which are commonly used at the same time.
As both drugs are taken in different ways (Rogaine is a topical application while Propecia is an oral pill), using them together isn’t difficult at all.
You can use both treatments as recommended, as the use of one will not interfere with the other.
There’s always a risk of side effects when you use over-the-counter treatments for your hair loss. However, combining two powerful methods can mean a higher risk of ill effects.
As someone who previously suffered from hair loss, it may be shocking to learn that I don’t recommend the use of Rogaine, Propecia, or other such over-the-counter hair loss treatments. Instead, I recommend a natural route to hair growth.
With the use of natural, scientifically proven ingredients, you can see the same results experienced by minoxidil users. In fact, there’s a particular formulation that I’ve used myself with great success.
Combine hyaluronic acid and emu oil in equal parts. Add saw palmetto to the mix in a 1:6 ratio (1 part saw palmetto:6 parts hyaluronic acid/emu oil mix).
Add 1 part apple polyphenol to 6 parts of the hyaluronic/emu/saw palmetto combination.
Mix the combination well.
To use, shake the container and pour into your palm. Apply the mixture to your entire scalp, using your fingertips to mix and massage the mixture in thoroughly.
Leave in for 10-30 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water (though, cold is better!).
For best results, I recommend you apply this mixture to your scalp twice per week.
With a few weeks’ time, you’ll begin to see signs of hair growth along the hairline and crown and, best of all, you can use this treatment indefinitely without any side effects.
To improve the results you do see, I also suggest the use of a microneedling tool. Microneedling is a process that creates tiny puncture wounds on the scalp.
As the wounds heal, healthy skin and hair follicles is produced. In addition, it improves circulation to the scalp, and this is the same way in which minoxidil works.
There are a few different microneedling tools you can use at home, though I recommend the dermaroller or dermastamp. The dermastamp is a tad more effective, as it’s easier to target, however it’s pricier.
While the minoxidil alternative above will offer you positive results, the best thing you can do for your hair is to pay special attention to what you’re putting into your body. After all, what you eat effects all body systems, including hair growth.
Unfortunately, the modern diet is full of unhealthy foods and beverages. These include red meat, alcohol, dairy, high-sugar grains, and carbonated beverages.
The consumption of such foods leads to an acidic environment throughout the body, and this can negatively impact the entirety of your health and trigger hair loss.
So, what can you do?
The easy answer is to increase your intake of alkaline foods.
You can easily add these to your regular diet menu, or add a smoothie to your mornings for a healthy boost.
Rogaine and Propecia are the two most popular hair loss treatments on the market. They were in different ways to combat hair loss, though their results are similar in a lot of ways.
However, I recommend against the use of over-the-counter treatments and encourage the use of natural ones, instead.
This is because Rogaine and Propecia only work as long as you use them, and the risk of long-term side effects just isn’t worth it.
To learn more about natural methods at your disposal, take the six-question quiz below. You’ll learn more about the cause of your hair loss, as well as what you can do to stop the loss and, perhaps, even reverse it.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
Does high strength minoxidil increase the rate of hair regrowth and by how much? Or will it just increase your chances of negative side-effects without being anymore effective? In this article, you’ll find the answers to those questions and more!
When beginning a hair loss treatment, it’s common to be impatient with results. In fact, many users of 2% of 5% minoxidil are so impatient that they switch to higher doses without much thought.
However, such an action is not recommended for a number of reasons. Not only will the use of high-strength minoxidil increase your risk of side effects, but it can also backfire when you’re ready to cease use or go down to a lower-dose formula.
In this post, I’ll discuss how minoxidil works to fight hair loss. I’ll also compare the two most common strengths (2% and 5%), and explain why a higher dose of minoxidil does not always mean improved results.
In the end, I’ll also share with you my number one method for natural hair loss treatment.
NOTE: Take the six-question hair loss quiz to learn more about your hair loss, and to get an inside look at various treatment methods.
Minoxidil is a drug – originally used in the treatment of high blood pressure – that acts as the active ingredient in popular hair loss treatment Rogaine.
The exact mechanism through which minoxidil works in the treatment of hair loss is debated. However, the most popular belief is that minoxidil works effectively by improving circulation to the hair follicles.
In men and women with Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), hair thinning and loss occurs as a result of sensitivity to DHT.
As DHT attaches to the follicles, the follicle experiences inflammation. Eventually, this results in hair miniaturization which causes thinning and, if left untreated, permanent baldness.
While minoxidil doesn’t inhibit the production of DHT or remove it from the scalp, it does make it possible for your hair follicles to thrive in a hostile environment. This is because as hair miniaturization occurs, the blood flow to the follicles decreases.
With minoxidil, blood flow can be reestablished, and the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients and continue.
For use as a hair loss treatment, two different strengths of minoxidil were approved by the FDA: 2% and 5%.
These strengths are available in both the liquid and foam formulations, though women are recommended to only use 2% liquid (however, they can use 5% foam).
But what’s the difference between these two strengths?
According to a 2002 study performed by Olsen et al., quite a bit.
Of course, both strengths work to increase hair count and improve scalp coverage. As expected, however, the 5% strength performed better on both counts when compared to 2% minoxidil:
So, why would a user choose 2% over 5% if the latter is proven to work more effectively?
As strength of minoxidil increases, so too does the risk of side effects. For men who are sensitive to such things, then, the use of a lower-dose hair loss treatment can still provide positive results without (or with less) ill effects.
While only 2% and 5% minoxidil are FDA approved for use in the treatment of hair loss, some users have ventured onto higher strength formulations.
And, while many have seen positive hair growth results, is the use of increased concentration minoxidil recommended? No.
While you can’t buy minoxidil that’s higher in strength than 5% over-the-counter, you may be able to get a prescription from your physician.
Of course, this will depend on the strength you’re looking for, and how familiar your physician is with minoxidil as a hair loss treatment.
In your search, you may also stumble upon online pharmacies and stores which claim to sell 10%+ minoxidil over the internet.
I strongly recommend you steer clear of such sites, as the products aren’t regulated. Simply put, you’re paying for a product that may or may not be minoxidil, and it may or may not be the strength you want.
If 2% (for women) or 5% (for men) isn’t providing the results you’re looking for, what can you do?
First, it’s important to remember that results vary for everyone. It’s easy to look at the results of minoxidil users online and think those results will be yours, too.
However, the results you see will depend upon a number of factors, including how much hair loss you’ve experienced and how long you’ve been undergoing treatment.
Second, there are hair loss treatments other than Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride). The treatments I’m talking about are all natural, but their results rival those produced by both popular over-the-counter treatments.
Even better, they do more than treat the hair loss; they also treat the cause.
There are two ways in which you can address your hair loss: externally (through the use of topicals) and internally (through the use of supplements).
While both methods serve their purpose, the one I recommend again and again is internal. This is because I believe hair loss is a sign of your inner health and balance. Let me explain….
