Sure, you can buy the oils, tinctures, potions and topicals that claim to help you avoid hair loss. But what actually works? Here we separate the snake oil from the good stuff based on science. We provide you with a method to do everything you can to keep your hair.
Their exist two clinically proven ways to prevent hair loss: finasteride and minoxidil. Minoxidil is the active ingredient in the commonly known Johnson & Johnson Rogaine products.
Minoxidil is a topical treatment for hair loss, it works by opening potassium channels in the scalp, these wider channels allow more nutrients into the hair follicle. A better nourished follicle means thicker stronger hair, and follicles more willing to grow hair rather than lie dormant. Minoxidil has been thoroughly studied and has been consistently shown to prevent hair loss in up to 75% of people.
Finasteride is an oral medication which has been shown to prevent hair loss in upwards of 90% of people. It is commonly referred to by the trade name Propecia. Finasteride works by preventing the conversion of androgens to DHT. Androgens produced in the body are naturally converted to DHT. DHT binds to the hair follicle and deactivates it. By preventing the conversion of androgens into DHT (a natural process of the body) DHT is prevented from damaging hair follicles. Finasteride should not be taken by women.
Many people use one treatment or the other. Since each product works on a different mechanism, the most thorough treatment combines both medications. Using a combination of oral finasteride and topical minoxidil prevents hair loss by nourishing the hair follicles, and preventing harmful androgens from shutting them down.
Minoxidil is a non prescription product in Canada and can be purchased from us here. Finasteride is a prescription oral medication in Canada, you can read our article about getting a finasteride prescription here, we discuss how to avoid the name brand products, and some other tips that will save you about 80% over the generic product and may be covered by your health insurance.