I'm going to begin by telling you a short story about myself. I'm a 29 year old male with thin hair from as far back as I can remember. When I was about 26 years old, I really started losing my hair in the crown area and in the front area. My receding hair lines became painfully obvious as people starting pointing it out in social situations which had to be the absolute worst thing that anyone could ever imagine. I started becoming less social and less confident with my everyday life. It became extremely difficult to meet women because of the anxiety that I felt. When I did meet new people, I was shy and awkward, definitely not a great first impression. My hair was affecting everything when I realized how frequently I was getting sick with the flu. This turned out to be because of stress from losing my hair. Something had to change. If this sounds familiar, keep reading, because what I'm about to tell you, changed my life.
In the spring of 2007, I started searching around for possible solutions to what I was going through with my hair loss. I talked to a few trusted friends who had similar issues with hair loss and listened to their stories of failed products and various solutions that they tried with minimal success. My research was fairly extensive, spending all hours of the night after work reading different websites and forums on the internet. It was clear to me that this is a huge subject affecting so many men of all ages - usually from 18 to 45 years old. There are literally millions of websites, journals, products and everything that you could think of to provide you with some sort of direction as to what to do. Many of these are complete and total scams. Do not just open your wallet and start paying for bogus solutions. These usually lead to disappointment unfortunately.
I'm going to show you one of the best ways to preserve and regrow your hair in which I paid less than $2 for a 3 months of treatment. That treatment is called: Finasteride. Get used to the name and read up as much as you can on it, because let me tell you from experience, this miracle little drug really works wonders. I'll give you a brief description, it's entirely safe, originally developed to treat high blood pressure and prevent prostate cancer. If you look it up on Wikipedia, you'll see something like this: finasteride is a synthetic antiandrogen that acts by inhibiting type II 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Finasteride was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992 under the brand name Proscar, a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In 1997, the FDA approved finasteride to treat male pattern baldness (MPB) under the brand name Propecia. There is a lot of chemistry in here, but the bottom line is that it works by blocking DHT in your blood stream.
Let's back up for sec and talk about how your hair even grows in the first place. Your blood carries food to hair follicles. When your blood contains certain things like excess DHT, it starts slowly killing your hair follicles by shrinking them. They become very small and eventually your hair gets so thin that it just falls out and doesn't grow from that area anymore. Finasteride pills usually come in 5mg strength. I then cut the pills in 4 making them into quarters - each quarter contains 1.25mg of finasteride which is roughly the right amount per day. Taking the 1.25mg dose of finasteride per day can reduce the DHT in your blood which in turn allows your hair follicles to feed from clean DHT free blood and grow unhindered.
Finasteride is made by many different drug manufacturers. Probably one of the most popular is called Propecia, there is another one made by Merck called Proscar. The way to do this is the cut your pills into quarters. It's not as difficult as it sounds! Basically, I take a pair of scissors and cut the pill in half, then half that again and place the pieces in a small plastic container (I actually use one of the travel Tylenol containers, seems to work for me). Proscar can actually be covered by most drug plans, but only about 50-60%, which still ends up running $1-2 per pill. Pretty expensive over several years! Luckily, there are some cheaper alternatives. The generic finasteride solution is made from identical chemical composition as the real brand names. It is guaranteed by the government to be identical in every way so you know it should be the same thing. It's just made in a different factory sometimes using a slightly different process. The price tag is a lot better. I just purchased a 3 month supply of generic SDZ finasteride (don't forget I cut each pill into 4) for about $3 in total after coverage from my basic drug plan. This is the best deal I've found. I take 1/4 of the pill each day (any time of the day is fine although I usually find it more convenient to take mine before going to bed). I've read that if you take it with meals, it tends to get lost in digestion. Always take a big glass of water when you are taking it.
After trying finasteride for the first time, I actually lost a bit more of hair in the first 2 weeks. I was a little irked, but I also read that it can take a bit of time to start working. This was actually very normal. Usually, it takes about 1 month before you can start seeing results. For me, it was about 2-3 weeks. I actually felt my hair grow healthier believe it or not. I noticed my hair being a little thicker than before, it didn't fall out as easily when I passed my fingers through my hair or when I shampooed in the shower. In the past, I was used to looking at my soapy shampoo hands with dozens of tiny hairs on my hands in the shower, not a great feeling... But this totally changed everything. It might be a little turn off for some people, but I actually saw hair on other parts of my body grow faster and more dense as well, though nothing too crazy. The hair on the front of my head was definitely filling in and didn't look as thin, you couldn't see scalp like before. My crown was also very much filling in. If you read the fine print for finasteride, they say that it will only work on the crown for most men. Although this is probably true, I think they say this to set low expectations. It actually does work for hair all over. My hair lines were a little different, but still a small improvement there. In general, I was so excited and I was becoming myself again. What a good feeling that was. It raised my confidence so much, I began to go out on dates with women again. I was just too embarrassed before, but now everything changed. I could feel the confidence flowing through my body as I was closing deals with several different women on the same week at times! Yes, it was pretty good :)
If you really want to maximize your hair growth, one other product I would recommend if you have the patience for it is Rogain. This stuff does also work, but requires a lot more attention and maintenance to apply the liquid solution onto your scalp. It's also messy which is a pretty big turn off for most men. The active ingredient is called Minoxidil. It comes in different strengths, but I wouldn't waste your time with the lighter ones, go right for the strongest Minoxidil solution you can find which is 5%. Rogain has the same active ingredient and works just as well and it is probably more widely recognized. It also comes in a foam solution which is pretty decent. I bought a perfectly good brand called Kirkland Minoxidil from a store online for about $25 for 3 bottles. It's pretty cheap compared to the brand name Rogain. I believe the online store gets it from the same source as Costco, but most places require you to have a medical prescription to purchase the 5% stuff. The Amazon online store: http://www.amazon.com/ sells it for about $20 for a 3 months supply. Not bad! The only downfall as I was mentioning before is that you have to be pretty careful when applying the liquid minoxidil on your scalp twice per day. It doesn't sound like much, but trust me it was a bit of a pain in the butt to continuously do this. The results are pretty good though. My hair felt thicker and grows in a lot better than if I wasn't taking it.
