Hair growth products that work will work for people of all races, just as hair growth products that don't work will not work for any race. There is no product that will regrow hair in one race and not another. The primary cause of hair loss in black men is no different than the primary cause of hair loss in any man -- and that is androgenetic alopecia, commonly called male pattern baldness.
Propecia, one brand name for finasteride, is the leading hair loss treatment in the United States 1. These prescription tablets, taken orally, work by stopping the conversion of testosterone into the hormone, dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Hair loss is caused by DHT attaching itself to hair follicles, which miniaturizes the follicle until it becomes unable to produce hair that is visible to the eye. Finasteride is the second hair loss treatment to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is recommended by the American Hair Loss Association as the first treatment to be used in any plan to reduce hair loss and promote hair growth 1.
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Dutasteride is a DHT-blocking medication that works similar to finasteride but may be more effective 4. The conversion of testosterone into DHT is made possible by an enzyme known as 5a-reductase. There are two types of 5a-reductase, simply referred to as type I and type II. While finasteride is a type II inhibitor, dutasteride inhibits both types of 5a-reductase 4. A study done by the Duke University Medical Center that appeared in the December 2006 issue of the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology" concluded that after 24 weeks of treatment, dutasteride was superior in growing new hair 14. Patients taking 5 mg of finasteride daily showed an improvement of 75.6 hairs, while those taking 2.5 mg of dutasteride had an improvement of 109.6 hairs in the target growth area 4. As of 2010, dutasteride has not been approved by the FDA as a hair loss treatment 1. It is sold under trade names such as Avodart and has been approved to treat enlarged prostates but can be prescribed as an off-label medication for hair loss.
Topical minoxidil promotes hair growth differently than the DHT-blocking medications. Instead of preventing DHT from attaching to the hair follicles, minoxidil works by promoting a longer hair growth cycle and by expanding the size of the hair follicle. Minoxidil was the first product approved by the FDA as a hair loss treatment; however, the American Hair Loss Association claims minoxidil to be less effective than finasteride, as it does not work on the hormonal causes of hair loss 1. Despite this, the association recommends the product to clients who would like an additional method of promoting hair growth. Sold under brand names such as Rogaine, the product is available without a prescription.
- Topical minoxidil promotes hair growth differently than the DHT-blocking medications.
- Minoxidil was the first product approved by the FDA as a hair loss treatment; however, the American Hair Loss Association claims minoxidil to be less effective than finasteride, as it does not work on the hormonal causes of hair loss 1.
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- American Hair Loss Association: Treatment
- Grey Hair Loss: Active Substances Used in Medicinal Hair Loss Remedies
- Hair Loss Learning Center: Does Rogaine (Minoxidil) Work for Black Men?
- Bernstein Medical Center: Dutasteride vs. Finasteride
- Phillips TG, Slomiany WP, Allison R. Hair Loss: Common Causes and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(6):371-378.
- Watras MM, Patel JP, Arya R. Traditional anticoagulants and hair loss: a role for direct oral anticoagulants? A review of the literature. Drugs Real World Outcomes. 2016;3(1):1-6. doi:10.1007/s40801-015-0056-z
- Urysiak-czubatka I, Kmieć ML, Broniarczyk-dyła G. Assessment of the usefulness of dihydrotestosterone in the diagnostics of patients with androgenetic alopecia. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2014;31(4):207-15. doi:10.5114/pdia.2014.40925
- Vincent M, Yogiraj K. A descriptive study of alopecia patterns and their relation to thyroid dysfunction. Int J Trichology. 2013;5(1):57-60. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.114701
- Peters EMJ, Müller Y, Snaga W, et al. Hair and stress: A pilot study of hair and cytokine balance alteration in healthy young women under major exam stress. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(4):e0175904. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175904
- Pratt CH, King LE, Messenger AG, Christiano AM, Sundberg JP. Alopecia areata. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17011. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2017.11
- American Academy of Dermatology. Alopecia Areata: Overview.
A.G. Moody is a multiple award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has covered everything from business to health issues. His work has appeared in the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Moody earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Washington University.