According to The Washington Post, Americans spend approximately $3.5 billion on products and services to combat hair loss, and the majority of those products don't even work. Dr. Oz talks with Spencer Kobren, president and founder of the American Hair Loss Association, about scams and real solutions.
A hormone known as DHT, which basically strangles the hair follicle, causes baldness in both men and women. Sensitivity to this hormone makes you genetically predisposed to balding. While two-thirds of all men suffer some degree of hair loss by age 35, Spencer says the sooner they start an intervention, the more likely they will be to regrow their hair.
According to Spencer, the most successful drugs for combating baldness are Propecia and minoxidil. He says that nearly 90 percent of men who use Propecia will stop the progression of hair loss, and about 60 percent will regrow their hair. The results from minoxidil are not as impressive, with only about 30 percent of users regrowing hair. Spencer does caution that if you've been balding for a while with significant hair loss, even the best medication won't help you re-grow much hair.
About 40 percent of hair loss sufferers are women, Spencer says, and they have even fewer options available to them. Because some drugs, including Propecia, can cause a specific birth defect, women intending to have children cannot take them. If a woman is suffering from severe pattern baldness, Spencer recommends working with a team of doctors, including a hormone specialist, to determine if something other than genetic pattern baldness is the cause.
Spencer warns people against choosing a hair transplant surgeon based on advertising alone. Hair transplantation can be a wonderful option for the right candidate if they choose the right doctor, he says, but extensive research should be done before making final decisions about a surgeon. While hair transplantation can be a viable option, the American Hair Loss Association recommends fewer than 50 surgeons worldwide. Spencer also cautions against buying any product that is not FDA-approved or does not carry an American Hair Loss Association symbol.