Whether you are a man or a woman, experiencing hair loss can be a tragedy. At least that’s how it is for me. I always admire the guys that embrace the bald and look great doing it. Since becoming more aware of my receding hairline, I’ve been exploring some options.
The first place I went was Bosley. My skepticism about businesses capitalizing on the insecurity men (or anyone) has against their own appearance keeps me from fully buying into the sales pitch. I felt the same about the skincare industry. Snake oil everywhere! However I felt that if I didn’t try something I would never know and just end up a victim to my own circumstances. I don’t want to be a victim!
When I first went to Bosley, they took some pics and talked about options. Everyone has a different situation depending on how far along their hair loss is. There are 2 basic choices you need to make: 1) am I going to let nature takes its course or 2) am I going to do something about it? I chose option 2.
(note: I didn’t actually take anything from them except a year prescription for finasteride. Their other options that I talk about below were really expensive. I found cheaper, more DIY options that I will talk about below. )
For those that choose option 1, go for it. No judgement. I have so much respect for guys that take life as life comes and keep it moving. I will accept whatever fate life has in store but in the meantime I am in a good position to do things today that will give me some benefits. So I picked option 2.
If you decide to do something there are different levels of treatment you can choose.
First off let’s dispel some myths. You can’t lose your hair from wearing hats. Also stress, too much sun, too many products, washing your hair too much or cutting your hair often makes it grow back thicker. There are others but these are the big ones. You lose hair because your body produces testosterone. A by-product of testosterone is Dihydrotestosterone, also called DHT. DHT causes hair follicles to thin and eventually cause hair to fall out. The objective is to eliminate DHT or the effect of DHT to your hair to prevent. Similar to skincare, you can take action to turn the clock back a little but the biggest impact is more about extending your current look. A more aggressive restoration will require surgery and a lot more money.
I have not gone down the surgery path yet but I am on the typical proactive treatments that men do when they want to minimize hair loss. No matter what, you will hear a mix of options on this topic in terms of effectiveness of these products. This is because at some point biology will take over and no matter what products you are using you are going to lose your hair. Everyone is different.
Here’s the proactive treatment that is the basic plan all places will prescribe: finasteride (ala Propecia), minoxidil, biotin and DHT shampoo. If you want to keep your hair, you basically have to do this for the rest of your life. If you get surgery to move thick follicles to bald spots, you will still have to take this treatment in order to minimize DHT coursing through your body.
Before you embark upon your own treatment, you need to see a doctor. I am not a doctor and only sharing my experience to help guys know their options. I saw a doctor before I started down this path.
Let’s talk about these options.
Finasteride (aka Propecia): this is the standard pill that’s been around for years. Apparently there are some minor side effects. This helps your body from producing DHT. This tackles DHT from inside-out. You need a prescription from a doctor to get this. I recommend getting an annual prescription. Costco is a supercheap place to fill scripts. I think it was around $40 for the entire year.
Minoxidil: this is a topical treatment you put in the spot that is balding. This helps keep thinning hair to stay thick. This will not do anything for hair that is already gone. This also doesn’t help a receding hairline in the front. It’s only for the crown of your head. You put it on AM and PM. I put it on while I’m doing my daily skincare regimen. It takes 5 seconds and no side effects. You can buy it on Amazon and it’s very cheap. I get it in bulk from the Kirkland brand. There’s nothing special about this so you don’t need to overpay. The chemical is the same no matter who makes it.
Go to Amazon to pick this up cheap.
Biotin: this is a pill. Aka Vitamin B7. It’s a supplement that is commonly found at any place that sells vitamins. This is supposed to improve your hair, nails and skin texture. When you Google it, there are mixed reviews on how effective it is with thinning hair. I don’t get any side-effects from this so even though it may have negligible benefit, I don’t see a downside. Plus there seem to be a ton of other health benefits to biotin anyways. Again this won’t do anything for hair already gone but I would still take it for your skin and nail health.
Go to Amazon to get this one cheap too.
DHT Shampoo: this is another topical treatment that is supposed to help to keep DHT from attaching to your hair which should prevent thinning. Again, lathering up a bald head is not going to grow hair. There are a lot of options and you can get it delivered via Amazon.
Go to Amazon here to buy.
Here are some of my results over almost a year time period.
Here is my photo from my Bosley appointment in June 2017.
And here’s my photo a week ago (Apr 2018)
You can see the hair is a bit thicker but obviously it’s not 100%. But I’ll take that. The difference I see is pretty remarkable though. Everyone will have different results but keep in mind DHT will continue raging in your body unless you do something about it.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Wash your hair often. Your hair looks thicker when it’s cleaner
- Don’t grow your hair too long in the area that you are thinning. I know it’s very counterintuitive! Part of the effect I get in the “after” pic is not just the meds and topical stuff but also getting a good haircut that is blended in that area. Long strands of your thick hair on top of the thinning layer actually accentuates the thinning. I known you think you are hiding the thinning but you aren’t. Everyone sees it even better when your hair is longer. I find that the standard barbers don’t get it and you need to go to a proper stylist – or high-end barber. My Russian barbers that operate out of the hole in the wall shop near my job in FiDi don’t cut it.
- Use a matte pomade for styling. I find this to keep your hair looking natural and bouncy. The glossy products don’t do my thinning layers any favors.
Let’s hope I can stop the destruction of my hairline with this strategy. I may actually get some surgery if it doesn’t slow down enough for me. But that’s another post!
Good luck with your own strategies. Add some of your own tips in the comments. Would love to learn what works for others!