Hair growth treatments promising to regrow hair are all over the internet, in hair salons, at the dermatologist, and even at Costco. So how do you know what type of treatment is right for you?
If you are reading this article you are probably one of the many people suffering from some sort of hair loss or hair thinning. You may be looking for that magic pill or serum that will help you to regrow hair or at least keep what you have left from falling. Or you may even be on the verge of spending a lot of money on hair restoration surgery.
I can empathize with you because that is how my journey started too, Googling “Hair Loss Treatments” and “regrow hair” in hopes of finding something that could help me.
With all the options that are out there it can be very confusing. And believe me you want to make sure you know the ins and outs of all the options before you go out and make a bad decision. When it comes to hair loss, impulsive decisions can be physically scaring and very expensive mistakes.
So lets take a look at some of the options, their costs and their potential side effects. By the end of this article you will have a better understanding of what treatments are available and what might be a better fit for you.
Why is my hair falling out or thinning?
There are many different types of hair loss and each type may benefit better from a specific solution. So step one for us is to figure out what type of hair loss you are suffering from.
Temporary Hair Loss
I’m not sure of your religious inclination, but pray that you have this type of hair loss. Temporary hair loss has the most options for treatment and with diligence can be helped with the least expensive and gentlest options.
Temporary hair loss is when your hair temporarily stops re-growing. Check out this post on the hair growth life cycle. Basically your hair goes through its life cycle, falls out, but your follicle does not reenter the Anagen regrowth phase. So your hair follicle lays dormant. This can happen for a number of reasons including:
Chemical Hair Services
If you color or bleach your hair with ammonia based products you are damaging your hair and in the long term causing damage to your hair and scalp. Overtime these services weaken the existing hair and cause it to break or fall out. That give you the look of thinning and fine hair.
Diet and Hair Growth Pills
A diet that is not providing the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy can also effect your hair and skin. This unhealthy diet can cause the hair to look and feel unhealthy, break or fallout easily, and can stunt the growth cycle. You can check to see if you have Vitamin D or Iron deficiency with your doctor. If so he may recommend supplements or vitamins. Sometimes Biotin is prescribed as a hair growth vitamin.
Stress, especially traumatic incidents and emotionally stressful events
Stress is a cause for so many issues in your body from hair fall to inflammation to heart disease. The number one thing you can do if you notice you are losing hair is to take a look at your stress levels and see if a reduction in your stress helps to reset your hair-growth cycle.
Illnesses or Hormonal Imbalances
Dealing with chronic illness or hormonal issues like Postpartum Thyroiditis, Hashimotos Disease and other auto immune diseases can cause your hair to fall out and also stunt the regrowth of new hair. If you suspect any of these issues or notice that you are also gaining or losing weight rapidly, or have issues with inflammation please see your doctor right away. You may also want the doctor to check your estrogen and testosterone levels.
Use of certain Medications or Medical Procedures
Cancer treatments and certain medications taken on a regular basis like acne medicine, anti-fungals, anti-depresents, and some heart medicines can affect your hair’s growth cycle and cause your hair to thin. If this is the case discuss alternative medicines with your doctor to see if taking a different prescription can help with your condition while not thinning your hair.
How do you know if you have temporary hair loss?
This can be tricky, if you view the list above and think you suffer from any of those issues, there is a chance your hair loss is temporary. The best thing to do is to try to reduce or eliminate the issues one by one. See a doctor for health and medicine issues. Lower your stress level and eat a healthier diet. And stop stressing your hair with harsh chemicals.
Take a picture of your head from the front, back, top, and each side with your cell phone today. Then again every week on this day for the next 2 months. At the end of two months see if you notice a difference.
Permanent Hair Loss
Unfortunately 50% of the people suffering from hair loss have permanent hair loss. What this means is that their hair follicles are dead or dying and cannot regrow new hair. For this 50% of hair loss sufferers the options are more limited and even the lowest forms of treatment are very expensive. One thing to consider if you have permanent hair loss is to embrace it. If you are a man I believe this is easier than if you are a woman. But still very difficult at first.
