The driving mechanism behind male pattern hair loss for African Americans is the same as it is for other races. Male pattern hair loss is caused by dihydrotestosterone, which will attach to the hair follicle and cause it to shrink. After time, the follicle is unable to produce new hair. African Americans should stick with those treatments that have proved to be effective by the scientific community, such as Propecia, minoxidil and Nizoral shampoo. There are numerous products that promise fantastic results but have no independent studies to support their claims.
Propecia is a 1mg tablet of finasteride and has proved to be the most effective hair loss treatment available, according to the American Hair Loss Association, which states that Propecia is the first drug to treat hair loss that works in the majority of men who use it. Propecia is a prescription item that works by preventing the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Finasteride was originally used to treat enlarged prostates, and hair growth was an unintended side effect, leading to Merck and Company to seek approval for its use as a hair-loss treatment. Propecia was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss in 1997. Propecia is for men only, and its most common side effects are a decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorder. According to Drugs.com, one of the three side effects occurred in 3.8 percent of the subjects during clinical trials.
Minoxidil was the first hair-loss treatment to be approved by the FDA and is now an over-the-counter product available for men and women. The strongest solution for men is a 5 percent solution, while a 2 percent solution is made for women. Minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp twice a day and works by causing hair follicles to grow, which counteracts the shrinking of follicles that occurs in pattern baldness. Side effects reported most often are scalp irritation and itching.
Nizoral shampoo has not been approved by the FDA as a hair-loss treatment, but it has shown promise in several clinical studies, which separates it from many of the other treatments being offered. A study in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of Dermatological Science examined Nizoral's effectiveness as a hair-loss treatment. The small-scale study showed that three of six people using 2 percent Nizoral saw an increase in hair growth, with two of the three showing "remarkable hair regrowth." According to Hair Loss Talk, Nizoral's effectiveness is due to its ability to prevent DHT from attaching to hair follicles. It is sold both over-the-counter and by prescription. The over-the-counter shampoo contains 1 percent ketoconazole, while the prescription version contains 2 percent ketoconazole. The shampoo is used once every three days and can be used by men or women.
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A.G. Moody is a multiple award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has covered everything from business to health issues. His work has appeared in the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Moody earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Washington University.