There have been numerous drugs that have been developed to treat hair loss. Some have been effective though others leave much to be desired. Advertising has played a large role in being able to successfully market products that do not really work. This has made it challenging for the consumer to find the right product to address their hair loss.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has helped in citing the products that do work. It has approved two drugs in the form of finasteride and minoxidil that have proven their ability to treat hair loss. Minoxidil in particular, is a topically applied product that has helped improve hair density for those individuals that are experiencing balding. It is most popularly sold under the brand name Rogaine and its continuous use will sometimes slow the rate of progression of hair loss to a certain degree.

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Male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia is one of the leading causes of hair loss in men. It is a genetic condition that is estimated to affect up to seventy percent of males in their late twenties to their early thirties. Hair loss is initially experienced at the scalp’s frontal temporal as well as the frontal central areas. The hairline recedes towards the back of the head and could be simultaneously followed by hair loss beginning at the center of the vertex region of the scalp. This will radiate outward until the balding from the vertex area meets with the receding hairline of the temporal and frontal central regions. The result will be the total loss of hair on the top of the scalp leaving hair on the lower portions on the sides and back of the head.

Alopecia areata is another condition that can cause hair loss. It is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by smooth, round bald patches that appear randomly throughout the scalp. What exactly causes this is unknown though there have been some findings that it could be stress induced. It can disappear just as quickly as it has occurred though it can progress into a more severe condition of alopecia areata totalis or the loss of hair over the entire scalp.

Minoxidil has been used to treat hair loss conditions by increasing the hair follicles and thickening the density of hair. It is unclear how it does this though it has been proven to be effective especially in cases where the hair loss condition is still in the earlier stages. Originally developed to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil is now available to help reduce the progression of a receding hairline as well as other forms of hair loss. It is sold in 2% and 5% solutions and is found to be more effective in the latter version though might have a greater incidence of side effects. These known side effects come in the form of skin irritation, dizziness and chest pain. Minoxidil is to be used daily to maintain its beneficial effects. Any cessation in treatment will result in hair loss as it was supposed to appear had minoxidil not been used after six to twelve month from stopping its application.

It should be noted that this medication could be used for both men and women. Female pattern baldness is the kind of androgenic alopecia that characterizes female hair loss. It affects up to fifty percent of women upon reaching the age of fifty. Minoxidil may work best when coupled with estrogen pills such as birth control pills. This medication however might promote the growth of unwanted facial hair on the cheeks and forehead of women.