As you might guess, we receive a number of questions at Forhair. Transplants remain the most effective solution for hair loss but many of our patients would rather start slow. Unsurprisingly, then, we receive many questions regarding hair loss treatments. Some of the most prevalent include:
- What treatments are effective?
- Where are these treatments available?
- Do any treatments require a prescription?
- How long do treatments take to work?
- How common are side effects?
- What treatments are most affordable?
These concerns make sense. Around two-thirds of all males have thinning hair by the age of 35 and more than one-third of females have thinning hair by age 40. Resultantly, take-home hair loss treatments are a big market. New treatments and vendors constantly arise. Dr. Cole, for instance, offers HairCycle Shampoo and WNT Act hair spray to better encourage his patients' hair retention and growth.
At Forhair, we value input and discourse. Dr. Cole and his team offer a tremendous amount of experience and insight, yes, but many of Forhair patients also have their personal stories and ideas. This post is going to draw upon our old forum to better illustrate patients' experiences and suggestions regarding hair loss treatments. Our ultimate hope is to inform visitors while also assuring them that other people have had their questions, concerns, and preferences regarding hair loss treatments.
FDA Approved Hair Loss Treatments
Hair loss treatments have only become demonstrably effective in the late 20th century. Currently, the FDA only approves of two medicines to treat hair loss.
- Finasteride (Propecia) -An androgen blocker
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)-A topical solution that most researchers believe encourages circulation
Both finasteride and minoxidil have undergone decades of research and development. They both also have other uses. The FDA approved Minoxidil, as an oral tablet, for treating high blood pressure in 1979. Meanwhile, Finasteride was approved in 1992 for treating prostate enlargement and other issues that result from the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). There is one prime reason why only finasteride and minoxidil have FDA approval: both use complex pharmacology. As such, they demanded a ton of research that also validates these treatments' effectiveness and safety. Just because a treatment has FDA approval does not mean, however, said treatment is 100% effective.
Minoxidil works for about 40% of males with thinning hair. Finasteride, meanwhile, stifles hair loss in around 80% of males, with some of that percentage also enjoying hair growth. Females are far less likely to find minoxidil or finasteride effective, though there is a portion that enjoys hair retention, and an even smaller portion that regrows some hair.
Make sure to consider Propecia's effectiveness for you. Most doctors caution patients with liver conditions that taking Propecia may result in disappointment. This is not because finasteride damages the liver. Rather, it is because the liver is responsible for metabolizing Propecia.
Negative side effects are rare but can also happen. A lot of patients fear sexual dysfunction. Most physicians, however, believe that this side effect happens in under 4% of all male patients.
Read the below forum posts to gain some insight on the possible side effects shared by others.
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Minoxidil as well can cause side effects, though these are usually less severe.
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And once again, our community offers input for how to best handle the situation. In fact, "minoxidil makes my hair dry” is one of the most common complains about the stuff. Some people do find Rogaine foam dries out hair. With minoxidil, including Rogaine, frizzy hair is another possibility. Causes of dry hair abound, however, and many shampoos can help combat it. For some taking Minoxidil, dry hair is the least of their worries. Dizziness, unusual weight gain, and irregular heartbeat can also effect a very small amount of users.
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Why Does Finasteride (Propecia) Require a Prescription?
One of the first things patients ask is "can I get finasteride without a prescription?" The answer is no. Why? Because the patient's dosage needs to be correct. Higher concentrations of finasteride, as we already mentioned, treats colon-related issues. Not that there will be a huge difference between 0.5mg instead of 1mg of Propecia. A significant increase of finasteride, though, also means a greater chance of negative side effects. Further, taking more than 5 mg pills shows no indication of better improving hair density or stifling hair loss. Those dealing with colon enlargement, meanwhile, often receive a prescription for 8 or 10 mg finasteride as Proscar or a generic tablet.
