Like many men, more than 50% to be accurate, I’ve experienced some pretty severe hair loss from male pattern baldness (MPB), also known as androgenetic alopecia. I started to notice my hair loss in my mid to late twenties, mostly around the area in the back top, known as the crown or vertex. Although I’ve seen men in my family lose their hair as they aged, at this point I was still young and I didn’t feel any immediate concern.
As the months and years passed I realized my hair loss was becoming more noticeable so I started researching the options available at the time to deal with this. I started looking for information on how to stop hair loss and how to make my hair grow back. I have no problem admitting that I’m a little vain and the physical appearance of my hair is definitely something that not only concerns me, but also has the power to change my daily comfort level.
I began the quest for an affordable way to deal with my hair loss. I have a tendency to over-analyse things, but this actually helped me track down a lot of detailed information helping me find out how to make my hair grow back. You can imagine my disappointment when I found out that there was really no known permanent solution for my hair loss!
Even hair transplants (which cost far more than I was able to justify spending) require several surgeries, require you to continue taking Propecia (hair loss drug containing finasteride) to maintain the hair you have left, and don’t always provide the results expected. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking hair transplants, and the new procedures use Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), and have come a long way – leaps and bounds above the old procedure, which just didn’t look natural. Hair transplants should be a last resort though in my opinion, and considered when hair loss has reached the point of no return. You also need to be prepared to accept the cost.
How to Make My Hair Grow back? The Ups and Downs of Propecia
First, I did what many guys do – I saw my doctor and asked for a Propecia prescription for my hair loss. Propecia is the brand name version of a drug called finasteride and is used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss on the vertex and the mid-scalp area. Finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. Since DHT is the main cause of hair loss, I went for this popular option first.
Propecia can have some side effects, and although the chances of experiencing the more serious side effects are low, this is still a reason for concern. Then there’s the cost. I really can’t afford to be spending a lot of money on drugs that cost so much for a non-health threatening condition such as hair loss, but I was determined to keep my hair. Averaging $80.00 per month I watched and hoped and watched some more. I’ve read many times that this drug slows hair loss, but doesn’t always grow back the hair you’ve lost. I not only want to stop hair loss, I wanted to know how to make my hair grow back!
NOTE: I am having a lot of success now combining finasteride with minoxidil, vitamins and Nizoral/Alpecin shampoo – but I want to tell the whole story!
At that time I was fine with this, since I still had most of my hair and used Toppik Hair Building Fibers and Dermmatch to hide my hair loss. These 2 products work exceptionally well to hide hair loss but the trade-off is that for male pattern baldness, you have to keep your hair short for it to look natural. When it came to finding out how to make my hair grow back, I was dead in the water!
After about 4 years of taking the Propecia I became fed up with spending so much money, was always on edge about minor symptoms of side effects and saw no obvious improvement in my hair loss. So I quit taking it. Two years later I looked in the mirror, saw a scary amount of hair loss and basically thought “uh oh, I’m actually going to go bald”. You see, that’s the thing about finasteride (the drug in Propecia) – it’s difficult to know it was working until you stop. Then you see all the hair you were able to keep because of it starting to fall out!
It was research time again. I was determined to find out how to make my hair grow back! I then decided to try battling my hair loss with the cheaper alternative, generic finasteride from online pharmacies. I did this for about 4 more years, until the Indian pharmacy that I was ordering from went out of business. I then tried ordering from another online over-seas pharmacy (Don’t do this), but after waiting for months and two orders that I never received, I gave up on that idea as well.
After 4 months of no finasteride my hair loss was worse than it had ever been and rapidly increasing. Not even Toppik could hide it anymore (see first photo above). Little did I know this turned out to be the best thing to ever happen for my hair – and the key to my finding out how to make my hair grow back!
The reasons for hair loss are still not 100% clear, and there are still varying theories. Some even suggest that calcification of the scalp over time cuts off the supply of nutrients delivered through capillaries that feed hair follicles – leaving the hair follicle much more susceptible to DHT. Regardless of the theory, most experts agree that one way or another, DHT does deteriorate the hair follicle and its ability to produce a healthy hair. The best defense against this for now, is either the process outlined on this site or a hair transplant. (there’s also a few theories that some sort of head massage twice a day for 20 minutes each time may work, but I simply don’t have that kind of time to test that theory :))
Minoxidil: The First Step to finding Out How to Make My Hair Grow Back
With the cheaper generic finasteride from online pharmacies that shipped from outside the country becoming a very sketchy solution, I decided to research another popular treatment for my hair loss – topical minoxidil. Minoxidil improves the blood circulation to the hair follicle, providing the opportunity for more blood, oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the follicle. Minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug and has several copyrighted names, the most common being Rogaine. Like finasteride, the generic form of minoxidil is far cheaper and can be purchased from online stores such as Amazon through great deals on long term supplies. The two minoxidil products I use are Kirkland Minoxidil 5% and Lipogaine.
