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Hair Loss Treatments That Can Cause Nasty Side-Effects

Hair Loss Treatments That You Probably Want to Avoid...

Suffering from baldness isn't much fun for anyone - in fact, it can be the most devastating thing a person can experience in life. The problem is, hair loss is almost impossible to treat without the risk of side-effects. 

Any hair loss treatment that is medically approved almost certainly comes with the risk of side-effects - and some of those side-effects can be really nasty. Here. we look at some of the hair loss treatments out there that can come with horrible side-effects, and that you will surely want to avoid.


We've talked a lot about Finasteride on this website, and it is perhaps the most obvious hair loss treatment that you would want to avoid.  Finasteride, also branded as Propecia, is a prescription pill for male pattern baldness.

Propecia (finasteride) is a 5a-reductase inhibitor indicated for the treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in men only. Side effects of Propecia can include:
  • Impotence - erectile dysfunction. 
  • Low libido - disinterest in sex.
  • Abnormal ejaculation.
  • Swelling in your hands or feet.
  • Tenderness in chest.
  • Dizziness and weakness. 
  • Headaches.
  • Skin rash. 
A safe alternative to Finasteride:  Multi-vitamin hair supplements offer a safe and natural alternative to Finasteride. They can be just as effective, but without the risk of the nasty side-effects.


Minoxidil is another well known treatment for hair loss that is also medically approved.  The main differences between Minoxidil and Finasteride is that Minoxidil is a topical treatment that is liquid/foam form, and you do not need a prescription to purchase it.

Minoxidil is branded under a number of names, but most commonly as Regaine, or Rogaine in the US. It is the only medically approved topical treatment for baldness in men (5%) and women (2%), respectively.

Minoxidil is a vasodilator used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It is usually given together with two other medications including a diuretic (water pill). Common side effects of Minoxidil include:
  • Dizziness and headaches. 
  • Drowsiness.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Temporary edema (swelling).
  • Weight gain 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Breast pain and tenderness
A safe alternative to Minoxidil: If you're looking to avoid Minoxidil and its potential side-effects, then topical serums are your best bet. These types of products are safe, and packed with natural ingredients that can prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.


If baldness is caused by inflammation, steroids are a treatment option. They can be injected or used topically to reduce the inflammation that leads to hair loss in alopecia areata.
Steroids can thin the skin with overuse or if injected at too high of a dose. It is important to see a board-certified dermatologist to discuss how steroids can be used appropriately during treatment.

Potential side-effects from steroids include:
  • Acne.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Cataracts or glaucoma.
  • Easy bruising.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Increased appetite, weight gain.
A safe alternative to steroids: Steroid drugs like Prednisone are widely prescribed by doctors and are typically used to treat inflammation in the body, but there isn't really an alternative in the sense of treating hair loss. Hair surgery may have to be a consideration.

Hair Surgery

A hair transplant is a procedure in which a plastic or dermatological surgeon moves hair to a bald area of the head. The surgeon usually moves hair from the back or side of the head to the front or top of the head.

What was once a rare procedure is now one of the fastest growing hair loss treatments around, with many men (and women) getting hair transplants done for a fraction of the cost it was ten years ago.  The problem is, even hair transplants are not guaranteed to work.

Typical complications from hair transplants can include:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Swelling of the scalp
  • Bruising around the eyes
  • Headaches
  • A crust that forms on the areas of the scalp where hair was removed or implanted
  • Itching
  • Sudden loss of the transplanted hair
  • unnatural-looking tufts of hair


A Spring Guide for Hair Loss

How to beat hair loss during spring season

Let's face it, we all love spring season.  Spring is the season when many of us are full of optimism, hope and happiness. After the long, cold winter, the weather begins to warm up, the days get longer, and summer is well on its way.

Unfortunately spring does come with a slight catch.  For most of us, spring season is one of the worst times of the year for our hair. Seasonal shedding is at its most potent phase during mid spring, which can leave our locks weak and thin.

The majority of men and women experience a strong growth cycle during the end of winter, and beginning of spring. Shedding is perfectly normal, and in most cases does not relate to pattern baldness, but more of a natural process that we experience during the change in climate.

How to prevent hair shedding in spring...

With so many of us suffering from thinning hair during this time of year, we've put together a simple guide that will allow you to get you locks in tip top shape in time for summer.  They key is to keep your hair as well conditioned and resist to shedding as possible, especially during the next few months when it will be prone to thinning.

