In previous issues, we’ve discussed the merits of going gray gracefully and various hair preservation methods… but, like many things in life, when it comes to saving your hair from hair loss – timing is everything.
Topical treatments, for example, require extended prolonged use to react with the hair follicle and preserve the normal hair-growth cycle. These treatments (like Rogaine, Revivogen and Crinogen) all work with the hormone DHT, which is the culprit of slow or stalled hair growth. This by product of testosterone reacts with hair follicles to either dampen their ability to regrow hair or deaden the follicle altogether. Topical treatments act on this hormone by-product by either reducing its production or interrupting DHT’s ability to interact with the hair and hair follicle. These treatments do NOT eliminate the source of the problem; they simply work to manage the negative side effects. For this reason, topical treatments need to be started at the very earliest sign of hair loss and continued indefinitely.
Systemic medications and internal drugs such as Propecia, Avacor, and certain corticosteroids work with the body’s internal chemistry to change the way the body processes various hormones and other compounds. Many of these interrupt the production of DHT long before it reaches hair follicles, by controlling or regulating testosterone levels. Because of this, many men report decreased libido or sex drive with continued use of these drugs. However, because these drugs work with the body’s chemistry, they can be very effective even after hair loss has become prominent or noticeable. And, unlike topical treatments, a short lapse in treatment can be tolerated as presence of the drug remains in the body’s tissues for several days.
What works best for you will depend on your lifestyle and your desired level of results and side effects. Those with an active outdoor lifestyle where they spend a lot of time in or around water, may want to reconsider topical treatments as they will be rinsed away with repeated exposure to water. On the other hand, those who are not comfortable with a slight drop in sex drive may want to avoid oral or internal medications.