When a doctor recommends minoxidil or finasteride they are not guaranteeing it will work for *you.* Instead, they are saying that the FDA recognizes that these pharmaceutical treatments are effective against hair loss for some people and that the side effects are well documented and infrequent. Everyone is different, though, and this is exactly why finasteride requires a prescription.
A prescription from a medical professional does three things. First, and as mentioned, it ensures the patient is receiving the right dosage. Second, it helps ensure the patient is aware of the treatment's ill effects. Third, it encourages a medical professional to track the effects of said medicine.
Why Avoid Online Stores that Do Not Require a Prescription?
The advent of online stores changes how we make purchases...for good and for ill. Prescription drugs are no different. There is a whole slew of online stores that offer medicine without requiring a prescription. While tempting, we recommend patients avoid these stores. Read our forum post below.
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In sum, by not requiring a prescription, such stores essentially state they are outside the FDA's purview. Just because a "Propecia" or "finasteride" treatment has the proper pill shape, size, or color does not mean they actually contain the ingredient. Pills are easy to counterfeit, and many disreputable stores offer increasing discounts for bulk orders. Propecia and Proscar are, particularly in high demand. In turn, this means counterfeiting of such treatments is more likely. Those looking to cut corners when researching how to get Propecia are more likely to receive a bogus or dangerous medicine.
Without question, though, some online stores are legitimate and sell the proper finasteride. Many, however, are not legitimate and do not sell the medicines they purport. At least for U.S. customers, only going through a store that requires prescriptions guarantees patients receive the drug they seek. Those outside the U.S. are best off purchasing their medicine from a reputable pharmacy that has a high customer base and if at all possible, has recommendations from local medical professionals. Again, always be cynical looking to buy finasteride online. Further, be even more vigilant when looking to buy Propecia online. Most counterfeiters will seek to capitalize on a main brand.
What Does FDA Approval Mean?
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) assesses the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs. The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is responsible for all drug evaluations meant for humans. The typical process involves a company or laboratory researching and developing a drug, then testing it on animals, and finally, if viable, testing it on human volunteers.
Laboratories or companies apply for approval once they deem a drug viable for patients. CDER has a number of professionals review the science and findings of said drug. Professionals involved in these review processes include pharmacologists, physicians, statisticians, chemists, and other professionals. They both must approve the drug itself and its labeling. For instance, CDER dismissed Johnson & Johnson's first brand name for minoxidil, "Regain," as misleading since its effects were only seen on a minority of users and did not lead to a permanent regain of hair.
CDER also considers other elements, aside from a drug's research and development, effectiveness, and safety. More often than not, said drugs under consideration must also offer advantages over other drugs that are already available. These advantages can include less severe side effects, greater effectiveness, or more cost-effective development. This is precisely why medications such as the DHT blocker dutasteride, a 5α-reductase inhibitor most often sold under the brand name Avodart and akin to finasteride, currently has FDA approval for treating prostate issues but not, as of yet, hair loss.
After finasteride, most of our patients want to know how to buy Avodart and where to buy Avodart. A lot of people prefer going through a brand name, but Avodart actually lost its exclusivity in 2015 and many producers are creating generic dutasteride today. Obtaining dutasteride is also a little tricky, as less hair restoration specialists in the U.S. hair will prescribe it. While effective, studies indicate it is more effective than finasteride even, dutasteride's potency also increases the chance of side effects. This risk increase means that many specialists will not prescribe it unless finasteride is proving ineffective.
Why Do a Majority of Hair Restoration Treatments Lack FDA Approval?
There are a few reasons why a majority of hair loss treatments lack FDA approval.