The modern Western diet – the diet that millions of people eat every day – is full of inflammation-causing foods and beverages. These include red meat, dairy, alcohol, and sugary grains.
Not only do these foods cause inflammation, but they also create an acidic environment within the body. Naturally, humans run on the alkaline side of the pH scale.
However, acidic foods lead to an acidic bloodstream, and this can trigger hair loss and other health issues. Actually 5-alpha-reductase (the enzyme which triggers the production of DHT) thrives in such an environment.
So, what can you do?
The simple answer is to alkalise your diet.
Alkaline foods – such as spinach, kale, almonds, coconut, and alfalfa – are easy to incorporate into your diet. Of course, I also recommend you cut way back on your intake of acidic foods (or remove them from your diet altogether).
You can add alkaline foods to your meals, or incorporate them into your day in the form of juices, smoothies, and supplements.
You don’t have to make the transition all at once, but you should strive to improve your intake of alkaline foods on a regular basis.
Not only will this provide your hair with a healthier environment, but it can also improve your overall health and feelings of well being.
When you don’t see the hair growth results you’d like, it’s common to consider a higher-dose method. This is true, even for minoxidil users. However, it’s not a route I would encourage you to take.
Minoxidil – whether in its FDA-approved percentage or a higher dosage – doesn’t treat the cause of your hair loss; instead, all it does is mask the symptoms. This is why I urge my readers to give the natural method outlined above a try.
I’ve had success with such an intervention, and it’s possible for you as well.
To learn more about the natural methods I recommend, I first suggest you begin by taking the hair loss quiz below.
The results of this one-minute quiz will give you a better idea of the cause of your hair loss, and this information will then enable you to treat it directly.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
As a popular treatment for male-pattern baldness, minoxidil is available in a few formulations. The two most common are liquid and foam, though a cream formulation has become increasingly popular for a few reasons.
In this post, I’ll take a closer look at minoxidil cream. This will include how it compares to the “traditional” formulations, and what you may expect from use. In addition, I’ll lay out the possible side effects.
In the end, I’ll also share with you my very own formula for a natural minoxidil alternative.
You can also try the 6 part quiz at the end of this article to discover if it will be possible to regrow your hair.
Minoxidil is a drug that was originally used in the treatment of hypertension, but which has now become one of the most popular active ingredients in the hair loss community.
First developed by the Upjohn Company (now Pfizer) in the 1950s for the treatment of ulcers, studies showed that minoxidil was a much better vasodilator. As such, it was FDA-approved and released under the name Loniten in 1979 to treat high blood pressure.
As studies continued, it soon became obvious that minoxidil had another surprising side effect: hair growth. In fact, doctors were prescribing Loniten off-brand for their balding patients by the 1980s.
Finally, in 1988, minoxidil was FDA-approved for male hair loss treatment under the name Rogaine, and a female product soon followed (approved in 1991).
There’s still a bit of debate about minoxidil’s mechanism; though, it’s believed to be its vasodilating properties.
In individuals with Androgenetic Alopecia, hair loss is caused by a sensitivity to DHT. This is an androgen produced from the interaction between testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme).
While DHT does play an important role in sexual development, those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss (along with other factors) may find themselves with DHT-sensitive hair follicles.
As the DHT attaches to the hair follicles, the follicle becomes inflamed and irritated. In the short term, this leads to thinning and gradual hair loss.
Over time, a process known as hair miniaturization will take place and, if left untreated, will lead to permanent hair loss.
Throughout the process of hair miniaturization, there is a severe lack of oxygen and nutrient delivery from the blood vessels to the hair follicle. This furthers the process, and eventually kills the follicle. So, where does minoxidil come in?
As a vasodilator, minoxidil ensures the continued delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients to the scalp and follicles. While it doesn’t remove the cause of the hair loss (DHT), it does make it possible for hair follicles to thrive in an inhospitable environment.
It’s is a cream formulation, one which allows you to rub the solution into your scalp like you would a lotion.
It’s not currently FDA approved, and not much is really known on its use in the treatment of hair loss.
However, some companies do make cream formulations and sell the product (namely, non-US companies), claiming that it has superior results to the liquid and foam minoxidil formulations.
The most popular minoxidil formulation, liquid, has been on the market for a few decades now (first by Rogaine, and then store brands). So, how does it stand up against the cream version?
Unfortunately, no comparative studies have been performed. Actually, no studies at all have been done to test the efficacy of the cream formulation.
However, there are a few things we can know about their differences.
First, the minoxidil liquid is likely to have less side effects than the cream formulation. This is because the cream formulation tends to be prepared in much higher doses (12% – 30%).
Second, the minoxidil liquid is likely to be easier to work with. Unlike cream, which can leave a greasy, gummy residue, the liquid will evaporate over time. This makes it easier to style your hair.
Minoxidil foam was first introduced as an alternative to minoxidil solution in 2010, and the Women’s Foam was released in 2014.
The foam was produced in response to allergic reactions by Rogaine users – caused by the ingredient propylene glycol – and it has been a staple of many hair loss sufferers hair care routine ever since.
Similar to the minoxidil liquid, no comparative studies have been done for minoxidil foam and cream; this makes it difficult to really know which one works best.
As mentioned above, though, I would imagine the foam would be more effective in the long term. While the cream may produce quicker initial results, a higher dose of minoxidil is not necessarily considered best.
Remember, “more is not always better.”
The side effects associated with the cream version will be similar to those of other minoxidil products. However, as many creams come in higher doses than store-bought liquids and foams, you may be more likely to experience side effects.
The most common side effects include itching, redness, flaking, and dryness.
The chances of these side effects can be lessened by using a propylene glycol-free product, such as minoxidil foam.
Depending on the cream you purchase, it may have propylene glycol. So, if you’re sensitive to such things, be sure to do your research.
Of course, more severe side effects can occur (though, they’re rare). These include dizziness, headaches, nausea/vomiting, difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat.
If these symptoms occur, stop use of minoxidil immediately and seek medical attention.
If you’re a woman, you’ll want to be wary of high-dose minoxidil concentrations. The FDA has only approved minoxidil liquid 2% and minoxidil foam 5% for women, as higher concentrations can increase risk of side effects.
One such side effect is excess hair growth on the face (known as hirsutism).
Unlike the 2% and 5% minoxidil solution and foam, the cream version is not available over the counter. In fact, it’s quite hard to even come across in the US, and it can be hard to track in other countries as well.
Why isn’t it available over the counter?
The FDA has approved only two doses for over-the-counter use: 2% and 5%. However, creams tend to have much higher doses (anywhere from 12.5% to 30%) and, therefore, are not recommended by the FDA.
For this reason, any minoxidil creams you do come across will be pretty pricey.
Minoxidil is a popular hair loss treatment, but it’s one with many side effects and unknown long-term effects. This is especially true if you’ll be using a high-dose formulation, such as cream.
