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A survey by the NHS in the United Kingdom suggests that 25% of men being to lose their hair before they are 30 years of age
Hair loss is very common in men and sometimes caused by reasons such as stress, illness, certain medical treatments, cancer treatment or iron deficiency. However, what you may be experiencing is commonly described as male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. This type of hair loss can affect you at any time after puberty, but becomes more common with age, and is thought to affect half of men over the age of 501.
Hair loss, or more specifically male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors. Meaning often this is inherited from one or both of your parents. Your body produces a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This potent hormone is produced from testosterone and causes changes in the hair follicles on your scalp. Your hair, produced by the affected follicles, becomes smaller in diameter, shorter in length and lighter in colour until the follicles shrink completely and stop producing hair.
The good news is that male pattern baldness will not harm your physical health, but it can affect your self-confidence. There are many treatment options available, including surgical, so, it is important to find the right treatment for you.
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Hair loss treatments
Propecia/Finasteride is a prescription treatment for men experiencing male pattern hair loss. It is known as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor which blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone that causes the hair loss. Finasteride has been available under the brand name Propecia since 1997 and is now also available in its generic form. For the treatment of hair loss, it is only available in a strength of 1mg tablets.
Regaine Extra Strength is a topical treatment for men experiencing male pattern hair loss. Regaine Extra contains the active ingredient minoxidil, at a strength of 5%, and is applied directly to the scalp to stimulate hair re-growth in as little as 8 weeks. It’s effect on hair loss was an accidental discovery in the 1960s when it was prescribed orally for the treatment for high blood pressure and was found to stimulate hair growth as a side effect. It was eventually made available in the UK as a 2% topical solution in 19882
Meet our team
PrivateDoc is happy to introduce you to some of our leading UK licensed clinicians who will be supporting you through your hair loss journey.
Dr Alexandra PhelanMBBS MRCGP- GP Medical Director
Dr Nitin ShoriMBChb LLB – GP General Practitioner
Adeel ArshadMPharm PIP Pharmacist Independent Prescriber
Claire HughesMPharm Pharmacist
Dr Deiven SelvarajahMBChb LLB – GP Independent GP Consultant
Frequently asked questions about hair loss
- How effective are hair loss treatments?
No treatment is 100% effective, but the available treatments are found to work for many men. Regaine works for about 2 out of 3 men and is most effective in men under 40 who have more recently started to lose their hair3.Propecia/Finasteride has been found to slow down or stop hair loss in nearly 90% of men, around two-thirds of these men will also experience a regrowth of hair3.
- Can I stop the treatment once my hair is restored?
Treatments for hair loss are very effective but are not a cure. This means that when you stop taking or using the treatment, the effects will gradually reverse and your hair loss will return. You may find this is not a problem as the treatment may have helped improve your self-confidence.
- Are there any side effects of the treatment?
As with all medication, you may experience side effects with hair loss treatments. These are outlined in each of the individual treatment summaries. The more common side effects of Regaine Extra are headache, itching and dermatitis. 5-alpha reductase inhibitor treatments affect fewer than 1 in 100 men and may include difficulty in getting an erection and reduced sex drive.
- What are the alternative treatments for hair loss?
Some men will choose to not treat hair loss and this is always an option. Other alternatives to medical treatment include hair transplants, scalp reduction surgery, or wearing a wig. More information is available on the NHS hair loss information page4. Many men, including celebrities, now also take the approach of shaving off all their hair, rather than have thinning hair.
- Can you get hair loss treatment over the counter?
The only clinically proven treatment available to buy over the counter is Regaine. You can also obtain Regaine Extra Strength from this service after a brief consultation with one of our doctors.
- How does my order arrive?
We understand the last thing you want is for your neighbours to know what is arriving at your door, which is why all our medicines are sent free of charge in discreet packaging, via DPD or Royal Mail. If we prescribe your medication before 1pm, your order will be shipped the same day. We provide you with a tracking number so you can track your parcel right to your door.
Half of all men over the age of 50 experience hair loss1
References and footnotes
- British Association of Dermatologists, https://www.bad.org.uk/shared/get-file.ashx?id=3831&itemtype=document
- How minoxidil was transformed from an antihypertensive to hair-loss drug, The Pharmaceutical Journal20 JUL 2011: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/how-minoxidil-was-transformed-from-an-antihypertensive-to-hair-loss-drug/11080942.article?firstPass=false
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/thinning-hair#1
- NHS.uk > Health A-Z > Hair loss: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hair-loss/