- Receiving FDA approval is time-consuming
- Many hair loss treatments use harmless and common ingredients
- New hair loss treatments become available each year
- Only minoxidil and DHT blockers, so far, use complex pharmacology that synthesize specific chemical components
Such factors do not mean that other hair loss treatments use research to verify results. There is plenty of studies into how different ingredients can encourage hair growth, stifle hair loss, etc. Such treatments, however, are not using chemical components to create a specific effect. Rather, they are combining broad ingredients already approved, or overlooked, by the FDA because of their lack of negative side effects -fish oil, for example, does not require CDER approval. Other times, core components of a treatment already have approval for use as over-the-counter treatments. Minoxidil, for instance, has approval for over-the-counter use, and, therefore, different brands can include the drug in their own hair loss treatments.
Further, different brands behind hair restoration treatments or other drugs have an active interest in ensuring safety. Brands that cause negative side effects can still be subject to product recalls, lawsuits, or criminal prosecutions. Of course, proving that a specific supplement or treatment is responsible can be tricky.
Also, pay attention to the wording. Every product will showcase its benefits in a positive light. Hair loss treatments are no exception. There is a big difference, though, between empty promises and honest appraisals. Rogaine and Propecia make good examples. Each has a chance of stifling hair loss and encouraging hair growth. Whatever the phrasing and presentation, though, both treatments make very clear that they are sometimes ineffective while also providing a list of potential side effects. Finasteride, in fact, can be so potent that pregnant females should not even handle the drug.
Remember, Manufacturing Centers Require FDA Approval and Pharmacies Require NABP Approval
All goods made in the U.S. must follow FDA guidelines. Even if the given substance of a hair loss treatment does not require FDA approval, or does not already have approval, products manufactured within the U.S. are required to follow the regulations set forth. However, the standards put in place predominantly exist to prevent endangerment to consumers. Just because a manufacturer follows guidelines does not mean they are using quality materials. So how does one guarantee they are receiving quality materials? Consumers should always research the origins of whatever supplements or treatments they take. Brands often build a reputation for quality materials and manufacturing standards, Dr. Cole's brands among them. This is why online reviews can be so integral. Also always exercise caution. Plenty of comments can come from the same user who has some sort incentive to post. Consumers are typically best off ignoring comments on vendor sites -forums typically have more traffic. However, established users on forums may also receive any number of kickbacks or incentives to recommend this or that service. Below is a good example of a suspect poster because of their history on the forum, lengthy recommendation, and spelling out of "dot.
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Contrast it with this simple and honest post from someone with more of a posting history. .
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So You Are Intent on Buying Hair Loss Treatments Online...
Once again, we at Forhair completely, unequivocally, absolutely believe everyone seeking finasteride or similar hair loss treatments should go through a provider that requires a prescription. This is among the only means to ensure they comply with the NABP, FDA, and similar organizations. Further, we almost always write prescriptions -but only after reviewing your medical history.
However, time and time again, our patients have opted for online pharmacies that ignore government agencies...even after Dr. Cole writes the prescription. Just remember, consulting with a physician, and preferably a hair restoration specialist, serves *you.* Near all males can safely take finasteride and other DHT blockers. Very few, though, are more likely to have an adverse reaction towards the treatment, particularly those at-risk for prostate cancer. Consulting a physician helps ensure that those considering DHT blockers are not within this slim minority. Physicians are also incredibly helpful in tracking and charting any other side effects.
Of course, this blog post is also about patients' suggestions to each other. A number of posts on our old forum count as spam but legitimate community members also have their web store preferences. Below is a list of quotes mentioning sites *they* go to for DHT blockers and other hair loss treatments.
- What is better to buy, price-quality ratio?
- Generic Fincar $2.08 per pills
- Generic Finpecia $0.72 per pills
- Generic Proscar $1.22 per pills
- Generic Propecia $0.71per pills
"Hi, check at hairlosstalk shop here: http://www.hairlosstalk.com/shop/ and maybe also here: https://wholesalehairproducts.com/product-category/hairloss/"
"You can order the generic Dutasteride online. On the Internet, there are many reliable international online pharmacies that make delivery around the world. I ordered on this site - http://bestmedicalstore.com/order-avodart-online-en.html"
"Hmm, looks like on this store price is cheaper http://bestmedicalstore.com/order-avodart-online-en.html"
"https://www.121doc.com sales it without a prescription. That's where I personally been buying it recently. Hope this helps."
