Coping With Hair Loss

Two-thirds of men start losing their hair before they turn 35, according to the American Hair Loss Association. If you're concerned about hair loss, Consumer Reports National Research Center's new survey can tell you which remedies work best.

Hair loss is traumatic for many people, according to a Consumer Reports survey of more than eight thousand subscribers.

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "We asked people a broad spectrum of questions as to what worked and what didn't when it came to treating pattern baldness."

A prescription drug was by far the most effective treatment for men-though not available for women. It's finasteride, also sold under the brand name Propecia.

Marks says, "When it came to finasteride, 27% of those men we surveyed said it was very effective, and another 41% said it was somewhat effective. So there's more hope with finasteride than there is with almost anything else."

The only other FDA-approved treatment for hair loss is Minoxidil, also sold as Rogaine. It's approved for men...and for women in lower doses.

Marks says, "Only four percent of those surveyed said it was very effective at treating hair loss."

Dr. Robert Bernstein treats many patients for baldness.

Bernstein says, "Of the two, Propecia is a lot more effective. But we use both in many patients."

As for hiding hair loss, wearing a wig or toupee won the most praise.

As for women, Consumer Reports says those who attributed their hair loss to stress found changing their diet and exercise were relatively effective.

Those surveyed did not include people who were losing their hair due to chemotherapy or chronic illness.

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