Spotting a Scam: False Hair Loss Product Promises

Woman looking at hair loss Spotting a Scam: False Hair Loss Product Promises

Hair loss is something that requires immediate action to remedy, and many try to take advantage of this time of high anxiety. Without doing your homework, it’s easy to fall for products that promise you more than they can deliver.

What to Know About Hair Loss Treatments

The Most Common Hair Loss Lies

When you first notice your hair thinning, it’s not uncommon for there to be a bit of panic. Pattern thinning is scary, because once you notice the first signs, you have to act fast in order to prevent further loss. Unfortunately, many products out there that promise you the world simply cannot deliver. These scam products are deceitful and prey upon people going through something difficult in order to make a quick buck. There are hundreds of services and at-home products that guarantee they’ll stop hair loss in its tracks and even restore your lost hair. One major product is at home light therapy for hair loss. Salons that promise laser or light therapy for hair loss, or products you can purchase for at home use like hats, helmets and hoods. Light therapy can be effective for slowing or preventing further hair loss, but it should be administered by a dermatologist in a controlled environment. At-home products can cause damage to your scalp or skin and can cause burns or other health issues. Ultraviolet light exposure is something that should be taken very seriously, as skin cancer can result from UV radiation. Other products might promise to clean out follicles with vinegar or restore growth by other suspicious means. Your first reaction to these promises should be skepticism. Most simple, home-grown hair loss prevention tips and tricks are based on old snake oil products and other solutions that have long since proven ineffective.

But not every promise out there is a scam. Some common, widely held beliefs about hair loss are less than legitimate, and many people share them with only the best intentions. The main offender in this category is biotin. Biotin is a naturally occurring vitamin, and a biotin deficiency can cause hair loss. The issue is, most people have plenty of biotin and don’t need any more. Biotin deficiencies are not often responsible for hair loss, and a simple blood test can determine if it’s the culprit of your thinning. If you do need biotin, your doctor can prescribe supplements and hair loss can stop, though not many people actually suffer from such a significant deficiency to cause hair loss.

What Really Works?

Slow loss of hair or thinning is rarely caused by anything beyond genetics. Though alopecia areata, totalis or universalis are not well understood, they also aren’t common conditions. These describe sudden and complete loss, either in a specific area like the scalp, or all body hair. If you’re experiencing thinning, and all of these scams have left you feeling dejected, don’t worry! There are a few different drugs and products that do work well for preventing further hair loss. Minoxidil is the most commonly prescribed drug for pattern thinning. Minoxidil works as a vasodilator, meaning it actually enlarges blood vessels, allowing for the delivery of more oxygen-rich blood to hair follicles. Minoxidil can restore the function of hair follicles and help follicles continue to produce healthy hair. While it’s available over the counter, minoxidil at higher doses may be necessary for your hair loss. Even if it didn’t work in OTC form, prescription strength minoxidil might do the trick for stopping your hair loss. This product works well for men and women, though some drugs are only for male or female use.

Finasteride, for example, is an oral medication that treats hair loss in men but is not recommended for women. Also referred to as Propecia, finasteride works by lowering the levels of the hormone DHT. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone is responsible for many things, but one negative effect of its production is the shrinking of hair follicles. Unfortunately, while this product has proven to work for women as well, the side effects it causes far outweigh the benefits, so it’s not prescribed for women in most cases.

Though at-home or in-spa laser and light therapies are not safe or super effective in curbing hair loss, some laser and light technology can help slow pattern thinning. In the hands of a dermatologist, there are various laser treatments that can be applied to the scalp and promote new growth and stop further hair loss. Administered by a trained professional, laser therapies are often excellent supplements to hair loss prevention drugs.

Ultimately, there are a number of products out there that promise far more than they can deliver, but if you’re armed with the right info, you can make the right choice. If you have questions about other methods for hair loss prevention, or any of the options outlined, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates.

Request an Appointment

Book Online