We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

Several treatments and home remedies can slow hair loss or stimulate hair growth. Prescription medication, essential oils, and supplements can provide noticeable results.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Research shows that up to half of males and females will experience androgenetic alopecia, or genetic hair loss, in their lifetime.

In some cases, it may be possible to prevent — or at least slow down — hair loss. However, this will depend on the underlying cause of a person’s hair loss.

Some of the best prevention methods are:

  • eating a balanced diet
  • using combs with wider spaces between the bristles
  • avoiding harsh treatments and hairstyles
  • switching medications to avoid the side effect of hair loss, if possible
  • avoiding pulling or twisting hair

Learn more about preventing hair loss.

People may be unable to slow or prevent some types of hair loss. In these cases, males can try active treatment methods.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available that may help treat hair loss. These include foams and ointments.

The two most common medications are minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia).


Scientists originally developed minoxidil to treat high blood pressure. The developers found that the medication had the side effect of excessive, unwanted hair growth. This effect gave drug companies a reason to consider it as a treatment for male baldness.

Researchers do not know exactly how minoxidil works. The drug appears to widen the hair follicles, which causes thicker strands of hair to grow.

In addition, minoxidil appears to prolong the growth period of hair, resulting in longer hair and a higher number of hair strands.

Minoxidil is safe and effective when people use it properly. It is more effective in individuals who are under 40 years of age.

A 2019 review notes that topical minoxidil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in males and females. However, doctors may recommend off-label minoxidil use for other hair disorders, such as alopecia areata, scarring alopecia, and hair shaft disorders.

The FDA notes that the term “off-label” refers to approved medications that doctors prescribe for unapproved uses.

Learn more about off-label drug use.

Minoxidil can cause some side effects, including:

  • hair shedding
  • skin irritation and redness
  • itchy, yellow, or white scales on the scalp
  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • excessive hair growth over the body, including on the face in some females

Minoxidil is not suitable for people who are pregnant or nursing or for those who have a hypersensitivity to the medication’s ingredients.

It comes in 5% and 10% strengths.

Learn more about minoxidil.

Best minoxidil treatment: Rogaine

Rogaine minoxidil treatment
  • Price: around $53
  • Pro: widely studied and recommended
  • Con: may take 2–4 months to show results

Rogaine is a 5% minoxidil foam for males over the age of 20 years.

According to the makers of Rogaine, the product is suitable for all hair types and is easy to apply.

However, it may take 2–4 months for a person to see results. Additionally, the product may have side effects such as skin irritation, skin scaling, contact dermatitis, and excessive hair growth in other areas of the body.

Individuals can apply the foam to dry or damp hair and massage it into the areas where the hair is thinning. Once the product dries, people can style their hair as usual.

Read our review of Rogaine here.


  • easy to apply
  • suitable for all hair types
  • unscented
  • widely studied
  • FDA-approved


  • unsuitable for people who are pregnant or nursing
  • may take 2–4 months to show results
  • hair loss will likely continue if treatment stops
  • may cause side effects
Was this helpful?


Finasteride is an FDA-approved treatment for male pattern baldness.

Scientists originally created finasteride to treat prostate cancer. It works by decreasing the amount of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp.

DHT appears to cause hair follicles on the scalp to become thinner, so reducing DHT levels may promote hair regrowth and slow hair loss.

This drug carries several warnings about its use. It is suitable only for adult males and is not suitable for people who are pregnant or nursing.

Unlike minoxidil, finasteride does not affect hair growth in other parts of the body.

Finasteride is available in both topical and oral forms. A 2020 review states that the topical formulation of this drug is less likely to cause severe side effects than the oral version.

Possible side effects of finasteride include:

Individuals who use finasteride to treat male pattern hair loss may not experience noticeable results until they have been using the product for 3 months.

Learn more about finasteride.

Best finasteride treatment: Roman

Roman finasteride
  • Price: starting at $20 per month
  • Pro: includes free online visits with a doctor
  • Con: may not show results for 3 months

Roman is a telehealth company that offers its services to men experiencing hair loss, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction.

It offers oral finasteride starting at $20 per month.

Customers must fill out an online assessment and have an online consultation with one of Roman’s health professionals before ordering.

They can then access unlimited follow-up appointments and free delivery each month.

Learn more about Roman.


  • includes free online visits with a doctor
  • free 2-day delivery
  • comes in discreet packaging
  • FDA-approved treatment


  • unsuitable for people who are pregnant or nursing
  • not available in all states
  • may cause side effects
  • may not show results for 3 months
Was this helpful?

