Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 5/31/2021
Whether you’ve noticed a slight receding hairline or a large patch of missing hair at your crown, going bald is not a fun experience for anyone.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, you should know you’re not alone.
Male pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia, affects an estimated 50 million men in the United States.
While it can be frustrating to deal with, there are (thankfully!) many things you can do to diminish hair loss.
From prescription medications to natural remedies for male pattern baldness, it’s all about finding what’s best for you and your situation.
There is no one reason that hair loss happens. Things that can cause baldness include genetics, illnesses, stressful life events and side effects from certain medications.
The most common type of hair loss is male pattern baldness, which occurs due to a combo of genetics and hormonal factors.
A hormone named dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the culprit behind male pattern baldness.
If your genetics predispose you to baldness, DHT will bind to receptors in your scalp and cause your hair follicles to restrict.
As this happens, new hair stops growing — which results in thinning hair or baldness.
You can read even more about this relationship in our guide to DHT and Male Hair Loss
Along with male pattern baldness, there are a handful of other things that can cause you to lose hair. They include:
Illness and stress: Going through a rough time — whether it be life stressors or getting sick — can cause temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss tends to be all over, rather than focused in one spot (like a receding hairline or bald patch).
Medications: Certain prescriptions can also cause telogen effluvium. Some of the meds that may result in this include beta-blockers, anticoagulants and retinoids.
The good news: most types of hair loss are treatable, and there are a few hair loss medications that will slow down or may even stop you from losing more hair.
Sometimes, these medications can even stimulate regrowth.
To determine the best medication for you, you’ll want to consult with a medical professional to figure out what is causing your hair loss and then figure out the best course of action for your specific situation.
If it is determined that you are dealing with male pattern baldness, the following medications may be suggested to you:
This prescription medication is commonly used to treat male pattern baldness. It works by preventing your body from converting testosterone into DHT, which is what causes you to lose hair.
Finasteride comes in tablet form and must be taken on a daily basis. Hims offers finasteride online after a consultation with a medical professional.
Wondering about it’s effectiveness?
One study found that 99.1 percent of men who took finasteride over a ten year period stopped their hair loss from worsening. Of those men, 91.5 percent of them noticed regrowth.
Unlike finasteride, minoxidil is a topical treatment that comes in liquid and foam formulas. This FDA-approved medication doesn’t require a prescription.
Though minoxidil’s exact mechanism of action is unknown, it’s believed to work by stimulating hair follicles to enter the anagen (growth) phase.
In addition to that, it increases blood flow to your scalp, which can stimulate hair growth.
A 2019 review of minoxidil affirmed that it improved hair hair growth in both men and women who suffer from pattern hair loss.
While these two medications work perfectly well on their own, they can be even more effective when used together.
This is compared to 80.5 percent who saw an improvement using just finasteride and 50 percent who saw an improvement using only minoxidil.
Interested in using the two? Check out our Hair Power Pack.
In addition to finasteride and minoxidil, here are a few other remedies for treating baldness in men:
If your hair loss is caused by a medical condition or illness, your healthcare provider may prescribe a medication to treat that specific illness.
Then, once your illness is addressed, you may find that your hair loss problems disappear.
Additionally, if your hair loss is caused by a medication you are taking, your healthcare provider may try switching you to another medication to see if your hair loss improves.
One study compared finasteride and saw palmetto in conjunction with encouraging hair regrowth. While finasteride was found to be most effective, saw palmetto also seemed to help.
Biotin is a B vitamin that is known for promoting healthy hair and growth. One study even found that taking biotin produces faster hair growth in people dealing with thinning hair.
Biotin is naturally found in certain foods — like eggs, milk and bananas. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough in your diet, a biotin supplement could help.
There are a variety of lifestyle modifications you can also make to improve hair health and limit hair loss.
Say your hairstyle is causing traction hair loss — you’ll want to change your style immediately to something that doesn’t pull at your scalp.
Another thing to consider is a healthy diet. Studies have shown that not getting enough iron and zinc in your diet can be bad for hair health.
The same study found that people who increased these things in their diet saw an improvement in hair growth.
Foods like crab, pork chops, cashews and oatmeal are good sources of zinc. If you’re looking to increase your iron intake, add spinach, meat and seafood to your diet.
Not only is smoke a pollutant that can damage your hair, cigarettes have been found to damage the DNA of your hair follicles.
If you’re dealing with male pattern baldness, a medication like finasteride or minoxidil is likely going to be the best (most effective!) remedy.
Both will stimulate hair growth and finasteride will block damaging DHT from causing further hair loss.
Combining these medications with some of the other solutions can really enhance your results and address your hair loss concerns.
So, where should you start? Talk to a healthcare provider to figure out the best game plan for you.
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