No guy wants to go bald. Sure, some guys who have hair shave their heads so that they appear bald — but that’s a choice. And other guys accept going bald without a fight. But they don’t have to.
Hair loss doesn’t occur because you never took off your hat in college, or because you eat poorly, or because of mysterious gypsy magic. Genetics is the main factor that determines hair loss, and there’s not much you can do about your genes. (Thanks a lot, Grandpa!)
If you notice your hair thinning, you can try products like Propecia that will slow your loss. Or products like Rogaine that’ll actually re-grow your hair. Or a host of others. You just need to know which work and which don’t. Read on.
Product: Rogaine (or other cheaper brands that all use the same drug—Minoxidil)
What it does: Minoxidil, which was the first male-pattern baldness drug approved by the FDA in the late 1980s, re-grows hair and prevents additional hair loss. You apply it directly to the scalp wherever you’re losing hair. Physicians and researchers aren’t sure why Minoxidil works, but it could be its vasodilating effect on hair follicles. Or mysterious gypsy magic.
Who should use it: Minoxidil is most effective in people whose hair loss began recently and who have small areas of loss. The drug is more effective at improving growth in the center of the head than along the hairline. Oh, and you can’t ever stop using it; if you do, you’ll revert back to your balding self.
Price: A four-month supply of Men’s Rogaine 5 percent Minoxidil sells for $40 at some online discounters, while a 12-month supply of Kirkland Signature Minoxidil for Men 5 percent sells for $45.95.
Product: Propecia (DHT inhibitor), available by prescription only
What it does: Propecia is the only FDA-approved pill proven to treat male pattern baldness on the top and middle-front of the head. (It’s yet to be proven to work on hair at the temples.) Studies show that more than 80 percent of users retain the hair they had when they started taking Propecia because it blocks the formation of DHT — a hormone that triggers hair loss.
Who should use it: Guys who want to keep the head of hair they have, and who’d rather take a pill than apply a topical medication. Side effects can include lowered libido, weight gain, and disrupted sleep, so it’s also perfect for scrawny, narcoleptic sex addicts!
Price: Propecia generally costs $2-3 per pill, but your insurance may cover some or all of that.
What it does: Crinagen is supposed to stop hair loss (its effects aren’t proven) by inhibiting DHT production without the aid of chemicals. Crinagen employs all-natural ingredients like saw palmetto and zinc, which block the conversion of male sex hormones into DHT. It also contains ginkgo biloba, which has been shown to affect how much blood is delivered to hair follicles. You spray it onto balding areas two or three times a day.
Who should use it: Anyone looking for a natural, chemical-free alternative to Propecia. We’re looking at you, Moonbeam.
Price: One bottle (about a 30-day supply) of Crinagen costs $19.95.
Product: Tricomin Therapy Spray
What it does: Preliminary FDA trials have shown it stimulates hair growth and thickens thinning areas with a “Copper Peptide” technology that jacks up DHT production. It does so with amino acids, minerals, and other body-building ingredients. It’s also sprayed onto hair after daily shampooing.
Who should use it: Anyone seeking a natural alternative to, or a product to use in tandem with, Rogaine.
Price: It has an MSRP of $65 for a 6 oz. bottle, but Amazon.com sells it for $45.50.
Product: Nizoral Shampoo
What it does: Nizoral is sold as an anti-dandruff shampoo, and it hasn’t been tested as a hair-loss inhibitor, but its active ingredient, ketoconazole, fights off the dreaded DHT and reduces inflammation of the scalp. And that can promote hair growth.
Who should use it: Guys using Minoxidil and Propecia might see enhanced effectiveness if they incorporate Nizoral into their routine. Users suggest using it four times a week, lathering up for the duration of your shower each time.
Price: Over-the-counter Nizoral A-D Shampoo retails for $13.99
Product: Nioxin Intensive Therapy Follicle Booster
What it does: Nioxin’s Follicle Booster contains phospholipids, which according to a recent study induces hair growth—though most users tend to report a stoppage of hair loss instead of any hair growth. You spray it directly onto your scalp twice daily, and you can use it in tandem with shampoos and conditioners sold under the same brand name.
Price: A 3.4 oz. bottle of Nioxin Intensive Therapy Follicle Booster costs $50.