Hairstyling Product: Less is More

Our hair growth phase is usually at its strongest during the winter months, so it is normal to notice slight shedding as the season transitions. Make sure you use less product in your hair (styling products, dry shampoos etc.) over the spring season, and be sure to cut down on harsh conditioners that could potentially harm your hair and cause it to look thin and tired.

Try and reduce (or avoid completely) your use of hot hair drying/styling devices like hairdryers and hair straighteners.  These can be particularly harmful to already weakened hair, especially if your locks are going through the seasonal shedding phase.  Either stop using heat-hairstyling products during this phase, or simply hold the hair dryer further away from your hair than you normally would, on a lower temperature setting.

Again, do not grow concerned, as after particularly strong growth over the colder months, your hair is simply going through a cycle, which results in losing more strands than usual as the weather changes.  It is a temporary hair loss process, so your hair should go back to normal at the end of the phase.

Hair Loss Treatments

Some people try to tackle shedding by using Minoxidil (an FDA approved hair loss treatment). Minoxidil is known to cause severe shedding during early usage, therefore this may not be the appropriate treatment during a time when you are losing more hair than usual.  However, if you already suffer from baldness, then you should consider using Minoxidil, as it can help reduce the excess shedding that you experience throughout spring season.

Experiencing stronger hair growth in the spring is normal, but that means you will probably be more prone to heavy shedding during the autumn months of the year. Experiencing good growth during March through to May does not mean you are out of the woods.

Natural Hair Growth Products! 

Be sure to keep on top of your hair care routine with natural vitamins and enhancing shampoos to get the very best out of your hair during its peak season. That way, you will be far better prepared for the dreaded shedding phase.

Hair vitamins are becoming the most popular natural treatment for baldness and thinning hair. These types of treatments contain a broad range of ingredients that specifically target the hair.  Hair growth agents like Biotin (B7), work well when blended with DHT blocking properties like Saw Palmetto and Nettle Leaf Extract.  These types of additives are generally considered to be safe and effective.

Embrace The Outdoors

One of the worst aspects about winter season is the fact we tend to spend most of our time indoors.  Being constantly exposed to central heating is not great for our locks.  We tend to sweat a lot, which can damage our hair and leave it looking lacklustre.  Be sure to get out and give your hair plenty of fresh air.  Your strands can only benefit from this and grow freely.

Getting plenty of exercise should also be on your list of priorities this spring. Getting your body active regularly is the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself, and of course your hair. Also, be sure to sharpen up on you diet - eat lots of high-protein foods, and avoid junk food where possible. The healthier you eat, the most your hair will thrive.

Is Seasonal Hair Loss Only in Spring?

Seasonal hair loss is a hair shedding phase that can occur at any point of the year, but for most men and women it tends to happen during the spring season.  For many of us, seasonal shedding also happens around autumn time, and the least common season for shedding is winter.  But this depends on each individual.

Seasonal hair loss is a temporary phase, so you should not worry too much about it.  Your hair will grow back to its full health at the end of the shedding phase, so be patient, look after your hair, and wait for the phase to pass.

Seasonal shedding can be a nightmare if you are already suffering from another form of hair loss, such as pattern baldness. This is is where you would need to use hair loss treatments in conjunction with a good hair care plan.

Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?

Can too much stress trigger baldness and thinning hair?

We often get asked about the relation between stress and hair loss. In fact, this has to be one of the most common topics on the subject of baldness.  Does stress lead to thinning hair, and if so, why? 

First of all, let's look at what stress actually is, before we examine its relation to hair loss. Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense something isn't right, whether it's real or not, the body goes into defence mode - an automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.”

The stress response is the body's way of protecting you. However, this can cause anxiety and concern, which lowers self-esteem, and makes us react and behave differently.

Does stress cause hair loss?

Stress can cause many conditions that lead to baldness and thinning hair. These include Alopecia Areata, which is a sudden loss of hair in patches around your scalp, and Telogen Effluvium, which is a condition where more strands than normal prepare to shed. Trichotillomania is another condition caused by stress and anxiety where the person pulls out strands from directly the root. This is self-inflicted baldness.

Extreme emotional stress can affect the hair and cause the hair follicles to go into a shedding phase. This leads to temporary hair loss.  We should reiterate the word 'temporary', because in most cases the hair will grow back, usually after the stress is alleviated, at around 3-6 months.

So, basically, yes, stress can play a key factor in the amount of hair you lose.  Losing hair isn't much fun, and neither is being stressed, so when you combine the two, it is actually very possible that stress levels increase due to the severity of the shedding, which causes a vicious cycle.  

Now that we have established how stress can have a major role in the hair loss process, let us now look at how stress related baldness can be minimised, and even stopped.