To avoid such issues, I recommend you go with an all-natural alternative. With natural ingredients, you can tailor the product to fit your needs. In addition, you can save money.
Are you ready? Then take a look at this two-step alternative that you can start using today.
Sebum buildup is a common occurrence, but it can cause a number of issues if not treated regularly. Such issues include an excess amount of DHT on the scalp and hair follicle blockage.
Fortunately, you can handle this issue easily with a scalp peel.
Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo (I recommend one from here), and then rinse thoroughly. Apply coconut oil to the scalp, enough to cover it in a thin layer. Allow to sit on your scalp for 30 minutes.
Using an eyedropper (you can pick some up at the drugstore), apply the salicylic acid to your scalp in sections. Pay particular attentions to areas with obvious flaking, itching, thinning as these are the areas most likely to have the most buildup.
Leave the acid on your scalp for 10 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. Peel away any excess acid that has been left behind (you can also use a hair brush – gently!).
What You’ll Need:
While not a necessary step, I recommend you first use a dermaroller to stimulate the scalp.
A dermaroller is a microneedling tool that creates small puncture wounds to the scalp. As these “wounds” heal, blood and nutrient flow to the area is increased. This means your scalp is more able to absorb treatments, and it can also promote growth of new hairs.
You should perform this step after the scalp peel, but before the topical.
Now, mix the ingredients together as follows:
NOTE: The actual amounts don’t matter (so you can make as much or as little as you’d like).
Now, using a pipette or spray bottle (set on lowest spray), begin to apply to areas where you’ve applied the peel and used the dermaroller. Use your fingertips to massage the mixture in, and then let sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm (NOT hot) water.
For best results, apply this mixture as frequently as minoxidil (twice per day). Or, if using as a supplement to another hair loss treatment, you can apply every few days.
To store the mixture, keep in a dark-colored bottle (preferably glass). I would suggest keeping it in the fridge, though any cool, dry place will do.
When looking for a hair loss treatment, minoxidil cream is an option. However, it’s not one that I would recommend.
In fact, I would urge you to strongly reconsider before using. The heightened risk of side effects, as well as the fact that you would need to continue use perpetually, make it an unwise choice.
Instead, I suggest a more natural approach to hair loss treatment. With the minoxidil alternative above, alongside a healthy diet, you can see results just as effective (or even more) as with minoxidil.
To learn more about natural hair loss treatments that will work for your type of hair loss, take a minute for the hair loss quiz below!
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
While Rogaine is a popular treatment for hair loss, it does cause a disturbing occurrence in the beginning of use: shedding. In this article, you’ll learn why Rogaine shedding happens, how long it lasts, and how much loss you can expect.
Additionally, you’ll learn of natural methods you can use – either alone, or alongside Rogaine – to stop shedding and grow your hair more quickly.
BONUS: To learn more about your hair loss and the most effective way to treat it, take the hair loss quiz at the end of this article.
Rogaine is a hair loss treatment – consisting of a drug, called minoxidil – that is applied to the scalp on a daily basis.
The main use for Rogaine is in the treatment of Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB), the most common form of hair loss.
When applied regularly, the active ingredient minoxidil works to promote blood circulation and reduce the effects (such as inflammation and hair miniaturization) caused by DHT.
Unfortunately, as with any medication, this drug does have some side effects associated with use.
These include local irritation (itching, redness, rash), but also some systemic side effects, such as dizziness, excess facial/body hair, and fast/irregular heartbeat.
Another “side effect” of Rogaine/minoxidil use is hair shedding, popularly referred to as “dread shed”.
During the course of the normal hair growth cycle, shedding takes place. About 100 hairs are shed per day in a healthy individual, and this just means that the telogen phase has ended and anagen is next.
When shedding takes place while on hair growth treatments, including Rogaine, the reason is the same.
Rogaine and Propecia – the only two FDA-approved hair loss treatments on the market – both bring your hair from the resting phase to the active growth phase.
They do this in different ways, but the end result of both is excess shedding.
This can be a disturbing side effect, especially as you’re taking the medication to grow new hair. However, you really have nothing to worry about.
It helps to think of Rogaine shedding as less of a side effect and more of a stage of use.
This is something that happens in the beginning of treatment – typically in the first 2-8 weeks – but that should subside as treatment continues.
Of course, not everyone will suffer from shedding as a result of use, especially if your hair loss has progressed to the point of baldness. But, the majority of users will experience some level of shedding.
As mentioned, whether shedding occurs will vary. The same can be said for how much shedding takes place.
During the usual hair cycle, about 100 hairs per day are shed during the telogen phase.
However, it’s not uncommon to experience more than this during the first few months of minoxidil use, as many hairs will be prematurely pushed into telogen.
So, when should you worry?
If shedding continues for more than 8 weeks, or if it seems to worsen as treatment continues, I recommend you speak with a hair loss specialist.
If you choose to stop minoxidil, be aware that shedding can also occur as a result of this, so you may notice an increase in shedding for a few weeks.
As shedding is a sign that the drug is working effectively, stopping the shedding would be counterintuitive.
However, you can work to grow the new hair as quickly as possible once the shedding has taken place.
Whether you want to increase blood circulation, reduce DHT, or cleanse and moisturize your scalp, essential oils are an excellent tool to have in your arsenal.
A few essential oils that I recommend include:
Keep in mind, if you use these oils in conjunction with Rogaine, you must wait at least four hours after you’ve applied the Rogaine. This will give the product sufficient time to absorb into the scalp, and it will ensure it works as it should.
Not sure how to apply essential oil most effectively? Take a look at this guide here.
As Rogaine works by increased blood flow to the scalp, it can be beneficial to add in your own scalp stimulation routine to boost results.
There are two basic ways to stimulate the scalp manually: One is simple massage, and the other is microneedling.
For scalp massage, all you need is your hands. Of course, you can also add in some essential oils, or even use a scalp stimulation tool to make it a bit easier.
I recommend performing a massage for about 5-10 minutes every day.
The second way to stimulate the scalp is with microneedling.
This is a technique used commonly to reduce scarring on the face, but it’s also proven to be beneficial in hair growth. In fact, microneedling performed alongside minoxidil treatment improved results significantly, as shown by a 2013 research study:
To perform microneedling at home, you can use a dermaroller. This is a handheld tool that can be easily used on a regular basis to provide you with the same effects as in-office microneedling.
An additional tool – though, a bit pricer than a traditional dermaroller – is the dermastamp. This tool has increased precision, and is great for beginners. However, the dermaroller works just as well, and is cheaper and more accessible.
I’ve personally used Rogaine and other minoxidil-containing products in the past. However, the side effects and the fact that results stop quickly after use ends made it non-ideal for my needs.
That’s why I created The Scalp Solution, an effective hair growth technique that’s natural.
In brief, this method involves breaking down the scalp plaque that has built up over time, and applying a hair growth elixir on a regular basis.
Here’s how to get started.
