Some men regard hair loss as a mark of masculinity, but for many affected, both men and women, it is far from welcome.
With an estimated 40 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women in the UK having lost some or all of their hair, the search for the perfect hair-loss remedy continues.
Treatments can bolster thinning hair and trigger new growth, but improvements are limited and some side-effects, intolerable.
One of the best treatments is minoxidil, an over-the-counter lotion or foam that increases blood flow to the scalp, nourishing hair follicles, the tiny sacs from which hairs sprout (it costs about £40 a month).
Some men regard hair loss as a mark of masculinity, but for many affected, both men and women, it is far from welcome [File photo]
But roughly a third of users see no improvement and it can have side-effects — one in ten may suffer headaches and one in 100 might even experience a rapid heart rate (as it increases blood flow).
Another option for men is finasteride, a daily tablet (available on private prescription) which works by blocking an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), another form of the hormone which triggers baldness.
Research shows finasteride encourages some growth, but about one in 60 men experiences impotence, which prompts them to stop taking it — and, like minoxidil, hair loss recurs as soon as treatment is halted.
Hair transplants can be successful, however the cost — up to £30,000 — is prohibitive for many.
But there may be other, more effective and cheaper treatments in the pipeline. Here, we look at some of them.
Clascoterone, a lotion being clinically trialled in Germany, has been shown in initial results to be as effective as minoxidil and finasteride — but without serious side-effects. A stock image is used above [File photo]
Clascoterone, a lotion being clinically trialled in Germany, has been shown in initial results to be as effective as minoxidil and finasteride — but without serious side-effects. About 400 men were involved in the studies run by the maker (yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal).
Rubbed on the scalp twice a day, clascoterone is designed to combat male pattern baldness, which accounts for some 90 per cent of cases.
This is inherited, caused by genes that affect testosterone levels with age, shortening the hair’s growing phase (anagen), and lengthening the period between a hair falling out and a new one starting to grow (telogen phase).
DHT binds …….