"Whats the reason to buy Fincar if there is cheaper Propecia?
All prices and products were taken from this store https://www.doctorfox.co.uk/hair-loss-treatments/ ... Finasteride by search for active ingredient Finasteride."
Again, we do not condone *any* online pharmacy that does not require a prescription. Our logic in providing the above quotes and links is that pharmacies our patients recommend are likely better than the alternatives that spam posters link. The choice is always the patient's but we fully urge everyone considering hair loss treatments to retain a physician, receive a prescription if necessary, and to exclusively use providers compliant with the NABP or similar regulatory bodies. Remember, pharmacies that require a prescription can also ship internationally.
Main Brand vs. Generic Hair Loss Treatments
When people hear "hair loss treatments" they typically think Propecia (finasteride) or Rogaine (minoxidil). Many generic options exist and are generally more affordable than the brand name products, and if from the right source, are just as effective. Generic drugs must also undergo the FDA process of approval. As we already mentioned, the solution for those seeking generic finasteride is to make sure they purchase the stuff with a prescription. This ensures their generic version is manufactured with the same scrutiny as Propecia.
Branding and Alternative or All-natural Hair Loss Treatments
Some hair loss treatments build a reputation purely through brand appeal. Perhaps the greatest example is Giorgos Tsetis's Nutrafol. A male model who claims his sex life was upended by taking finasteride, Tsetis developed the Nutrafol brand as an alternative. He claims that his treatment's multifaceted emphasis, such as saw palmetto to block DHT and cumin to discourage inflammation, makes a huge difference. Does it? Probably, but because of the ingredients rather than the Nutrafol brand. We are willing to bet that any reputable supplement company that uses saw palmetto would have a similar effect.
Hair Treatments vs. Hair Loss Treatments
Each year brings new options to improve hair health, many of them all-natural. Typically, these treatments are effective at promoting hair health. There is also a world of specifics to consider when gauging a hair loss treatment's actual effectiveness. Further, at Forhair, we often have patients that believe certain hair treatments help prevent hair loss. Nutrition is always important, but shampoos and conditioners that help hair do not necessarily encourage hair count, let alone have a significant role in hair retention.
What Regular Hair Treatments Target
A lot of treatments claim to offer some sort of benefit to hair. Consumers are wise to differentiate exactly how a treatment will effect their hair, as different ingredients bring different benefits. Below are the three primary benefits that regular hair treatments offer.
Hair health is quite important. It governs all facets of hair, one level or another. Of particular importance is sheen, elasticity, good response to moisture, minimal shedding, etc. Encouraging hair health is essential but, as many losing their hair can attest, is not the be-all, end-all of encouraging hair thickness, stifling hair loss, or helping with hair growth. Most hair treatments that encourage hair health will likely combat dandruff and other scalp issues as well.
Hair diameter is each strand of hair's thickness. This is particularly important for people who are aging or dealing with advanced hair loss. Hair miniaturization is a major factor of hair loss and hair thickness. Brittle and with a narrow diameter, miniaturized hair strands do not offer the same amount of coverage or longevity as healthy hair. Furthermore, miniaturized hairs typically have a much smaller chance of growing back.
Hair growth rate, as easy to guess, is how fast hair grows. Health is a major factor and many treatments purport to encourage faster-growing hair. People looking to grow out hair faster often cite keratin and other proteins, though studies vary in defining its effectiveness. Hair restoration experts agree that while many take-home treatments are effective, a combination of platelet-rich plasma (or cytokine-rich plasma) and ACell are far and away the most effective treatments to spur hair growth.
Most hair treatments will explain its purpose, be it health, growth, density, etc. Next to no regular hair treatments can rightfully claim to stifle male or female pattern hair loss. That does not mean, however, that certain brands and formulas cannot be beneficial.