It’s crucial that you remove scalp buildup before applying the elixir. This will ensure the elixir is able to fully absorb, and it will leave your scalp a healthier environment for hair to grow.
What You’ll Need:
First, juice the ginger and cucumber (or blend them together and strain with a muslin cloth). I recommend you juice the ginger first, as ginger can easily clog the juicer and the cucumber will ensure you get every last bit.
Add 100 mL of this mixture to the container of your choice. Add in the himalayan or celtic salt, the powdered activated charcoal, and the juice of one lemon. Combine well.
Rub the combination into the areas of your scalp with thinning or irritation. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes, as the lemon and ginger need a bit of time to properly break up the buildup. Rinse with lukewarm (not hot!) water.
For better results use a brush to gently wipe away the remaining mixture after mixing. This can help to lift more plaque from the scalp, and it will also increase circulation to the area.
You can use this alone, or in conjunction with minoxidil. However, be sure to follow the four-hour rule mentioned above.
What You’ll Need:
NOTE: The exact measurements are not important. Instead, this recipe will be given in parts so you can make as much (or as little) as you’d like.
Combine the hyaluronic acid and emu oil in equal parts. Then, pierce a gel saw palmetto capsule and add the gel into the hyaluronic/emu mixture in a 1:6 ratio (1 part saw palmetto:6 parts hyaluronic/emu).
Add 1 part of apple polyphenol to 6 parts of the hyaluronic/emu/saw palmetto combination.
Mix the combination well.
Shake the mixture to evenly distribute ingredients. Pour into your palm, and apply to the entirety of your scalp with your fingertips.
Leave in for 10-30 minutes (the longer, the better), and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm or cold water.
For best results, I recommend using this elixir twice per week. You will begin to see new hair growth within a few weeks of use, and this can be continued indefinitely.
To increase results, I recommend you use a dermaroller before applying the elixir. This will increase the mixture’s absorbance, and it will also improve blood circulation which is a positive result in itself.
Shedding is common in the very beginning stages of minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia) use. It’s simply a part of the process, and is nothing to be worried about in the majority of cases.
However, if you’d rather avoid “dread shed”, or if you’re looking for a more natural, healthier alternative to minoxidil and finasteride, I recommend you follow the course of action outlined above.
While over-the-counter hair loss treatments can be effective, their positive results stop as soon as treatment does.
To learn more about hair loss, and to treat the cause of your loss at the source, begin by taking the one-minute quiz below.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
Rogaine is a popular hair loss product available in three formulations: Liquid, Extra Strength Liquid, and Foam. In this post, I’m going to discuss the foam formulation including how it works, how to use it, and what real users have to say about it.
In addition, I’ll take a look at the product’s ingredients, some common side effects of use, and how it compares to the liquid formulation.
As a BONUS, be sure to take the hair loss quiz at the end of the article. The results will help you to better understand your cause of hair loss, as well as what you can do to treat it.
There are many types of hair loss, but Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) is the one most commonly associated with thinning, hairline recession, and total balding.
In short, AGA is caused by sensitivity to the androgen DHT. DHT is produced when testosterone (sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme) interact, and it’s a normal process that occurs in both men and women.
For a longer explanation, let’s look at how exactly DHT contributes to hair loss.
Your hair follicles are a living system which require input (oxygen and nutrients) in order to survive.
When the source of oxygen and nutrients are cut off (or otherwise blocked), the hair follicle will slowly miniaturize and, eventually, die.
In individuals with AGA, DHT limits the input received by hair follicles due to inflammation. As DHT attaches to androgen receptors near the sensitive follicles, the follicles respond by ‘protecting’ themselves.
This protection comes in the form on inflammation, but long-term inflammation means that the necessary inputs are cut off for too long.
In men, these sensitive follicles tend to be near the hairline and crown, while in women they tend to be near the crown.
As the hair follicles miniaturize, the hair that is being produced is unable to grow as it should. It becomes smaller and smaller until it soon no longer grows at all.
There are other factors at play (including genetic predisposition to hair loss and health habits), but has been shown to play a significant role in pattern hair loss.
Now that you understand the process of hair loss, let’s discuss how Rogaine works to stop the loss.
Unlike Propecia (another popular hair loss medication), Rogaine doesn’t rid the scalp of DHT. Instead, it makes it possible for your hair follicles to function and receive input, even in a hostile environment.
How does it achieve this?
Rogaine’s active ingredient, minoxidil, was first developed and marketed as a vasodilator (under the name Loniten). This means it was used to relax the walls of the blood vessels so blood circulation could improve.
In individuals with AGA, improved circulation to the scalp means oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the hair follicles. As a result, the follicles no longer miniaturize, and the process of hair growth is able to continue uninterrupted.
When it comes to the foam version, many reviewers mention how easy it is to apply:
For those who previously used the liquid formula, it’s just a much more pleasant experience overall:
Of course, not everyone had a pleasant experience, with some users complaining of itching, redness, and flaking:
Overall, reviews of the product were favorable with many users seeing results in a few months’ time.
When Rogaine was initially approved by the FDA, the product was only approved for men. Eventually, Rogaine became available to women in the 2% concentration (known as Women’s Rogaine).
When Rogaine foam first came on the market, the same applied. It was initially approved for men at both 2% and 5%, but developers soon rolled out a Women’s Rogaine foam formulation.
The Women’s Rogaine liquid is available with 2% minoxidil, while the Women’s foam is available with 5% minoxidil. However, women should only use the foam once daily to avoid any unpleasant side effects associated with its use (such as hirutism, dizziness, headache, and unexplained weight gain).
While Rogaine liquid isn’t difficult to apply, there’s no doubt that the foam formula is a much quicker process. Here’s how to do it.
This is a routine you’ll need to repeat every morning and every night.
For women, you only need to apply Rogaine once per day.
While application for both men and women is a straightforward process, there are a few things you can do to improve the way in which you apply the formula. Here are a few tips I recommend you take into consideration.
For best results, you’ll want to apply to a dry scalp. This will give the foam a chance to better absorb (as there’s less chance of evaporation).
It’s also best to apply to a clean scalp, as this will ensure the pores can best absorb the formula.
While massage is an excellent scalp stimulator, I highly recommend the use of a dermaroller.
A dermaroller is a microneedling tool that creates small puncture wounds in the scalp. As the wounds heal, healthy hair follicles are produced.
In addition, this tool can improve blood circulation (which will further contribute to healthy hair growth).
Don’t believe me that a simple tool can have such a positive effect on hair growth? Take a look at the hair growth results from this study:
Overall, the best application tip is to be consistent. You won’t see results unless you commit to use. This means using it consistently (once or twice daily, depending on your gender) and sticking with it for at least six months.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, many users of Rogaine stop within the first few weeks due to a “symptom” known as dread shed.
This occurs when your hair cycles from the telogen phase of growth to the anagen phase, and your hair shedding increases.
It’s easy to be alarmed by the amount of hair shed, but many users only experience excess shedding for a few weeks. If you want results, you’ll need to power through the initial shed.
