It is a common tendency for people to find themselves compelled by promising claims which offer some hope of restoring lost hair. However, with so many companies developing various treatment products and services, it is essential for consumers to arm themselves with the right knowledge so that they can ask the right questions and better navigate the information they come across. The use of hair growth products is obviously an environmental approach to addressing pattern baldness and thinning. But since the condition is genetic in origin, does it make sense to use such items? The answer is yes and no.
The Interplay Between Genes and the Environment
A person’s DNA may result in the creation of hair follicles that are sensitive to the effects of DHT. However, it is possible for environmental factors to facilitate or slow down the rate of hair loss. Unhealthy lifestyle habits can impede processes which normally contribute to the production of hair shafts. More research is showing a link between severe manifestations of baldness and variables like high levels of sun exposure, alcohol consumption and smoking. While healthier lifestyle habits won’t completely override genetic predisposition, they can help slow down the rate of hair loss.
The Use of FDA Approved Products for Hair Restoration
At the moment, there are only two products approved by the FDA for the management of androgenic alopecia.
Rogaine and Propecia are not wonder cures. Their effects will differ across patients. Some individuals will experience regrowth, while others will not. These medications have the most potential for the earliest stages of pattern baldness. And, at the very least, they can be useful for limiting the extent of the condition. Therefore, these are the primary products that doctors recommend for those interested in restoring hair and preventing further loss .
There are other prescription medications that may be used on an off label basis through a physician’s discretion. Rogaine primarily works as a vasodilator for increasing blood supply to the scalp. It is also believed to work on other processes that facilitate hair growth. Propecia works on the primary biochemical pathway that leads to hair loss, which includes the breakdown of testosterone into DHT. DHT is what contributes to the miniaturization of hair follicles. Although certain types of laser combs have also been issued FDA clearance, they have only been approved for safety. These products do not have the backing of clinical trials for their effectiveness in regrowing hair.
Other Commercially Available Products For Restoring Hair
While it is possible for environmental agents to slow down the rate of hair loss, science has not yet found actual ingredients that can be packaged into products that will reliably grow hair. In fact, this search has been ongoing since the start of written history. There are many cases of optimistic individuals who spent exorbitant amounts of money on products that gave them no results. This is why it is important to always questions claims and other forms of surface information prior to making a purchase decision. Also, when in doubt, ask for advice from a physician.
Dr. Sanusi Umar is a pioneer in hair transplant surgery and is widely published and recognized in his field. Dr. Umar is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the founder of DermHair Clinic in Los Angeles, CA.