Hair loss affects many different types of people, both men and women, and tends to become more common with age. Some people may feel that their hair balding or thinning does a disservice to their appearance and makes them look older than their actual age. Since hair is often associated with youthfulness, many people seek to reverse the effects of their hair loss to feel more confident in their appearance.
People who are concerned about hair balding or thinning may wish to opt for a simple at-home treatment to improve their natural hair condition. Hair loss medications can be a fantastic option for people seeking the most non-invasive option to both prevent hair loss and encourage new hair growth. It is important to understand how these medications work and the associated risks and benefits in order to use them effectively as a hair loss remedy.
At Flawless Hair Restoration, we are committed to providing customised care and information to help you make a decision that is right for you. Book an obligation-free consultation at $150, which is fully redeemable if you proceed with treatment. At your consult, we will:
- Discuss your concerns and stage of hair loss
- Explain your surgical and non-surgical hair restoration options
- Provide expert-level advice and a personalised treatment plan
Minoxidil was originally used to treat high blood pressure, but it was subsequently observed that patients with balding hair who took the medication experienced noticeable hair regrowth. The medication belongs to a specific class of drugs called vasodilators, which work to enlarge blood vessels and facilitate healthier blood flow to certain areas.
Minoxidil was previously only prescribed as an oral medication, however, when applied directly to the scalp, it can produce faster and healthier hair growth, with lasting restoration effects. It works by relaxing the blood vessels under the scalp, allowing for better flow of nutrients and oxygen to the area. This stimulates the hair follicles and causes the individual hairs to renew their growth cycles. The medication initially causes shedding of hairs that are in their resting phase, called telogen. For this reason, when you first start using Minoxidil, you may notice a temporary increase in hair loss. These lost hairs are then replaced by hairs in their active growth (anagen) phase.
Finasteride is often prescribed to specifically treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), which is regarded as the most common hair loss condition. It is an oral medication that is usually taken daily.
The medication works by blocking the activity of an enzyme known as 5-alpha-reductase. It has antiandrogenic effects, which means it affects the production of androgens like testosterone. When this activity is reduced, the cycle of your hair growth is shortened, and this leads to a slowing of hair loss. In addition to minimising hair loss, many men experience signs of new hair growth after taking Finasteride for consecutive months.
Medications do not completely stop hair loss. Rather, they slow the rate of hair loss and promote new growth. After one to two months of taking your prescribed medication, you will likely not see any visible results and may experience increased shedding. This is a normal temporary response to the medication, as some of your hairs will be beginning their new growth cycle.
After three to six months, patients may see a noticeable reduction in hair loss and, in some cases, improved growth. Beyond this, consistent daily medication should lead to a significant decrease in hair balding and thinning, with continual improvement in hair growth. Patients can then enjoy a more voluminous head of hair.
Things to consider
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take Finasteride. Also, whilst many men see great results from Finasteride, the effectiveness of this medication tends to decrease for men over the age of 60.
Before you begin taking hair loss medications, it is important to consult with a trained professional. A consultation at our clinic will facilitate discussion about your specific hair condition and severity, as well as your personal concerns. Your history of medical conditions will also be addressed, along with any current medications or allergies. This will help us prescribe the most appropriate treatment plan for your hair loss condition. It is important to take hair loss medications only as often as is prescribed, without increasing your dose.
Risks and side effects
Every course of treatment comes with some risks. Awareness of the potential side effects can help you weigh the risks and benefits and make an informed decision about your course of treatment. The potential side effects of Minoxidil include:
- Skin irritation or rashes
- Lowered libido
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Breast pain
- Chills or cold sweats
The potential side effects of Finasteride include:
- Dryness or flaking
- Redness or flushing
Serious side effects are not common. However, if you experience a serious or prolonged reaction to the medication, please seek immediate medical attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hair loss medications the right treatment for me?
Different patients will require a different course of treatment. A consultation with one of our experienced clinicians will be required to determine if hair loss medications are an appropriate treatment for you.
How is Minoxidil medication applied?
Generally, Minoxidil will require twice daily application for a series of months for best results.
Can women take Finasteride?
No, Finasteride is not suitable for women. The tablets should not be handled by women who are (or may be) pregnant.