As will be discussed further later on, the foam version was developed in an attempt to lessen side effects experienced by Rogaine users.
With this in mind, side effects can still occur, but they’re much less likely to occur than in their Rogaine liquid counterpart.
Some less common side effects to look out for include swelling of the hands and feet, chest pain and fast heartbeats, lightheadedness, and headaches.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop use until you’re able to speak with a physician.
While rare, you can experience a severe allergic reaction to Rogaine. This is called anaphylaxis, and it requires emergency medical attention.
Symptoms include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth, and throat, and nausea/diarrhea.
While the active ingredient present within Rogaine is minoxidil, there are a number of other ingredients included that help to deliver the minoxidil to the scalp.
As shown above, this includes a number of preservatives and alcohols, both of which can cause irritation in those with sensitive skin.
As previously mentioned, Rogaine liquid was the first Rogaine formulation to become available on the market. If AGA patients experienced good success with that formulation, then why was the foam developed?
As noted in studies and reported by users of Rogaine liquid, there were a few unpleasant side effects. These included itching, flaking, dryness, and redness.
However, minoxidil wasn’t the cause. Instead, the ingredient propylene glycol was to blame.
In the liquid formulation, propylene glycol works as a vehicle. This means it delivers the active drug (minoxidil) to the scalp and ensures its absorption.
Instead of reformulating the liquid formula, then, researchers decided to make an entirely new product for those who were sensitivity to propylene glycol.
That’s where the foam comes in.
Rogaine foam is propylene glycol-free and, for many users, this means side effects have disappeared.
While no human studies have been performed which directly compare the effectiveness of Rogaine liquid and Rogaine foam, there was a study which showed that once daily use of 5% Minoxidil Foam was just as effective as twice daily use of 2% Minoxidil Liquid in women.
This study took place in 2011, and 113 women with AGA were randomized into two groups.
Group one was instructed to apply 5% Minoxidil Foam to their scalp one daily, while group two was instructed to apply 2% Minoxidil Liquid to their scalp twice daily.
The main parameter was change from baseline in nonvellus target area hair count at week 24. However, other parameters (including change in nonvellus target area hair width and adverse effects) were also included.
In the end, it was determined that once-daily 5% Minoxidil Foam was just as effective as twice-daily 2% Minoxidil Liquid.
While this study doesn’t exactly pit the two against each other (for that, we’d have to see a comparison between foam and liquid with the same potency), it does provide us with some insight into its effectiveness at growing hair.
Another formula offered by Rogaine is Extra Strength solution. When Rogaine liquid was first produced, 2% was the usual dose. The Extra Strength solution contains 5% minoxidil, and has been shown to produce quicker results.
With regular strength Rogaine, positive results are typically seen in 40% of men over a period of three to six months. However, the Extra Strength formula is said to improve results in even less time.
Should you opt for Extra Strength Rogaine over the foam or regular formula?
If you have no sensitivity issues to either of the lighter-strength formulas, then it doesn’t hurt to give the Extra Strength a try.
However, remember that results won’t improve for everyone, and you may be at a higher risk of side effects.
For men and women with AGA, the first signs of hair loss is thinning of the hairline and vertex (men) and crown (women). This is the best time to begin using a hair loss treatment, such as Rogaine.
Rogaine is not a miracle cure; therefore, it cannot regrow hair that has been lost permanently. However, it can slow the loss and put an end to thinning.
This is vital if you want any hope of a thick, full scalp of hair.
When you use Rogaine at the first signs of thinning, you’re in the best position possible.
There has been a bit of debate ever since the development of Rogaine, and that’s whether it works on the hairline.
Studies have proven time and again that it’s an effective treatment for hair loss on the crown. But, what about a receding hairline?
Fortunately, researchers asked this very same question in 2015, and the results were favorable.
16 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 49, all with Norwood Scale hair loss of type IV-V, participated in this double-blind study.
The participants were split into two groups, one of which received a placebo and the other of which received Minoxidil 5% Foam.
The participants and the researchers were unaware of which treatment the participants received.
All 16 men were instructed to apply their treatment twice daily for eight weeks, and photographs were taken at the beginning and end of the study to monitor hair growth.
Here are the results as displayed by one subject:
As the researchers concluded (and as can be clearly seen in the above image), minoxidil foam is effective in both the frontal and vertex scalp of AGA patients.
As the directions on the box are only in regards to vertex application, there are a few things to keep in mind when applying to the hairline.
Foremost, you don’t need to apply an entire dose to your hairline.
Many people who use Rogaine for their hairline either use a few small drops of the liquid (enough to spread), or half a dose of the foam version.
Some users mix it up (using the liquid version on the vertex and the foam version on the hairline, or vice versa).
Just be aware of any side effects that may occur (as the skin by the temple is thinner and, therefore, more sensitive) and stop use if an allergic reaction occurs.
In addition, you’ll want to avoid contact with your face and eyes. This is a bit more difficult if using the liquid formula, which is why many users stick with foam for the hairline.
If you do use the liquid, use the dropper to apply the solution to your fingertips and then massage into the hairline.
You can certainly purchase Rogaine directly from the developer, but you’ll likely be paying more than if you bought from an online or in-store retailer.
For example, a 3-month supply of foam from the Rogaine website costs $49.99. On Amazon, you can get the same 3-month supply for $37.49 (a cost savings of $12.50).
Additionally, you can purchase at your local drug store (either the brand name or store brand).
In summary, many users of Rogaine foam have positive results. However, does this mean I would recommend the use of Rogaine? No.
In my opinion, it’s much better to focus on treating the cause of hair loss. While Rogaine is effective during use, the positive results cease as soon as treatment does.
On the other hand, when you treat the underlying cause, you can put an end to your hair loss and reclaim your life.
I’ve personally used natural methods to regrow my hair, and so have many of my readers. If you’d like to learn more about natural treatments, including those which would work best with your type of hair loss, take the quiz below!
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
When it comes to hair loss treatment, Rogaine is a name that everyone knows. However, the generic rogaine brands can be just as effective (in addition to being cheaper).
In this article, I’m going to discuss the differences between Rogaine and generic minoxidil. I’ll discuss side effects and considerations, as well as where you can find and purchase different generic brands.
In addition, I’ll share a two-step natural process you can use to stop your hair loss and possibly even regrow your hair.
Are you ready to get started? Great! Read to the end, and then be sure to take the six-question hair loss quiz to learn more about the cause of your hair loss, and what you can do to fight it.
Minoxidil is a drug that was originally developed in the late 1950s to treat ulcers. While trials proved that the drug didn’t do as scientists expected, it did prove itself to be an effective vasodilator.
In the 1960s and 70s, it was then developed as a treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension). It was marketed under the name Loniten, and it was prescribed orally starting in 1979.
Another unexpected use of the drug – discovered during initial trials – was its effectiveness at the treatment of hair loss.
