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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
When you think about dermatology, you probably think of acne, getting yelled at for not wearing enough sunscreen, or getting that weird mole checked out to make sure that everything’s okay. (On a slight tangent here, don't forget about scalp sunscreen for protection at every angle!)
Often overlooked, however, is the fact that in addition to dealing with everything related to your skin, dermatologists are also experts in diagnosing and treating conditions relating to your nails and hair.
If you’re worried about hair breakage, dry hair or an overly dry scalp, your barber or stylist may be able to give you some solid recommendations.
However, when it comes to male pattern baldness, avoiding damaged hair and getting the most reliable forms of treatment for hair loss, you’ll want to consult a dermatologist, or at least stick to the products they recommend.
Below, we’ve shared five dermatologist recommended products for treating and preventing hair thinning, stimulating healthy hair growth, avoiding vitamin deficiencies that may affect your hair, improving damaged hair and just maintaining fuller-looking hair in general.
We’ve also explained how each product works to promote healthier hair, as well as the specific steps you need to take to add each product to your hair health and general care toolkit.
Dealing with hair loss can be stressful. Luckily, the good news is that it usually doesn’t take that many products to bring it under control.
The even better news is that many of the best hair growth products -- that is, the ones that are backed up by real clinical trials and recommended by dermatologists -- are neither hard to use nor expensive. In fact, most are surprisingly affordable.
Below, we’ve shared five worth knowing about, from FDA-approved hair growth treatments and prescription medications to hair growth shampoos and hair supplements.
Let’s get started with one of the most effective, easy-to-use topical treatments for hair loss that’s available: minoxidil.
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication for reducing the severity of hair loss and stimulating hair growth. It’s available as a liquid solution and as a foam, both of which can be applied to the areas of your scalp with thinning hair.
Currently, minoxidil is one of two FDA-approved hair regrowth treatments (the other, finasteride, is something we’ve discussed below). As such, it’s one of several dermatologist recommended hair growth products you’ll likely hear about if you talk to a healthcare provider about thinning hair.
Like many other medications, minoxidil was originally developed for a different issue -- treating high blood pressure. Once it was realized that using minoxidil caused hypertrichosis -- in more simple terms, excessive hair growth -- it was repurposed as a hair growth medication.
Although experts aren’t precisely aware of minoxidil’s mechanism of action, research suggests that it works by stimulating blood flow to your scalp and accelerating the growth phase of your natural hair growth cycle.
Research also shows that minoxidil works well to prevent hair shedding and stimulate new hair growth.
For example, in one study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, a total of more than 900 men with hereditary hair loss were treated with minoxidil over a period of 12 months.
Of the men that took part in the study, 84.3 percent described minoxidil as either “very effective,” “effective” or “moderately effective” as a dedicated hair loss treatment in terms of producing hair growth.
Research also suggests that minoxidil is effective as a treatment for female pattern hair loss -- a form of hair loss that can occur in women.
Interested in using minoxidil as a topical product for stopping hair loss and stimulating new hair growth? We offer minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam online as part of our range of men’s hair loss treatments.
Finasteride is the second hair loss medication that’s approved by the FDA, and it’s likely one of the first recommendations a dermatologist or other medical professional will make if you have a receding hairline or other signs of hair loss that you’d like to stop from getting worse.
Unlike minoxidil, which is designed for topical application to your scalp, finasteride is available in tablet form for use orally. It works by stopping your body from making dihydrotestosterone (DHT) -- an androgen hormone that causes hair loss.
Over time, DHT can attach to receptors in your scalp and cause your hair follicles to slowly stop producing new hairs, resulting in male pattern baldness.
In a way, you can think of DHT as the “baldness hormone,” as exposure to DHT is what causes your hair follicles to stop functioning effectively. Although DHT affects all hair types, not all men are equally sensitive to it, which is why baldness can vary in severity from man to man.
Our guide to DHT and permanent hair loss goes into more detail about this process, as well as the damaging role that DHT plays in the health of your hair.
By preventing your body from producing DHT, finasteride effectively protects your hair follicles from this form of damage, allowing you to maintain healthy hair follicles that can grow hairs on an ongoing basis.
Used on a daily basis, finasteride can help to slow down, stop and even reverse hair loss that’s caused by male pattern baldness, letting you maintain a fuller head of hair even if you’re prone to male pattern baldness.
In one study, researchers found that 80.5 percent of men with hair loss who used finasteride for 12 months showed improvements. Men who used both finasteride and minoxidil showed even better results, with 94.1 percent reporting improvements over the same time period.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
We also offer a topical finasteride and minoxidil spray that allows you to apply finasteride along with minoxidil, all while potentially reducing your risk of some side effects.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
Believe it or not, your choice of shampoo doesn’t just affect your hair’s scent and texture -- it’s also a key part of preventing shedding and maintaining stronger hair.
