There is a myriad of products on the market that claim to promote healthy hair, reduce hair loss, or speed the post-surgical recovery course, including Propecia, Avodart, Rogaine, and Nizoral shampoo. All of these products have been shown to reduce hair loss in many patients, though not all; a small percentage will even see hair re-growth.
Finasteride (available as Propecia 1 mg and Proscar 5 mg)
Finasteride was the first pill approved by the FDA/TGA to grow hair and is referred to as a 5α Reductase (5αR) Inhibitor. It was first discovered to promote hair growth during the treatment of patients with enlarged prostates (a condition referred to as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy).
Finasteride blocks the enzyme 5αR which converts testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the hormone that attacks and miniaturizes hair follicles leading to male pattern baldness. Finasteride is primarily used to stabilize hair loss. About 8 in 10 people maintain their current hair; 1 in 10 will experience reduced hair loss, and another 1 in 10 will see no results. A very small percentage of patients will experience sexual dysfunction that may persist after ceasing the drug. Very careful discussion is required with the doctor before prescribing.
Dutasteride (available as Avodart)
Dutasteride works in a similar way to Finasteride, though it blocks both types of 5 alpha-reductase better than Finasteride. It has not yet been approved by the FDA/TGA for hair loss but it has been TGA approved for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and shows great promise in re-growing hair. Dutasteride tends to last longer for hair loss but also results in lengthier side effects.
Minoxidil (available as Regaine or Rogaine)
The positive hair growth effects of Minoxidil where discovered serendipitously, very much like Finasteride, but this time, in the treatment of patients with high blood pressure (Hypertension). These patients reported their hair looking thicker and darker.
Minoxidil can be very effective for hair loss. It is available without a prescription as a 2% or 5% lotion or 5% foam and even in oral tablet form. The topical solution is applied to the affected areas of the scalp, once or twice a day, and is effective in both men and women. 5% Minoxidil has been demonstrated to provide greater stimulation of hair growth. Results take up to four months to see and there may be some initial shedding of hair after commencement. Minoxidil can be oily and messy.
2% Ketoconazole Shampoo (aka Nizoral)
2% Ketoconazole shampoo is available as a 1% solution over the counter and 2% by prescription. It is shown to be as effective as Minoxidil in treating hair loss. It should be used twice a week and shampooed into hair for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.
There are many shampoos that are sold in hair salons and by hair restoration clinics that claim to have a positive effect on hair growth and reverse hair loss. There is no level 1 evidence supporting their efficacy and any effects are anecdotal. Patients should tread carefully when purchasing.
This natural product has been proven to reduce the Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) your body produces and may reduce hair loss. In a small percentage of lucky individuals, it has even been shown to re-grow hair. In one study, Saw Palmetto was shown to be just as effective in reducing the prostate size as 5mg of Finasteride, though it has not been studied clinically in comparison to Finasteride for hair loss.
Zinc is an essential vitamin for healthy hair. Hair Cycle is the best post-surgical product for hair restoration surgery because it delivers antioxidants to both the transplant and donor areas.
Many multivitamins have been associated with healthy hair. Antioxidants, Calcium, Omega 3, Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Amino-acids, B-Complex vitamins and biotin are all linked with positive hair growth and are used routinely in the pre-operative phase at Melbourne Hair Transplant Clinic.
Lower Level Laser Therapy or LLLT
Many people will recognise LLLT as a mainstay of treatment in many hair loss clinics in Australia. More recently, several products have come onto the market such as the “Laser Comb” and the “Laser Cap”, which can be used at home without any monitoring by a physician or hair technician.
It is not until recently that there has been some clinical and scientific evidence of the effectiveness of LLLT to improve hair growth, especially in patients with Andro-Genetic Alopecia. However, the effectiveness of LLLT in Hair Restoration has not yet been fully investigated with Class I Evidence based studies.
Hair Cycle products
Hair Cycle products will help speed up the recovery phase, and optimize wound healing as well as graft survival. Hair Cycle products provide the highest degree of purity because of their natural ingredients.