An estimated 80 million men and women are affected by hair loss in the United States. Only 3% of this staggering number search out some sort of solution, whether it is medical, surgical, or non-medical.
There are only three medically proven methods of dealing with hair loss hair transplantation, Rogaine (minoxidil), and Propecia (finasteride).
Surgical hair transplantation is the only one of these methods that provides a permanent solution. Both minoxidil and finasteride require continued use to become and remain efficacious; once discontinued, hair loss ensues.
Despite the availability of these proven methods, there is an enormous segment of the public suffering from hair loss who try unproven hair loss remedies. Numerous products claiming to be natural, safe, drug free, and effective against hair loss are heavily marketed in the media. These buzz words, coupled with the virtual anonymity of purchase, are attractive and are garnering huge attention.
Historically, there have been two dramatic influxes of these types of products. The first began in 1988 and was spurred by the 1988 FDA approval of minoxidil, marketed as Rogaine. Copycat products could not offer clinical statistics to substantiate their claims and, eventually, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in to regulate these producers.
In 1996, the introduction of Rogaine 5%, Rogaine's new over-the-counter status and the introduction of Propecia in 1997 further raised public awareness. The expiration of the patent on Rogaine in December 2000 started the next big increase of hair loss products. Minoxidil was now in the public domain and available to other manufacturers.
This generation of non-prescription products that proclaim to be natural, safe, and effective solutions for hair loss are usually not what they claim.
Distribution of these potentially bogus products has never been easier, and consumers can purchase them anonymously from numerous Internet sites. The FTC has been slow to regulate efficacy of these products.
Finasteride is the newest medication to be approved by the FDA for hair loss. It is a 5-alpha-2 reductase blocker and lowers DHT levels, which results in hair maintenance and may result in hair growth.
Clinical studies show a remarkable 90% of the study's participants either gained or maintained their hair over five years compared to placebo.
Hair restoration is the only permanent solution for hair loss. This surgical procedure transplants viable hair from the donor area to the recipient locations.