Hair loss treatment for men UK: From supplements to powders and shampoo, here are the best hair loss and growth treatments
We’ve spoken to the experts to learn which really is the best hair loss treatment for men and how to go about dealing with thinning hair and balding
I f you’ve landed on this page, chances are your hair is thinning or you’re worried about balding. Although hair loss can end up being the butt of jokes with your mates, it can feel depressing to know you’re losing what feels like part of your identity. However, you’re certainly not alone. More than around 6.5 million men living in the UK with male pattern baldness.
If you’re looking for someone to blame, you need to start with your genes. Scientists have found that a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) affects the hair follicles, making them shrink. As they shrink the hair that grows back tends to be finer, thinner and shorter. Eventually, the follicles shrink so much that the hair stops growing altogether. It’s your genes (both your mum and dads) that will dictate how sensitive you are to DHT.
As well as genetic hair loss, you can lose your hair because of lifestyle factors, as well as the state of your emotional health and well-being. Another thing to be very aware of is your intake of excess testosterone, which could come from supplements, such as protein shakes. Too much of this could be adding to, and even accelerating your hair loss.
You may also think balding is a sign of ageing, but one in five men will have hair loss in their twenties. By age 30 there’s a 25% chance you’ll be displaying some balding and by age 50, half of men have at least some noticeable hair loss. Whatever age you start to lose your hair, you’ll likely feel anxious, sad or insecure about it. “In general, hair loss is a chronic, progressive condition that gets worse over time without treatment,” says Dr. Alan J. Bauman, Hair Restoration Physician and founder of Bauman Medical.
The bad news is, there isn’t a cure for balding. The good news is you can buy yourself time, with plenty of options that help to slow down hair loss.
Be aware that if you lose your hair suddenly then you must see your doctor, as it may be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment.
Hair loss treatment for men: What to look out for?
So, if there isn’t a cure for hair thinning, are there hair loss treatments that really work? The answer is yes and there are plenty of options to try. Treatments for hair loss include grooming products that include caffeine, taking routine nutritional supplements, steroid injections, hair transplants and avoiding anything that increases DHT production because that will accelerate your hair loss.
There are natural methods too, such as avoiding smoking and cutting back on alcohol because these two things compromise the hair’s fibre production. Another tip is to get consistently good sleep and improve your nutrition. Easier said than done, we know, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
Something not to overlook is the care of your scalp. If you’re keen on washing your hair every day this could be having a negative impact by destroying the equilibrium of the scalp.
1. Editor’s Pick: Finasteride
£34 (4 weeks) | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
If you’re looking for a product with the highest success rate in terms of the best hair loss treatment for men, you’ll want Finasteride. It’s a tablet you take daily and claims to work for 83% of men experiencing hair loss. In a study, it was found that continuous usage of Finasteride for five years worked for 90% of men. It is one of the most effective and most cost-effective hair loss treatments for men available.
The reason Finasteride works is that it blocks the action of an enzyme that converts the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This essentially stops the shrinkage of your hair follicles. If you’re affected by male pattern baldness, including your hairline, this treatment will work on all areas of your scalp.
As well as stopping hair loss, in some cases, it has even been shown to reverse it. Finasteride has been proven to encourage hair regrowth. It may even be thicker, stronger and grow faster than it did previously because it’s promoting the overall health of your hair.
This sounds like great news, but it’s worth bearing in mind it doesn’t work immediately and may take up to three to six months before you start to see a change in your hair loss. You’ll also need to be taking it consistently for about a year before you can see how effective it is for you long term.
The best way to track your results is by taking regular photos and comparing them. It will be difficult to see signs of prevented hair loss, but you’ll be able to spot any areas that have had regrowth. If you stop taking Finasteride your hair loss will continue, so you need to take a tablet daily to maintain the effect.
Finasteride is a prescription-only medication, so you’ll have to speak with a doctor before being able to buy it. However, there are online services, such as Lloyds Pharmacy, which offer online consultations through its hair clinic.
The tablet is a daily dose of 1mg Finasteride, which has been shown to reduce the amount of DHT in the scalp by more than 60%. You’ll need to take the tablet at the same time of day every day, otherwise, the amount of Finasteride in your system will dip, making the hair loss treatment less effective.
As with all treatments, there is the potential for side effects. They’re uncommon and usually mild, but this hair loss treatment for men can cause a rash, low mood, reduced sex drive or erection problems. There’s also the potential that these could be permanent, so it may be best to speak to your usual doctor first.
Enquire now from Lloyds Pharmacy
2. Budget Buy: Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo
£6.49 | Buy now from Boots
We’re huge fans of this hair loss treatment, we even included it in our best shampoo for men guide. Some studies claim caffeine helps block the effects of DHT in hair follicles and it’s also been shown to increase the protein insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) – an important signalling molecule in promoting hair growth.
The caffeine in this shampoo travels along and stimulates the hair shaft. This results in wider hair roots. If you leave the shampoo in your hair for longer, it will also penetrate into your scalp. Here the caffeine helps increase circulation, which helps make your hair follicles healthy.
These stimulated hair follicles will grow faster, stronger and healthier because they’ll get the right amount of nutrients and minerals from your body from the improved blood supply into the scalp.
Although there’s no clinical evidence to prove this shampoo has a lasting effect on male pattern baldness, it’s recommended to be used alongside proven medical products for hair loss, as a supportive treatment. However, what’s great about this hair loss treatment for men, versus Finasteride, is this product doesn’t interfere with your hormones.
“Caffeine shampoos are certainly worth trying as a preventative measure or in addition to medical treatments,” said Consultant Dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong (HCA Healthcare UK).
