Hair loss remedies - what helps with hair loss?

Overview of hair loss remedies

As if hair loss were not already agonizing enough for many sufferers, the sheer endless range of different hair loss remedies presents them with an additional challenge: What helps against hair loss? And what should I choose? The caffeine shampoo, tried and tested home remedies, modern laser therapy or a completely different alternative?

For most applications against hair loss, however, the following applies: Be patient. In most cases, a visible result will only appear after several weeks or months. Until then, you should not discontinue the chosen remedy.

Since there are different types of hair loss, the decision for or against a remedy also depends on the particular form. In this article you will get an overview of the common remedies for hereditary and age-related hair loss, diffuse hair loss and stress-related hair loss.

Caffeine shampoo and liquid as hair loss remedy

[Translate to en_DE:] Shampoo und Liquid gegen Haarausfall

As an inexpensive and everyday method against non-disease-related forms of alopecia, caffeine has proven effective against hair loss. The daily, direct supply of caffeine to the hair roots maintains their activity and makes them more resistant to negative influences, e.g. the metabolic product of testosterone (DHT), which can promote hereditary hair loss.

In 2004, Dr. Wolff achieved a breakthrough in hair research with this discovery and was the first manufacturer to launch a corresponding caffeine shampoo and caffeine liquid.

Shampoos and liquids with caffeine are among the most popular hair loss remedies for good reason:

  • First of all, caffeine shampoos are relatively inexpensive compared with hair loss medications.
  • No side effects are expected with topical, i.e. local, application of a caffeine shampoo to the scalp, since it is a cosmetic product.
  • Hereditary hair loss is not a disease. Therefore, hair loss does not need to be treated with medication, but can be slowed down with a caffeine shampoo. 
  • By washing their hair daily with caffeine shampoos, those affected can practically integrate their hair loss remedy into their daily routine.
  • An additional advantage: If the shampoo against hair loss is tailored to the individual needs of the hair or scalp, you can do yourself double good. The Hybrid Sensitive Caffeine Shampoo, for example, also works against a dry and itchy scalp and the Double Effect Caffeine Shampoo combats both hair loss and dandruff.

Those who do not have the time or desire to wash their hair every day can alternatively or additionally rely on a caffeine liquid, which, when used daily, is comparably effective as a medicinal treatment against hair loss1

It is important that the products are used daily to maintain the caffeine depot created in the hair root.

The consumption of caffeine-containing beverages, on the other hand, is not a substitute - the active ingredient is processed by the body before it can reach the hair follicles.

Medicines for hair loss: minoxidil & finasteride

Anyone who wants to combat hair loss with medication repeatedly comes across the two active ingredients finasteride and minoxidil:

  • Finasteride is originally used to treat an enlarged prostate. It prevents the conversion of testosterone in the body into its degradation products, which cause hereditary hair loss.
  • Minoxidil is actually a medication for high blood pressure, where increased hair growth has been noted in users as a "side effect."

Both agents are considered reliable in the fight against hair loss and are available under different brand names. However, the use of these hair growth remedies is not uncomplicated and harmless - both minoxidil and finasteride are available only in pharmacies and, as medicinal substances, have a certain potential for side effects.

  • There is always a risk of side effects when taking medication: For example, mood swings and potency disorders are known as possible after-effects of finasteride. With minoxidil, for example, a faster heartbeat or chest tightness can occur.
  • Particularly when the drug in question is taken in tablet form, users have little influence on where the active ingredient does its work.

Dietary supplements against hair loss

Zinc, biotin and selenium against hair loss

Fuller hair, just by taking vitamins and minerals or dietary changes - does it work?

If there is diffuse hair loss due to deficiencies, then the supplementary intake of necessary nutrients can actually be beneficial for the preservation of hair. For the hair to benefit, the following nutrients should be on the menu:

  • Zinc is a growth factor for healthy hair.
  • Biotin is relevant to important processes of the body. Its deficiency can cause hair growth to be disrupted.
  • Selenium is another important trace element. A selenium deficiency can lead to hair loss.

If a deficiency is suspected, a blood countat the doctor's office provides information about which nutrients are lacking and how the affected person can take them. Self-prescribed intake of dietary supplements is again not advisable - anyone who eats a balanced diet and is actually healthy should not develop a deficiency that could lead to hair loss.