Men with male pattern baldness have inherited a hair follicle with sensitivity to DHT (a derivative of Testosterone). This sensitivity causes them to develop male pattern baldness.
What is Androgenic Alopecia?
Alopecia is the medical term used to describe “hair loss” regardless of cause. It does not refer to one specific disease and instead is the title of the category to encompass all forms of hair loss.
Androgenic Alopecia or AGA – Alopecia is the medical term used to describe male or female pattern baldness which is the main diagnosed cause of hair loss. There are however hundreds of illnesses that can cause hair loss and hundreds of issues that can attribute to someone losing their hair.
Available Treatments to Regrow Hair
Let’s see what options are available for you. You can then figure out what is most cost effective and gets the best results with the least risk for your particular situation. Remember picking a treatment is a very personal choice. Don’t just run into the Dr.’s office with a check. You may be able to find a more natural or organic treatment that can give you better results for your situation without all the risks and side effects.
This solution applies mainly to the people who are suffering temporary hair loss or hair thinning due to the harsh chemicals they are using on a regular basis. Hair bleaching and hair color as you learned can have a dramatic effect on the longevity of the lifespan of your hair and the condition of your scalp.
- Stop Bleaching or Coloring you hair for a while. Or use a non ammonia color and low volume peroxide. You can also use re-bonding products in your hair lightening formulas to help rebuild the broken bonds in your existing damaged hair.
- Use a conditioner rich in both moisture and protein to help rebuild the broken hair bonds in you existing hair so that they will not continue to break to easily. Your hair will get stronger over time.
- Wash your hair with sulfate free shampoo for less damage
Natural Hair Loss Remedies
We have a post on the best 11 natural or organic remedies for hair loss. It goes through in detail why and how these ingredients can help to restart the Anagen phase of your hair growth cycle to promote healthier, stronger and fuller hair. Highlighted remedies include:
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Onion Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Tea Tree Extract
- Pea Sprout Extracts
See full list of natural hair loss remedies
Medicinal / Pharmaceutical Options
Used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the vertex and anterior mid scalp area. Propecia should never be taken by a woman or child. It can be absorbed through the skin and women and children should not even handle Propecia tablets.
Used as a solution or foam to help treat male pattern baldness. It is not used for baldness at the front of the scalp or receding hairline in men. Until recently 5% Minoxidil was only for men, while women were to use 2% Minoxidil.
Semi Medical Procedures
Low Level Laser Therapy
Also known as red light therapy, cold laser, soft laser, biostimulation and photobiomodulation is believed to increase blood flow in the scalp and and stimulate metabolism in catagen or telogen follicles, resulting in the production of anagen hair.
More Information on Low Level Laser
Hair Pieces and semi permanent wigs
There are procedures available where a special type of hair salon can order and affix a hair piece or wig directly to your scalp. This is done by custom matching your baldness pattern and hair with hair pieces that are attached to your scalp using a glue like substance. These procedures are performed every few months to clean the scalp and change out the hair piece.
Hair Loss Surgeries
Hair Replacement, Hair Transplant Surgery
These procedures are performed by a dermatologist or other medical doctor that specializes in different forms or hair replacement. Surgical options include:
Follicular Unit Strip Surgery
In this procedure the doctor removes a 6 to 10 inch strip of skin from the back of your head. He then sews the scalp closed leaving a scar. The hope is that the existing hair around the scar will cover it from view. This does not always work out. Next the strip is divided up into 500 – 2000 tiny grafts each with an individual hair or set of hairs. Once they are separated the surgeon clean and numbs the area where the hair will be implanted. He then proceeds to create slits or holes with a scalpel or needle then inserts each graft into one of the holes.
Follicular Unit Extraction
In this procedure the doctor shaves your scalp and then removes each follicle individually. The area heals with small dot scars that your your hair will cover as it grows out. Once the surgeon has removed the follicles one by one, the rest of the procedure is the same as the Follicular Unit Strip implant.
