The best treatment for men’s hair loss

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 03 Dec 2021

There are many treatments available for men’s hair loss, which is also called male pattern baldness. The best treatment for men’s hair loss will depend on what’s causing your hair to stop growing or falling out.

You might have hair loss due to:

  • a family history or genetic link to a condition
  • stress
  • a side effect of certain medicines
  • cancer treatment
  • vitamin deficiency, such as iron

Your doctor can investigate the reason for your male pattern baldness. Whatever the cause is, you can find the best hair loss treatment for you by following our short guide.

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The most effective hair loss treatments for men

The most effective hair loss treatment for you might be different to someone else and will depend on the cause of the hair loss. It can take some time to find the best treatment for you. Many of the most effective hair loss treatments for male pattern hair loss can take up to 6 months before you see any improvement.

Hair loss treatment for male pattern hair loss can come in the form of:

  • tablets, such as finasteride
  • a foam or liquid, such as minoxidil
  • surgery, where hair follicles from the back of your head are used to fill in bald patches

There is also evidence to suggest that caffeine-containing shampoos can help decrease hair loss if you are a man. This includes Alpecin, which is a caffeine based shampoo you can use to help stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.

What’s the difference between finasteride and Propecia?

There is no difference between finasteride and Propecia, and they work in exactly the same way. Propecia is the brand name of finasteride 1mg tablets. Generic finasteride is cheaper and may have different inactive ingredients.

Both finasteride and Propecia can only be used if you are a man.

Finasteride 5mg tablets are used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and should not be used for hair loss.

How does finasteride work?

Finasteride works by stopping testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

A high level of DHT in your scalp can cause a decrease in hair follicles which leads to hair loss.

When finasteride prevents this conversion of testosterone to DHT, the hair follicles in your scalp are preserved. This allows for hair growth to occur naturally.

If you have bald patches, finasteride 1mg tablets will not help hair growth and you may need to consider surgery as a solution.

How much does finasteride cost?

Finasteride cost in the region of £25 for a pack of 28 tablets. This is enough for a month, as you only need to take 1 finasteride tablet once a day.

You can request finasteride through Asda Online Doctor by filling out a questionnaire online, which a doctor will then review. If finasteride is right for you, the medication can be delivered to your preferred address or you can choose to collect from an Asda Pharmacy.

Finasteride for hair loss is not available through the NHS.

What is the difference between minoxidil and Regaine?

Minoxidil is the same drug as the active ingredient in Regaine. Minoxidil and Regaine work in exactly the same way to treat hair loss in men. Regaine and minoxidil are popular products that are known to be one of the best treatments for hair growth.

How does minoxidil work?

Minoxidil works to:

  • trigger and lengthen the growth phase of the hair follicle
  • increase the width of the hair shaft (the part of the hair follicle that grows on your scalp), so your hair is thicker

By promoting hair growth, minoxidil is an effective treatment if you are experiencing mild to moderate hair loss.

How much does Minoxidil cost?

Minoxidil is available as Regaine scalp foam from online pharmacies. You can get Regaine scalp foam for around £50 for a 3 month treatment course.

What is Alpecin caffeine shampoo and is it effective?

Alpecin caffeine shampoo is made up of caffeine, zinc, vitamin A and niacin. Alpecin is effective at keeping the hair roots active, so it promotes quicker and longer hair growth.

When caffeine is applied to the scalp, it can stimulate the growth of the hair follicle. Caffeine has also been shown to prevent testosterone from reducing the size of the hair follicle.

You should use Alpecin shampoo every day to get the best results, particularly if your hair loss is hereditary.

What is the best treatment for male pattern baldness hair loss?

The best treatment for hair loss is the treatment that works best for you. The treatment you choose should be compatible with your general health.

You may not be able to use finasteride, minoxidil or Alpecin due to:

  • allergies
  • your age
  • interactions with other medications you are taking

If you are unsure which hair loss treatment is best for you, speak to a doctor or pharmacist. You should also have a general health check before you use any hair loss treatments, such as a blood pressure check.

Hair loss treatments can take a few months before you see results. This is because hair loss treatment is continuous, so if you stop using a hair loss treatment you may begin to lose your hair again. This can require some patience, and it may help to join a health forum or group for support and to discuss your progress so far.

If you feel that your hair loss treatment is not working, it may help to change some of your lifestyle habits to support your treatment.

Lifestyle changes that can help with hair loss treatment include:

  • eating healthy
  • exercising
  • sleeping well
  • reducing stress
  • not brushing or combing your hair too often or too hard
  • detangling your hair
  • having a clean scalp
  • washing your hair regularly
  • changing your hair products to see if it makes a difference
  • reducing the amount of hair styling products you use

Before you look for the best treatment for hair loss, you may need to think about underlying conditions that may be causing your hair loss.

If you have a skin condition that affects your scalp, you may need an antifungal shampoo called ketoconazole. By treating the skin condition, this can improve your hair growth without the need for other hair loss treatment.

If you experience anxiety or a mental health condition that causes you to stress, speak to your doctor. They may recommend medication that helps you to manage your mental health, which in turn can improve your hair loss.

dr-kathryn-basford.png
Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Article created: 03 Dec 2021

Last reviewed: 03 Dec 2021

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