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Hair Loss/Would this hair loss prevention gel be likely to work?

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QUESTION: Hello Doctor,
I am a 33 year old man. I was concerned about slight hairline receding on the right side of my head and also thinning of hair on the same right side. I don't have any family history of baldness to my knowledge. I visited this clinic called kaya skin clinic in mumbai, India and the dermatologist agreed with me that there seems to be slight receding of the hairline and thinning on the right side. He prescribed this gel called 'Hair health gel'. I don't mind giving it a try but I am concerned about whether using it may create problems or worsen the situation. The description on the bottle says that it contains protein, mineral and vitamin complex and herbal extracts like Saw Palmetto, Gingkobiloba, and Hibiscus. However, these are not mentioned in the list of ingredients. The following are its ingredients:
Aqua, Glycerin, Acrylate/Steareth-20-Methacrylate Crosspolymer, K2 Complex, Propylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Castor oil, PEG-12-Dimethicone, Perfume, 2-Amino-2 Methyl-1-Propanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Brilliant Blue.
Do let me know your views on this and whether it would be safe to use.
Thanks.

ANSWER: The only ingredient that would be helpful is saw palmetto.  The two most effective treatments for male pattern hair loss are Rogaine for Men and the oral medication Propecia. Propecia is by prescription and Rogaine for Men is OTC.

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QUESTION: Thanks for your response. I want to correct my earlier statement. I had mentioned that I don't have a family history of baldness. This means both my parents don't have this problem, and also grandparents don't have this problem except what is expected out of ageing. However, one of my mother's uncle( mother's mother's brother) has a baldness problem. His son has also the same problem. Is it possible that I may have inherited this problem somehow?

ANSWER: Yes, the type of hair loss you describe ican be genetic..  If the hair loss is genetic, you have inherited the hair loss. Other causes of hair loss include medications, thyroid disease, and systemic diseases.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the response again. One more point I wanted to clear up is that at the  hair clinic, they plucked out some 10-15 strands of hair using a tweezer for analysis presumably. Are these likely to grow back?
Also, the two drugs you prescribed, Rogaine, and Propecia. I have heard that any effects of using these drugs are temporary and will go away if you stop using them. Is this true?

Answer
Plucking hairs will only tell if there is a telogen effluvium.
A scalp biopsy is more accurate when read by a dermatopathologist.
The plucked hairs should grow back
If you have male pattern hair loss and stop Rogaine and Propecia all the hair that these medications grew back and stopped from falling out will eventually fall out.

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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>

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