Buy now from Boots
3. Luxury Buy: Fue Hair Transplant
£3,000–£7,000 | Buy from the Chiswick Hair Clinic
A hair transplant may be seen as a dramatic hair loss treatment to undergo, but it’s more common than you might think. It can also be highly effective. Put simply, a hair transplant is a procedure that involves transplanting hair follicles from one part of your head to another part, where the hair is thinning or receding. It’s a pricey procedure but has a very good success rate. Hair transplants aren’t available on the NHS because they’re considered to be cosmetic surgery.
In particular, it works by taking follicles from an area on your head that is unaffected by DHT (the hormone that causes balding), meaning when they are transplanted they won’t be affected by the natural pattern of hair loss in that area.
It’s important to remember with this type of procedure it’s the hair root that’s being transplanted, not the hair. Therefore once you have your first treatment the hair can shed. This however is a good sign because it means the new hair is coming through and pushing out the donor hair.
There are two common types of hair transplants. The first is follicular unit transplantation (FUT), also known as, ‘strip surgery.’ This involves removing a piece of skin, dividing it into individual groupings of follicular units and then transplanting them to the desired area of thinning/balding.
The other, newer, type of hair transplant is a follicular unit excision (FUE). With this procedure, follicles are removed individually, with the necessary glands, and then transplanted to the new area. You are put under local anaesthetic and it’s a less invasive option compared to an FUT. There’s also less risk of damage to the hair follicle, giving it the best chance of survival once it’s transplanted.
If you go for this option you’ll want to use an experienced professional to ensure precision and to make sure the restored hair look as natural as possible. Don’t go with someone that offers the procedure for a lot less money, as there will be a reason for this. We recommend the Chiswick Hair Clinic but there are options across the UK.
If you go with a professional clinic you’ll have a consultation first (possibly a few). There they will decide how many follicles they are going to remove and replant and advise how long the procedure will take. This can be anything up to eight hours but in most cases, with an FUE procedure, you’ll be able to return to work the next day.
Find out more
4. Viviscal Hair Growth Programme
£29.50 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’ve already searched Google for hair loss solutions you’ve most likely come across Viviscal. This hair loss treatment for men is one of the UK’s most clinically researched hair supplement brands with over 25 years of research and development.
It’s recommended by Dr Bauman who says it “targets several possible triggers for hair loss and hair thinning, including inflammation, the effects of cortisol (stress hormones), free radical damage, and more.”
This is a hair supplement formulated with biotin and zinc. Your body needs biotin to help convert certain nutrients into energy, which improves the health of your hair, and skin and nails. While a zinc deficiency is a common cause for thinning hair, so boosting your zinc intake will help improve the health of your hair
Other active ingredients in this hair growth supplement include:
- AminiMar C: A unique AminoMar C marine complex blend is Viviscal’s claim to fame
- Vitamin C: This helps your body to absorb iron, which in turn helps to keep your scalp healthy
- Niacin: This has circulation-boosting properties to improve the texture of your hair. It does this by helping to build keratin, which smooths cells that overlap to form hair strands
- Calcium: Calcium is a mineral that contributes to normal hair growth
If your hair is thinning you should take two tablets daily for a minimum of six months. As well as encouraging hair growth, you may also see an improvement in the health of your nails. This is one of the first signs to show you the supplements are working.
Buy now from Amazon
5. Regaine for Men Extra Strength
£55 | Buy now from Boots
The ingredient Minoxidil is the only clinically proven ingredient to help stop and even reverse hereditary hair loss. The most common brand name for Minoxidil is Regaine for Men and this Extra Strength version contains 5% Minoxidill.
This product is a foam, but Minoxidil is also available in a lotion or liquid. You’ll need to use it every day to see a positive effect on your hair regrowth. It’s recommended to be used twice daily, with a 12-hour interval in between. You’ll need to use it continuously to improve and maintain your hair re-growth.
The reason it works is because the Minoxidil dilates the tiny blood vessels in your scalp, which increases the blood circulation to the hair follicles. It also stimulates follicle movement from resting to hair growth phases, as well as reversing miniaturisation of the follicles. All of these effects help to prolong hair growth.
This is an over-the-counter treatment you can buy without a prescription. However it is a medicine, so check with your doctor or pharmacist first if you have any underlying medical conditions. You’ll also want to make yourself aware of the potential side effects.
To use it you need to make sure your scalp is thoroughly dry first. Then using about half a capful, massage the product into your scalp and after two months of use you should start to see a noticeable difference. It will be more effective the sooner you use it, so as soon as you notice hair loss, the better.
Buy now from Boots
6. Nanogen Keratin Thickening Hair Fibres
£29.95 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
If you’re after a quick fix to hair loss, then this form of hair concealer may be the answer. These hair thickening fibres are made of 100% keratin (the same protein as your real hair) and are sprinkled on to your hair to bulk up thinning areas and conceal bits of your scalp that’s showing.
The fibres have a strong natural charge that creates a magnetic effect. The fibres bond and merge with your natural hair. It’s not a permanent solution and it won’t improve or change how your hair grows and thins, but it will give you an instant visual improvement.
The hair thickening fibres should last all day and are resistant to rain or wind. If you want extra security though you can buy, ‘Locking Mist Plus’ which will make the fibres even more secure by making them fully water-resistant. Once you wash your hair with shampoo the fibres will come out. There’s no damage to your hair or scalp because the fibres are completely natural.
You can best match the colour of your hair to one of the 10 shades available. Depending on your hair colour, it could be a good idea to blend two colour shades together if your hair is naturally highlighted.
Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
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