There’s no need to sugarcoat it: Hair loss sucks. It can be one of the most frustrating experiences you will ever encounter in your life.
While age-old management techniques range from the comb-over to shoe polish to constantly wearing a hat, there are plenty of other potential solutions out there if you’re willing to try them. And chances are, if you’ve encountered a thinning hairline–you’ve already tried at least one.
With so many options out there, it’s hard to know which to trust. In this post, we’ll cover several different hair loss solutions, including reviews for Scalp Med, a product I’ve been happily endorsing and had good results with personally.
What causes hair loss?
Before we can dive into treatment options, it’s important to understand hair loss/thinning hair itself and how/why it happens. Without fully understanding what is causing your baldness, your hair will be unable to regrow, because the environment needs to be perfect.
The cause of hair loss or thinning isn’t fully understood, but is usually related to one of several common factors. These include your family history (heredity), hormonal changes, medical conditions and medications. One thing to note: Hair loss is mostly out of your control, and often comes down to your genes. Inheriting the baldness gene from family members is the most common cause of male-pattern and female-pattern baldness.
Scalp and skin autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata are potential causes as well as drugs used for cancer, anemia, insulin resistance, thyroid problems, arthritis, depression, heart issues, high blood pressure and birth control. Even too much vitamin A can be a potential cause.
Stress has long been connected to hair loss. Others include radiation therapy, a trigger event that causes physical or emotional shock, and believe it or not, certain hairstyles and hair treatments.
If you have the baldness gene, there are some natural remedies you can use that may make your hair stronger and healthier to slow your hair loss, but they won’t prevent you from going bald on their own. It’s generally agreed that maintaining hair health by eating well and using the right products, combined with medical-grade treatments, can work in tandem to help you have a fuller, thicker head of hair.
There are several potential solutions on the way that show promise, such as the use of stem cells, but they might be several years away from becoming available. Here are several you can try right now to combat your hair loss.
Get your hormones checked
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, alopecia, or male- or female-pattern baldness, affects about 80 million people. It is the most common type of hair loss.
Often, the hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the enemy of hair follicles in your head. Testosterone is metabolized into estrogen, but is often “hormone hijacked” into DHT. People can have a genetic disposition to this condition, but it can also be caused by your diet, lifestyle and environment.
Getting a blood test can help you determine your hormone levels and their pathways and potentially find natural ways to help your hair grow.
Stop over-styling your hair
Do you often dye or straighten your naturally curly hair? If so, you might actually be causing damage to your hair. If your hair is breaking faster than growing, it will appear like you are losing it. Generally, if you are constantly treating and styling your hair in a way that doesn’t enhance it naturally, then you could be causing the problems yourself.
Diet alone can’t bring back your hair, but a healthy diet can certainly help aid the growth of healthy hair. Eating protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair you still have look thicker and shinier. On the other hand, nutrient deficiencies can weaken your hair strands and make them more prone to breakage.
Hair healthy nutrients include B vitamins (particularly biotin), which helps with the formation of hair cells and growth. B vitamins are found in protein-rich foods like fish, chicken, eggs and pork as well as leafy greens. Other nutrients to look for include iron and zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
As with nutrition, there’s no shampoo out there that can stop hair loss. But products like Nioxin can help keep your scalp healthy and improve the look of the hairs you have. Nioxin helps fight thinning hair, but is not a miracle shampoo.
Shampoos with natural herbs like rosemary and mint can also make your hair appear more healthy. Unlike regular shampoos, those specialized with ingredients to treat thinning hair aim to help naturally stimulate your scalp by boosting blood circulation and nourishing your hair follicles.
Compared to your typical shampoos, those made with these types of ingredients may help stimulate your scalp naturally to boost blood circulation and better nourish hair follicles. There are also scalp-stimulating sprays available to try as well as organic essential oils like peppermint and spearmint.
Hair Transplant Surgery
The most effective fix for replacing lost hair is a transplant, and there are several different options for transplant procedures.
Hair transplants in years past didn’t look anything close to natural, but today’s procedures can give you very natural looking hair. There is a “strip method”, or follicular unit transplantation (FUT), in which a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your hair, dissects each graft under a microscope, then plants individual grafts into thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
For those who tend to wear your hair short, there is a more scarless transplant option, known as a follicular unit extraction (FUE). In an FUE, grafts are harvested one at a time, and heal with virtually no scarring, so you can still keep your hair trimmed short. You can even use body hair for FUE transplants if you don’t have enough left on your head. Hair extractions can be pulled from your chest, stomach, back, and even the pubic area.
The strip method has a slightly higher re-growth rate, but also a longer healing period. It takes three to five days to heal from the FUE method versus 10 days to heal from the strip method.
Hair transplant surgery isn’t a great option for those who are just starting to notice the first signs of hairless. It’s actually better to wait until hair loss has slowed down or stopped altogether.
Laser hair therapy
Laser hair therapy treatments are now available both at treatment offices and in at-home handheld devices.
