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Noticing hair loss? Experts say these anti-thinning shampoos and products actually work

·7 min read
hair loss treatments
Maintain a full head of lush locks with these hair loss treatments recommended by dermatologists. (Photo: Getty)

Seeing more strands than usual in the drain? Noticing more visible scalp in the mirror? Hair loss is a dreaded inevitability for almost 50% of women and up to 80% of men in the U.S., according to NYU Langone Health.

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The most common culprit is androgenic alopecia, a hormonal, genetic condition that affects up to 80 million Americans. When the cause of hair loss is something like stress, childbirth, or certain medications and hairstyles, this can be diagnosed as another kind of alopecia, like alopecia areata or diffuse alopecia.

Thinning hair is hard to cope with, but understanding which products to use can be even tougher. They all promise results on the label, but what actually works? In honor of Hair Loss Awareness Month, we decided to get to the root of the problem by consulting with leading dermatologists who specialize in hair loss. We asked which hair growth home treatments actually yield results. Here's what they said.

Minoxidil

Researchers discovered— by accident— that minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, could help regrow hair. “Minoxidil was originally studied for high blood pressure,” Gary Goldenberg, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “During one study, it was discovered that some of the patients grew hair.” Minoxidil was then turned into a solution and later a foam designed to be applied directly onto an area of hair loss, Goldenberg explains.

Rogaine

Women's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam (2-Month Supply)

$26 $28 at Amazon

If you want to dip your toe in the minoxidil waters, try this two-month supply of the brand whose name has become synonymous with hair loss treatments: Rogaine. Goldberg recommends a 5% formula like this one. To use it, apply Rogaine to the area where hair is thinning or lost, twice a day.

“I have patients massage it down to their scalp skin with their fingertips, being certain to cover the entire area with the manufacturer’s recommended dosage,” California dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, MD, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

One of thousands of thrilled fans wrote, "The majority of the females in my family suffer from hereditary hair loss, so when my mother began using Rogaine, I have to admit, I laughed. Then, months later, I saw her and her hair had grown longer and thicker than I'd ever seen it, even as a child!"

Rogaine

Men's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam (3-Month Supply)

$47 $51 at Amazon

This three-month supply of men's Rogaine has almost 14,000 perfect five-star ratings and happens to be on sale. It goes directly to the hair follicle to stimulate growth, and is one of the most popular, doctor-recommended hair loss products on the market.

One happy shopper wrote, "I started using this in October of 2019, now it is August [2020] and I have almost a full head of hair. I had to buy a pocket comb for the first time since I was a teenager!"

Hair growth shampoos

“Your scalp is skin, and skin function changes based on fluctuations of hormones, even certain types of birth control can cause hair loss,” explains Dr. Dennis Gross, MD, board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in NYC.

He recommends investing in shampoos that balance the scalp, like this one by Om Botanical. If your scalp is too oily, your hair follicles could be blocked which reduces the efficiency of the hair growth cycle, and this eventually leads to thinning hair and hair loss. Lacking oil is equally detrimental to hair growth. When your scalp is not producing enough oil, hair becomes dry and more susceptible to breakage and thinning.

Om Botanical

Om Botanical Ayurvedic Organic Shampoo

$24 at Amazon

The solution? Look for Indian Ayurvedic shampoos like this one packed with neem, shikakai and other natural extracts, which cleanse but don’t strip the scalp of much-needed oils.

"I've tried many anti-loss/growth shampoos over my adult life...All the products that made claims of anti-loss and growth did absolutely nothing for me personally. Until now," wrote a fan. "This stuff actually does exactly what it says! My hair is the thickest its been since I was in my 20's and I'm now in my 50's."

PURA D'OR

Pura D'or Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo

$30 at Amazon

The Pura D'or formula is made with a blend of 17 active herbal ingredients plus biotin, an essential nutrient that helps promote thickness, and niacin, which helps to improve scalp health.

