Many people seek out hair loss treatments as a way to regrow hair or keep the hair they have.
For men, hair loss is the rule, not the exception: half of all men have visible hair loss by age 50, and for many men, the process of hair loss can start early in their 20s.
Here's the cold truth: Regrowing hair comes down to getting a hair transplant.
Because its not good for business to tell men (or women) that, the Internet is flooded with hair loss solutions that promise to regrow hair.
If you're dead serious about your hair loss, you need to do two things:
1) get on finasteride (Proscar), a drug that blocks the testosterone (DHT) that is responsible for your hair falling out…(you need a doctors note if you're in the USA).
(this halts your hair loss, but takes about a year to see the effects…be careful, as some men get side effects of loss of libido and weak erections, but less than 3%)
2) get a hair transplant
(Most of hollywood does this anyway, but its becoming more mainstream. Don't go to Pakistan or India or some place to save money, there's a good chance you won't like the results.)
If your hair loss is prominent in the crown area, Minodoxil (Rogaine) can work to regrow some hair, too. But that should not be a stand-alone solution if you're serious about your hair loss.
That's it. For regrowing hair.
There's some laser hats that are becoming popular, but the verdict is still out on that.
That doesn't mean that other “hair treatments” won't help the hair you have – they absolutely will, and here is our rankings for vitamins for hair growth.
They'll make your hair thicker, healthier (and grow faster, too).
Thats where this list comes into play. Its short on purpose, because most stuff out there doesn't work.
Finasteride is the place to start when it comes to treating hair loss. It’s highly effective, and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss.
The downside? It’s prescription-only, so you’ll need to ask your doctor about it. This medication was originally developed to treat an enlarged prostate, but researchers quickly discovered it was an impressively effective treatment for hair loss, too.
A small percentage of men do suffer mild to moderate side effects, but for most men, finasteride should be the first-line option.
2. Rogaine Foam (5% minoxidil)
One of the other FDA approved treatments for hair loss is minoxidil, a compound that is applied directly to your scalp twice per day.
Its use is also the result of a lucky pharmaceutical discovery: it was originally being researched for another condition, but researchers noticed that patients receiving minoxidil tended to spontaneously regrow hair. It’s one of the best-researched treatments for hair loss, and it’s especially effective at treating what’s called “vertex balding”–bald spots on the top of your head.
Why Rogaine? It’s got the right concentration (5%) and the right delivery mechanism (foam). Other products offer different concentrations, or a liquid vial for applying the compound to the scalp, but the Rogaine foam method is the one that’s supported by the scientific research.
3. Nizoral A-D Shampoo
This shampoo was developed to treat dandruff, but did you know that the same fungus that causes dandruff can contribute to hair loss?
Moreover, research suggests that the active ingredient in Nizoral A-D, called ketoconazole, can actively fight inflammation at the scalp, leading to hair regrowth. The current best practice is to use Nizoral A-D in place of your normal shampoo three times per week.
4. TruePure Biotin Serum
Biotin is one supplement with a solid track record when it comes to improving the condition of your hair. Stronger and better-growing hair follicles are what you’re after, so TruePure’s biotin serum is an excellent way to accomplish this.
It has additional ingredients like red clover and caffeine, which are designed to further amplify the activity of your hair follicles.
5. PureBiology RevivaHair
PureBiology makes a topical ointment that you can apply directly to your scalp to help boost your hair production. It combines a number of ingredients that can help with hair strength and growth, like biotin and keratin.
It’s very well-reviewed, and while it’s not a substitute for the top-rated hair loss treatments, it’s a worthwhile addition to your routine.
6. Zhou Hairfluence
Zhou Nutrition has a strong reputation for well-crafted supplements, and that’s definitely the case with Hairfluence.
The strategy employed with this supplement is to deliver all of the requisite ingredients to grow and strengthen hair, plus some extras that may help. It has a balanced mix of B vitamins, biotin, collagen, keratin, and MSM, and it’s extremely well-received by its users.
7. HairMax Prisma 9 LaserComb
HairMax uses a technique called low level laser therapy to directly stimulate hair follicles to produce more and stronger hair. The scientific evidence for this treatment is sparse, but there are some studies that exist supporting it.
It’s not as easy to use as some of the other treatments on this list, so thanks to this and the inconvenience of using the comb, it doesn’t rank particularly highly, but it’s worth a shot if you want to attack your hair loss with every available tool.
8. Ultrax Labs Hair Surge
Could caffeine in shampoo jump start your hair follicles the same way a cup of coffee can jump-start your brain? That’s the proposition that Ultrax Labs Hair Surge is based upon.
There’s some preliminary research indicating that caffeine in shampoo can penetrate down to the hair follicles in a matter of minutes, but whether this actually boosts hair growth over the long term is still up in the air.
9. Pura D’or Hair Thinning Therapy
Pura D’or advertises its hair serum as containing many of the key ingredients for hair growth and stimulation.