There are several therapies a healthcare professional may recommend.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

PRP is a newer treatment that doctors use for androgenetic alopecia.

It involves a doctor taking a blood sample and running it through a centrifuge machine. This machine separates the PRP in the blood so the doctor can extract the platelets and inject them into specific areas of a person’s scalp.

The platelets may promote healing in damaged hair follicles.

According to a 2019 review, PRP therapy can reduce hair loss, but the research supporting this is of low quality.

This treatment is not FDA-approved.

Learn more about how effective PRP is for hair loss.


The only surgery available to address hair loss is hair transplant surgery.

Hair transplantation is for people with male pattern baldness. A hair transplant involves removing hair follicles from the back of the head, where they are resistant to DHT, and placing them on the scalp.

Like any other surgery, hair transplants carry the risk of complications.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that the risks of hair transplant surgery include excessive bleeding and wide scars. Additionally, there is a chance the skin plugs may die, and this requires further surgery to fix.

Laser treatments, such as combs, are a newer form of hair loss treatment. Advocates claim that these devices promote hair growth by using concentrated light to stimulate hair follicles.

Laser combs

Laser comb treatment has mixed results and may work best when combined with other forms of treatment.

A 2019 study found that a novel laser cap improved hair density and diameter, as well as the visual thickness of hair, in 19 participants. However, the authors note several limitations to this study, such as a small sample size.

Best laser comb treatment: HairMax

  • Price: around $199
  • Pro: does not involve taking medication
  • Con: expensive

HairMax produces laser combs for people experiencing hair loss and thinning.

The company makes two combs: the Ultima 9 Classic and the Ultima 12 Classic.

The Ultima 9 has 9 lasers, while the Ultima 12 has 12.

The company states that its laser combs are safe for both males and females.

It recommends using them for 8–11 minutes three times per week, depending on the device a person chooses.

Features of the Ultima 9 and 12 include:

  • cordless and lightweight design
  • no LEDs
  • 9 or 12 medical-grade lasers

HairMax laser combs come with a 6-month money-back guarantee.

Learn more about HairMax.


  • suitable for males and females
  • does not involve taking medication
  • short treatment time of 11 minutes, three days per week
  • FDA-cleared


  • expensive
  • may cause side effects
  • not FDA-approved
Was this helpful?

There are several products people can purchase over the counter that may help prevent or slow hair loss.

Hair growth products

Therapies for hair loss often involve a combination of drugs, ointments, creams, and shampoos, which a dermatologist may prescribe.

Learn more about hair growth products available online.

Other therapies involve meeting with specialists.

Several companies specialize in hair treatments for men. They typically offer services to help work out the best course of action and tailor treatments to an individual’s needs.

Wigs and hairpieces

In some cases, hair loss may be permanent or long term.

Some people might prefer a nonmedical approach to treating hair loss. Wigs and hairpieces offer a means of disguising hair loss.

Wigs and hairpieces have advanced greatly in quality in recent years.

If a medical condition is causing a person’s baldness, their insurance provider may cover the cost of a wig. It is important to check insurance coverage before purchasing a wig.

Essential oils

Essential oils are readily available online and may help promote hair growth.

A 2020 systematic review found that rosemary oil and tea tree oil may help prevent further hair loss.

There is some evidence that rosemary oil is as effective as 2% minoxidil. The participants were also more likely to use rosemary oil regularly than minoxidil. However, more research is necessary.

Tea tree oil in combination with minoxidil and diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug, may be more effective than minoxidil alone.

Best rosemary oil: NOW Essential Oils, Rosemary

  • Price: around $15
  • Pro: vegan and cruelty-free
  • Con: some customers state they received the wrong product

NOW Foods offers 2 fluid ounces of 100% rosemary essential oil.

The company states that it sustainably sources this oil and diffuses it from the tops of plants in state-of-the-art laboratories. NOW Foods also says it tests the oils in-house and that the product is vegan.

The company recommends diluting this oil to use for inhalation, massage, diffusion, cleaning, and more.

People should always use a carrier oil if they intend to put the product on their skin.


  • 100% rosemary oil
  • pleasant scent
  • large bottle size


  • some customers report they received eucalyptus oil by mistake
  • some customers say the child-proof lid is too difficult to open
Was this helpful?

Best tea tree oil: Plant Therapy Organic Tea Tree Oil

  • Price: around $10
  • Pro: USDA-certified organic
  • Con: small bottle size

This tea tree oil is USDA-certified organic and GMO-free. Additionally, the company states that each batch goes through several rounds of testing from reputable third-party laboratories.