Can stress related be treated or stopped? 

If you’re losing hair because you’re stressed or anxious, then the first thing to do is to get your stress levels under control. This of course is much easier said than done, but it is an essential part of the recovery process.  Some of the most effective ways of lowering your stress levels include...

Get plenty of rest

Getting lots of sleep and rest can dramatically lower stress levels. Aim for at least 7-8 hours sleep at night. This will help you relax, focus, and program your mind to be more positive in its thinking.

Drink plenty of water and eat healthy

Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods should be something you do anyway, regardless of whether you are suffering from stress. Staying hydrated keeps your body fresh, increases brain power, flushes out toxins, boosts your immune system, prevents headaches, and reduces body aches and cramps. All these things can dramatically lower your stress levels.

Avoid junk food

Obviously, if you are suffering form severe stress, then the last thing you should do is consume junk food. Junk food is bad for you in so many ways, and gaining weight certainly isn't something that will reduce your stress levels. It's difficult to avoid junk food when you are stressed, but for the sake of your health, and your hair, do your best to avoid it.

Ease up on your caffeine intake

Coffee can cause insomnia and restlessness, which isn't ideal if you are suffering from stress. Your recommended maximum amount of caffeine is 400 mg, roughly the amount that you'll get from 4 cups of coffee, but you should avoid drinking anywhere near that amount when you are stressed.


Much like with eating and drinking well, getting plenty of exercise will benefit your health in multiple ways. Yoga and meditation should be high on your list of priorities, because they can help settle the mind, and ease stress levels considerably.

Take health supplements

Multi-vitamins and health supplements are great for every day use, especially if you aren't getting all the vital nutrients and minerals into your body. B vitamins, as well as a whole host of other extracts can help reduce stress levels and help your mind function properly.
If your stress levels continue over a long period of time, then you should see a doctor or a specialist about the problem. Long term stress is an issue that can lead to even more serious things than just baldness.


Remember, stress related hair loss is a normal process that is temporary.  So, you should not worry about your hair in the long term, if you are noticing shedding during your stress period.

Make it your priority to deal with your stress, and lower it as quickly as possible.  That will solve the hair loss problem. However, if you are noticing after-effects of stress related baldness, then try and implement as many of the tips mentioned above into your daily routine.

For the most part, this is pretty simple: Stress less = shed less.


Nutrafol or HR23+: Which is Better?


What is the better hair growth supplement - Nutrafol or HR23+? 

We often get asked about hair growth supplements, and which one is the most effective. When it comes to multi-vitamin hair supplements that are effective, there aren't actually a lot to choose from. Most hair supplements are ineffective, but there are a few that can give you good value for your money.

In our humble opinion, the three best multi-vitamin supplements available on the market are Viviscal, Nutrafol, and HR23+.  And by 'best', we mean most effective. A more specific question that is frequently asked is: What is better - Nutrafol or HR23+?

So, for the sake of this debate, let's put Viviscal to one side and focus only on Nutrafol and HR23+.  Let us try to establish which of the two is the better and more effective supplement for hair growth.


Nutrafol is a hair wellness supplement for men and women.  It has two separate supplements, one for men and one for women, respectively. The ingredients are not too dissimilar, with most of the core additives in both supplements.

The product(s) is safe to use and free from any harsh drugs and chemicals.  Its effectiveness is still unclear, as there seems to be a lack of sufficient reviews and testimonials.

Nutrafol recently went through a rebrand, which may explain why these products look new to you. The ingredients are the same as previously, so long-term users should not experience any dip in performance.

The website claims to be all about 'science', but upon inspecting the ingredients in this supplement, there is nothing revolutionary about this formula.  But that isn't to say it's not good.  The ingredients are good, and the majority of additives can benefit the hair hugely.


HR23+ is a hair health supplement designed to help prevent hair loss and support healthy hair growth in men and women, all through one convenient pill.  This supplement contains 23 key ingredients for hair health.

This supplement is also safe to take, and is free from any side-effects.  HR23+ actually tweaked their formula last year (2018), for optimal results.  A statement from the company said "We wanted to take our supplement to the next level, and develop it further for even better results."

The website does not make any far-fetched claims, and like Nutrafol, this supplement is not an FDA approved hair loss treatment. However, HR23+ can help prevent the formation of DHT and also promote healthy hair growth.

The ingredients in this supplement make it one of the best of its kind on the market, for both effectiveness and value for money.

How does Nutrafol and HR23+ compare? 