Choosing a Regular Hair Treatment
Even your local grocery aisle will likely have a variety of hair treatments available. As with everything, though, not all brands are equal. Smartphones are incredibly convenient devices. Our suggestion is to take a moment and look up reviews for whatever brands catch your eye. Also, review the ingredients. No matter what a specific brand designates a certain hair care product, what matters is the amount of its featured ingredient. Likewise, do not be afraid to look up hard-to-pronounce ingredients. These are often harmless but sometimes can actually be damaging to your hair.
What Hair Loss Treatments Target
Hair loss treatments may or may not offer the same benefits of other types of hair treatments. What makes them stand out, though, is a chance they might counteract hair loss. This can happen in one of two ways, as we explain below.
Hair retention is both minoxidil's and finasteride's claim to fame. Many hair treatments can assert they discourage hair loss but only a few actively stop its progression. Hair retention is the primary goal of near everyone suffering hair loss and looking into hair treatments. Sadly, as much as normal hair treatments encourage hair health, this does not mean they effectively prevent hair loss. Shampoos or treatments with saw palmetto are the rare exceptions. Tentative research shows that the ingredient may help block DHT, the primary androgen responsible for hair loss.
Hair count is the number of hair strands. We call it "hair loss" for a reason, people! One of the most elusive areas of improvement, hair loss treatments that encourage hair count are few and far between. Finasteride and minoxidil both have a chance of encouraging hair count. WNT Act, in fact, is among the only hair loss treatments with a significant chance of improving hair count -but more on this treatment below.
Hair Loss Treatments Can Also Promote Hair Health
Hair loss treatments are defined by either including DHT blockers, minoxidil, or both. That, however, does not mean preclude other helpful ingredients. Many hair loss treatments include a ton of different nutrients to better promote overall hair health, including thickness and hair growth rate. Unlike regular hair treatments, even the best hair loss treatments are going to include a number of ingredients that are hard to pronounce. As always, take the time to look up specific ingredients if they seem suspect.
Microneedling and Hair Loss Treatments
The act of dermarolling pertains to running a special tool over the skin to puncture it. A number of studies and examples prove the practice is effective for obfuscating scars, stubborn acne, wrinkles, and other dermatological features. More recently, studies are showing that microneedling balding areas of the scalp, in conjunction with finasteride and/or minoxidil, actually improves effectiveness improves effectiveness. Read the below post.
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HairCycle and WNT Act: Two Hair Loss Treatment Lines You Can Trust!
One of the leading pioneers of hair restoration, Dr. Cole, emphasizes quality and honesty. This also goes for HairCycle, Dr, Cole's line of hair loss treatments and post-hair transplant care products, and, more recently, WNT Act. Why would Dr. Cole put time and research into creating these treatments? Simply put, HairCycle and WNT Act both help patients in unique ways that other hair restoration specialists either overlook or ignore.
HairCycle: Excellent for Hair Retention and Post-Transplant Care
HairCycle's shampoo, conditioner, texture gel, and hairspray can be standalone. The shampoo and conditioner both include a number of ingredients that promote hair health and retention, including saw palmetto, rosemary, grapefruit seed extract, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and more. The ultimate effect is to clean and condition the hair while including nutrients that encourage circulation and discourage DHT. The HairCycle hair volumizing spray and texture gel, meanwhile, are among the few safe styling agents that help hair appear thicker while also actively blocking UV radiation.
Other HairCycle products have formulas that specifically aid recovery after a hair transplant procedure. The Post Surgical Gel hastens recovery while also improving hair retention. Similarly, the Post Biotin Spray has a unique formula that soothes the scalp after a procedure while also, through antioxidants, protects the scalp from environmental damage and hastens the recovery process.
HairCycle exists to enable patients, not exploit them. The products are affordable because Dr. Cole hopes to enable those suffering from hair loss or recovering from a hair transplant procedure.