While it does have biotin and niacin, it also has a tremendous number of other ingredients which haven’t been proven useful for treating hair loss. It’s asking a lot to use this serum for just a couple of its ingredients.
10. Cherioll Hair Serum
Cherioll promises great results with their Hair Serum, but what’s in it? It’s mostly herbal, and the formulation is based around ginseng, ginger, sesame, and ginkgo extracts. These are fairly off the beaten path when it comes to hair loss supplements, and haven’t been studied scientifically. If you go with this supplement, you’re mostly trusting their formula experts to come up with something that works.
Hair loss treatments benefits and side effects
1. Finasteride and Minoxidil are the only 2 PROVEN to work
The best treatments for hair loss out there are finasteride and minoxidil, or Rogaine.
A small amount of men have reported side effects taking finasteride, but that number seems to be less than 3%.
Rogaine is consistently safe in men and can cure hair loss over 50% of cases (1). It also seems to be more effective in the crown area.
The one note with minoxidil is that it needs to be applied early. This drug works by restarted dormant hair follicles for those with male pattern baldness. If too much time passes between hair loss and treatment, you may not be able to revive your hair follicles and continue balding.
2. Biotin may improve hair proteins
Biotin is one of the best known, and best researched, hair health supplements. While it can improve hair health, it cannot cause hair growth by itself if you’re not deficient in biotin. It can be difficult to be biotin deficient because you need such a small amount every day.
In addition, biotin doesn’t work in isolation, so you’ll need other vitamins and minerals to create a complete hair health plan of action.
3. Keratin can be effective
Keratin hair treatments are popular and said to straighten out hair to make it more manageable while enhancing color and shine.
There are no dangerous side effects from this treatment, but it seems keratin products can be packaged with formaldehyde making it unsafe.
4. DHA (omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oil) prevents hair loss
Omega 3 fatty acids (EFA) are common hair supplement said to increase hair shine and hair health. Studies show that these essential fatty acids can support skin and hair health, however the effect is insignificant unless you are actually deficient in these essential fatty acids.
For example, one study saw that chemotherapy patients that suffered from hair loss could prevent further damage by supplementing with DHA (2).
DHA is one supplement you shouldn’t be skimping out on.
5. Hair growth supplements containing too much selenium could cause hair loss
Selenium is an important micronutrient, but a small amount goes a long way. While selenium is key for growth and reproductive health, if you consume too much you can cause hair loss (3). Just over 400 mcg per day can lead to hair loss, which is about 4-5 Brazil nuts a day!
When supplementing, it is important to be aware of the different food and non-food sources of vitamins and minerals you consume to be sure not to cause your body any damage.
6. Conventional antidepressants can lead to baldness
Hair loss can also be caused as a side effect from conventional antidepressants.
Specifically, tricyclic antidepressants such as Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, and Nortriptyline (4).
Similarly, herbs such as St. John’s Wort can lead to hair loss through a similar mechanism (5). If you’re on antidepressant medications and experiencing side-effects definitely talk with your doctor to see if modest lifestyle changes such as improving nutrition and exercise can lessen or eliminate the need for antidepressants.
7. Zinc supplementation supports faster hair growth
Low zinc levels may be to blame for thinning balding hair. Zinc is essential in processing vitamin A to produce carotene (6). Without carotene, your hair won’t grow as fast as it did in the past leading to slower and slower hair growth until your hairline starts to recede faster than it can grow.
8. Han Lian Cao is a Taiwanese hair loss herb you should avoid
Similar to He Shou Wu, Han Lian Cao is another herbal remedy for hair loss. Unfortunately, there is not much science backing the claim that Han Lian Cao supports hair growth and better hair coloring with use (7).
In fact, there are similar issues to sourcing Han Lian Cao as often these supplements can become contaminated with heavy metals or other toxic ingredients.
9. Pumpkin seed oil can boost hair growth by 40%
Men with male pattern baldness were treated with 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil a day for 5 months. After 24 weeks, the men treated with the pumpkin seed oil saw 40% more hair growth than those with no treatment on the placebo group (8).
If you’re looking to improve hair growth, having pumpkin seed oil in your diet seems like a good idea. Otherwise, having a few pumpkin seeds thrown in is an excellent idea to support health hair and healthy hormones to keep your hair looking its best (plus they taste pretty darn good).
10. Frankincense can be supplemented for stronger roots
Boswellia serrata, or Frankincense, is a common ingredient from Indian used in hair health products. While Frankincense doesn’t grow hair, it does support the health of hair roots so you are able to strengthen the hair you have or set up a stronger foundation to regrow hair (9).
While it is not a proven hair growth remedy, it is often added into many formulas to try and improve results.
11. Supplement with a dash of copper for better hair pigmentation
Hair is often used to assess the mineral status of the body. It’s similar to how you can chop a tree down to find its age by counting the rings. As you age and your hair grows you have a few months- to years- of a snap shot depending on how long your hair is.
