Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 5/9/2021
If you’ve searched online for ways to prevent hair loss, you might have seen advertisements for scalp treatments designed to slow “scalp aging” and treat issues like thinning hair.
Scalp treatments come in two types. The most common type of scalp treatment is performed by a stylist inside a hair salon and usually involves cleansing your scalp.
The second refers to treatments that you can apply to your scalp at home, such as hair growth shampoos, creams and even topical medications.
While there’s plenty of evidence that the second type of scalp treatment can work, there isn’t a lot of science to back up most salon scalp treatments for hair loss.
Below, we’ve explained what scalp treatments are in more detail, as well as the science behind this treatment option for hair loss.
We’ve also shared several proven, science-based treatment options for male pattern baldness that you can use to reduce thinning and improve your hair growth.
Scalp treatment is a general term that’s used to refer to various procedures that claim to boost your scalp health and stimulate hair growth.
Most scalp treatments are offered by hair salons. They can vary in price and thoroughness, but usually involve cleansing your scalp using an exfoliating serum and applying products that may help to promote the growth of your hair.
Some scalp treatments also involve scented hair care products and other substances designed to improve your hair’s smell and appearance.
Scalp treatments are often promoted with bold claims about their effectiveness, particularly for cleansing away sebum (a type of oil produced by your skin), reducing dandruff and stimulating hair growth.
While scalp treatments may improve dandruff and get rid of sebum, there isn’t any evidence to show that cleansing your scalp helps to prevent or reverse hair loss.
The most common form of hair loss in men, male pattern baldness, is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors.
More specifically, it develops when the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, miniaturizes your hair follicles and stops them from producing new hairs.
We’ve explained more about this process and its effects on your hairline in our full guide to DHT and male pattern baldness.
Right now, the most effective treatments for hair loss work by either lowering your production of DHT or by stimulating hair growth directly.
While there is a relationship between DHT and sebum, there’s no evidence that cleansing your scalp in a salon helps to reduce the effects of DHT on your hair follicles.
There’s also no scientific evidence that the scalp treatments available in salons have any effect on hair growth.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that scalp treatments aren’t effective. However, at this point in time, there just aren’t any reputable studies available to show whether or not they can help to stimulate hair growth or prevent you from losing hair.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34 year old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid twenties.”
Although there isn’t any evidence that the scalp treatments available in hair salons are effective at preventing hair loss, real options are available that can help you to protect your hair from the effects of male pattern baldness.
Currently, the two most effective medications for preventing hair loss and improving hair growth are minoxidil and finasteride.
Minoxidil is a topical medication for hair loss. It comes in liquid or foam form and is designed to be applied directly to the areas of your scalp with thinning hair.
Minoxidil is sold over the counter. We offer minoxidil online in a convenient liquid solution form that’s designed for use once or twice a day.
When you apply minoxidil to your scalp, it stimulates your hairs to enter the anagen, or growth, phase of the hair growth cycle. Minoxidil also increases blood flow, which may help to improve the supply of nutrients to your hair follicles.
As a topical medication, minoxidil is easy to use. On average, minoxidil takes about six months to produce an improvement in your hair.
Finasteride is a prescription medication for hair loss. It works by blocking the effects of 5-alpha reductase — an enzyme that’s responsible for converting testosterone into DHT.
By blocking DHT production, finasteride limits the amount of harm that DHT can do to your hair follicles and helps to slow down, stop and reverse the effects of male pattern baldness.
Most men find that finasteride is very effective, especially when it’s used for the long term. In a study carried out in Japan, more than 99 percent of men with male pattern baldness who used finasteride over a 10-year period experienced no further hair loss.
Even more impressively, more than 90 percent of the men who took part in the study grew back some of their hair over the treatment period.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Some hair care products, including topical products that are applied to your scalp, may help to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.
For example, some research shows that saw palmetto and ketoconazole, which are both used as ingredients in hair loss prevention shampoos and other topical products, may offer benefits for men affected by male pattern baldness.
Saw palmetto is one of several ingredients in our Thickening Shampoo, which is formulated to reduce buildup on the scalp and promote fuller-looking, healthy hair.
Certain hair loss supplements may also help to stimulate growth and protect your hair from the effects of male pattern baldness.
While the scalp treatments available at many salons might clean your scalp and make your hair feel fresh, there’s no scientific evidence to show that they prevent male pattern baldness.
If you’re starting to lose your hair and want to protect it from further damage, you’ll get the best results from proven, science-based medications such as minoxidil and finasteride.
We offer finasteride and minoxidil together in our Hair Power Pack, along with other products to stimulate hair growth and protect the hair you have.
You can learn more about how and why hair loss occurs, the most common hair loss symptoms and safe, effective treatment options in our detailed guide to male pattern baldness.