Surprisingly, there is a good deal of research showing real results for hair regrowth in men from a variety of approaches. Outside of the typical folk remedies and conventional drugs which are dangerous, it seems possible to regrow hair with a with localized therapies. Here are 5 applications with references.
1) Liquid caffeine solution. You can make your own formula using caffeine powder if you’re a chemist, but caffeine powder is surprisingly dangerous and there is an affordable product out there. (Alpecin Liquid). Just put it on your scalp after showering in the morning and leave it there, easy. It’s just as effective as minoxidil, without the negative effects.
2) Red light therapy. It’s good for just about everything. Check out Vladimir Heiskanen’s review for more general info. With respect to hair loss, it’s been shown to improve hair count in men with so-called Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). Just buy a red light bulb (660-830nm) and shine it on your head a couple times a week, it’s good for a lot more things than just hair, including brain health.
3) Topical lard leads to significant hair regrowth. This one is a bit of a stretch as the sample size is n=1. But for people with diffuse hair loss, this is very inspiring. The study refers to actual lard. I see no reason to believe there is anything special about lard. Good lard is basically just saturated fat. If you want to make your own lard and lather it on your scalp, go ahead, but coconut oil is my recommendation. At the very least it’s an amazing topical: antibacterial, antifungal and hydrating to your scalp skin. Put it on your scalp at night and it will fully absorb.
4) Topical DHEA/Progesterone/Testosterone. A bit more advanced stuff but still easy. Protective hormones regrow hair, even testosterone! The androgens theory of hair loss is ridiculous, as even in the 1960s topical testosterone was shown to regrow hair on bald heads, which flies in the face of the modern theory. Since they are freely available are both precursors of testosterone, I recommend a combination of DHEA and Progesterone. I recommend Progest-E or Health Natura’s Progesterone. DHEA creams are available online. Maybe a good idea to use both and mix with the coconut oil before applying on your head at night for easier application. The dose isn’t too important, a little goes a long way.
5) Gentle scalp stretches. Just 4 minutes of scalp stretching daily increased hair thickness. The goal is to relieve muscle and tissue tension, which is a key characteristic of bald scalps. There are more involved massage therapies out there, including that of Rob S. English and detailed on his website (perfecthairhealth.com) Rob is a nice dude, and also has a boat load of testimonials and pictures of hair regrowth and is scientifically rigorous and courteous.
There’s a lot more to say about this and hair loss ultimately isn’t just a localized problem. It’s a serious sign of things going wrong. To quote Ray Peat:
Hair loss, like obesity or hypertension, should be taken seriously, as an indication of a systemic metabolic problem. The metabolism of the hair follicle contains clues to aging, tissue regeneration, and cancer. (September 2017)
The therapies above don’t really address the systemic causes of hair loss and other related metabolic diseases, but have been proven useful nonetheless.
(1) Dhurat et al. (2018). An Open-Label Randomized Multicenter Study Assessing the Noninferiority of a Caffeine-Based Topical Liquid 0.2% versus Minoxidil 5% Solution in Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2018 Jan; 30(6): 298–305.
(2) Lanzafame (2013). The growth of human scalp hair mediated by visible red light laser and LED sources in males. Lasers Surg Med. 2013 Oct;45(8):487-95.
(3) Thangaraju et al. (2013). Beneficial effect of lard in Androgenetic Alopecia. J Rational Pharmacother Res. Vol 1 No. 3 July-Sep 2013
(4) Papa & Klingman (1965). Stimulation of Hair Growth by Topical Application of Androgens.
(5) Ogawa et al. (2016). Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue. Eplasty. 2016; 16: e8.
(6) Vladimir Heinsaken (2017). The therapeutic effect of red and near infrared light. https://valtsus.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-therapeutic-effects-of-red-and-near.html