Balding, also known as androgenetic alopecia, affects millions of men worldwide. 50% of men develop balding by the time they are 50 years old. Nonetheless, it is common to start balding as young as puberty. The prevalence of balding increases with age.
Treatment options for balding remain limited and out of reach to most people. In this feature, we will discuss the ten best treatments for balding in men that could help you regain your hair back.
- Platelet Rich Plasma
- Low-Level Laser therapy
- Ayurvedic treatments
- Stem cells therapy
- Natural methods
- Hair transplant
Micro-needling uses microneedles that come in different lengths and diameters. The microneedles are run on the scalp to make tiny punctures. Techniques like derma rolling and mesotherapy use micro needling. This mode of treating balding can be used as a treatment by itself or coupled with other treatment therapies such as;
- Platelet Rich plasma
- Medications such as topical minoxidil.
How it works
- The tiny punctures on the skin induce collagen, one of the main components in skin and hair formation.
- Microneedling promotes blood supply. Adequate blood supply allows better nourishment of the thinning follicles.
- Induce production of growth factors. When the skin is punctured, the body releases growth factors to facilitate healing and cell repair. Micro-needling stimulates the production of more growth factors that help thicken the thinning hair.
Platelet Rich plasma
Platelet-Rich Plasma(PRP) treatment uses your blood to harvest platelets used to regrow and thicken thinning hair in balding. Once a small amount of blood is collected, blood components are separated using centrifugation. The red and white cells settle at the bottom while the platelets remain on top in the plasma. Platelets have healing properties and carry growth factors. The plasma is then deposited on the hair using needles or micro-needling.
How PRP works
- Repairs damaged cells and help thicken hair in balding
- Help form new blood vessels(capillaries) that transport nutrients and other elements into the thinning hair.
- Induce growth or normal new hair cells that promote new growth on dormant hair follicles.
- Fight inflammation on the scalp. Balding may constitute inflammation, creating an unconducive environment for the hair to thrive.
Micronutrients play a role in hair growth and formation and treatment of balding. Two of the most crucial elements when it comes to restoring hair in balding are:
- And vitamin D
A significant number of balding men have low levels of zinc. The required daily intake of zinc is
11mg for men and 8mg for women. Zinc helps with several functions to promote hair growth and regrow thinning hair in balding.
- Zinc keeps the oil glands in good condition. Oil glands nourish the hair follicles and lubricate the hair. During the balding process, the oil-producing glands shrink.
- Boost hair follicles’ immunity by preventing and treating inflammation.
- Zinc promotes the growth and repair of thinning hair follicles.
- Elimination of free radicals. Free radicals have the potential to cause inflammation.
Half of the world’s population is either deficient or suffers from vitamin D insufficiency. This vital element deficiency is associated with balding and other hair loss conditions. Vitamin D works by improving hair follicle immunity and fighting inflammation.
Daily vitamin D intake should be:
|Age||Vitamin D Intake|
|Children up to 12 months||400IU|
|12 months to 70 years||600IU|
|70 years and above||800IU|
Low-level laser therapy
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) uses infrared light to treat balding. The light penetrates the scalp and reaches the targeted hair follicles resulting in thick healthier. LLLT is a painless, noninvasive technique and can be done at home or in a clinic using the following:
- laser light
- laser comb
- laser cap
- or laser band
How low-level laser works
- LLLT increases energy production in the hair cells. Increased energy production in hair cells increases metabolism in the cells causing hair growth.
- Increase blood circulation on the scalp.
Originating from India, this 5000-year-old treatment promotes dietary adjustments, lifestyle interventions, psychological wellness massage, and therapeutic herbs.
Other than the genetic predisposition and involvement of androgens in balding, stress, diet, and lifestyle are known to cause faster hair loss over time.
Commonly used herbs are:
|Herb||Function in promoting hair growth|
|Hibiscus||The flowers and leaves contain flavonoids and amino acids that improve the blood circulation of the scalp. It nourishes the hair follicles and thickens hair.|
|Fenugreek||Slows down the rate at which DHT levels – the hormone responsible for balding – attaches to the hair follicles.|
|Coconut oil||Supports new hair growth by reducing protein loss from the hair. It also deeply moisturizes hair and soothes the scalp.|
|Sesame seeds||Its fatty acids treat and prevent inflammation on the scalp.|
|Curry leaves||Curry leaves contain vitamins B, and C, iron, antioxidants, and proteins that promote thick hair growth and avoid inflammation.|
|Gooseberry leaves(Amla)||The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients encourage blood circulation in the scalp and thicken hair.|
|Aloe vera||Contain vitamins A, C, and E. Promote growth by treating inflammation and providing moisturization to the hair and scalp.|
How ayurvedic treatment works
- Ayurvedic therapies lower the levels of hormones such as cortisol that are known to induce stress.
