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What to do about hair loss

Our experts answer your questions . This week: how to prevent hair loss

Q My son, who is 32, has hair loss at the temples and now loss on his crown. He is self-conscious about this and I wonder if there is anything he could do to help prevent further loss. Jane Butler, email


A Loss of hair on the crown and at the front hairline is the typical pattern of male hair loss, but a lot can be done about it now.

The hair-growing follicles in these scalp areas are particularly sensitive to testosterone, which slowly reduces their hair-producing activity until they finally switch off at some point in most men. This sensitivity is programmed into the follicle rather than the scalp area, which is why moving follicles from the sides and back of the scalp, which do not have this sensitivity, can be an effective long-term solution.

There are, however, many options other than transplantation. Finasteride is an anti-testosterone drug used mainly to reduce the size of enlarged prostate glands in older men, but at a lower dose (Propecia) it is licensed to slow the rate of hair loss in males. It has a good rate of effectiveness and causes few side-effects, even when used over several years. It comes in tablet form, but is not available via the NHS, so needs to be obtained by private prescription (which can be written by an NHS GP, if he or she is willing).

Minoxidil is a drug originally discovered in the search for high-blood-pressure treatments but found to have a side effect of stimulating hair growth. It comes in a solution (Regaine) and is also non-prescribable on the NHS, but can be bought without prescription from a pharmacy (the five per cent strength is more effective than the two per cent, which is being phased out).

Both Propecia and Regaine can be combined if desired, although there is little formal research on the extra benefit achievable. Both need to be continued long-term as they work only as long as they are used.

Other treatments that use hair-weaving or other cosmetic techniques are now highly developed and can also give excellent results. See Do you have Hair Loss Problems, read our Hair Loss Help

This entry was posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 5:39 pm and is filed under HAIR LOSS HEALTH NEWS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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