Hair loss vitamins, shampoos, and medications are everywhere these days. If you’re looking for a way to keep your hair growing healthy, long, and full, then you’re likely to be overrun with choices ranging from prescription drugs to dubious miracle cures.
There are so many options, in fact, that sorting through them can be a fulltime job. Figuring out which hair treatments are genuine and which are snake oil is hard enough, and then you have the task of deciding which one is suited to your individual case.
Luckily, we’ve done some of the work for you. Keep reading for our list of 10 proven ways to treat hair loss in men.
What Causes Hair Loss in Men
The most common question asked by men suffering hair loss is, simply, “why?”
The answer is complicated. Hair loss can result from multiple factors, ranging from vitamin deficiency, to stress, to serious illness.
Because it’s such a hot-button topic, there are as many potential hair loss treatments as there are causes. Everything from special diets to vitamin supplements to shampoos and even prescription drugs are used to save men from their balding fate.
That’s why none of these products will work for all men. However, each of them does work for some men, and they’re all worth trying. Consider your own situation and the possible causes of your own hair loss, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Without further ado, here’s the list.
Viviscal is a drug-free hair growth supplement based on AminoMar, a proprietary blend of ocean-sourced amino acids.
The company claims that the formula is based on the diet of the Inuits, a people indigenous to the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland. The story goes that a Scandinavian researcher in the 1890s noticed the Inuits universally had great hair and skin, and determined it was due to their amino-rich diet.
Regardless of its origins, Viviscal is a solid hair loss treatment that works well for many people. The modern-day product is backed up by 25 years of research, including clinical trials. The oral supplement may be used on its own, or in conjunction with Viviscal shampoo.
In addition, the company recommends eating plenty of protein and a wide range of foods, to ensure healthy vitamin levels. Following Viviscal’s lifestyle recommendations and supplementing with their products is worth a try for most men experiencing hair loss.
Oxford Biolabs is one of the most highly regarded institutions in men’s hair loss treatment, and a leader in the new wave of science-based companies in the field. The team met at Oxford University, and since then have innovated several new products to combat baldness.
TRX2, their latest, is a supplement that mimics the effects of Minoxidil, a popular drug-based therapy. TRX2 mimics the effects of Minoxidil 100% naturally, using potassium chloride and L-carnitine-L-tartrate. Those compounds may have long, scary names, but they are naturally produced in the body. It’s when levels drop off that many men suffer from hair loss.
Using TRX2 as directed promises to improve hair growth by stimulating potassium ion channels in the hair follicles. Like other reputable hair growth companies, Oxford Biolabs backs it up with clinical studies, which show results between 1-18 months after treatment begins. It’s an exciting new development in hair loss solutions that may have wide-ranging effects on the industry.
Nourkrin is an old, respected name in hair loss treatments. The oral supplement comes in a wide variety of formulas, including variants for young people, senior citizens, and even a post-pregnancy formulation.
All of them are free of drugs and harmful side effects, based instead on the proprietary compound Marilex. Derived from fish oil and containing specific lectican and leucine proteoglycans (proteins, essentially), Marilex has been proven effective for hair loss treatment in a broad spectrum of people.
The men’s version, Nourkrin MAN, also includes several herbal ingredients. Acerola cherry extract is a vitamin powerhouse, supplying vitamins C, A, B1, B2, and B3. Its inclusion, along with biotin and cod liver oil, makes Nourkrin a solid nutritional supplement aside from its effect on hair growth.
The big daddy of hair loss treatments, Rogaine is the most common brand name for Minoxidil. The drug was originally developed to treat high blood pressure, but researchers quickly discovered its use as a hair growth solution.
Applied as a shampoo, Rogaine works by widening the hair follicles, causing each individual hair to naturally grow thicker. The drug also stimulates the growth of more hairs, even in areas of the scalp that have ceased hair production.
Rogaine is a treatment that either works extremely well, or not at all. It relies on the body’s natural production of an enzyme called sulfotransferase. If you’re lucky enough to produce enough sulfotransferase for the Rogaine to work, then you will see miraculous improvement.
If not, you’ll likely see no effect at all.
Still, for the lucky ones, Rogaine is a time-tested solution for sudden hair loss. It’s worth a try for anyone looking to solve this common problem.
Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7 or as Vitamin H, is a commonly available supplement that can work wonders for hair and nail growth. It’s available in most supermarkets or online retailers under name brands like Nature’s Bounty, Nature’s Way, or Vitafusion.
Although the exact relationship between biotin and hair growth hasn’t been determined, scientists do agree that there is a link. Biotin is essential to the production of keratin, the substance that makes up skin, nails, and hair. What scientists can’t agree on is exactly why, or how to use that information. However, multiple studies have shown that increasing biotin levels does slow hair loss in both men and women.
Taking biotin to combat hair loss isn’t as exact a science as using specially formulated supplements like TRX2. The FDA and other government health agencies don’t specify a daily recommended dose, nor is overdosing a danger. Like other forms of Vitamin B, biotin is water-soluble, meaning excessive amounts are flushed from the body in urine.