Costs of Different Hair Loss Treatment options
Prices for these services may vary from state to state, country to country; but you can see the relative cost of the options and see what really fits into your budget and your lifestyle. I would recommend trying a few of the lesser expensive and less invasive options before you jump into a costly surgery or replacement treatment that may or may not work for you.
Using sulfate free shampoos will run you between $16 to $50 for an 8 oz bottle of shampoo depending on the brand. Honestly the brand mark up is not worth it. A good quality medium price sulfate free shampoo will work great and help to create less damage on your hair.
Conditioners can also run between $30 and $60 and some as high as $90 for a 32oz bottle. What you want to try to do is get a deep conditioner with both moisture and repairing properties. Apply this to your hair from midshaft to ends to help keep your existing hair healthy and so that it does not break off and look thin.
Do not apply conditioners to your scalp as they will weigh your hair down and leave your scalp greasy looking and visually thinner.
Natural Remedies and Natural Hair Growth Products
These vary in pricing from just a few dollars for organic aloe vera leaves that you can husk yourself to create a serum, or about $40 for a pre-made organic serum like our Revucell organic hair growth serum.
Take a look at this organic aloe vera hair juice recipe to see if you can make it yourself at home. There are also other recipes available for using onion and other natural hair loss treatments.
Minoxidil-Oral can be purchased with a prescription in dosages of 2.5 to 10 mg. These tablets will run you about $50 USD a month.
Minoxidil-Topical can be purchased as an over the counter generic topical lotion or a branded lotion like Rogain or Redken. These serums can range in price but for a 2 oz 60mL bottle you are looking to spend between $30 and $40 USD depending on the brand.
Propecia can be purchased with a prescription for about $75 per month. Propecia is also ONLY FOR MEN and women and children are not even supposed to handle the pills as they can leech into your system through your skin.
Semi Medical Procedures
Low Level Laser Therapy
In office Laser therapy is 15 – 30 minute appointments done 2 -3 times a week. This will cost you about $4,000 for the year.
At home comb devices are another options but we have not heard any good reviews on whether they actually work.
Even the in office laser has mixed reviews so make sure you speak with the doctor who is offering the service and ask for before and afters.
Hair Pieces and Semi Permanent Wigs
Check your local area and speak to a qualified hair replacement center. These services range from the very cheap to the very expensive and are largely based on your location and type of hair piece. Prices can range from the low hundreds to several thousand dollars a year depending on the factors associated with your particular hair piece.
For example you may purchase a couple of hair pieces that are switched out on a rotating basis. So while you have one piece on the other is being cleaned and readied for the next time you come in. Hair pieces on their own are a separate expense as each piece may cost a few hundred dollars. These pieces also need to be replaced from time to time and they need proper maintenance.
The cost of hair replacement surgery ranges from $4000 TU $15000 depending on the severity and location of your current hair loss.
Side Effects & Warnings
As long as you do a little research and try a few products, you should not have very many if any side effects to using healthier hair care products. Some people may be allergic to fragrances or other ingredients, so if you know you have allergies, do a patch test on any new product you are thinking about using on a regular basis.
Also remember a little product goes a long way, so don’t use so much that you weigh your hair down or that you waste a lot of money.
Very little to no side effects. If you are sensitive to new products or have other allergies, test your skin by applying just a little to the inside of your wrist. Leave it on for a few minutes or rub it into your skin to see if there is any reaction. Wash the product off right away if there is any irritation. Remember some people may be allergic to the healthiest ingredients just cause they have an allergy to it.
These are scary to me and one of the main reasons I did not personally use any of the medicinal options. I did have a prescription for ropecia from my doctor and I read the side effects before I went to fill it.
Propecia has the following possible side effects:
Loss of interest in sex
Trouble having orgasm
Swelling in hands and feet
Swelling and tenderness of breasts
Feeling like you might pass out
Also the sexual side effects may continue after you stop taking Propecia.
You also need to be on it for 3 months before you start seeing any benefits from using it.
If you stop taking Propecia it will reverse the effects within 12 months.