In fact, the drug was so widely known for its hair growth abilities, that doctors were prescribing it off-label to treat their patients who suffered from Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB).
In 1988, the product was finally FDA approved for use as a hair growth treatment (under the brand name of Rogaine), and in 1991 a solution was approved for women.
Finally, the product was approved as an over-the-counter formula in 1996.
While there’s still a bit of debate surrounding minoxidil’s exact mechanism, it’s believe that its vasodilating effects are the most likely cause of its positive effects.
But what does dilation of the blood vessels have to do with hair growth?
In individuals with MPB (medically referred to as Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)), a sensitivity to DHT causes inflammation of the hair follicles.
DHT is produced from the interaction between testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme), and it’s a normal process that occurs in all men.
Unfortunately, a genetic predisposition to AGA can put you at risk for DHT sensitivity, and this can lead to hair thinning and loss.
As DHT attaches to the androgen receptors at the hair follicles, the follicles near the front of the scalp and vertex react by inflaming. This leads to a process known as hair miniaturization.
As the follicle miniaturizes, the hair growth cycle shortens. This eventually leads to thinning and, if not treated, permanent baldness.
During this process, the blood flow to the hair follicle is also restricted. This means the follicles aren’t receiving the amount of oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive, and this further contributes to the miniaturization process.
As a vasodilator, minoxidil widens the blood vessels. This means that the necessary elements can once again make their way to the hair follicles (even those inflamed by the presence of DHT), and hair growth can occur.
Once the patent runs out, other companies are then able to use the original formulation (with minor tweaks) for their own brands.
This is great for consumers, as Rogaine no longer has exclusivity on the hair loss treatment market.
Consumers can now purchase other brands – the majority of which are cheaper – and make an informed decision as to which one they like best.
These other brands are known as generics.
Two of the most popular generic brands are Kirkland (Costco) and Equate (Walmart). However, many stores have their own branded minoxidil products.
But what’s the difference between the original brand (Rogaine) and its generics?
The simple answer to the question is, “not much”.
The active ingredient minoxidil is the same within each product.
You will notice that each generic brand varies when it comes to inactive ingredients. This can change consistency and, therefore, the way in which each product applies.
However, the difference between products is typically negligible.
Of course, you may find brands that work better for your scalp than others.
For example, many users of Kirkland Signature Minoxidil (a Costco generic) find it’s greasier than Rogaine and other minoxidil-containing products. On the other hand, some users find Rogaine to be too drying.
When it comes down to it, the one that you pick (whether you go with Rogaine or a store brand) will depend entirely on preference and hair type.
Whether you use the name brand Rogaine or a generic brand, the application of each follows the same process (though, it does vary by solution).
To apply the liquid, you use the applicator tool that’s attached to the lid. Simply collect 1mL of the liquid in the tool, and add the drops to the balding areas of your scalp.
Work the liquid in with clean fingertips, and be sure to wash hands thoroughly. Do not shower or apply other products (including mousse, gel, or hairspray) for at least four hours.
The foam is much easier to apply, and it also dries more quickly. Use the foam applicator to put a dollop of foam in your hand. Use your fingers to apply the foam to the balding areas of your scalp.
Rub until the foam absorbs fully. Allow the foam to dry completely before styling.
As with any topical hair loss product, there’s always a risk of side effects.
The most common side effects associated with minoxidil solutions include local irritation. Symptoms of such irritation includes:
For many individuals, the symptoms ease as use continues or they’re not severe enough to discontinue use. However, some people will be more sensitive to the product than others.
If symptoms continue, or if they worsen, it’s best to stop use and speak with a physician.
A more severe reaction can occur. Symptoms of such a reaction include hives, rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.
If you experience a severe reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
In addition to side effects, however, there are also a few things to consider before using Rogaine or any other minoxidil products:
In addition, it’s very common to experience shedding in the first few months of minoxidil use. This is a normal part of the process, as the hair follicles are cycling from telogen to anagen phase much more quickly.
For the majority of users, the excess shedding will subside in a few months’ time. However, some users are so bothered by the “side effect” that use is discontinued.
The majority of drug stores, both online and not, have their own brands of Rogaine product available for purchase.
The cost will vary based upon location, solution (liquid or foam) and strength (2% – 5%).
Some of the more popular brands, such as Kirkland and Equate, can be purchased online.
A 6-month supply of Kirkland Minoxidil Solution 5%, for example, can be purchased for $16.99 on the Costco website.
As someone who’s experienced hair loss first hand, I understand what it’s like to want a quick fix. However, treatment options, such as minoxidil, do not treat the underlying cause of hair loss.
If you want to truly stop your hair loss and perhaps even regrow the hair you’ve lost, you need to take a natural approach.
Here are the steps I recommend:
While MPB can be genetic, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other causes contributing to the issue. To find these causes, I recommend this approach.
While certain foods can be more likely to trigger hair loss (such as those that are acidic), you may also have underlying allergies or sensitivites that are causing inflammation.
This inflammation can then further your odds of hair loss.
So, what can you do to narrow down your trouble foods?
An elimination diet is a multi-step program that involves cutting out many food groups and then slowly reintroducing them into your diet. As you introduce the food groups, you keep a journal tracking any symptoms.
Whether you’re suffering from full baldness, or your hair has only begun to thin, you may not be aware that chemicals in popular hair products can further contribute to your hair loss woes.
Not only can shop-bought products – including shampoos, conditioners, and styling cremes – cause damage to your hair, but they can also further hair loss in people with AGA.
That’s why I recommend you stay away from chemicals, and create your own homemade shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks. The process is simple, and you can save money in the long run, too.
With a better understanding of your hair loss triggers, it’s now time to treat the issue at its source.
The actual treatment route you take will depend on cause.
However, there are literally dozens of natural approaches you can take to treating the issue that you really have no excuse to go the unnatural route.
As mentioned above, food sensitivities can cause inflammation and keep you in the hair loss cycle. However, there are other aspects of your diet that may be causing you more harm than you think.
While the modern day diet has strayed far from our ancestors’, there is one thing we can still do just like them: Eat foods that will heal our bodies.
Unfortunately, the foods that are most convenient and available are those that are highly acidic and, therefore, unhealthy for your naturally alkaline body.
You can do something about this, though! By altering your diet – aligning it better with the diet of your ancestors – you can treat a significant trigger of hair loss.
So, how can you get started?
I believe that small steps will help you to build a firm foundation. With that in mind…
Fats are a necessary part of a healthy diet. However, modern foods are full of unhealthy oils, and they offer little in the way of nutrition or benefit.
It is crucial that you reduce your intake of unhealthy fats – such as those found in fried foods, in packaged snacks, and in high-fat cuts of meat.
Instead, you should focus on the consumption of natural foods that contain fats as a major part of their composition. For example, coconut, avocado, nuts (almond, chestnut, cashew), seeds (pumpkin, flax), and fish (especially cold water).
