Overview

You can’t always prevent your hair from falling out as you age, but there are treatments and remedies that might slow down the process.

Before you go out and buy supplements and special tonics, learn which ones have shown some promise in preventing or treating hair loss.

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is an inherited trait. It affects more than half of men over the age of 50.

Here are some hair loss treatments you can talk to your doctor about:

Prescription and OTC drugs

Prescription and OTC drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two drugs to treat male pattern baldness:

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine): Rogaine is available over the counter as a liquid or foam. Apply it to the scalp twice a day to grow hair and prevent hair loss.
  • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar):This is a pill that you take daily. It’s only available with a prescription from your doctor.

For both of these drugs, it may take up to a year to see results, and you’ll need to keep taking them to maintain the benefits.

Hair transplants

Hair transplants

The two most popular hair transplant procedures are follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction:

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)

FUT is the more “classic” method. It involves removing some skin from the back of your scalp where there’s an abundance of hair, removing the follicles from that strip of skin, and then reinserting the hair follicles into the part of the scalp where you’re experiencing hair loss.

Follicular unit extraction (FUE)

In FUE, hair follicles are removed directly from the scalp and transplanted to the bald parts of the scalp.

Keep in mind that a hair transplant is considered a surgery, so it can be expensive and may be painful.

There are also certain risks, including infections and scarring. You may also need to do multiple hair transplant treatments to get the desired outcome.

Laser treatment

Laser treatment is thought to reduce the inflammation in follicles that keeps them from regrowing.

There are limited studies to support their effectiveness in treating hair loss, but a 2016 review Trusted Source determined that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is safe and effective when used to treat male pattern hair loss. More research is still needed.

Lifestyle changes

Quit smoking

If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard about all the negative effects smoking has on your lungs. But did you know that smoking could cause hair loss — on top of facial wrinkles and premature graying of hair?

Research has determined that there’s a link  between smoking and hair loss. To prevent hair loss, it may be a good idea to quit smoking as soon as possible.

Scalp massage

Not only do massages feel wonderful, but they can help with your hair loss, too. Massaging the scalp stimulates the hair follicles.

A balanced diet

A well-balanced diet can keep your hair in tip-top shape. Make sure you’re including a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins in your diet, and limit your intake of sweets.

Certain vitamins and minerals found in food are associated with healthy hair.

Try adding in these types of foods:

  • iron-rich foods, including lean beef, beans, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified grains, and eggs
  • foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such salmon, mackerel, tuna, flax seeds, egg yolks, hemp seeds, and walnuts
  • high-protein foods, like eggs, lean meats, and seafood

Last but not least, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.

Get a checkup

Aside from your genetics, there are several medical conditions that can result in hair loss. You’ll be able to address your hair loss by treating the underlying condition.

The following conditions could lead to hair loss:

  • diabetes
  • lupus
  • lichen planus
  • sarcoidosis
  • scalp psoriasis (due to scratching of the scalp)
  • alopecia areata
  • thyroid conditions
  • eating disorders (due to poor nutrition)
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • hair pulling disorder, known as trichotillomania
  • Celiac disease
  • syphilis

If you have any of these conditions, or you’re experiencing other symptoms besides hair loss, make sure you visit your doctor and get the treatment you need. Your hair loss should improve as your condition improves.

Reduce stress

Stress can really do a number on the body, including your hair. Hair loss may be a result of a stressful lifestyle.

Strategies to reduce stress include:

  • regular exercise
  • listening to music
  • doing yoga
  • meditating

Getting enough sleep is also essential.