Medical treatments for hair loss are limited as of today. They do not have full effectiveness. There is still much to understand regarding hair and the causes of it. Because we do not exactly know why some hair loss occurs, we only treat the symptoms without treating the causes that lead to it in the first place.
There are only a couple of effective and approved medications available for genetic hair loss today. They work on some patients but not on all. They also have some side effects. The medical treatments need to be used continuously for the benefits to last. We hope in the future; new medications will be developed. We will have a better understanding of hair, and the causes of hair loss. The researchers will develop new medications for different types of hair loss. The medications will come with fewer side effects.
After we understand the functions, physiology, and genetics of hair, and the hair growth cycle, the treatments for hair loss will be more advanced. There are currently a few approved drugs in the market such as Propecia, and some other pharmaceutical companies have developed other medications which include dutasteride, and they reduce the testosterone like the other prostate medications. Testosterone converts into dihydrotestosterone, and when the levels of dihydrotestosterone are high, it causes the hair follicles to shrink. In later stages, this often leads to male pattern baldness. The current available male pattern hair loss medications stop the 5-alpha reductase enzyme which help the testosterone to convert into dihydrotestosterone. There are two types of the alpha reductase: Type I and type II. Propecia blocks the type II and dutasteride blocks both type I and type II. According to the current research, dutasteride is more effective than the existing drugs. The case studies prove it to be quite effective.
All drugs have some side effects: minor or major. To reduce the side effects of current hair loss products, and drugs, the dosage should be reduced. That means, the researchers should be working on more effective and efficient formulas.
Are we close to permanent medical solutions for hair loss? We are not certain. The current medications are safe enough.
There are hair loss types and diseases other than the hereditary male pattern hair loss. The future is likely to hold solutions for these hair loss types too. In some hair loss types, the natural growth cycle of the hair is disrupted. New hair loss remedies will cure these conditions by sending signals to the hair follicles to remain in the natural hair cycle.
Some hair loss types are temporary. Science will also provide remedies for these. There are new drugs called the JAK inhibitors. They stimulate the hair follicles from the dormant phase to the growth (anagen) phase. Researchers are still testing these drugs, and we will have more information in a couple of years. While banishing hair loss forever will not be immediate, and we should always approach any claims to finding the ultimate for hair loss with caution, there will be many improvements judging from the current studies.
In non-scarring alopecias, the hair usually grows back on its own. Chemotherapy also causes hair loss, and after the treatment is over, one’s hair often grows back. And yet, in the cases of trauma, the hair follicle is temporarily damaged. Even if pulled or plucked, a new hair bulb grows. This might take a few years. Hopefully, new medications will help speed up this process.
Androgenic or male pattern hair loss is hereditary and is a scarring alopecia because the cells that help produce the hair follicles are damaged. Medical advances in the future may prevent the damage on the cells, and treat permanent hair loss.
Laser treatment or natural and alternative medicine will most probably not be the solutions for hair loss.
The past decade has been successful in terms of hair science, and there is promising current and ongoing research. And yet, it is hard to come up with a certain expectation. We only know that certain medications can help prevent genetic hair loss is taken for a long time.
Finasteride or Minoxidil (for women) are two of the approved medications for now. Until science provides us with more information regarding the causes of hair loss, it is best to choose the treatments with proven results. Discuss with your doctor if medical treatments are suitable for your hair loss pattern. You can also ask about hair transplant surgeries.