Firstly, it’s worth noting that many drugstore products are actually the cause of hair loss. Be aware of what you’re putting on your scalp – avoid chemicals such as propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate.
Let’s examine some common over-the-counter and drugstore products for their hair restoration benefits.
In the event of hair thinning, many people turn to thickening shampoos. These products are designed to remove dirt and oil, fill the hair with moisture and shine and protect the hair. In doing this, there is more ‘space’ in between the hairs and the hairs themselves are plumped – creating the illusion of thicker hair. This is usually achieved with additives such as keratin.
Whilst these shampoos do improve the overall look of the hair, they do nothing to encourage hair growth or to prevent further hair loss. As mentioned earlier, be sure that your thickening products do not contain harmful chemicals, or may be worsening the existing issue.
There are several popular caffeine products on the market, including shampoos. They are marketed at those suffering from hair loss and claim to accelerate hair regrowth – however, there is no clinical evidence to support this. There are potentially unpleasant side effects to using caffeine products – such as sore skin, redness, burning of the scalp and irritation.
Rogaine is the only FDA treatment hair loss. At West LA Hair Restoration, we use Rogaine in conjunction with other, more permanent, treatments. Technically, Rogaine does slow down hair loss – but it ceases to be effective once you stop using it. This product contains minoxidil, which revives hair follicles.
There is a small chance that Rogaine can cause some level of scalp irritation – so consult with a professional before using it.
This prescription-only medication contains the active ingredient, finasteride. It works by preventing testosterone from converting into DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which causes male pattern baldness. Finasteride doesn’t work for everyone and discontinuing the treatment may result in the hair loss resuming. In a very small number of people, it may cause a rash or other symptoms associated with lowered testosterone.
Dr. Melamed does prescribe Finasteride , and it may be in combination with other treatment recommendation to assist in the hair loss prevention process.
In general, over the counter ‘treatments’ tend to mask or disguise the underlying issue. Many will make the hair appear thicker, but will not treat the root cause. In order to accurately and effectively treat any type of hair loss, it’s important to know what caused it. If hair loss is the product of vitamin deficiency, often a change in diet is all that is needed. However, if it is caused by a hereditary pattern, no over the counter medication will ‘cure’ it.
If you’re ever in doubt about any product or treatment, it’s best to consult with a medical professional so as not to cause damage or risk a reaction.
Get in touch with Dr. Melamed – renowned and trusted hair restoration specialist and board-certified surgeon.