Article by MedExpress

Mythbusting: Hair Loss Treatments

Hair loss affects millions of men worldwide, so it’s no surprise that there are countless theories and therapies that claim to prevent or reverse it. But how many of them actually work? We’re here to separate fact from fiction with clinical dermatologist Dr Mia Jing Gao, so you can save time and money on hair loss treatments. 

Caffeine shampoo

Caffeine shampoo is a common and accessible treatment that’s thought to stimulate your follicles to grow hairs. Some claim it may also suppress the hormone DHT, which is linked with male pattern baldness, and elongate your hair shaft, resulting in wider hair roots. 

Dr. Mia says…

There’s no harm in trying caffeine shampoo, but there’s no clinical evidence that it has a long-term effect on male pattern baldness. Lab studies have shown caffeine can stimulate follicles to grow hair in a dish, but there’s still debate around how effective it is when applied to the scalp. Many people who try caffeine shampoos claim they’ve improved their hair loss, but there’s only anecdotal evidence of that so far.

Scalp massage tools

It’s thought that scalp massage aids the growth of thicker hair by stretching your hair follicles and increasing blood flow in your scalp. A typical massage uses fingertips, but you can get tools like brushes or handheld massagers to replicate the same pressure. 

Dr. Mia says…

Small studies have found evidence that men who incorporated scalp massage into their daily routines had thicker hair and improved growth, but research is limited. Avoid pulling at your hairs if you’re going to try it — putting too much traction on your hair follicles can cause further hair loss.


PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, therapy involves your blood being drawn and put into a centrifuge. This separates it into three layers: platelet-poor plasma, platelet-rich plasma and red blood cells. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into areas where you’re losing hair. In theory, this could stimulate cells in your follicles and improve blood supply to your hair root, promoting hair growth. 

Dr. Mia says…

Although PRP therapy has been in use since the 1980s, there isn’t enough evidence to prove it’s an effective hair loss treatment. Some small studies have shown it to be successful, but it can be costly and time-consuming. You need to have three of these treatments in a 4–6 week period, with six-monthly maintenance appointments after, costing between £290–£450 per session. An alternative treatment is topical minoxidil, which is both clinically proven and non-invasive. 

Rosemary oil

Rosemary contains carnosic acid, which has been found to help heal nerve and tissue damage, and encourage cell turnover. The theory behind this treatment is that it could potentially promote nerve growth and blood circulation to your hair follicles. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce scalp irritation.

Dr. Mia says…

There have been no large-scale studies into the benefits of applying rosemary oil to your hair and scalp, but there is some promising research. One study found that rosemary essential oil could help reduce hair loss, along with the itchiness that comes with it. 


Microneedling involves using tiny needles to pierce your skin, stimulating elastin and collagen production. It releases molecules that help with healing and may also stimulate stem cells — both of which could potentially help with hair growth. Microinfusion is a similar procedure where microneedling is followed up with serum, which could help hair loss treatments like minoxidil and topical steroids penetrate deeper into your scalp. 

Dr. Mia says…

There’s a high potential for irritation when you trigger a healing response in your body, especially if you’re putting a serum on afterwards. If done incorrectly, microneedling could possibly lead to scarring hair loss. This is where the tissues in and around your hair loss become damaged and replaced with scar tissue. Plus, topical hair loss treatments are designed to absorb effectively on their own, so there’s no need to have microneedling done before using them. 

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