Right now in the UK, only two treatments have been clinically proven to grow hair back which are Finasteride (otherwise known as Propecia – a prescription pill) and Minoxidil (available as a lotion or foam that you apply directly to your scalp). The important question being – which of the two has the greatest potential to work for you?
In the case of Finasteride, it all sounds a little too good to be true on the surface. Take a single pill as and when prescribed for the potential reversal of male pattern baldness. Nevertheless, not only has Finasteride been approved in both the United States and the UK, but clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness in approximately 66% of users after two years and 90% of users after five years.
Finasteride treats male pattern baldness by focusing on the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) which is responsible for causing the condition in the first place. Without getting too deep into the science of it all, Finasteride blocks the production of an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. Left unaddressed, DHT gradually shrinks hair follicles and makes it more difficult and ultimately impossible for them to grow thick and healthy hair.
The biggest difference with Minoxidil being that as things stand right now, no one fully understands how or why it is that it works. What we do know for sure is that for approximately 50% of those who use Minoxidil, the speed at which the balding process occurs appears to decelerate significantly. In addition, approximately 15% said that their hair became noticeably thicker and stronger as a result of Minoxidil’s use.
Minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp, rather than being taken as a daily pill. Interestingly, Minoxidil wasn’t developed in the first place with any intention of it being used for the purposes of hair regrowth. Instead, it was created as a potential treatment for benign prostate enlargement.
So…Which Is Best?
As far as the vast majority of experts are concerned, Finasteride should be the first go-to for anyone looking to effectively treat hair loss. While there are no fundamental guarantees that this or any other kind of medication will prove 100% effective, Finasteride has achieved the best results to date in laboratory tests all over the world.
The figures are relatively self-explanatory. While Finasteride is known to have a positive effect in approximately 80% of cases, Minoxidil seems to get the job done adequately for around 52% of users. Of course, given the fact that both products work in entirely different ways, there is always the option of using both at the same time for maximum effectiveness.
Of course, the fact that Finasteride is available only on prescription means that those interested in using it can and should discuss all available options in full with their doctor, before deciding which way to go. Nevertheless, if hair loss is proving problematic and subsequent attempts and treatment have proved ineffective, Finasteride is widely considered to be the single most effective treatment on the market right now.