The company extracts this oil from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which only grows in Australia. Plant Therapy claims that this oil is kid-friendly and cruelty-free.

A person should always use a carrier oil if they intend to use essential oils on their skin or hair.


  • cruelty-free
  • certified organic
  • third-party lab tested


  • small bottle size
  • some customers state the smell is too strong
Was this helpful?

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto comes from the Serenoa repens tree. It is a natural remedy for conditions such as enlarged prostate, chronic pelvic pain, and migraine. However, there is not enough evidence to suggest that this supplement is more effective than a placebo.

A 2020 systematic review found that saw palmetto may be beneficial for people with hair loss or hair thinning. The researchers looked at seven trials and studies and found a 60% improvement in overall hair quality, a 27% improvement in hair count, and an over 82% increase in hair density.

Additionally, saw palmetto does not appear to have any adverse side effects in people with androgenetic alopecia.

Best saw palmetto: NOW Foods Pygeum and Saw Palmetto

  • Price: around $27
  • Pro: softgels may be easier to swallow
  • Con: not suitable for vegetarians

This supplement contains pygeum, saw palmetto, and pumpkin seed. These ingredients may also help support urinary and prostate health.

NOW Foods states that this product is non-GMO and free from most common allergens, including gluten, wheat, egg, and shellfish.

Each serving contains 160 milligrams (mg) of saw palmetto. The company recommends that people take two softgels per day. Each bottle contains 60 softgels.


  • may help support prostate and urinary tract health
  • non-GMO
  • free from most common allergens
  • may be easier to swallow than tablets


  • contains bovine gelatin, so it is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans
  • contains ingredients other than saw palmetto, which some people may prefer not to ingest
Was this helpful?

Onion juice

Onion juice may be an alternative remedy that can help stimulate hair growth.

While researchers do not fully understand the mechanism of action behind onion juice and hair growth, it is possible that the sulfur and phenolic compounds stimulate hair growth through irritant contact dermatitis.

In fact, a small study of 64 people with androgenetic alopecia found that 87% experienced full hair regrowth compared with 13% using simple tap water.

The most common side effect of using onion juice is experiencing an unpleasant smell.

There are several lifestyle changes a person can make to prevent hair loss or stop hair from thinning even more.

Quitting smoking

A 2022 review suggests that smoking may lead to hair loss. Smoking may constrict the blood vessels, cause free radical damage to hair follicles, and change the effect of hormones on the body. However, the researchers conclude that there is not enough evidence to suggest that quitting smoking can reverse the damage.

There is some evidence that people who smoke larger quantities of cigarettes per day are at greater risk of hair loss, although this is not conclusive. It is also possible that smoking increases the chance of prematurely graying hair.

Quitting smoking can be difficult, but there are several therapies available that can help. People may wish to use nicotine replacement therapy, use smartphone apps, or quit cold turkey. Healthcare professionals can advise people on the benefits and drawbacks of each therapy.

Scalp massage

Scalp massage is a free technique that may help stabilize hair loss.

A survey of 340 people across a range of ages, genders, and severities of hair loss found that scalp massage can increase a person’s perception of hair growth.

The respondents spent an average of 36.3 hours massaging their scalps over a period of around 6 months. Over 68% of respondents self-reported hair loss stabilization or hair growth. The results did not vary across demographics, suggesting that scalp massage may be beneficial for all people who are concerned about hair loss.

However, the researchers note that respondents were less likely to perceive improvements in hair loss if they experienced all-over hair thinning, rather than thinning on a specific area of the scalp.

Healthy diet

Following a healthy diet can help people live longer and reduces the risk of certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

Some vitamins and minerals may contribute to hair loss, either from consuming too much or too little.

A 2019 review suggests that the following nutrients may play a role in hair loss:

  • Vitamin A: Consuming too much vitamin A, either through diet or supplementation, can lead to hair loss. This is because the liver cannot adequately regulate vitamin A levels in the body if a person consumes too much, which then leads to the vitamin spilling over into the circulatory system.
  • Vitamin B: Vitamins B2, B7, B12, and folate can cause hair loss if a person does not consume enough. Vitamin B2 deficiency is rare in the United States, and people can find sources of other B vitamins in proteins or supplements.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency may lead to hair loss. There is evidence that people with androgenetic alopecia have lower levels of vitamin D than people without this condition, suggesting that the vitamin plays a role in hair retention and thickness.
  • Iron: Iron deficiency is common in females with hair loss. There is some evidence that iron may help regulate the genes that contribute to hair growth.
  • Selenium: Selenium deficiency can lead to a loss of pigmentation and hair growth. However, most people receive adequate selenium levels through their diet, as this nutrient is in a variety of foods, including meat, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Zinc: There is some evidence that low levels of zinc may contribute to androgenetic alopecia. However, more research is necessary to investigate the link between zinc and hair loss.