The health of your gut plays a key role in the health of your body. As such, it’s important to increase your fiber intake to clean out your intestines and keep your sugar levels even.
High-fiber foods are also more filling, and this can help you to cut back on junk foods.
An excellent way to kickstart your fiber intake is with a juice detox.
Rogaine is a popular brand associated with the drug minoxidil, but it’s not the only brand available.
In fact, there are many generic minoxidil products available on the market, and the majority work just as effectively as Rogaine.
However, I would not recommend Rogaine OR generic brands. This is because I believe natural methods are the best way to stop hair loss. I’ve had success with such an approach, and so have thousands of others.
If you’re ready to learn more about your hair loss, as well as some natural methods that will be most effective for you, take the quiz below now!
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
The popular hair loss drug finasteride has a number of unpleasant side effects. With this in mind, researchers developed a topical solution that proves to have comparable results but less risk of adverse effect.
In this article, I’ll take a look at finasteride and its use as a hair loss treatment. This will include how it works, a comparison between oral and topical, and the side effects and complications you should keep in mind.
In addition, I’ll show you the natural way to combat hair loss without the need for finasteride. This is the path a personally recommend that you take.
IMPORTANT! At the end of the post, take the one-minute hair loss quiz to learn more about your hair loss. The results will help you to better understand the cause, as well as what you can do to naturally stop the hair loss and perhaps even reverse it.
Finasteride, more popularly known as Propecia, is an oral hair loss treatment used by thousands of men worldwide. It’s been in wide use since 1997, and has gained quite a following since it was first released.
Prior to its use as a hair loss treatment, however, finasteride was used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This is an enlargement of the prostate, the male sexual organ that plays a key role in ejaculation.
Finasteride works – both in the contraction of the prostate gland and in the fight against hair loss – by blocking the production of DHT.
DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is an androgen steroid and hormone. It’s a metabolite of testosterone, and sensitivity to its presence can lead both to an enlargement of the prostate gland and Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB).
DHT is a hormone that is responsible for sexual development in young men. It’s produced when testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme) interact.
Finasteride was made specifically to inhibit 5AR’s testosterone-converting activities, as this was a proven way to reduce the size of enlarged prostates.
Another effect, however, is the reduction in male-pattern hair loss.
As mentioned, DHT is present in all men. However, men who are predisposed to MPB have an increased sensitivity to DHT.
As an oral supplement, finasteride works by inhibiting the activities of 5AR. This lessens the amount of DHT produced and, in theory, should put an end to hair loss.
Unfortunately, this can also cause some unwanted side effects, such as loss of sex drive and inability to get an erection. I’ll get into that more below.
There’s no doubt that finasteride as a hair loss treatment has been effective for many men. In fact, all you need do is look at the numerous studies backing up such claims.
For example, a 2005 study performed by Prasad et. al. studied the results of finasteride treatment in 80 men. The men were all diagnosed as having AGA, and were all between the ages of 21 and 40.
The men were split into two groups:
Study group (Group 1): Received 1mg, finasteride, orally for a period of 1 year;
Control group (Group 2): Received a placebo for 1 year.
Of the 80 initial patients, 6 dropped out (from the finasteride group) due to adverse effects. Only 39 in total completed the study.
The treatment response was studied using four methods:
These were examined at the beginning of the study, and then at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
As expected, the participants receiving finasteride had significantly better results than the placebo group.
In fact, only 21.74% of finasteride patients saw a decrease in hair counts at month 12. On the other hand, 87.5% of the patients treated with placebo did see a decrease.
Further than just preventing hair loss, 56.52% of patients in the finasteride group were shown to be improved, whereas only 18.75% were in the placebo group.
Similar studies have been performed over the years, all with similar results.
While oral finasteride is effective, it can also have body-wide side effects. These side effects are enough to make many men stop taking the drug.
As a result, a topical finasteride solution was developed.
In theory, the topical solution should deliver the same 5AR-inhibiting medication to the scalp, but the side effects should decrease. So, what does the research have to say?
A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology looked to compare both treatment methods.
45 young adult men were included in the study (7 were later excluded), and it was double blind (meaning both the participants and the researchers were unaware of which treatment was being used for each patient).
The participants were each given a tablet and a gel.
The tablet was to be taken once per day, and it either contained 1% finasteride or a placebo. Similarly, the gel was to be massaged into the scalp twice per day, and it either contained 1% finasteride or a placebo.
Of course, each participant was only given one active treatment method (as monitored by a third party).
In both groups (the one receiving the active finasteride gel and the on receiving the active finasteride tablet), an increase in mean hair count and the number of terminal hairs was seen.
Both groups also saw a decrease in the sizes of an alopecia patch.
The overall results showed a moderate response in 54.5% of topical finasteride patients versus 56% in oral finasteride patients.
A study from 2015 further goes on to show finasteride gel’s effectiveness. In this case, however, it’s used as a maintenance treatment.
This study consisted of 50 AGA patients, all between the ages of 20 to 40. Previous to the study, all participants had used both minoxidil and finasteride (oral) for two years.
5 of the 50 had stopped treated for 8 – 12 months, but the other 45 went directly from treatment to maintenance.
Each patient was then treated with a topical minoxidil fortified with finasteride. This was done to determine how effective the combination was at maintaining hair growth results.
Overall, the 45 patients who went from treatment to maintenance showed positive results, with some even seeing increased hair growth:
Of the 5 patients who took an 8-12 month break between treatment and maintenance, results were similar:
While this study doesn’t particularly attest to finasteride’s hair-growing abilities, it does show that topical use after oral treatment can support and maintain the results that were achieved.
While results are promising, are the side effects really worth it?
Let’s have a look at some of the most common side effects affiliated with finasteride use:
I don’t know about you, but none of those side effects sound worth it to me.
Even worse? These effects can persist even after finasteride treatment has ceased!
But are side effects as common when topical finasteride is used?
Unfortunately, more research needs to be performed before this can be sufficiently answered. Both of the studies mentioned above had small sampling sizes, and side effects weren’t the main focus of the studies.
As a newer treatment, the companies that are currently producing topical finasteride (either alone or combined with minoxidil) are few and far between.
A few of the more popular sellers include MinoxidilMax and Hasson & Wong– however, neither is available in the US. So, what can be done instead?
If the results of those who’ve undergone finasteride treatment have intrigued you, but you’d rather not deal with the side effects, then I recommend a natural alternative.
This alternative works similarly to finasteride – enabling you to inhibit the activities of 5AR and reduce the production of DHT – but with little to no side effects and at much less cost.
Are you ready to get started?
As stated previously, 5AR is an enzyme. As such, it functions best in an acidic environment.
Now, our bodies are naturally on the alkaline side of neutral. However, many things we do (including the foods we eat) can cause an imbalance and lead to a more acidic environment.
Great news, though! With the right diet, you can bring your body back into natural alignment, and this can help to keep the activities of 5AR in check.