I do have some words of caution though. As with almost any drug, there are some possible side effects that occur in a very small percentage of the population. By the way, this entire article is meant for Men only. If you are female, do not take finasteride. Do not even cut the pills anywhere near a pregnant women. Even a small amount of the power will cause a birth defect in the male genitalia. Don't let powder get anywhere. Seriously, this can cause major problems for females. Taking finasteride can also cause erectile dysfunction in less than 1% of males. There are also some other minor side effects that you should probably seek medical advice if you are experience swollen breasts, irritation or other minor discomfort. I actually did not experience any of these side effects. The only thing I noticed is that I gained a bit of weight since taking it. It's usually very safe to take this drug.
Something else I do every night or morning when I take a shower is use a special herbal shampoo. It's called Shen Min and it's an herbal shampoo mix that stimulates hair growth. It creates a tingly sensation and smells really clean. It actually works really well and cleans out the pores of my scalp to allow new tiny hairs to grow. I recommend this one over some of the other herbal shampoos even though it might be slightly pricier, it's probably worth it. It's all natural and the aromas from the shampoo are pretty great.
Conclusion, I highly recommend both finasteride by cutting 5mg pills into 4 and taking each quarter once per day. This is probably the most effective, easiest solution on the market. Combine this with Minoxidil and you've got a powerful combo to fight male hair loss. I can personally vouch for everything I've written in this article since I've gone through it and lived it myself. All I can say is that it really worked for me and literally saved my life. I was going down a dark path, but the info in this article helped me pull through it, regain my confidence and let me live my life as I want it. I definitely had reservations when I first started to get into it and I really wish I had read an article like this before hand. There is a lot of info out there that you could spend years researching, it's almost daunting to think about it. This article is really all you need to get started. If you found this a good read and hopefully got some value out of it, I encourage you to click on the ads below or on the side bar, or forward this to your friends, post on facebook, twitter, etc. I'd like all men suffering from hair loss to at least have the chance to fight it. The information in here can probably help a lot you or your male friends who are secretly suffering from male pattern hair loss. In the coming months, I'm going to try making this site a lot better with more photos and stories from other members, please consider making a small paypal donation using this link so that I can continue my efforts.
Thanks and best of luck guys!
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Finding a good stylist can be like searching for your next girlfriend. Ask around and find out which stylist or salon your friends use, or you can ask someone whose hair you admire. Perhaps you have seen a salon around town that looks cool and you’ve been wanting to give it a try.
In this case I would call them up and ask if they specialize in a certain types of haircuts or styles. Would they consider themselves to be modern or classic in their attitude toward style? Edgy or conservative?
You might want to call or drop in a salon and ask if the stylists will give a free consultation before you make an appointment. Find out what their style is and the kind of cuts they are particularly good at cutting. Maybe they are better at certain types of styles than others or maybe they typically do women’s hair. It’s good to find these things out before they start whacking at your hair.
Let your stylist know how much time you spend on your hair. Maybe you aren’t fussy with your hair, or perhaps you only allow a certain amount of time for hair during your morning routine. Are you proficient with a blow-dryer, or do you prefer the natural route? What kinds of styling aids are you used to using?
It’s also important for them to know what your lifestyle is like. Do you work in a conservative environment? Are you a man about town and fashion forward? Ultimately your stylist needs to know how comfortable you are wearing your hair. And make sure you're both on the same page when you get down to details. For example, your stylist may interpret "shaggy” or “shorter on the sides" much differently than you do.
Make sure your stylist shows you how to best style your hair. Do they use the hairdryer in a particular way? What kind of products did they use in your hair? If your stylist doesn't explain what he/she is doing, don't hesitate to ask for an explanation of a technique or term they use. Understanding the language or terminology is key.
A picture is worth a thousand words and a great way to start the conversation. The stylist I have interviewed say that more and more male clients are bringing in photos from magazines and such. With photos your stylist will be able to assess how suitable the cut you like is for your hair, your face shape and lifestyle. They can also suggest alternatives if it's not the perfect cut for you.
Tip appropriately or you may not want your stylist to have a pair scissors near your face the next time you drop in. A Proper tip is 15% to 20% for your stylist & $5 for the person who washes your hair, if someone other than your stylist is doing so.