Question: Hi. I keep reading about 'the big 3' hair loss treatments for men. Can you tell me what these are and how I get them?
Answer: Hi, Stu. There is no official definition of 'The Big Three' when it comes to hair loss treatments for men and, as such, there are a number of variations, depending on who you ask.
One thing most will agree on is that two of 'The Big Three' are finasteride 1mg and high strength minoxidil - currently the only two clinically-proven, MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved treatments for Male Pattern Baldness.
Finasteride 1mg is a one-a-day oral tablet taken to inhibit formation of the cause of follicular miniaturisation, the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is often referred to as 'Propecia', as that was the medication's first authorised brand name, despite there being various brands offering this drug now.
By targeting the substance that causes thinning hair directly, the aim is to allow hair to grow unhindered, preventing baldness with on-going use.
Minoxidil is a topical vasodilator; a hair loss solution applied directly to the scalp in order to promote accelerated localised hair growth. This is a dose-dependent drug which, when used in high strength formulations, can be particularly beneficial to stubborn areas of shedding, such as a thinning crown or a receding hairline.
You may find some people, especially in online hair loss forums, recommend the use of another DHT-blocker, dutasteride, instead of or in addition to finasteride. It would appear this advice is opinion-based and comes from people who are not medically qualified as dutasteride is not a licensed hair loss treatment in the UK and its off-label use for this purpose is not something Belgravia professionals support or condone.
Some people cite Nizoral or Alpecin shampoo as the third member of the Big Three club. However, we are unaware of any reliable scientific evidence that these cleansers have anything other than a cosmetic effect on the hair.
The third space, in our opinion, should go to FDA-cleared low level laser therapy (LLLT) devices such as the HairMax LaserBand, as this non-invasive method of follicle-stimulation has been shown in clinical trials to improve hair density.
This form of therapy can be self-administered, at home, and used alongside either or both of the two authorised hair loss medications.
If you are worried about losing your hair and would like personalised treatment recommendations and hair growth supporting product suggestions based on your condition, level and pattern of shedding, as well as your medical profile, we recommend visiting a dedicated hair loss specialist for professional advice, even if this is just an information-gathering exercise.
There is a lot of mis-information from unqualified sources, particularly on the internet, regarding hair growth products and treating male hair loss, so it can be beneficial - and, we often hear, comforting - to get advice from an experienced expert before deciding which route is best for you.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.