If truth be told, there are actually quite a few similarities between the two supplements. Both contain a similar core of ingredients, and both brands have a similar philosophy.  However, that's not to say they are the same thing, because both also contain additional minerals and extracts that work in conjunction with their core ingredients.

Both supplements came to market in 2015. HR23+ has the slightly higher success rating of the two with a customer feedback rating of 89%  (86% for men, and 92% for women, respectively). Nutrafol, upon last inspection, has a rating of 82%.

HR23+ now distributes their product to over 60 countries worldwide. Nutrafol is only available in selected areas.  It is unclear why this is.

HR23+ is the more affordable of the two products. A single bottle of HR23+ will cost you around £50 ($65), whereas a single bottle of Nutrafol will set you back around £65 ($85).  HR23+ can be purchased at an even lower price when bought in multi-packs. 

Both Nutrafol and HR23+ contain 120 capsules per bottle, which covers you for one month (30 days). Nutrafol contains Marine Collagen, meaning it is not suited for vegan and vegetarian.  However, HR23+ does not contain any ingredients that derive from meat, therefore it is vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Which supplement works the best? 

It is impossible to establish which of the two supplements would work better, because with products like these, results will always vary with each individual.  Both come with impressive user satisfaction ratings, and both formulas seem very good, at least on paper, anyway.  Nutrafol and HR23+ seem pretty equal, and so it all depends what works best for you individually.

As always, we'd advise you to speak to your doctor or a specialist, should you have any concerns about taking any kind of herbal supplements. 


Does Silica Stimulate Hair Growth?

We often talk about well known hair beneficiary ingredients and extracts like biotin and saw palmetto, but we sometimes don't give enough praise to some of the other minerals that benefit the hair. One of those minerals is silica.  Silica, also known as silicon dioxide, silicic acid or silicic acid anydride, is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formula SiO₂, most commonly found in nature as quartz and in various living organisms. In many parts of the world, silica is the major constituent of sand.

What is Silica and does it promote hair growth?

Silica is a mineral that helps strengthen your blood vessels and improve circulation, which stimulates the blood flow to your scalp, and therefore promotes hair growth. Silica is a necessary component of your skin's connective tissues and helps to strengthen your bones, nails and hair.

Almost all of the trace minerals that silica helps balance are factors in treating hair loss. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all nutrients that need to be well-balanced if you want to have the thickest and healthiest hair possible.

Silica is responsible for the depositing calcium into the bones. Even when calcium is insufficient, the body can turn silica into calcium, which is of utmost importance to the bones. Silica is also a key beneficiary to the skin, and is used extensively as a health and beauty product for skin, nails, bones, and joints.

Why is Silica so good for your hair?

Consuming a mineral like silica can maintain the health of your hair and scalp. A deficiency in this mineral might actually lead to hair loss, therefore silica is very important in balancing the mineral levels in the body. Silica will not be able to reverse baldness, but it can contribute to the stoppage of hair fall and thinning, particularly when used or mixed with other key hair growth agents like biotin.

How is Silica best used?

Silica comes in a variety of forms, but the most popular and effective is the supplement.Silica works particularly well when taken with other minerals, and that is why it is commonly found in many of the leading multi-vitamin hair supplements. Silica plays a key role in the prevention of hair loss.

What's the difference between Silica and Biotin?

Biotin is known to help promote thicker hair growth and stronger growing nails. Silica on the other hand is one of the most vital properties of collagen, the chemical that's responsible for great hair, skin and nails. Silica helps regenerate and strengthen hair, skin and nails. When combined, silica and biotin can be hugely effective in treating baldness and thinning hair.


Silica is an essential mineral for our health, and it can play a key role in the prevention of thinning hair.  Most decent multi-vitamin hair supplements contain at least some dosage of silica, due to its effectiveness when used in conjunction with other minerals.

If you are trying to tackle baldness head on, then be sure take silica, either with biotin, or as part of a multi-vitamin hair supplement, like Viviscal or HR23+. 


How Do Laser Combs Work for Hair Growth?

Can hair growth be stimulated with a laser comb?

It's a question we often get asked, here at the Hair Loss Review Centre, and it's still a question that we don't quite have the answer to.  How do laser combs stimulate hair growth?  But the real question should be: Do laser combs actually work to stimulate hair growth?

Laser combs have existed for quite a few years now, and a host of men and women have seen some encouraging results in their hair from using the device. Laser combs are usually used simultaneously with other hair growth treatments, therefore it has always been difficult to define how effective it really is.

What is a laser comb? 

