Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/29/2021
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and noticed your scalp peeking right back at you through your hair?
Hair loss is an extremely common issue for men, with more than 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 affected by it.
While many people associate hair loss with a receding hairline or balding crown, hair loss often starts as gradual thinning that makes your hair look less thick, full and healthy.
If you’re one of the millions of men with thinning hair, there’s no need to panic. By using the right combination of medications and hair care products — combined with good habits, of course — it’s possible to grow thicker, more impressive looking hair.
We’ve explained this process below, covering everything from why your hair may get thinner as you grow older to the most effective medications, products and habits for stopping hair loss and stimulating thick, full hair growth.
As you get older, it’s normal to experience hair loss. You may notice your hairline slowly receding or thinning that affects your crown (the area at the top of your scalp).
If you already have noticeable hair loss, the most effective way to grow thicker hair is to treat male pattern baldness and prevent it from worsening.
Currently, two medications — finasteride and minoxidil — are scientifically proven to treat hair loss and, in some cases, help you to regrow hair.
Making certain changes to your hair care habits and lifestyle, such as eating a balanced diet and using a hair loss prevention shampoo, can also help to thicken up your hair.
We offer a range of hair loss treatments online, including FDA-approved medications to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Male pattern baldness, the most common form of hair loss in men, is caused by the effects of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
DHT is a type of androgen, or male sex hormone. It’s produced by your body and plays a major role in the development of your genitals, as well as secondary sex characteristics such as your voice and facial hair.
In adulthood, DHT largely doesn’t affect your physiology. However, if you’re genetically prone to baldness, DHT can bind to receptors in your scalp and cause your hair follicles to gradually stop producing new hairs.
Over time, as DHT affects more of your hair follicles, you may notice a receding hairline or bald patch developing on your scalp.
Our guide to DHT and male pattern baldness goes into more detail about how DHT can affect your hair follicles and contribute to thinning.
Male pattern baldness is very common, with an estimated 50 million men affected by it in the United States alone.
Although hair loss can be frustrating to deal with, it’s a treatable issue. We’ve listed treatments for hair loss below that you can use to prevent further hair loss and improve your existing hair’s thickness and appearance.
Currently, the most effective options for stimulating hair growth and thickening your hair are the medications minoxidil and finasteride.
These medications work by directly stimulating hair growth and by protecting your hair from the hormonal damage that causes hair loss. You can find more information about how both of these medications work below.
Minoxidil is a topical medication that’s available as a liquid solution or foam. It’s designed to be applied directly to your scalp two times a day, with a focus on the areas of your scalp that have visible signs of hair loss.
Minoxidil works by shortening the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle, encouraging hairs to enter into the anagen (growth) phase early.
It also appears to improve blood circulation and vascularization in your scalp, which may further help to promote hair growth.
Numerous studies have found that minoxidil helps to stimulate hair growth. For example, in one study published in 2004, more than 84 percent of men who used minoxidil for 12 months rated it as either “very effective,” “effective” or “moderately effective” at promoting hair regrowth.
As we’ve explained in our guide to applying minoxidil, using minoxidil is easy. It only takes a few minutes to apply and generally produces noticeable improvements in your hair within two to four months of regular use.
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication that’s available without a prescription. We offer liquid minoxidil online in a 5% formulation that’s safe and effective for stimulating hair regrowth.
Finasteride is an oral medication for preventing hair loss. It works by inhibiting the effects of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT, the main hormone responsible for male pattern baldness.
By preventing DHT production, finasteride protects your hair follicles from DHT-related damage and helps to slow down, stop or reverse hair loss.
Like minoxidil, finasteride is backed up by numerous studies showing that it’s effective as a hair loss treatment.
In one, men who used finasteride over a period of two years experienced a significant increase in hair count in the crown — an area that’s often affected by male pattern baldness.
