Hair Loss Creams & Gels You Should Avoid, and What to Use Instead

by heensom2

Hair Loss Creams & Gels You Should Avoid, and What to Use Instead

If that receding hairline and clumps of loose strands on your towel and shower floor are bothering you, know that help is at hand. Should you scour the internet for solutions or check with your dermatologist, you’ll find that there are tons of hair loss creams and gels out there that can help you stop hair loss and perhaps, even stimulate new growth. In fact, the IBIS World has released reports that in 2015 alone, the industry for manufacturing hair restoration solutions had revenue of 4 billion. That’s an indication of extensive research and development, and well, the sale of products for hair loss.

Hair Loss Creams and Gels You Should Avoid

However, the American Hair Loss Association warns that of all the solutions available today, only two are FDA-approved and safe to use. Though, even these products do have side effects that your dermatologist will talk to you about. While you’ll find a plethora of hair loss creams and gels on commercial websites promising to restore that full head of hair, use them with caution. Or, preferably, avoid them completely. Here are a few of the best-known hair restoration options available today.

Minoxidil 2% and Minoxidil 5%

Manufacturers sell Minoxidil 2% and Minoxidil 5% under the brand name Rogaine and it is one of the best-known hair loss creams and gels. It has FDA approval and is available over the counter without the need for a prescription. Both men and women can use it and depend on your specific hair issues and gender, your trichologist will likely recommend that you opt for the lotion or foam. However, it is essential that you follow the guidelines for using this product carefully.

Since Minoxidil has several contraindications, chances are that you aren’t a good candidate for the treatment. In addition, you risk side effects and allergic reactions. Perhaps, the biggest downside of this product is that it is effective only as long as you continue using it. Once you stop, you can expect to lose the new growth within 6 months.


Sold under the brand names of Kenalog, Triderm, and Clobex, among others, topical corticosteroids are specially formulated for applying on the scalp or treating skin conditions. In addition to hair loss creams and gels, you can also buy them in the form of lotions, ointments, and mousses. Your trichologist will study the severity of your hair loss issues before prescribing the right strength. For instance, gentle, moderate, potent or strong, and very strong.

The dosage for topical corticosteroid applications is typically prescribed in FTUs or Finger Tip Units. And yes. The medications do have their share of contraindications and side effects. For instance, senior men and young adult males are more prone to the many possible adverse after-effects. And, if you continue to use them for too long and over larger sections of your skin, your bloodstream can absorb them resulting in internal complications.


As you continue to search for effective hair loss creams and gels, you’ll also come across Anthranil, marketed under the brand name Dithranol. Researchers are still trying to understand how the compound promotes the growth of hair. But, they do know that Anthranil works with its main features that create free radicals in the skin. It is also known to suppress your immune system and act to lower inflammation levels.

According to the directions of your dermatologist, you’ll need to use the 0.5% or 1% strength formulation. After leaving it on for about 20 to 30 minutes, you must wash it off with a good shampoo or it can cause severe irritation. Not only has Anthranil been classified as toxic and clearly harmful, but excessive use can cause damage to your skin.

Diphencyprone (DPCP)

Should you opt for Diphencyprone therapy, your dermatologist will likely recommend you keep your scalp protected from the sun and avoid shampooing for at least 48 hours after the application of the compound. Your doctor will probably give you the treatment on a small section of the scalp at a time. She will apply a 2% DPCP in acetone during the initial session on the target area. The following sessions are typically spaced a week or two apart. And, each time, she will apply a somewhat stronger solution until you start to have a mild eczema-like reaction.

For the treatment to be successful, a skin reaction is necessary. In fact, it is an indication that the medicine is having the desired effect. You should start to see some amount of hair growth in 6 months’ time. But, if your scalp doesn’t respond at this time, it’s because you’re immune to the treatment. The biggest downside? You have to have severe hair loss issues for the therapy to work. And, let’s not forget the side effects of such hair loss creams and gels.


Tacrolimus is available in a 0.1% ointment that you must apply twice a day for 24 weeks. While you can try this treatment, clinical studies have not shown promising results. Although the compound is also available in oral medication form, it isn’t effective even when taken internally.

Topical Retinoids

Bexarotene and tretinoin are two kinds of topical retinoids that you can also try as hair restoration solutions. Bexarotene is available in a 1% gel form that you can apply however both retinoids are not effective hair loss creams and gels.

Okay. So, let’s take a look again at all our hair restoration options.

We have a bunch of hair loss creams and gels that may or may not be effective. In addition, their effects are not sustainable or they have so many side effects that their usage doesn’t seem worth it.

What do you do?

Consider Opting for PRP Therapy for Hair Loss

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy may be the only effective, long-lasting solution for all your hair loss issues. Both men and women can safely opt for a treatment that has no side effects or allergic reactions.

Intriguing? It is!

Here are a few more positives you should know about.

  • The serum used in the therapy is completely natural. In fact, doctors create it from your blood. They spin a small sample in a centrifugal device and extract the PRP serum. The only additives used are intended to lower discomfort levels.
  • Doctors inject the serum 1mm into the scalp along the hairline and other sections. They may choose to use micro-needling instead.
  • The only after-effects of PRP therapy for hair loss is that you’ll notice a mild redness or swelling that settles within a day or two.
  • You can expect to see results within 4 to 6 weeks of getting the treatment. And, since PRP therapy stimulates the natural processes of hair growth, you won’t have to worry about losing the new hair any time soon.
  • PRP therapy doesn’t just grow new hair, it can stop hair loss too.
  • PRP treatments are not approved by the FDA but regulated by the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER).

Your Answer to Hair Loss Issues is Simpler than You Think

Opting for the hair loss creams and gels out there comes with a set of downsides that you may not be ready to deal with. But, more effective and safer solutions are available too. You only need to look for them.

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