This top-selling hair growth shampoo boasts over 13,000 perfect five-star reviews. Like Ayurvedic shampoo, it also contains all-natural cleansing ingredients that won't strip your hair of oils — things like nettle extract, saw palmetto and argan oil.

“This shampoo has changed my life,” raved a happy customer. “My hair was falling out at a rate of 100-plus hairs in the shower, and after about a month or two of use (it's been about four months now), I only lose 10- to-30-ish in the shower. Yay! My hairdresser said my hair looked thick. Also smells amazing and makes your hair soft.”

Don’t expect a miracle overnight, but after reading reviews, you’re going to want to give this a chance.

Biotin supplements

“When we’re doing bloodwork and trying to asses why someone is not having optimal hair growth we look at nutrient levels,” says Michelle Henry, clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College, to Yahoo Life. “Biotin is a type of vitamin B and you get it natural in certain food, like salmon, and it is essential for nail growth and potentially hair growth as well.”

She adds that the original studies on biotin were related to nail growth, but “hair and nails and hair are similar systems so we extrapolate from that, but it works for hair so we do recommend it.”

Nature's Bounty

Nature’s Bounty Biotin 10000 mcg, Rapid Release Softgels

$9$20Save $10
$9 at Amazon

Amazon's #1 best-selling B vitamin this Biotin from Nature's Bounty, and a 120-day supply is on sale for almost half off.

"I've tried many different supplements to help my hair grow, and this has been the best. I've attached a six month hair comparison. I'm amazed at how much it's grown in such a small amount of time!" wrote one of more than 65,000 five-star reviewers, who included photo evidence of her results.

Scalp Exfoliator

If you want a healthy, full head of hair, focus on your follicles.

“Scalp care is absolutely critical to have beautiful hair,” Dr. Henry notes. In fact, she says we need to pay as close attention to our scalp as we do our skin! One of her picks is the Nioxin Purifying Exfoliator. “I recommend using this once a month to get rid of dirt, oil, debris and all those things that can cause inflammation and compromise our hair growth,” she shares.

Amazon

Nioxin Scalp Recovery Purifying Exfoliator

$22 at Amazon

This top-rated product uses lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, to chemically exfoliate your scalp. It also gets rid of dandruff flakes and feels really cooling. A well cared for scalp gives your hair a healthy breeding ground for growth.

iRestore Essential Laser Hair Growth System

There's a big-ticket device at Amazon that's getting some serious positive attention, and ratings, from reviewers who swear it's helped restore their hair loss — and dermatologists say it employs some of the same technology they use in their offices for hair restoration. It's called the iRestore Essential Laser Hair Growth System — and it's more than 50% off, as Amazon has lopped a whole $435 off the price!

iRestore

iRestore Essential Laser Hair Growth System

$695$895Save $200
$695 at Amazon

The hair growth cap has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth. Research has shown that the iRestore Essential Laser Hair Growth System increased hair growth by 43 percent in men and women in a clinical trial, which definitely sounds promising.

There is some science to support this kind of treatment, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ife J. Rodney, founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, tells Yahoo Life. "There's a lot of data showing the benefit of using low-level laser light therapy for hair growth — specifically red light," she says. "As part of an overall hair growth regimen, red light therapy can be very useful."

OK, but...why? "Lasers help increase blood flow to the scalp, providing more 'nutrition' to hair follicles," Dr. Gary Goldenberg, founder of Goldenberg Dermatology, tells Yahoo Life. Lasers may also help decrease levels of dihydrotestosterone in hair follicles, which are androgens that can shrink your hair follicles and cause hair to thin and fall out, he says.

One woman with thinning hair said that she had "undeniable new hair growth" four months after starting to use the treatment. "My hair is thicker and fuller. I have about one inch of new hair growth all over the top crown of my head," she said. "I’m also no longer losing lots of hair. The hair loss stopped within the first one to two months of using this product. I’m going to continue using and recommending my laser light helmet!"

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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