You’ve probably heard the old expression, “You can’t compare apples to oranges.” When patients turn to Dr. Raymond Konior wondering how hair loss medications stack up against the surgical hair loss treatment options available at his practice, it’s somewhat like comparing apples to prime cuts of beef. We’re still talking about types of food, yes - but that’s where the comparison ends.
For one thing, and this is extremely important to note, most hair loss medications are snake oil. There are only two hair loss medications that have been clinically proven to produce any results whatsoever, and those are finasteride (better known as Proscar® or Propecia®) and minoxidil (better known as Rogaine®). All of the rest of the pills, lotions, serums, and other miracle hair growth cures out there are, to be frank, schemes to part hopeful people from their money. They don’t work and never will.
Also important to note is that even those hair loss medications that do work should not be considered an alternative to hair transplant surgery. If you have an area on your scalp where you have lost hair, and you wish to regrow your own real, living hair in that area, there is only one method of doing so: hair transplant surgery. Hair loss medications can be helpful in other ways, but you need to have reasonable expectations of what finasteride and minoxidil can and cannot do. Otherwise, you are simply throwing good money away.
Dr. Konior would be pleased to discuss the issue of hair loss medications vs. transplant surgery with you at his Chicago, IL clinic. He will provide you with the open, honest answers you need to make the most informed decision possible regarding your hair loss treatment.
What Can Finasteride and Minoxidil Do? What Can’t They Do?
First, let’s get one thing out of the way. If you have gone bald in a certain area, no amount of finasteride or minoxidil will cause hair to grow in that area. Some people hope against hope that there really is a medication out there that will regrow hair, but if it were really that simple, most hair transplant surgeons would be out of business.
The fact is that finasteride and minoxidil are effective, to varying degrees, at slowing and possibly even temporarily halting the hair loss process. What may appear to be new hair growth is simply the growth of thicker, stronger hair that is more visible to the eye. It has always been there; now you can simply see it more easily.
Of the two medications, finasteride is the more effective because it acts directly on the natural agent, dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for shrinking the hair follicle. Finasteride stops this shrinking process before it results in baldness, restoring thicker hair to thinning areas. Minoxidil is now largely used as an adjunct to finasteride. These medications are often recommended to those who are only beginning to show signs of hair loss.
On the other hand, those with advanced hair loss are not likely to experience satisfactory results with medical therapy alone. They might be able to maintain the hair that they have, but if they have significant balding, only hair transplant surgery will restore hair to those bald patches. In such cases, medical therapy may prove an effective means of preventing further balding in combination with surgery.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation with Dr. Konior
To learn more about hair loss medications and hair transplant surgery, please contact Chicago Hair Institute today.