Question: I can’t use minoxidil or finasteride due to side effects. Are there any other options?
Answer: Hi, Jake. Due to the medications you mention we are assuming you are looking for alternative treatments for Male Pattern Baldness.
Minoxidil and finasteride 1mg are currently the only clinically-proven, MHRA licensed and FDA approved hair loss treatments for this condition. As the side effect profile of minoxidil is generally considered to be low, we would recommend speaking to a hair loss specialist to ensure you have explored and exhausted all options available to you here. They will be able to recommend suitable formulations based on your medical profile as well as your level and pattern of shedding, and answer any questions you may have about them.
If you still prefer to avoid these established medications, there are two routes you could consider: hair restoration surgery or non-pharmaceutical hair growth ‘boosters’.
Depending on your age, how extensive your hairloss is and your medical suitability, a hair transplant may be worth considering. This surgery involves having donor hairs harvested from the areas of the scalp that are not affected by Male Pattern Baldness, namely the back and sides (only the hairs located along the top of the scalp, from the crown to the hairline and temples are susceptible to genetic hair thinning).
One important point about this option, and one a reputable surgeon should discuss with you if you choose to explore this route, is how the operation often goes hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical treatment use. Many hair restoration experts recommend following a male hair loss treatment course for at least six months prior to the procedure. This is to maximise hair growth and minimise shedding, making the area cleaner to work with.
The course is generally resumed following the op as part of an aftercare and upkeep hair regimen. The reason for this is that the original hairs in the susceptible areas surrounding those replaced during transplantation will remain subject to the effects of DHT – the hormone which binds to the vulnerable follicles, causing gradual weakening, thinning hair and hair loss or baldness in the affected areas. For instance, if a man has a hair transplant to fill out a receding hairline, even though these implanted hairs should be immune to Male Pattern Baldness and start to show their final results around 12 months after surgery, he may still experience shedding along his vertex and/or crown area.
Another avenue you may wish to explore is the world of secondary or supplementary therapies. These are generally used to best effect alongside the appropriate hair loss medications but can also be used on their own. Whilst unproven therapies such as scalp injections – PRP and mesotherapy – fall under this category, there are a range of non-invasive hair growth supporting products that Belgravia hair specialists prefer to recommend.
This includes LLLT devices such as the FDA-cleared LaserBand which uses laser diodes to stimulate the hair follicles to encourage hair growth, but we would suggest having a consultation with a specialist first to ensure whichever options you decide to try are suitable for you.
One thing you can do, in the meantime, is to ensure you are reducing the number of hair loss triggers – factors which can exacerbate shedding – such as stress, a poor or unbalanced diet and smoking. Whilst these steps won’t stop hair loss where the cause is purely genetic, they may help by not aggravating the condition or speeding up the rate at which you are losing your hair.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies 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 Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.