Hair loss is not usually a sign of a serious health condition but it can affect your mental health. To make matters worse, solutions can be hard to come by, which can leave you feeling dejected. Evidence suggests all hope is not lost, however.
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If you are experiencing androgenetic alopecia, a condition whereby hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, applying a certain cream has shown promising results.
Most people will associate the hormone melatonin with its ability to regulate sleep patterns, but it has also been shown to stimulate hair growth.
Five clinical studies published in the International Journal of Trichology found that a topical application of a melatonin-based cream helped to treat androgenetic alopecia and general hair loss.
An observational study involving 30 men and women showed a significant reduction in the degree of severity of alopecia after 30 and 90 days.
The results were based on questionnaires completed by investigators and patients.
In another study of 35 men with AGA, after three and six months, 54.8 percent to 58.1 percent of the patients saw a significant increase of hair density of 29 percent and 41 percent, respectively.
What’s more, in 60 men and women with hair loss, a significant reduction in hair loss was observed in women, while hair loss in men remained constant.
In addition, in a large, three-month, multi-centre study with more than 1,800 volunteers at 200 centres, the percentage of patients with a two to three-fold positive hair-pull test decreased from 61.6 percent to 7.8 percent, while the percentage of patients with a negative hair-pull test increased from 12.2. percent to 61.5 percent.
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Why is this significant?
A pull test is a simple test that measures how much hair you shed under stress.
How does it work? According to an article published in the International Journal of Trichology, approximately 20-60 hairs are grasped between the thumb, index and middle fingers from the base of the hairs near the scalp and firmly, but not forcefully, tugged away from the scalp.
The extraction of less than three hairs is considered a negative pull test, whereas extraction of greater than six is considered a positive test.
A positive test constitutes active shedding so ideally you want to see a negative result.
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Other ways to treat hair loss
According to the NHS, the main over-the-counter treatments for male pattern baldness are finasteride and minoxidil.
Pattern baldness is a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family.
According to the health site, minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness but women shouldn’t use finasteride.
There are a number of pros and cons to consider before taking these treatments.
According to the NHS, these treatments:
- Don’t work for everyone
- Only work for as long as they’re used
- Aren’t available on the NHS
- Can be expensive
Wigs are another viable option but this too comes with drawbacks.
As the NHS explains, real-hair wigs can be costly and can be difficult to maintain.
You can always opt for synthetic versions, which are easier to maintain but do not last as long as real-hair wigs.
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