WNT Act: for Her and for Him
Among the first of its kind, WNT Act initiates WNT chemical pathways. Integral for both generating and activating follicles, WNT levels decrease with age. Its inhibitor, the androgen DKK1, likewise increases. Research indicates that within 60 days of use, WNT Act increases WNT levels by 32% and decreases DKK1 levels by 21%. In turn, this increases hair count by 7% and hair diameter by 10%.
How does this hair loss treatment accomplish such? Methyl vanillate. An all-natural ingredient, many plants contain the chemical. Research shows that there are no negative side effects. Further, methyl vanillate targets an entirely different androgen than DHT. This makes WNT Act compatible with other go-to hair loss treatments like finasteride and minoxidil. Conceivably, those using all three treatments stand to gain a 20% or more increase in hair density. Unlike finasteride and minoxidil, though, WNT Act is also the first hair loss treatment that is equally effective for both females and males. Such an accomplishment is no laughing matter, as there is a definite sex divide in the present-day hair restoration market.
Developments in Topical Finasteride
A study on topical finasteride by Dr. Chiara Insalaco, who collaborates with Dr. Cole, is showing immense promise. One reason Dr. Cole is less likely to prescribe finasteride is its side effects. Though they arise in a very small minority, such side effects can be life changing, surface after years of treatments, and complicate any conditions that arise. More and more men are choosing against finasteride for that reason.
Dr. Insalaco theorized that the side effects are most likely a result of the delivery method. Oral finasteride evenly distributes throughout the body. Topical finasteride, however, is a local application that directly targets the scalp. As this article already mentions, a hair loss treatment's processing and formula matter significantly. One cannot simply powder finasteride pills, add water, and expect results. Dr. Insalaco's own formula uses 2% finasteride, as its results equal 5% finasteride after a half year and a bit of minoxidil for encouraging circulation to the scalp.
All participants in the study, who were not using any other hair treatments, report no signs of side effects. Of note unto itself, results from Dr. Insalaco's study are also unprecedented. Out of thousands of patients, Dr. Cole has only seen such dramatic results in one case. See before and after pictures in this blog post.
As with numerous regional hair loss treatments, availability of Dr. Insalaco's treatment depends on the patient's region. Just emerging, topical finasteride is rare. Dr. Cole prescribes it from a pharmacy in Alabama. However, every formula is different and there is no clinical study using the topical finasteride from this exact pharmacy yet. Patients are experiencing notable results, however. Dr. Insalaco's version is ideal for patients able to regularly obtain it, as its formula is the specific one used in the most recent study.
Conclusion: Research, Research, Research!
Hair loss treatments are a dime a dozen. Even worse, many claim greater efficacy, one way or another, that is realistic or common. If there is one takeaway we hope readers internalize, it is to always do their research! Looking up a promising brand or ingredient is well worth the time. Many hair loss treatments can be quite pricey and usually require up to 4 months commitment to see results.
For the standard options like finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine), do your utmost to avoid online stores that do not require prescriptions. Again, a prescription finasteride is important for many reasons. First, your provider can help you track any progress or side effects, should you experience any. Second, medication from pharmacies with FDA regulation must uphold and maintain specific standards. If intent on going to an online store that does not require a prescription, then at least do a lot of research. Find out who or what owns the store, their base of operations, and how many people order from there. Once again, though, we cannot condone purchasing finasteride without a doctor's prescription.
As for hair loss treatments from Dr. Cole, both HairCycle and WNT Act are both valid treatments that help guarantee you retain your hair, if not grow more of it. We will continue researching new treatments to further enhance hair retention and growth. Outpatient treatments like stem cell treatments and cytokine-rich plasma (CRP) are showing major promise and, for all we know, may one day translate into a topical solution. Questions about *your* hair loss? Contact us today! Or, alternatively, arrange an online consultation.