Once you know how and why you are losing your hair, you may be able to stop or prevent it. In some cases, you have to treat an underlying medical condition or change your behaviour. In others, you just have to wait.
Two treatments are currently available: minoxidil™ (non-prescription) and finasteride™ (prescription). Both stimulate the regrowth of hair in some people and so increase the number of hairs (hair density), but they will not reverse hair loss and cannot regrow hair on a completely bald scalp. You must continue using the treatment to see an effect.
Minoxidil™ is a medication that you apply two times a day. It works by affecting the hair’s life cycle—by telling hair follicles to enter the growth stage. There are 2 formulations or strengths, 2% and 5%.
Finasteride™ is a pill that you swallow once a day. It reduces levels of the androgen DHT in the scalp by up to 70%. Finasteride™ prevents or slows the progression of balding in most men; about 2/3 experience some improvement.
There is a greater degree of improvement in men taking finasteride™ compared to those using 5% minoxidil solution. It is a personal preference. Minoxidil™ is a little cheaper and it has been in use for longer so more is know about long term safety. On the other hand, it is more convenient to take a single tablet of finasteride™ daily than apply a solution twice daily to the scalp.
There have not been any studies if the combination of the minoxidil™ and finasteride™ is advantageous. One might expect an added benefit effect.