So, you’re wondering if hair loss products actually work?

Yes! FDA-approved hair loss treatments are effective on most guys who are dealing with male pattern baldness (or, if you like to sound more scientific, androgenetic alopecia).

However, when you walk into any drugstore, read any men’s magazine, or even do a quick Google search for hair loss treatment, you’re faced with words like “miracle cure” or “magic potion” and “stimulate hair follicles” — that all come with promises that you can stop hair loss and regrow hair. It’s hard to know what’s for real and what’s just bogus. (We also think it’s hard not to do a double-take when you see that laser therapy might be involved.)

Well, first things first: There’s no miracle cure for baldness. And anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t telling the truth. However, you can prevent hair loss from happening in the first place. And despite what you might’ve heard, there are just two FDA-approved treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective in preventing male pattern baldness.

So let’s dive into those two treatments today:


Effective Treatment #1: Minoxidil (generic Rogaine®)

What is it? Minoxidil is a topical, over-the-counter treatment that is most effective for hair regrowth along the top of your head and crown.

Does it work? Minoxidil must be consistently applied, twice a day — every day! — in order to work. It can take 12-16 weeks of regular application before you see results. If you stop using it, however, any new hair will fall out (usually within three months) and hair loss will start again. (Watch: How to apply minoxidil)

What do the experts say? A 16-week, placebo-controlled trial of 5% minoxidil in 352 men, published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found a statistically significant increase in hair count and improved hair loss condition in the minoxidil group. Short story: Minoxidil is clinically proven to help regrow hair.

What are the side effects? Although this drug is generally safe, like any medication, it can be associated with rare but serious side effects. You can read more about minoxidil’s side effects here. Contact your doctor if you experience signs of serious allergic reaction, dizziness, or difficulty breathing while taking these medications.

How can I learn more? Watch hair loss expert Dr. Jerry Shapiro explain how minoxidil works.

Effective Treatment #2: Finasteride (generic Propecia®)

What is it? Finasteride is a prescription pill that is used for stopping further hair loss across the entirety of your head, including receding hairlines.

Does it work? Finasteride must be taken orally, once a day. It may take upwards of three months of daily use of finasteride before you notice an improvement in your hair loss. This medicine only works for as long as you’re taking it; if you stop, any impact it had on hair loss will be reversed within a year.

What do the experts say? Clinical trials published by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that a daily dose of 1-milligram of finasteride halted hair loss in 86% of participants, while 65% experienced a significant increase in hair growth. Finasteride is clinically proven to help regrow hair.

What are the side effects? Although finasteride s generally safe, like any medication, it can be associated with rare but serious side effects. You can read more about the side effects here). Contact your doctor if you experience signs of serious allergic reaction, dizziness, or difficulty breathing while taking these medications.

How can I learn more?

Watch hair loss expert Dr. Jerry Shapiro explains how finasteride works.


Want to learn more about minoxidil and finasteride and see if they’re right for your hair loss? You can check out the Keeps offering.


The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Finasteride is an oral medication used to treat male pattern baldness in men only. It is not for use by women. When used by men, finasteride is generally safe but it can also cause serious side effects, including but not limited to allergic reactions, sexual dysfunction, and high-grade prostate cancer. Most patients find that problems with sexual function resolve when they stop taking the medicine. For full prescribing information, view the drug label information. For full prescribing information, view the drug label information.