If you talk to a dermatologist about preventing hair loss and maintaining good scalp health, it’s very likely that they’ll recommend switching to a shampoo that contains active ingredients that nourish and protect your hair follicles.
Many DHT-blocking shampoos, for example, use active ingredients like ketoconazole and saw palmetto to limit DHT-related damage to your hair follicles.
These products aren’t necessarily hair loss stoppers on their own, but they can work great with FDA-approved hair loss medications such as minoxidil and finasteride to maximize your results and keep most types of hair loss at bay.
For example, our Hair Thickening Shampoo contains saw palmetto to target DHT and promote thicker hair and a healthy scalp.
One of the biggest advantages of using a dermatologist-recommended shampoo is that it’s so simple to incorporate into your hair care routine. Simply change from your regular shampoo to one that’s formulated to protect your hair cells and promote strong hair.
Our guide to what to look for in a men’s hair loss shampoo goes into more detail about proven key ingredients to consider when choosing a shampoo and other products for hair growth.
Much like your skin and nails, your hair depends on a complex and diverse variety of nutrients to grow to its full potential.
Many forms of hair loss can happen when your hair is deprived of these nutrients. For example, telogen effluvium -- a form of temporary hair shedding -- can develop when you fail to consume enough protein or suffer from iron deficiency.
Certain vitamin deficiencies may also affect your hair quality, causing issues such as brittle hair or damage to your hair shaft.
Biotin is a vitamin that plays a key role in the growth of your hair. While the precise link between biotin and hair growth isn’t fully understood, some research suggests that biotin deficiency may be involved in certain hair disorders and forms of hair damage.
For example, a study published in the International Journal of Trichology in 2016 found that 38 percent of women with hair loss were deficient in biotin.
We’ve discussed this research, and other studies that look into the relationship between biotin levels and the hair growth process, in our guide to biotin as a potential hair growth solution.
Interested in boosting your vitamin intake as a type of “insurance” policy for healthier hair? Our Biotin Gummy Vitamins contain both biotin and a range of other hair-friendly vitamins to supply your hair, nails and skin with the nutrients they need to look and feel their best.
If you’ve ever watched late-night TV, you’ve probably seen cheesy infomercials for laser-based devices that promise to strengthen your hair fibers and reverse the effects of male pattern hair loss.
While many of these devices look like something out of a bad 80’s sci-fi movie -- seriously, do a quick image search -- some laser devices have shown potential for stimulating hair growth.
The idea behind laser devices -- or low-level light therapy (LLLT), as it’s often referred to -- is to improve blood circulation and stimulate epidermal stem cells in your scalp, which could promote hair growth.
It’s important to keep in mind that the exact mechanism of action behind this type of technology hasn’t been completely nailed down, meaning we don’t know precisely how it might function at the scalp level (or how it may assist with hair loss).
Popular laser hair growth devices include laser hats and “helmet-like devices”, several of which have shown promising results in increasing hair thickness and hair density in patients suffering from male pattern baldness.
However, it’s worth noting that the total amount of research in this field is somewhat limited right now. As such, it’s best to think of most laser devices as a “maybe” when it comes to treating hair loss, or as a complementary treatment alongside options like minoxidil and finasteride.
However, if you’re ready to wear a helmet that makes you look like a character from Tron to help stimulate healthy hair growth, a laser hat or other light-based product could be a helpful addition to your hair loss toolkit.
However, be sure to double-check with your healthcare provider for a reliable laser device, as -- like with many other new technologies -- there are countless copy-cat, sham hair laser light hair growth devices out there that often aren’t backed up by any real research.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Whether it’s male pattern baldness or a little temporary thinning, hair loss is a common problem that affects just about every man at some point in life.
While there are lots of great hair growth products out there, many of the most widely-promoted products for making your hair stronger, thicker and promoting general hair wellness aren’t fully supported by scientific evidence.
As such, talking to an expert in hair health can help you to learn more about what the best hair growth products really are, as well as which products are best avoided.
As specialists in hair, dermatologists can guide you down the correct path towards thicker, fuller hair while helping you to avoid spending money on overhyped products and sham treatments.
Interested in taking action to treat pattern hair loss and stimulate hair growth? We offer a range of men’s hair loss treatments online, including FDA-approved hair growth medications such as minoxidil and finasteride.
To get started, you can sign up for a free consultation online with a hair growth specialist to talk about your options and see what products might be best for you.