First, let’s talk about the modern diet.
Red meat, dairy, and sugary grains make up large parts of the usual Westerner’s daily diet.
Add in that the amount of alcohol consumed by the average American yearly (about 2.5 gallons per legal drinking age adult!) and it’s no wonder our bodies are constantly inflamed, irritated, and seemingly out to get us.
Fortunately, it is possible to alkalise your diet quite easily. Just take a look at this list of highly-alkaline foods:
With just a few simple tweaks to your diet, you can easily create a more alkaline environment where 5AR can no longer thrive.
You can also read this article about the Japanese seaweed called Ecklonia Cava which has been clinically proven to inhibit 5-alpha reductase to a similar degree as finasteride.
If you’ve ever considered finasteride for hair growth, or if you’ve used the oral treatment and had bad effects, you may be considering topical finasteride as an option. However, I would not personally recommend it.
Both finasteride and minoxidil – the two most popular hair growth treatments on the market – are full of unnatural chemicals.
These do more than harm your hair and scalp; they can also have negative long-term effects on your health and vitality.
Instead, I recommend you take a natural approach to your hair loss. This will require an understanding of the cause.
To learn more, begin by taking the hair loss quiz below. You’ll learn more about your type of hair loss, whether it can be reversed, and what you can do to take control.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
Minoxidil is commonly used as an ingredient in hair loss treatment formulas. However, there are alternatives available (including natural substitutes) with similar (and sometimes even better) results.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to minoxidil, including how it works. Then, you’ll learn of common side effects and substitutes for this popular over-the-counter treatment.
In addition, I’ll share with you three natural alternatives to minoxidil with powerful results.
As a BONUS, take the six-question hair loss quiz at the end of the post. The results will help you to better tailor your hair loss treatment so you can see results more quickly.
Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine, and it has been approved by the FDA for over twenty years as a hair loss treatment.
To understand how it works, it’s first important to understand the cause of hair loss.
There are various causes of hair loss, though the most popular one is Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), also known as Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB).
The main cause of AGA is believed to be a sensitivity to DHT, an androgen hormone found naturally within the body.
DHT is produced when testosterone (the sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme) interact. This happens in the prostate, but also in places near the hair follicles.
As a hair loss treatment, minoxidil works by stimulating blood circulation to the scalp.
As mentioned, AGA is caused by a sensitivity to DHT. As DHT attaches to the hair follicle and remains, the follicle becomes irritated and inflamed. Over time, this leads to hair miniaturization.
As the follicle miniaturizes, the hair growth cycle shortens. This leads to shorter and shorter hairs being produced, eventually leading to no hair at all.
So, where does minoxidil come in?
As the process of miniaturization takes place, the link between the hair follicle and blood vessels becomes thinner. When this occurs, less nutrients and oxygen are delivered.
When minoxidil is used, blood circulation increases. This means more nutrients can be delivered, and the follicle can revive.
While minoxidil has proven to be effective in the treatment of hair loss, it does have side effects associated with its use.
Common side effects include local irritation (itching, flaking, burning, rash),
In addition to side effects, there are a few things to consider before beginning treatment.
With these side effects and considerations in mind, it’s natural to want to reconsider your choice.
As it currently stands, Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) are the only over-the-counter hair loss treatments approved by the FDA.
So, what happens if you don’t want to use Rogaine or Propecia?
If over-the-counter medications aren’t an option for you, or if you’ve tried both with poor results, you’ll be happy to know there are natural alternatives.
Many of these alternatives fall into one of two groups (or, sometimes both). Let’s take a look.
As sensitivity to DHT is the main culprit in AGA, it makes sense to use DHT blockers.
While I recommend a different method (which I’ll get into in more depth later), this can be a great way to get started on your hair growth journey.
So, what are some natural DHT blockers you can use?
While this list is far from extensive, it does contain the more powerful DHT blockers (as proven by science).
For example, pumpkin seed oil improves both hair count and hair thickness. This was shown as a result of a 24-week study:
In another study, reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) was proven to the most effective mushroom species at inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that triggers the production of DHT:
With the addition of these natural DHT blockers to your hair care routine, you can get a great start on stopping hair loss and boosting growth.
If you want to replicate the way in which minoxidil works, then circulation boosters are the way to go.
There are a few oils and herbs that can improve blood circulation. For example:
However, I recommend that you also practice manual stimulation of the scalp for added benefits.
There are two main routes you can take when it comes to stimulation of the scalp. First, scalp massage.
This involves gentle stimulation of the scalp, either with your fingertips or a head messaging device. As you gently work the scalp, blood flow increases.
This leads to improved circulation overall and can stimulate new hair growth when practiced continually over a period of time.
Second, a more intensive (and effective) route is microneedling.
As a practice commonly used to reduce scarring, microneedling involves the use of tiny needles. These needles are gently rolled over the scalp, and small puncture wounds are made.
As the wounds heal, a three-step process occurs:
As the remodeling takes place, healthy hair follicles are able to form. This can stimulate the growth of healthy hair, and the process also makes it possible for more natural oils (such as the ones mentioned above) to absorb.
I mentioned that, while DHT blockers can give you a solid start, they won’t solve the underlying issue. So first, what is the underlying cause of hair loss?
In my years of research, I believe one of the main contributors of hair loss to be poor diet. As a result of a high-fat and acidic diet, the body reacts with inflammation.
This further perpetuates the hair miniaturization cycle, and it makes it impossible for your hair to actually regrow.
What’s the answer?
If acidity is causing the majority of these issues, then alkalisation can put a stop to them. Let me explain.
The foods we eat tend to fall on either side of the pH scale: acidic, or alkaline.
If you eat too many foods with high acidity (sugary grains, unhealthy fats, carbonated drinks, and red meats), then your blood stream’s net pH will be acidic.
However, if you eat foods that are more alkaline, your blood stream’s pH will be alkaline.
But what does this have to do with hair loss?
We know that DHT triggers hair loss in individuals with MPB, and we also know that DHT is produced when testosterone and 5AR interact.
Further, this enzyme is known to function particularly well in acidic environments. Do you see where I’m going with this?
In order to reduce the functioning of 5AR (which in turn reduces the amount of DHT produced), then the net pH of your body must be alkaline.
How can this be done?
Fortunately, the process is quite simple.
While it’s best to jump straight to cutting out acidic foods and transition to alkaline-only foods, that can be difficult. That’s why I recommend you start with a morning vegetable juice or smoothie.
Eventually, you can branch out and add more alkaline foods to your daily diet.
While minoxidil is popular in the hair loss community, not everyone wants to use minoxidil as part of their hair growth regimen. In fact, I recommend against its use entirely.
Instead, I believe natural is the way to go.
Not only can the results of many natural ingredients be more effective than minoxidil, but they also come with less side effects.
If you’re ready to get started, take the one-minute quiz below. The results will help you to gain a better understanding of your hair loss, as well as what you can do to combat it and regrow your hair.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?