Hair loss has many causes but the leading cause in men is male-pattern baldness. This form of hair loss is usually permanent and runs in the family, according to the NHS. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown.
According to Dr Zenon Andreou at Superdrug, the condition is caused by sensitivity to a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
“DHT prevents nutrients from being absorbed by hair follicles, which causes them to shrink and eventually cease to grow hair,” he said.
This understanding has prompted researchers to investigate whether medicines that block the effects of this hormone can stop or even reverse the effects of male pattern baldness.
Research has proven there is some substance to this speculation.
A study of 76 men with male pattern baldness showed a 40 percent increase in average scalp hair count after taking 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil every day for 24 weeks.
One scientific theory for how pumpkin seed works for hair loss is that the oil’s phytosterols promote hair growth.
Phytosterols are sterols – natural substances found in many plants that supposedly could block enzymes and hormones in your scalp that cause hair loss.
Other treatment options
In addition to finasteride, minoxidil is the other main drug treatment for male pattern baldness, according to the NHS.
As the health body explains, minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women shouldn’t use finasteride.
Some wigs are also available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
There are two types of wigs you can opt for and both come with pros and cons.
According to the NHS, synthetic wigs:
Last six to nine monthsAre easier to look after than real-hair wigsCan be itchy and hotCost less than real-hair wigs.
Last three to four yearsAre harder to look after than synthetic wigsLook more natural than synthetic wigsCost more than synthetic wigs.
It is important to not neglect your mental health while mulling over your options.
Losing hair can be distressing so you may benefit from talking to someone.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.