Read this story just published at the voice.com for more info on what the bad side of Propecia/ Finasteride can do.
Minoxidil has the following possible side effects:
Major Side Effects:
Fast or Irregular Heart Beat
Rapid weight gain
Shortness of breath
Moderate Side Effects:
Redness of Skin
Swelling of feet and legs
Numbness of hands
Minor Side Effects:
You need to use minoxidil for at least 3 months before you start seeing any benefits.
Once you stop using minoxidil you will see a reversal of the effects within 6 months time.
Semi Medical Procedures
Skin / Scalp allergy sensitivity issues associated with the adhesives used for affixing hair piece to the scalp. Longer term the cleanliness and cleaning procedures in between changing out the hair pieces (they are changed out every couple months) can cause scalp irritation and other skin related issues.
Do a google image search for hair transplant surgery side effects and you will get a bunch of pictures that show you what can go wrong.
Side Effects for Hair Transplant Surgery include:
- Hair Shedding
- Vocal Chord Paralysis (see this video and read the story about Joe Bock, Fox Sports On air announcer, and how his addiction to hair plug surgery cost him his voice and almost his career).
It is one thing to read those side effects, and something completely different to see it on someone’s head. Someone who just spent a lot of money thinking it would solve their hair loss problem.
Link to images of hair loss surgery side effects on google images.
Long Term Effects
If your hair loss is truly due to the fact that you were over processing your hair with chemical services, as long as you curb your salon and styling ways, you should be able to see long term benefits from using healthier products and services. If however your hair loss is due to some other causes like those described in this article, you will need to try some of the other options.
These solutions offer the least amount of risk and highest potential reward with the lowest side effects. It is the route I chose for myself. Where it is hard is making your own remedies every month. The actual work it takes to husk an aloe leaf and blend it with an onion and store it in the refrigerator… You can soon try the RevuCell organic hair growth serum to see if that helps you. As with the other remedies in this article most topical and oral solutions require at least 3 months of use for you to start seeing benefits.
When you look at the possible side effects you have to keep in mind that some people will not experience any, while others will. For me this was not worth the taking the chance. Along with the temporary side effects, the long term issues associated even once you stop treatment were enough to make me think of something else to do.
Semi Medical Procedures
Rashes and irritation from the adhesives can be an ongoing problem every time you switch out your hair piece.
With both successful and failed surgeries, you will have scaring. This scaring is normally covered by your other hair around it when it grows out. But if you tend to scar normally or keloid youmay still be able to notice scaring under the hair. Also if the surgery fails and you later on lose more hair or shave your head you will see the permanent scars quite clearly.
Taking your own personal next steps in your journey to fuller thicker hair
With the information in this post, I hope that you can see that there are many options available.
Figuring out what type of hair loss you have narrows the options for your treatments, and it sets you on the right path so you don’t spend a lot of money on something that may not work for you.
Now it’s time for you to decide on what is right for you. Each one of us has a different idea of what we will tolerate, spend, and endure. Hopefully you feel a little more confident to explore an appropriate course for yourself after reading this article.
With anything in life taking the first step is important, starting your journey and trying some low cost low risk options while you continue your research is important. What you don’t want to do is “do nothing” because then this need for thicker hair or a miracle cure will grow inside you and you may end up making a rash decision that is expensive both monetarily and physically.
My personal journey towards denser fuller hair
Personally I would have a very hard time dealing with the possible medical side effects and with the chance that a surgery could go wrong.
Or have a bad outcome because I could not afford a plan that would put in enough hairs that it would actually make a difference.
So for me, once I walked through these options I began trying the more Natural and Organic route. By far it was the one with the lowest severity in potential side effects, the lowest initial cost, and the easiest to try to see if it would work.
Thankfully for me it is working. It was many years of trial and error but now I am seeing results and it has been worth the wait. Take a look at some of our other posts to see what natural or organic remedies you can try.
Thanks for reading, we hope this helps. Please leave a comment below and join our mailing list, we have great articles like this updated all the time.