To get some sort of answer to this question, we should first look at what the laser comb actually is, and what claims it makes. Laser combs are said to stimulate the hair follicles and emphasise the growth of new hair in the Anagen phase. The lasers give energy to the strands which allows which in turn stimulates hair growth. The laser also acts as a stimulant to the hair root, which helps strengthen the hair.

Laser combs are not miracle cures for hair loss, but like many treatments, they can slow down the shedding, and stimulate hair growth. Although not medically approved, the hair laser comb is cleared as a hair growth stimulant. The device marketed as a non-chemical, non-invasive option to help people grow fuller, thicker, healthier hair.

How effective is the laser comb for hair growth? 

Like any treatment for hair loss, this device is not always guaranteed to work. results vary from person to person, but generally speaking, the hair laser comb is regarded by industry experts as a good hair device.

There are patients who seem to be exceptional responders to this therapy, but there are also cases whereby the patients do not see any results from using the device, even after a long period of time. So, it is difficult to know exactly how effective this product is.

What is the best hair laser comb?

The most popular and well known hair laser comb is the HairMax device. The manufacturers of the HairMax LaserComb series contend that their technology provides users with the triple-threat against hair loss. They claim it can re-stimulate new hair growth, prevent further hair loss, and grow thicker, healthier hair.

It is a bold claim, but we must not forget that this device is not an FDA approved treatment for baldness, so these claims are only that - claims.

Should you try the laser comb for hair loss?

If you suffer from early stages of baldness, then the hair laser comb could be worth a try. Many men and women have seen major improvements in their hair from using the device, so it could work for you, at least to a certain extent.

The great thing about this device is that it is 100% safe, therefore you are not putting yourself at risk by trying the product. Also, even though the laser comb may set you back a few hundred quid, you should remember that this is a one off payment, so, it would actually work out cheaper for you to buy one of these, rather than investing in a monthly subscription plan of tablets or topical treatments.


B Vitamins for Hair Growth and Thickness

How do B Vitamins Promote Health Hair Growth?

In case you didn't know, there are eight B vitamins: thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin (vitamin B7), folic acid (B9), and vitamin B12.  They are all are water-soluble and they all aid in cell metabolism.

B vitamins are also commonly associated with hair health, and are often known to thicken and strengthen hair strands in men and women.  B vitamins help grow hair by aiding the body to handle stress, as stress can lead to hair loss.  To look into this in more depth, here, we look at all eight B vitamins and how each one can benefit the hair.

Vitamin B1 – Thiamin.

Vitamin B1, more commonly known as thiamin, helps support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the key metabolic processes.

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin.

Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is a water-soluble vitamin present in most plant tissues. Riboflavin is one of the essential B vitamins, known to help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and facilitate key metabolic processes, including helping to turn food into energy.

Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Vitamin B3 is actually made up of niacin (nicotinic acid) and niacinamide. Niacin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Also known as nicotinic amide, it is a potent cell-communicating ingredient that offers multiple benefits for ageing skin.

Assuming skin is being protected from sun exposure, niacinamide can improve skin's elasticity, dramatically enhance its barrier function, help erase discolourations, and revive skin's healthy tone and texture. Nicotinic amide also contains elements that help to maintain healthy hair growth.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) helps support adrenal function and a healthy nervous system. The vitamin’s name derives from the Greek word pantothen, meaning “from everywhere,” reflecting the fact that small amounts of pantothenic acid can be found in nearly every food.

Pantothenic Acid has been associated with healthy hair growth. It can help prevent hair loss, keep you from going grey, and is also good for your nails.

Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine.

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, helps support adrenal function, and can help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 acts as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Vitamin B6 has many functions in the body and one of these is to help regulate hormones. The correlation between hair loss and hormones has been widely established, leading to the speculation that vitamin B6 may help with hair regrowth. There is more than anecdotal evidence, as several small-scale clinical studies have shown positive results with vitamin B6 as a hair growth agent.

Vitamin B7 – Biotin.

Biotin helps support adrenal function, helps calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the key metabolic processes. Biotin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat, and is widely associated with promoting healthy hair growth.

Biotin has been called 'hair food' and rightly so since one of the effects seen most often is an increased rate of growth in the hair when taking biotin supplements on a daily basis.

Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid Or Folate.

Folic Acid (folate) occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. It can aid in the healthy production of hair cells.

Folic acid, an essential B vitamin, and it is vital to the proper functioning of the human body. A deficiency in folic acid can cause a host of medical problems, including the stunting of hair growth.

Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin.

Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin or cobalamin, helps support adrenal function, maintain a healthy nervous system, is necessary for key metabolic processes, and is important to DNA synthesis. B12 is considered an important aid to the function of healthy hair cells. 

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