Best vitamin D supplement: Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 1000

  • Price: around $15
  • Pro: 4-month supply
  • Con: not suitable for vegetarians

These softgels contain 125% of a person’s daily recommended value of vitamin D, according to the product label. Other ingredients include organic extra virgin olive oil, natural orange flavor, and rosemary extract.

Nordic Naturals states that this product is non-GMO and purity-tested to ensure it is safe for human consumption. It recommends people take one softgel per day. Each bottle provides a 4-month supply of softgels.


  • contains organic ingredients
  • purity-tested
  • non-GMO
  • 4-month supply


  • contains gelatin, making it unsuitable for vegetarians
  • some customers state that the foil packaging is sharp enough to injure
Was this helpful?

Best iron supplement: Pure Encapsulations Iron Liquid

  • Price: around $35
  • Pro: liquid form may be easier to swallow
  • Con: expensive

This liquid iron supplement contains 83% of a person’s recommended daily value. It also contains a proprietary blend of cranberry and wild blueberry extract to help support health.

Pure Encapsulations states that it only sources ingredients from trusted vendors and tests each batch for purity. This product is free from most common allergens, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and GMOs.

The company recommends taking 1 teaspoon per day. Each bottle contains approximately 24 servings.


  • liquid form may be easier for those who find it difficult to swallow tablets
  • free from most common allergens
  • non-GMO


  • expensive
  • only contains 24 servings
Was this helpful?

Best zinc supplement: Thorne Zinc Picolinate, 15 mg

  • Price: around $11
  • Pro: affordable, high bioavailability
  • Con: some people may find capsules difficult to swallow

This supplement contains 15 mg of zinc per serving, which is 150% of a person’s daily recommended value.

Thorne states that zinc picolinate is a highly absorbable form of the mineral and can help support overall health and wellness. It is gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free and does not contain any artificial flavors.

The company recommends people take one capsule per day. Each bottle contains 60 capsules.


  • highly absorbable form of zinc
  • free from gluten, dairy, and soy
  • affordable


  • contains more than the recommended daily value of zinc
  • some people may find it difficult to swallow capsules
Was this helpful?

The table below compares each of the hair loss treatments in this article for their price and main pros and cons.

Rogainearound $53• easy to apply

• suitable for all hair types

• unscented

• widely studied

• FDA-approved
unsuitable for people who are pregnant or nursing

• may take 2–4 months to show results

• comes with the likelihood that hair loss will continue if treatment stops

• may cause side effects
Finasteridestarting at $20 a month• includes free online visits with a doctor

• free 2-day deliveries

• discreet packaging

• FDA-approved treatment
• unsuitable for people who are pregnant or nursing

• not available in all states

• may cause side effects

• may not show results for 3 months
PRPdependent on providersome research suggests it can reduce hair loss• involves taking blood samples

• lack of reliable research to back up effects

• not FDA-approved
Surgerydependent on provider• minimally invasive

• effective at increasing thickness and amount of hair
• carries the risk of complications

• can cause scarring and bleeding

• expensive
Laser combaround $199• suitable for males and females

• does not involve taking medication

• short treatment time of 11 minutes, 3 days per week

• FDA-cleared
• expensive

• may cause side effects

• not FDA-approved
Hair growth productsdependent on provider• can include a range of drugs and topical products

• can be tailored to an individual
requires support from a dermatologist
Wigs and hairpiecesdependent on retailer• accessible

• does not involve medication
• does not stop hair loss

• may not be comfortable
essential oil
around $15• may be as effective as minoxidil

• people may be more likely to apply rosemary oil
• more evidence is necessary

• essential oils can irritate skin
Tea tree essential oilaround $10• may be effective in combination with other therapies

• easily available
• more evidence is necessary

• may irritate the skin
Saw palmettoaround $25• may improve hair quality and density

• no adverse side effects for androgenic alopecia
move evidence is necessary to investigate the link between saw palmetto and hair retention
Onion juicedependant on retailer• more effective than tap water for hair regrowth

• onions are readily available in grocery stores

• no reported adverse effects
may cause an unpleasant smell
Quitting smokingdependant on therapy• improves blood circulation

• reduces the risk of cancer and smoke-related death

• may reduce premature graying
may take some time to find a quitting method that works for a person’s situation
Scalp massagefreemay stabilize hair lossnot as effective for people with all-over hair thinning
Vitamin Daround $15may stabilize hair loss• some supplements can be expensive

• some forms of supplements may be difficult to swallow, such as capsules
Ironaround $35may prevent hair loss in femalestoo much iron can cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea
Zincaround $12may stabilize hair lossnot enough research on the link between zinc and hair growth

Men can experience baldness or hair loss for several reasons.

