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Hair Loss - Treatment Overview

How you treat hair loss depends on the cause. You may decide not to treat hair loss if it doesn't bother you.

Some people choose to treat hair loss with medicines or hair transplant surgery. Others choose to wear hairpieces (wigs or toupees) or use different methods of hair styling (dyeing or combing).

If a disease, medicine, or stress is the cause, then treating the disease, changing medicines, or managing stress may stop the hair loss.

Treatment for hair loss may help you feel better about how you look. But some medicines may have harmful side effects, and surgery may carry certain risks.

Inherited hair loss

Treatment for inherited hair loss aims to prevent hair loss, promote hair growth, and cover bald areas of the scalp. But treatment is not successful for everyone, and you should not expect to regrow a full head of hair.

Medicines

Medicines include:

  • Minoxidil. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available without a prescription and is sprayed on and/or rubbed into the scalp twice a day.
  • Finasteride. Finasteride (Propecia) is available by prescription and is taken once a day in pill form.
Hair Loss: Should I Take Medicine to Regrow Hair?

Surgery

Surgery includes hair transplants and procedures such as scalp reduction and scalp flaps.

Hairpieces and hair products

Cosmetic approaches to hair loss include:

  • Wearing hairpieces. Hairpieces are made from human or synthetic hair that is implanted into a nylon netting. Hairpieces may be attached to the scalp with glue, metal clips, or tape. Hair weaving, which involves sewing or braiding pieces of long hair into existing hair, is not recommended because it may cause permanent hair loss.
  • Using certain hair care products and styling techniques. Hair care products or perms may make hair appear thicker. Dyes may be used to color the scalp. But continual use of perms or dyes may result in more hair loss.

Other concerns with hair loss

Treating the cause often stops hair loss, and hair grows back. In some cases, other treatment is needed.

Hair care for cancer treatment

Hair loss caused by cancer treatment requires special care: Use mild shampoos. Do not use a hair-dryer.

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