Your hair can show how much arsenic, zinc, copper, and other minerals you have had in the body.
If your hair is looking lackluster and not as brilliantly dark as you’d like, there is evidence that by supplementing with copper, or including more copper-rich foods in your diet, you can improve your hair color (10).
12. Caffeine decreases levels of hormone that slow hair growth down
Interestingly enough, hair growth seems to be a hormonal issue. When your hormones are optimized you not only gain lean muscle mass, burn more fat, and feel more energetic, but also your hair looks fantastic.
Male pattern baldness seems to be a hormonal imbalance because the hair follicles are dependent on hormones such as DHEA and testosterone to mature and start growing hair.
Caffeine seems to override this mechanism and stop whatever is holding back the hair follicles from maturing to increase hair growth modestly (11).
13. Iodine levels can indirectly lead to hair loss
The thyroid is a key thermostat in the body in terms of vitality and energy metabolism. Without enough iodine, your thyroid can slow down and lead to a whole slew of side effects. One such side effect is hair loss (12). However, by correcting an iodine deficiency you should be able to reverse these symptoms and increase your health if you start early.
14. Use Cellulose for stronger hair
Cellulose, the strong fiber from plant cell walls, has been seen to reinforce hair fibers for added strength (13). This makes your hair more resilient from breaking or loss, allowing you to have thick healthy hair that can look great no matter what.
15. Silicon can boost hair thickness
Silicon, found in raisins, brown rice, green beans, oats, nuts, root vegetables, and spinach, has been seen to increase hair thickness (15). Again, you can take supplements that supply silicon but you can easily find enough in your diet – even red wine has a significant amount of silicon.
16. Collagen is hotly debated for hair health
Collagen is a protein structure that essentially holds everything together in the human body. This includes hair, too.
By the hair follicle are collage proteins that help to support and ground the follicle so the hair can grow long and strong without worry of easily falling out (16).
The issue seems to be on how this interaction works specifically when you supplement with collagen because you’ll have to degrade it through the digestive process. More research is needed to see if collagen supplementation can truly improve hair health.
17. He Shou Wu is a Traditional Chinese Medicine hair growth herb
This literally translates to “Black Haired Mr. He” and refers to an agent ancient story from China about a man who started off very weak with graying thinning hair.
Mr. He then started to take He Shou Wu every single day until he was able to reverse aging and restore his thinning gray hair to a luxurious black hair. He was also able to grow stronger and exhibit other signs of youth such as fathering a large family.
While He Shou Wu isn’t studied extensively, side effects are infrequent. Most commonly you’ll see mild diarrhea. In rare cases you’ll find allergic reaction, although He Shou Wu is safe for general population (17).
With less than stellar sources of He Shou Wu, you’ll have to watch out for liver inflammation. Many Asian herbal preparations of this variety have unlisted toxic ingredients due to poor quality or tampering.
At the end of the day, the research doesn't seem to support that it should actually supports hair loss.
The bottom line: Avoid.
18. Use hydrotherapy to get rid of dandruff
Aside from supplements, there are several lifestyle factors that can improve the health of your hair and scalp. One of the big issues that kills your hair’s health is dandruff.
Essentially, your scalp becomes overly dry and the skin begins to flake affecting your hair at its roots. By choking off your hair’s roots you’re making your hair start to thin out. This cycle can turn vicious as less hair means less protection for the skin on your head, leading to worse dandruff and greater hair loss.
One cause of this is hot showers. By taking hot showers and washing your hair in this hot water, you are washing away the natural oils in your hair that work to keep your scalp happy and hair radiant (18).
Without oil in your hair you begin to see your scalp flake and start the vicious cycle of hair loss. Alternate cold water in your shower to wash your hair will support scalp health and increase the shine and strength of your hair.
19. Use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to battle hair acidity
Another issue at work here is your hair’s acidity. Most conventional shampoos or conditioners will just as easily wipe out your hair's natural oils and ruin the environment on the scalp, making it easy for you to begin losing hair (19).
Common hair care methods include using baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
The baking soda works as an alkaline solution to wash your hair, then the apple cider vinegar comes in as an acid to remove the baking soda and condition your hair. It only takes about 1 tablespoon of each in a pint of water to do the trick. I recommend using a squeeze bottle for convenience.
20. Be careful about hair care scams
As you can see, there are many anecdotal stories and case studies on different ingredients providing different benefits for hair health. While there a few reputable supplement companies out there with products that give you results, there are twice as many companies that have inferior products and will gladly take your money (20).
Always be wary of marketing promises and be sure to look out for the ingredient list to see what you’re truly getting.
For those developing baldness right now, finasteride or Rogaine or other treatments using minoxidil is your best bet along with taking better care of your hair.
Adding a biotin, kertatine and vitamin regime can help with the hair that you have, but it won't regrow hair.
For regrowing hair, there are hair transplants.