Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"How can a man respond to sudden hair loss?"


I'm only 27 but my hairline is receding and thinning at the crown like a middle aged man's. This is really awful and I don't know what to do about it. Do any of the OTC treatments (rogaine, etc) work? What about natural treatments like horsetail?


It sounds like you are developing what's called androgenic alopecia also known as male pattern baldness. This type of baldness unfortunately can show up in men your age. The good news is that there are treatments available that have shown some success.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Dermatologists near you

The best type of doctor to see about this is a dermatologist. There are currently two medications that physicians recommend for reducing hair loss. The first is finasteride (sold as Propecia). This drug inhibits the hormone that ultimately results in male pattern baldness. It is estimated that between 80% and 90% of men who take finasteride experience a greatly reduced rate of hair loss and about half actually have hair re-growth. Minoxidil (sold as Rogaine) is also effective, but works with a different mechanism. The success rate for minoxidil is a bit less than with finasteride (about 50% of men see good benefits). Over-the-counter treatments and the so-called natural treatments have little if any evidence behind them and have the potential of causing you harm. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He or she can go over the current recommended treatment, the responsible expectations of improvement, and any possible side effects. From there you will be able to made an educated decision about what is right for you.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.