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While minoxidil has been clinically proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair, most informed experts see it as a relatively marginally effective drug in the fight against hair loss. Since minoxidil has no effect on the hormonal process of hair loss its positive effects are at best temporary and usually yield somewhat disappointing long-term results.

GET A VOLUMIZING CUT: In most cases, shorter cuts are kinder to thinning hair. “The longer your hair grows, the more likely it is that sections will separate and reveal your scalp,” explains Mancuso. Whatever length you choose, ask for interior layers, which are placed throughout your cut, not just on the ends, to add fullness. 

Warnings For external use only Flammable: Keep away from fire or flame Do not use if your degree of hair loss is different than that shown on the side of this carton, because this product may not work for you you have no family history of hair loss your hair loss is sudden and/or patchy your hair loss is associated with childbirth you do not know the reason for your hair loss you are under 18 years of age. Do not use on babies and children. your scalp is red, inflamed, infected, irritated, or painful. you use other medicines on the scalp.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to choose a pharmaceutical product or a natural one. Pharmaceuticals are widely prescribed and considered to be effective. However, both of the major pharmaceutical treatments carry the risk of side effects, some of which are fairly serious. Questions about the percentage of people who experience side effects from oral medication have recently arisen in the media; it’s suspected to be much higher than originally believed.

Alopcia areata is not related to a more serious condition known as cicatricial alopecia, in which the immune system attacks the stem cells in the bulge of the folicle. This results in permanent hair loss.

Patchy hair loss. Also known as alopecia areata, patchy hair loss occurs when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles. The attack causes sudden and rapid hair loss that leaves smooth, often round, bald patches on the skin.

Although numerous products and methods claim to help you achieve a scalp full of hairs, not all the methods available are effective, safe or healthy. Hair extensions are beautiful and offer amazing volume and length to hair, but they can cause the fall of your natural hair. Hair transplant surgery may help you recover the natural look of a scalp full of hairs, but this method can leave scars and if the follicles are not implanted in the right direction hair will look very unnatural.

Ratings for products that contain an ingredient that is subject to regulatory restrictions in a category are capped at 8 unless the product label or its manufacturer provides data documenting that the product is in compliance with the applicable restriction.

Spironolactone (Aldactone) is primarily used to treat fluid build-up due to heart failure, kidney disease, or liver scarring. It’s also used for treating high blood pressure, low blood potassium, excessive hair growth in women, and transgender hormone therapy.

“Rogaine is the gold standard in terms of topical treatments,” says Zeichner. “It’s FDA-approved to treat thinning at the vertex, or top of the head, but I recommend my patients use it on the frontal hair line, too, where hair is receding.”

SOURCES: George Cotsarelis, MD, director, Hair and Scalp Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Andrew Kaufman, MD, assistant professor, department of dermatology, University of California, Los Angeles; medical director, Center for Dermatology Care, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Tom Barrows, PhD, director of product development, Aderans Research Institute Inc., Atlanta. Cotsarelis, G. and Millar, S.E. Trends in Molecular Medicine, July 2001; vol 7: pp 293-301. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery web site. American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery web site. American Hair Loss Council web site. Springer, K. American Family Physician, July 1, 2003; vol 68: pp 93-102. Hair Loss Help web site, “Interview with Dr. Ken Washenik from Bosley.” Fuchs, E. Developmental Cell, July 2001: vol 1: pp 13-25.

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