In another study, more than 99 percent of men who used finasteride over a 10-year period saw no worsening of their hair loss, with 91.5 percent experiencing some degree of improvement in their hair growth.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Although they’re less powerful than medications like minoxidil and finasteride, shampoos that are formulated specifically to promote hair growth may help you to reduce hair loss and grow thicker, better looking hair.
As we’ve covered in our guide to hair loss shampoo ingredients, the most effective shampoos for limiting hair loss and promoting hair growth use ingredients that block DHT from binding to and damaging your hair follicles.
Key ingredients to look for include saw palmetto (an active ingredient in our men’s Thickening Shampoo) and ketoconazole. Others worth looking for include pumpkin seed oil and rosemary oil, both of which may offer hair growth benefits.
While science-based medications like minoxidil and finasteride will have the biggest impact on your hair growth, the right habits can also help you to grow thick, healthy hair. Try to:
Eat sufficient zinc and iron. Although many nutrients play a role in hair growth, two of the most important are zinc and iron.
Research shows that zinc deficiency can contribute to hair loss. You can find zinc in a range of foods, including oysters, red meat, seafood, poultry, fortified cereals and nuts, beans, dairy products and whole grains.
Similarly, iron deficiency can cause hair loss. You can find iron in lean meat, oysters and types of seafood, beans, fortified cereals, tofu, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, nuts and a variety of other common foods.
Prioritize hair growth vitamins. As we’ve discussed in our guide to essential vitamins for healthy hair growth, a variety of different vitamins play a role in promoting the growth of your hair, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin B7.
There are two ways to maintain a regular intake of these vitamins. The first is to prioritize vitamin-rich foods in your diet. The second is to use a vitamin supplement, like our Biotin Gummy Vitamins, to maintain a steady intake of hair-friendly vitamins year round.
If you smoke, make an effort to quit. In addition to affecting your cardiovascular health and increasing your risk of developing cancer, research shows that smoking also causes damage to your hair follicles that can lead to hair loss.
If you smoke, try to quit. We’ve listed the best strategies for quitting and keeping yourself smoke-free in our guide to quitting smoking.
Avoid wearing your hair in a tight, pulled-back style. Hairstyles that put an excessive amount of tension on your hair, such as dreadlocks, braids or classic tightly slicked-back hair, can cause a form of hair loss called traction alopecia.
To avoid this form of hair loss, take care not to style your hair in a way that pulls on the hair root too aggressively.
If you notice a fungal infection, treat it right away. Fungal infections affect your skin in several ways, including by causing inflammation that can harm your hair follicles and lead to shedding.
Tinea capitis, or scalp ringworm, is a particularly annoying fungal skin infection that can cause permanent hair loss when it’s severe. To avoid it, it’s important to respond quickly if you notice a fungal infection developing anywhere on your body.
Finally, while it won’t actually make your hair thicker, picking a hairstyle that suits your hair can help to create the appearance of extra thickness and density.
As we’ve discussed in our guide to hairstyles for men with thinning hair, hairstyles like the buzz cut, crew cut and quiff can help to make issues like a receding hairline or thinning patch around your crown less obvious.
Combined with the right medications and habits, good styling can make the difference between a noticeably thin head of hair and one that looks thick, full and impressive.
The most effective way to grow thicker, healthier hair and prevent your hair from falling out is to use minoxidil and finasteride.
These medications work by stimulating hair growth and blocking DHT, the androgenic hormone that causes male pattern baldness. They’re backed up by numerous studies and appear to work particularly well when they’re used together.
Since hair loss tends to worsen with time, it’s best to start using medication as soon as you start to notice your hair thinning.
For even better results, make sure to eat a balanced diet and care for your hair with a shampoo that’s designed specifically to reduce hair loss.
You can find all of these products together in our Hair Power Pack, which is made specifically to keep your hair protected and healthy.
You can also learn more about the causes of hair loss, risk factors and science-based treatment options in our detailed guide to male pattern baldness.
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