Hair transplant as a last resort

Hair transplant men

Since celebrities such as singer Robbie Williams, soccer coach Jürgen Klopp and politician Christian Lindner also talk openly about their hair transplantation, the cosmetic procedure has arrived in society. At the same time, those considering hair transplantation should be aware of the following points:

  • Like all medical procedures, hair transplantation involves a certain amount of risk.
  • Hair transplantation is expensive - depending on the extent.
  • Those who try to have the transplant done as cheaply as possible risk a poor or unnatural result by an inexperienced doctor or qualitative smears.
  • Depending on the method chosen, scarring may occur.
  • There is always some residual risk that the hair transplant will not be successful: The body may reject the hair.
  • Since the transplanted hairs come from the patient himself, there should still be a dense crown of hair from which they can be taken.
  • Whoever has receding hairline filled in with a hair transplant does not stop the hair loss. On the contrary, the consequences are only visible later. Therefore, other hair loss remedies must be used in addition.

New, but controversial: PRP autologous blood therapy

PRP treatment against hair loss

PRP therapy (short for Platelet-Rich Plasma, thrombocyte-rich plasma) has been finding more and more proponents in recent years. For this, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient, which is separated into its components in a centrifuge. The plasma containing the platelets is then injected into the area to be treated. This is to activate the body's own immune system. To treat hair loss, the plasma is injected into the scalp.

  • Since the body's own blood plasma is used, incompatibilities and allergic reactions are excluded.
  • If the PRP treatment is performed on the scalp, it is intended to stimulate the hair follicles.
  • As a post-treatment of hair transplantation, PRP application is said to promote the healing and regeneration of hair roots.
  • The positive effect of PRP treatment has not yet been medically proven.
  • An immediate effect does not occur after PRP therapy - the application must be repeated several times to achieve the desired result.

Mechanical treatment of hair loss with laser

Furthermore, there are devices on the market that are intended to reactivate or promote hair growth with the help of technical progress. A few years ago, for example, a helmet was approved in the USA that is supposed to lead to hair thickening by means of low-dose laser irradiation.

  • The laser light with a wavelength of 650 nanometers is said to have a positive effect on blood circulation and cell division.
  • Meanwhile, hair bands, brushes and caps are also available that are said to offer the same effect.
  • The devices are anything but affordable for the end consumer: High-quality helmets or hair bands can be had for just under 1,000 euros.
  • The application is complex: The clunky headgear must be worn several times a week.
  • And the effect is also controversial - clear studies proving advantages over other means do not yet exist.

Home remedies for hair loss - do they work?

As with many medical topics, there are also numerous recommendations on how to combat hair loss with proven home remedies. Several foods - massaged into the hair or scalp - are said to promote hair growth:

  • Coconut oil
  • Nettle tea
  • Basil extract
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Beer
  • Aloe Vera
  • and many more

In fact, most of the listed home remedies contain valuable nutrients that can contribute to healthy hair. However, they are only suitable as a supplement, for example, to curb diffuse hair loss caused by deficiencies or incorrect care. They cannot combat the most common form of hair loss, hereditary hair loss.

What helps against hair loss?

What helps with hair loss?

Which of the above options can actually stop hair loss depends above all on its cause. Diffuse or stress-induced hair loss must be treated at its source - by remedying malnutrition or a lack of sleep, or by reducing the person's exposure to stress.

If hair loss is hereditary, the affected person has few options: The effectiveness of a drug treatment - as well as that of the application of a caffeine shampoo - has been scientifically proven. A great advantage of washing with shampoos containing caffeine and applying suitable liquids is that users need not fear any side effects.

To curb already visible traces of hair loss, hair transplantation can be considered - but in addition, sufferers must use other means to stop hair loss.

The same applies to diffuse, age-related, hereditary and stress-related hair loss: If the hair roots are strengthened, they are more resistant to negative influences. In any case, caffeine products make a valuable contribution to healthy and strong hair.

Our Alpecin product recommendation against hair loss

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[Translate to en_DE:] Erblich bedingter Haarausfall bei Männern

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  1. R. Dhurat, J. Chitallia, T.W. May, A.M. Jayaraaman, J. Madhukara, S. Anandan, P. Vaidya P, A. Klenk, Skin Pharmacol Physiol  2017, 30, 298-305.