While researching minoxidil and hair loss in general, I read hundreds of reviews on hair loss treatments explaining the experiences of users from all around the world. I watched theYouTube videos, viewed the before and after photos and researched the side effects. I also looked for any other option that might help me figure out how to make my hair grow back and serve as an effective alternative or supplement to the popular finasteride and minoxidil for my hair loss. Many people claimed minoxidil worked best when combined with a product like finasteride that inhibits DHT, but very few people have ever tried anything outside these two products.
You will most likely notice some shedding when using minoxidil or finasteride, usually 2-6 weeks after beginning treatment. Don’t worry! This is normal and it will subside within a few weeks. I had some at the end of the first month and while it does seem like a setback, the new hair grows back fast. I didn’t worry because this was a known possibility during hair regrowth when using minoxidil or finasteride. I still experience occasional phases of this, but it continues to grow back in with improvement after a shedding period!
From what I had learned through researching these treatments, hair grows in cycles, and the follicles go into resting phases which last approximately 3 months. As the new hairs grow in, the old hairs are released resulting in shedding. When you start Minoxidil or Finasteride, some hair follicles may be shift from the resting phase to the growth phase resulting in a temporary increase in shedding.
This simply means it’s working! Less shedding does not mean it isn’t working though, as each individual may experience a different level of shedding.
Shampoo for Hair loss – Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Caffeine
Before I researched potential treatments, I had never considered shampoo as one of the weapons against hair loss. I’d read about several shampoos that claimed to have what I could only refer to as ‘magic’ cures, and they were WAY overpriced. Once I began to dig into to the information available and learn what others were doing and saying, I realized that shampoo can in fact make a huge difference!
Many resources implied that no hair loss treatment would be complete without using Nizoral, a shampoo marketed as an effective treatment for dandruff. Ketoconazole, the active ingredient in Nizoral, has been proven to reduce inflammation on the scalp and free up hair follicles, improving the chances for new hair growth. I use this shampoo 2-3 times per week, and use a caffeine shampoo on the off days. Not only has my hair been fuller, but any irritation that I first experienced from minoxidil has completely disappeared.
For the days when I don’t use the Nizoral shampoo, I use a caffeine shampoo. I decided on Alpecin. Studies show that caffeine helps hair to grow stronger, faster and thicker. I’m definitely ok with that! Since I’ve been using Alpecin, my hair isn’t breaking off like it used to and it has a shinier, healthier look and feel.
The way I see it, shampoo is a product we all use on a regular basis. It doesn’t cost much more, if any, to substitute my usual shampoos with Alpecin and Nizoral. This easy change now makes shampooing a very important part of my routine for treating hair loss, and only the shampoo product had to change!
Trichogen: A Perfect Partner for Minoxidil?
There was one other treatment called trichogen that occasionally came up in the information I was researching when looking for information to help me understand how to make my hair grow back. Trichogen is a combination of fourteen to eighteen different herbal extracts which block DHT and has been tested and proven to put hair back in to the anagen phase, which is the growth phase. I have been using a trichogen product called ProFolla® AnaStim Ha® Follicle Stimulator along with minoxidil products and vitamins and have had great success. There are quite a few options to add an additional layer of defense. Some might try low level laser therapy (LLLT) or additional supplements.
I personally believe that including extra efforts to provide essential nutrients to the hair follicle, such as trichogen or LLLT, is a necessary part of any effective hair loss treatment routine. You can read more about my hair loss solution by combining affordable products here.
Get AnaStim Ha from the best source at Amazon.
Back to Finasteride – The Affordable Way!
I probably should have learned sooner than later, but eventually I found out that a simple Proscar prescription from your family doctor will provide you will the exact same drug (finasteride) under a different name – but for a MUCH lower price! Proscar pills are 5 mg of Finasteride, so you simply need to split the Proscar tablet 4 ways to make 4 daily doses. That’s what I do now, and it’s extremely cost effective.
After using Propecia, then generic finasteride, on to stopping finasteride completely for quite a while and now Proscar, I can tell you first-hand that finasteride really, really does work. It take patience to see the results, but if you stick with it you will most likely be among the many who have improved their hair loss significantly with this drug. Combining it with the other treatments as explained on this site worked out incredibly well for me personally.
Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Loss: The Final Ingredient
I read comments from a large number of people online who swore that providing the proper nutrients for their hair through vitamin supplements helped immensely. I use Lipogaine, a minoxidil solution that includes proprietary herbal blend DHT blockers and Vitamins into oneformula. I also take a multivitamin every day and added these 2 supplements:
- Saw Palmetto: A popular herbal remedy believed to block some DHT without the use of drugs.
- MSM: Maintains structural proteins, forms keratin proteins which make up the hair fiber and helps the immune system.
Note: I used to take biotin supplements, as biotin is known to promote health of cells, metabolism, skin, nerves and your digestive tract. However, upon further research I learned that you should really only ever take biotin supplements if you have a deficiency.
By combining products that provide essential nutrients to the hair follicle, such as trichogen and supplements, with Nizoral / Alpecin shampoos, minoxidil and finasteride (through a lower cost option such as splitting Proscar), I have had fantastic results and saved myself a tremendous amount of money.
I am not a doctor, just a guy who wanted to keep my hair and find out how to make my hair grow back. I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into finding something that worked great for treating my hair loss, and it would very likely provide great results for others as well.