- Improve blood circulation on the scalp by using massage and therapeutic herbs.
- Boost antioxidant activities on the scalp and eliminate toxic elements and inflammation.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cells are cells from which other cells are born. Stem cells are harvested from fat cells(adipose) and deposited on the balding area. With their ability to self-multiply, stem cells enhance the formation of new follicle cells in balding.
Stem cell therapy is an invasive technique performed in a clinical setting and by a licensed practitioner.
How stem cell therapy works
The harvested stem cells enhance cell regeneration in areas with thin and dormant hair follicles. The cell proliferation that follows results in thicker hair growth and increased hair volume.
People have used essential oils, wood resins, and essences from flowers and plants to treat hair loss for millennia. Studies have shown that aromatherapy, a treatment based on herbalism, treats hair thinning and balding.
Oils and essences used in aromatherapy are mixed with carrier oils to facilitate better transport and penetration into the hair and scalp. Some of the most commonly used oils are;
|Cedarwood||Balances sebum on the scalp.
Has antibacterial properties
Increase circulation on the scalp
|Lavender||Its calming effect reduces stress. Stress is known to exacerbate balding.|
|Thyme||Treat and prevent inflammation.
|Rosemary||Ursolic acid in rosemary oil promotes circulation.
Speeds up cell growth.
|Tea tree||Its anti-inflammatory properties curb inflammation on the scalp creating a conducive environment for hair follicle growth and development.|
|Eucalyptus||Improve blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.
Its soothing effect also helps reduce stress.
|Peppermint Oil||Treats scalp itch and inflammation
Enhance blood circulation
|Lemon grass||Rich in iron, which is beneficial for hair regrowth
Relieves scalp itch, and irritation
Different medications that block the production of DHT or enhance circulation on the scalp are effective ways to treat balding. Some of these medications are
Minoxidil comes in three types
- Tablet for oral or sublingual administration
- Foam for topical application
- A liquid form for topical and micro-needling applications
How minoxidil works
- Causing vasodilation – leads to improved circulation.
- Treat and prevent inflammation on the scalp.
- Induce anti-androgen enzymes lowering the effect of androgens on hair follicles
- Lengthen the hair’s growth phase and reduce shedding. This way, hair stays on the scalp longer without shedding.
Finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT, the hormone responsible for balding. Its function is to prevent any further thinning and promotes hair growth. Finasteride is in tablet form and prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner.
Dutasteride is also known to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
Difference between finasteride and dutasteride:
|Inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT by blocking type 1 alpha reductase enzyme. The enzyme is responsible for converting Testosterone to DHT||Inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT by blocking type 1 and type 2 alpha reductase enzymes.|
Natural methods such as good dietary intake rich in essential macronutrients and micronutrients promote hair growth. Lifestyle adjustments such as reducing or quitting smoking may stop the progression of balding. Home remedies such as green tea, castor oil, and saw palmetto promote healthy hair growth.
A hair transplant is the best hair loss treatment for balding when the follicles are lost. The procedure entails harvesting hair follicles from one part of the scalp, the donor area, and placing them on the bald spot. There are two types of hair transplants;
- Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
- Follicular unit transplantation.(FUT)
|Follicular Unit Extraction||Follicular unit transplantation|
|Singular units of hair follicles harvested from the donor area.||A strip of skin is surgically removed from the donor area by excision and cut into small units containing hair follicles.|
Male pattern baldness is associated with low self-esteem and lowered confidence among those who experience it. A solution to treat types of hair loss goes a long way in improving the quality of life and preventing further hair loss.
Every hair loss presents differently in every person and will also respond to treatments differently. With that said, these ten best treatments for balding in men will give you options in your journey to a full head of hair.
Celestine is certified by the International Association of Trichologists (IAT). She has written articles on hair and scalp health to create awareness. Celestine was a key note speaker at the first Virtual World Trichology Society Summit in May 2021 speaking about hair transplant techniques on afro ethnic hair.