Hair Loss Treatments
Repeat scripts for hair loss medications are available from our online doctor.
Once you have completed an online doctor consultation, our doctor will review your assessment and prescribe the selected medication if it is appropriate. Our pharmacy will then dispense and deliver your prescription to your door.
Our prices are regularly checked against competitors to make sure we have cheap prices across our range of treatments.
There are a number of different types of hair loss – treatment is available for hair loss in the form of male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness is a genetic disorder affecting millions of men. It occurs when hair follicles convert testosterone into another hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes hair follicles to shrink, weaken and eventually die, preventing hair regrowth.
Table of Contents
What is hair loss?
Hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons and in a variety of places. The one that affects most people is hair loss on the scalp, usually in the form of receding hairlines or visibly thinning hair. This can be the result of unfortunate genetics, hormonal changes, and medical conditions.
Losing your hair is normal, in fact, most people will lose 50 to 100 hairs on a daily basis! The problem often presents when the rate of hair growth drops significantly below the rate of shedding. This can result in hair thinning and bald spots.
Nearly all men and women will lose some thickness to their hair as they age. With that said, its more noticeable form will affect up to 40% of men and women.
What causes hair loss?
Identifying the type and cause of your hair loss can help to find out how to best maintain and grow your hair. The four major types are hereditary, hormonal, medical condition, and drug-related hair loss.
As the name suggests this type of hair loss is passed down via family genes. It is commonly referred to as male-pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. This is the most common cause of hair loss.
Typically for men, this can begin to occur in the twenties and thirties and progress from there. For women, it tends to occur more commonly after menopause.
For men, this condition is also called androgenic alopecia as it is mediated via predominantly male hormones or androgens. This type of hair loss is progressive and starts at the hairline and recedes back from either side of the forehead towards the crown of the head.
This can lead to dramatic drops in confidence and ridicule from others. Skin, hair, and nails for many are not just parts of their body, but an extension of their personality. Therefore, loss of hair can result in a negative self-image and increased levels of stress, anxiety and even depression. The news isn’t all bad however, treatments can be effective against hereditary hair loss if action is taken early.
The growth of hair follicles is controlled mainly by hormone levels. Therefore conditions and hormonal changes or imbalance can result in excessive shedding of hair. Triggers for these hormonal changes can be due to pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause in women.
The good news here is that hair loss after childbirth and pregnancy (postpartum hair loss) often resolves within 12 months postpartum. Other hormonal causes for hair loss include thyroid hormone imbalance resulting in hair shedding. This should aim to be controlled before attempting to restore their hair via treatments.
The most common medical condition known for causing hair loss and bald patches is alopecia areata. This occurs when the immune system attacks healthy hair follicles resulting in excessive hair fall in the attacked areas. This differs from traction alopecia which is the result of consistent tugging and pulling of the hair shaft by styling and wearing hair up.
Both types have been linked to stress, which is where the term pulling out your hair due to stress likely came from. Also resulting from high levels of stress is a condition called Telogen effluvium. This is from stress causing hair follicles to remain in their resting phase, not allowing the hair to grow.
Fungal infections such as ringworm can occur on the scalp, which can easily lead to temporary, yet damaging hair loss. It tends to present with patchy hair loss, and an itchy, flakey scalp, which has a red ring with a normal scalp centre. Treating the infection with antifungals will usually result in the restoration of hair in the area.
Worryingly, many medications can cause hair loss as a side effect, but some cause it much more than others. Radiation therapy and the associated drugs for cancer treatment are perhaps the most well known. They cause a large amount of hair loss all over the body rapidly as they target rapidly growing cancer cells but also healthy cells.
Drugs that control hormones can also have a large effect on hair. Drugs like anabolic steroids, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, and under or overtreatment with thyroid hormone. Medicines used to treat heart conditions, skin conditions, and auto-immune conditions can also sometimes cause hair loss.
In many cases, the hair loss will stop and hair will return back to normal upon stopping the medicine causing it. It is never recommended to stop the medicine prescribed to you by your doctor without first consulting them. So please consult your doctor if you think a medicine is causing your hair loss.
How to stop hair loss
In the treatment of most causes of hair loss, time is of the essence due to the condition worsening with time. While treatments later in the progression are possible, they can take more time and potentially more money to fix. The options when treating hair loss fall into these major categories.
Please note that Australian law prevents us from naming specific prescription treatments. After completing an assessment, you will be presented with the treatment options our doctors can prescribe. Our doctors will then assess whether the treatment is suitable for you. You can also seek advice from your local GP or pharmacist.
Topical Treatments for Hair loss
Medicated treatments for hair growth stimulation are typically the first treatment option for most men and women. It works by enlarging hair follicles and lengthening the growth phase of hair. The product is applied twice daily to the affected area for six months. During the six months hair growth should increase noticeably, if not, you may need to consider another treatment.