The at-home options are FDA-approved for men and women and are available without a prescription. These low-level laser light brushes, combs and other devices stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles and energize the cells. Products include the HairMax LaserComb and others.
However, the lasers don’t grow any new hair and take a time commitment. Using the HairMax as an example, you would have to use it 15 minutes a day, three days a week and keep using it indefinitely until you (potentially) see results. The good news is laser therapy comes with no major side effects and can be a good tool to help maintain the hair you have a bit longer.
In-office treatments have more options, but will certainly up the price tag.
There are some medications that can be taken in conjunction with other treatments.
The most popular by far is finasteride, also known by the brand name Propecia. It is a pill that’s FDA-approved to treat hair loss in men. Propecia was actually originally created to help prevent prostate cancer, but was found to treat hair loss. It blocks production of that hormone hijacker we mentioned earlier, DHT. DHT shuts down hair follicles in the scalp, but Propecia counters its effects.
While effective, Propecia isn’t without its drawbacks. First, it’s a lifetime commitment. If you were to stop using Propecia, it would actually accelerate hair loss that was going to happen if you weren’t taking the medication. Propecia also comes with several potential side effects, including a risk for heart problems, increased heart rate, edema, headaches, and weight gain. Some men also experience sexual side effects, such as impotency or a lack of desire.
Rogaine is the most popular brand name of topical treatment for hair loss. It’s active agent is minoxidil, the only other FDA-approved drug for treating hair loss. Like Propecia, Rogaine must be used consistently for the minoxidil to be effective, taking four to six months to see improvement and up to a year for full results.
It’s generally agreed that minoxidil is the best current solution to slowing hair loss, and may even help grow new hair. Same as with Propecia again, the effects of hair loss return as soon as you stop using the product. Minoxidil has less risk for side effects, but they may include itchiness and chest pain.
And then there’s Scalp Med®. Scalp Med could certainly be filed under minoxidil, but that only tells one part of the story. That’s because minoxidil is only step of the two-part Scalp Med hair treatment system.
Like other hair loss solutions, scalpmed.com complaints are no secret. However, Scalp Med’s mission statement on its website says: “Scalp Med is designed to stop hair loss and thinning hair and promote new hair growth. Scalp Med’s proprietary hair-loss treatment delivers thicker, stronger hair without surgery, sexual side effects, wigs, weaves or cover-ups that are common with other hair-restoration products.”
Scalp Med also claims to be “stronger than genetics” because it halts and reverses hereditary hair loss and thinning, known as male-pattern and female-pattern baldness. Scalp Med even says it can restore hair lost due to non-hereditary factors and can decrease both patchy hair loss and excessive hair loss.
So how does it work? Scalp Med attacks hair loss at the source.
There are three stages of hair growth: the Anagen phase (growth), catagen phase (transition) and telogen phase (rest). Hair loss occurs when the Anagen phase, or growth cycle, is disrupted. This happens when a hormone called DHT constricts blood vessels that supply vital oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles, until eventually the follicles can no longer grow hair.
Scalp Med’s hair loss treatment keeps blood vessels in your scalp open so oxygen and nutrients can flow into your hair follicles. This will help revive your dead or dying hair follicles and cause them to increase in size. This allows hair to resume its Anagen growth phase, resulting in the growth of new, often thicker, healthy hair.
What sets Scalp Med apart from the competition is this patented two-step topical solution to hair loss.
Scalp Med’s unique two-step process treats the scalp and then stimulates hair growth. The process combines Scalp Med’s multi-patented pre-scalp treatment, Nutrisol® with clinical-strength growth formula, Vitadil®. Vitadil is Minoxidil-based, which is currently the only FDA-approved hair-growth ingredient.
The first phase of the Scalp Med solution is the pretreatment formula, NutriSol, which creates the optimal environment for healthy, new hair growth. NutriSol is a specially-formulated shampoo that is massaged directly into the problem areas. NutriSol helps shrunken hair follicles increase in size, which allows for new, thicker hair to grow.
Step two of the treatment is the clinically proven Vitadil. After the scalp has been primed with NutriSol, Scalp Med’s Vitadil topical solution is sprayed directly onto the same area. The spray doesn’t need to be massaged in and will deliver maximum-strength Minoxidil to the area. Minoxidil is the only FDA-approved ingredient clinically proven to safely stimulate new hair growth.
While everyone will have different results, it does appear Scalp Med is a viable option for hair loss. Most report results within four to six months, so it is important to be patient, and stay the course by applying the treatment twice a day.
Some negative reviews of Scalp Med seem to stem from the fact that users of the product haven’t given it the full four-to-six months to see results. Most Scalp Med complaints aren’t illegitimate, but they might not give the product a fair review.
Hair loss is incredibly frustrating and stressful and understandably, those suffering from it want to see immediate results when they’re paying good money for a product, but it takes time. Many Scalpmed customer reviews simply do not give it the time the product requires.