The most likely cause is genetics. Finding out whether hair loss is due to genetics or another factor can help a doctor determine the best course of treatment.

Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition and the most common cause of male baldness. It can start as early as puberty or develop much later in life. It often occurs gradually and in predictable patterns, affecting the temples and the front of the middle of the scalp.

Most often, males will be left with a horseshoe pattern of hair. Heredity affects how fast, at what age, and to what extent someone will experience baldness.

People with male pattern baldness inherit hair that is more sensitive to DHT, the hormone that can shorten the life span of individual hair follicles.

Other common causes of hair loss in men include:

  • Scalp infections: Infections such as ringworm can affect the hair and skin of the scalp, leading to scaly patches and hair loss.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause temporary hair loss. For men, the thyroid gland is the most likely cause of hair loss due to hormonal changes.
  • Patchy hair loss: Patchy hair loss, also known as alopecia areata, occurs when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles. The attack causes sudden and rapid hair loss that leaves smooth, often round bald patches on the skin.
  • Skin disorders: Diseases such as eczema, severe seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and lupus may result in permanent hair loss in the scarred areas.
  • Hair-pulling disorder: This disorder, called trichotillomania, causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair. A person will pull hair from the scalp, the eyebrows, or other areas of the body.
  • Medication: Hair loss may be a side effect of certain medications.

Some less common causes of hair loss are:

  • Radiation treatment: If a man receives any sort of radiation treatment near the scalp, the hair may fall out and grow back differently.
  • Some hairstyles or treatments: Wearing hair in ways that pull it excessively or treating it with oils or coloring agents can cause permanent hair loss.
  • Natural triggers: Stress, childbirth, fever, surgery, or extreme trauma may lead to loss of hair. Often, the thinning will reverse when the triggering event is over.

The emotional impact of hair loss will vary greatly from person to person.

Some people may wish to seek counseling services as part of their treatment. Others may choose a hairstyle that embraces hair loss, such as a shaved head.

Hair loss may affect a person’s self-esteem and lead to depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life.

If a person notices a decline in their quality of life after the onset of hair loss, they should seek support from a medical professional.

Learn more about mental health services.

People should contact a doctor if they experience any of the following:

  • sudden hair loss
  • loss of clumps of hair
  • itching or burning on the scalp

People should also contact a healthcare professional if they are worried about their hair loss.

A healthcare professional may ask questions or perform tests to investigate whether the hair loss is a result of:

  • an illness
  • stress
  • weight loss
  • iron deficiency

Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about hair loss.

Can a man’s hair grow back?

Whether a person’s hair grows back depends on the type of hair loss a person experiences.

For example, most people who lose their hair as a result of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, will experience hair growth after their treatment ends.

However, other causes of hair loss, such as male pattern baldness, are typically permanent. Doctors may prescribe or recommend certain treatments to help prevent further thinning of the hair.

If a person experiences hair loss as a result of scarring, the hair is less likely to grow back. It is important for a person to seek advice and treatment from a dermatologist as soon as they notice hair loss. Early intervention can help prevent scarring hair loss from spreading.

Can hair grow back after thinning?

Yes, some people may experience hair growing back after thinning if they use medications such as minoxidil and finasteride.

What is the best treatment for male hair loss?

There is evidence that treatments such as minoxidil and finasteride can reduce the amount of hair a person loses. However, results may vary from person to person.

People may not see results until they have been using a hair loss treatment for several months. A person should work with a healthcare professional to find a treatment that suits their situation.

What promotes hair loss in men?

The most common cause of hair loss in males is genetics.

Other causes may include stress, illness, scarring, and certain medications.

Hair loss has many possible causes, including genetics and disorders of the skin or scalp. While it is not always possible to prevent hair loss, people may be able to slow or stop hair loss by taking a medication such as minoxidil or finasteride or by using OTC products such as laser combs.

People should contact a healthcare professional if they are worried about their hair loss or if the hair loss is sudden. A doctor may order several tests and ask questions to find out the cause of the hair loss.