After stopping treatment the hair that grew back will again be prone to balding if the underlying cause hasn’t been addressed.
Safety and side effects
While this product is generally safe, it may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Side effects that this medicine can cause are mainly related to skin sensitivity, such as irritation, eczema, redness and allergic-type reactions. If you get these side effects it’s important you speak with your health professional about what to do next.
Tablet treatments for hair loss
This treatment is usually used after the topical treatment has failed or is not tolerated. It is important to note that this medicine can only be used by men due to the way in which it works. It can only work in those with mild to moderate hair loss and won’t work in later stages of hair loss.
It works by lowering dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp. DHT is an androgen (a predominately male hormone) and largely contributes to male pattern baldness. This drug is taken once daily for three months. Three months is typically the amount of treatment time for noticeable results to occur.
You and your doctor can then access whether to continue long term to prevent further hair loss.
Safety and side effects for hair loss treatments
The side effects most common with this treatment are due to the way it changes DHT levels. As such, some people may get a slightly decreased sex drive or trouble achieving an erection. While these are distressing side effects, it’s important to note these only happen to a small percentage of people. If this does occur it’s important you speak to your doctor on how best to proceed.
Surgical treatment for hair loss
There are a number of surgical procedures available for hair loss. Typically they involve transplanting full follicular units from a healthy section of hair to the areas which are thinning and balding. Hair transplant surgery is usually reserved for those who cannot use topical or tablet treatments. This is because it is invasive, has a high cost, and slight risks of pain, swelling or infection.
Surgery does provide an option for those whose balding has progressed too far for other treatments to work.
Lifestyle changes to improve hair loss
Managing your risk factors for hair loss can be one of the most effective treatments, particularly in stress-related or traction alopecia. Finding effective ways to manage your stress can reduce hair loss and increase your quality of life.
To improve traction alopecia you need to reduce the amount of time your hair and scalp are under tension. This can be done by changing your hairstyle to be worn down or avoiding braids or avoiding sticky rubber or elastic bands.
Vitamins for hair loss
Research has suggested vitamin deficiencies in folate, Vitamins B2, B7 and B12 have a role in hair loss. While deficiencies may play a role in hair loss, it is unclear if they help in those who do not have any dietary deficiency. Research on amino acids effect on hair loss found a similar result supplementing may help but only in those people with dietary deficiencies. As such it’s always best to get a blood test with your doctor before starting any unnecessary supplements.
Going to your doctor and admitting you are indeed losing your hair can be unnerving. But time is a factor, it is easier to keep the hair you have while regrowing it than starting from scratch. So I encourage you to get out there and reclaim your hair and confidence!
There are some common myths about hair loss, some of which have some basis in fact, and others that are just a little ridiculous! To clarify some of the common myths and misconceptions about hair loss, we have compiled a list of the ones we hear most often.
- Pluck One Grey Hair And Two Grow Back – This hair loss myth has floated around for the longest time. However, it is not true that if you pluck a grey hair, two will grow back!
- Standing On Your Head Makes Your Hair Grow – We told you some are a little ridiculous! Despite this being a commonly heard myth, we have confidence that you have never spent long periods on your head in the hope of some hair growth! The myth is rooted in the false belief that blood flow to the head will help hair growth. However, hair loss is not a blood flow problem but generally linked to sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone.
- There’s No Cure For Baldness – From the incredibly optimistic to the ultra pessimistic. While there is no “miracle cure” that is going to work for everyone and bring back your hair to its most lush, there are certainly many successful treatments. Laser therapy and hair transplant have the highest success rate, although are on the expensive end of treatment. Drugs like Propecia is a successful treatment of hair loss, and other topical liquids and lotions (such as Regaine) can also help stop or reverse hair growth in milder cases of hair loss.
- Hair gel and hairspray can cause hair loss – Nop! There is no evidence to suggest they can cause balding. Also in this category of myth, over-shampooing, or washing do not cause hair loss either. However, the grain of truth in the myths is that over-mechanical utilisation of hair can weaken it. So things like using curling irons, or constantly pulling at your hair, can lead to an acceleration of existing hair loss.
- Hair loss is from your mum’s side of the gene pool – While the primary baldness gene is on the X chromosome (the one men inherit from their mothers), research suggests that men who have a bald father are more likely to develop male pattern baldness than those who don’t.
- Higher Testosterone Linked To Hair Loss – The inherited problem is a sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). It is this that can cause hair loss in men and some women. However, taking synthetic testosterone can accelerate hair loss in men.
- Hats Cause Baldness – No! They Don’t! So whether you wear a baseball cap or a bowler hat, you can dig it out of the cupboard again.
- I Can Grow Back Dead Hair Follicles – Unfortunately not. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. Medication like Propecia, or laser therapy, can help hair follicles become thicker and healthier, but the only option for regrowth is a hair transplant.