Most experts agree that adults looking for hair growth benefits should take 2.5mg (2,500 mcg) of biotin daily.
Finasteride, most commonly sold under the brand name Propecia, first hit the market in 1992 as a treatment for prostate enlargement. As with minoxidil, doctors quickly noticed that it was also effective in stimulating hair growth. In 1997, Propecia was born as the first finasteride-based solution for hair loss. Today, it’s also available as a generic, though not over the counter.
Finasteride is interesting in that it only affects hair loss in men. Patients taking the drug can expect a 30% reduction in the rate of hair loss, for as long as they continue taking it. In women, clinical studies showed that it is no more effective than a placebo.
Propecia and its generics are effective for male hair loss, then, but they carry a risk of side effects including sexual dysfunction. Although a 2010 study concluded that these side effects are rare, enough patients reported them that the FDA ruled its label must warn patients of the possibility.
This treatment is one to consider carefully before taking. As a prescription drug, it must be obtained through a doctor, who will discuss its use in your specific case, and the possibility of side effects.
Nioxin has long been a favorite of salon professionals looking to help their clients with thinning hair. The company rose to prominence in the early 1990s with a range of topical treatments, from daily shampoos to intensive regimens that involve the use of multiple shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in oils.
Nioxin is still popular today, offering several “3D Care” treatments that promise to stimulate the growth of thicker hair within 30 days.
Unlike other treatments that work by supplementing missing compounds in the body, Nioxin’s approach is to remove harmful substances. The shampoos and leave-in products perform a deep clean of the scalp, removing all traces of sebum.
Sebum, produced by the sebaceous gland, is what causes some people’s hair and skin to feel oily to the touch. All humans produce it to various degrees, and excess amounts have been tied to hair loss.
Like other treatments, Nioxin isn’t for everyone. If excess sebum isn’t the reason for your hair loss, it probably won’t do much for you. However, it is safe to try since it has no side effects, and many people do report good results.
No relation to Nioxin, niacin is another name for vitamin B3. Like other vitamins, it’s easily available online or in supermarkets from brands like Now Foods or Solgar.
Niacin is proven to widen capillaries, improving blood floor to the scalp and hair follicles. It’s so effective at improving blood flow, in fact, that you may find your face turning red after taking it. This phenomenon is known as “niacin flush”, and is harmless.
The increased blood flow means more nutrients are reaching your scalp and follicles, stimulating hair growth. Niacin also stimulates the production of keratin, the protein that makes up skin, hair, and nails.
Studies have shown that niacin is effective in treating hair loss, as well as high cholesterol. However, be careful when supplementing. Although niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, it is possible to take too much, a condition known as toxicity. Doctors recommend taking no more than 16 mg daily as a supplement.
Selenium, although available in supplement form, is a great hair loss treatment to obtain from food. Liver, butter, garlic, whole grains, and fish are all excellent sources of the mineral.
Nizoral, with its active ingredient ketoconazole, is a medicated shampoo that was originally designed to treat dandruff. As with Rogaine and Propecia, doctors soon noticed that the shampoo was also effective at treating hair loss. Studies were performed to validate their observations, and a new product was born.
Today, Nizoral is available in prescription and non-prescription strength. Like Nioxin, it works by eliminating excess sebum from the scalp. It’s also soothing to the scalp, reducing inflammation and androgens that may interfere with hair growth.
Most experts recommend using Nizoral in conjunction with either minoxidil or finasteride, but it can also be moderately effective on its own. The shampoo packs a punch and may cause a stinging sensation after use. Using it every day is not advised; every other day is more than enough. Otherwise, you risk damaging your hair or making it brittle.
Hair Surge is the flagship product of Ultrax Labs. The shampoo based on a similar formula as Nizoral, with ketoconazole as a key ingredient. Ultrax improves on the idea by adding caffeine and saw palmetto, both of which are promising for hair growth.
Caffeine has been proven to restore hair growth in lab-cultured hair follicles. It has also been successfully used to prevent hair loss in mice following exposure to radiation, leading scientists to investigate it as a remedy for hair loss in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.
Saw palmetto, as a natural herb, is a little less understood. Some studies have shown that it mimics the effects of hair growth pharmaceuticals, blocking the production of baldness-causing DHT without the side effects of finasteride.
Although the studies aren’t quite there yet, Hair Surge is quickly gaining popularity as men report positive results after using it. Be sure to follow the instructions when using it, as the ketoconazole can cause hair damage. With the proper precautions, this shampoo may well be the answer for you.
The Real Secret to Hair Loss Products for Men
Like anything related to your health, you should take hair loss products seriously. Do your research and consider your own situation before starting any treatment. How is your diet? Your stress level? Might you have any vitamin deficiencies that would contribute to hair loss?
Luckily, there’s a lot of great information available. Read the product pages for your favorite hair loss solutions, and keep up with the latest on blogs like this one. You’ll find the supplements that work for you, and you’ll enjoy many more years with a full head of hair.
Some links in this post may be paid.
Photo: Getty Images