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Hair loss is a common condition that commonly causes a lot of stress in people experiencing it. Our hair is front and center, after all, and loss can be difficult to hide. Both men and women can experience hair loss, and the causes can vary—from male or female pattern baldness to stress to nutritional deficiency. The good news is that there are a number of effective treatments for hair loss, for both men and women. Here are the methods science says are most effective. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

Minoxidil (also known by its brand name Rogaine) is an over-the-counter liquid or foam that’s applied to the scalp. It’s a vasodilator that helps widen and loosen blood vessels to increase blood flow. Experts believe that action may help minoxidil regrow hair. According to the Cleveland Clinicminoxidil is safe and effective for both men and women who are experiencing hair loss.

Young Hispanic woman choosing between antibiotics or alternative medicine.
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Finasteride is an oral medication that can help regrow hair lost to male pattern baldness. It inhibits the enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) that causes follicles on the scalp to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. In clinical trials, finasteride stopped the progression of hair loss in 86% of men who took the drug, and 65% of them saw increased hair growth. One caveat: Finasteride is essentially a hormone blocker, so it can’t be taken by women of childbearing age, and its tablets should never be handled by pregnant women as doing so may cause birth defects.

Plasma treatment, plasmolifting or PRP method point the introduction of the patient's own plasma enriched with platelets, in the problem areas of the skin.
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In this relatively new procedure—offered by many dermatologists and hair-replacement specialists—a person’s blood is drawn and plasma separated from the sample is injected into their scalp. Experts believe plasma contains growth factors that can help regrow hair. A 2017 study found that PRP was effective at increasing hair density compared to placebo.

RELATED: Doing This After Age 60 is “Unhealthy,” Say Physicians

Woman examining her scalp and hair in front of the mirror.
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An FDA-cleared way to treat hair loss, low-level laser light therapy (or LLLT) involves devices (like a wand or cap) which shine red LED light onto the scalp. The red light is believed to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to hair follicles. According to a 2020 review of studiesLLLT is effective at increasing hair growth in both men and women.

RELATED: The #1 Sign Your Blood Sugar is “Way Too High”

woman taking vitamin D3
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In a 2019 meta-analysis of studies published in Dermatology and Therapy, researchers found that taking a vitamin D supplement to correct a deficiency seems to improve symptoms of male pattern baldness, along with telogen effluvium (temporary hair loss caused by stress, trauma or illness). It seems to restore hair loss and thicken existing hair. One study—which analyzed the vitamin D levels of 30 men with male pattern baldness and 30 men without—found that 96.7% of the balding men were vitamin D deficient, compared to only 73 percent of the non-balding men. (The data in women isn’t as clear.) Studies have also found that supplemental vitamin D may reverse premature hair graying.

And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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