From first discovering that I was losing my hair at such a young age & the scams which I fell for (and avoided). And to finally finding a solution that worked, whilst saving myself a fortune in the process.
Everything is enclosed in the account below, nothing is held back. If you are losing your hair then I hope this information is of some help to you.
I first noticed I was losing my hair back in early 1995 (Id just turned 20 years of age a few months earlier & thinning hair is not something I would wish on anyone, let alone someone so young). My hair loss started at the temples (receding hairline). Initially I ignored it, firstly I was in denial thinking that how could I be balding at such a young age & secondly I thought that it may be a minor case of alopecia & my hair will grow back in due course. Unfortunately that was not the case and slowly but surely my hair loss at the temples continued. At this stage it was not really noticeable to anyone else, but I knew what was going on.
My father is & grandfather was bald, so I knew that I had a very good chance of following in their footsteps with male pattern hereditary hairloss.
Some 2 years later (early 1997) I made an appointment with a hair loss clinic in London (at the time they used to have regular advertisements in the back of newspapers & still do to this day). Back then I did not have any Internet access (so could not do any research of my own) & I was this young 22 year old walking into this establishment, I was like a lamb to the slaughter.
At 22 they tried to sell me a £3,500 wig which would be glued to my head
The representative at the clinic (I think salesman is
a more appropriate title) tried to persuade me that the best thing for
me would be to purchase this wig, not any old wig mind you, but one
which would be glued to my head once all my hair had been shaved off!
To say I was a little shocked was an understatement, because remember
at that time my hair loss was not noticeable to anyone else, unless
I pointed it out. The cost of this 'wig' was a mere £3,500 plus
a refit every 4/5 weeks at a further cost of £50 each time. I
was shown this video, of people who had gone down this route, doing
all sorts of sports such as swimming, judo etc, saying that one could
lead a normal life with this thing stuck to ones head. There was no
way in hell I was going to have a wig stuck to my head and once the
rep realised that he showed me another method, which would be perfect
for me according to him. This method involved attaching 4/5 hairs to
a single hair around the area where hairs were shedding, thus creating
a look of a fuller head of hair. The cost of this was £1,500 &
at the time it seemed like a better option than having a wig glued to
my head. I agreed to sign up for this treatment via credit card, after
all I was assured that there was a 14 day cooling off period if I were
to change my mind.
Once I got home & thought about the whole process, I realised Id been had. I mean if they attach more hairs to a hair in the area where hairs are already weak & falling out, then very soon the hairs with the extensions will fall out & I will be back to square one. And you can guess what they will try & sell me then. So I rang them up to speak to the manager (as apparently he was the only one who could authorize a refund). For some strange reason I could never got hold of him irrespective of what time I called & he never returned any of my messages. Over a period of 5 days I made over 35 calls to try & get hold of him for a refund. When I did finally get hold of him, he tried to get me to come and see him to see if there was something else that would be beneficial to me. In the end I point blank refused & asked for a refund to which I was told there would be a £70 deduction to cover charges/paperwork, at this point I just agreed as I really could not be bothered to carry on with these people.
So all in all I may have been £70 & a few phone calls out of pocket, but I did learn that these establishments were not here to help me in any way whatsoever, just to make money by ripping off vulnerable people like myself who will believe anything they are told by these so called experts.
After that little fiasco I didnt know what to do, who to trust, so I simply stuck my head in the sand hoping my hair loss would reverse itself & that will be that. Unfortunately that did not happen & two years down the line (in 1999) I also started to notice slight hair loss at the crown (back of the head).
At this point I decided to give Regaine Extra Strength a go & that was the best decision I could have made. After about 4 months of using it, I noticed that there was less & less hair on my pillow & when I took a bath/shower. A few months after that I started to notice re-growth and that made the whole process worth the while. The only small downside was the cost, as I was spending around £240 per year (used to buy the multi packs to keep the cost down).
In October 2000 I became aware of Finasteride (Propecia) & wanted to try this along side Regaine to see if I could further improve my results.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is one of only three medicines (along with Dutasteride & Minoxidil, also known as Regaine) currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of hair loss. It's taken daily in tablet form, and currently Finasteride is only available with a prescription.
Finasteride was originally developed by Merck Pharmaceuticals in the early 1990s for the treatment of enlarged prostate glands (proscar). It wasn't long before users noticed a welcome side effect; that the drug appeared to halt hair loss, and in some cases even promote re-growth. Merck set to work and began a two year study on more than 1,500 men who were experiencing hair loss in their twenties and thirties. Each was given 1 mg of Finasteride daily, and at the end of the two-year period the results were impressive; 83 per cent of the men had either maintained or increased their hair count.
In 1997 the FDA approved Finasteride as a hair loss treatment for men.
Finasteride (Propecia) is often used in conjunction with Minoxidil (Regaine), the former targeting prevention of hair loss and the latter aimed at promoting hair regrowth
It was at this point that I decided to visit some of the hair loss establishments (credit cards left at home this time round) & find out more about Finasteride & the possibility of having it prescribed for myself. I made 4 appointments, a few hours apart, on the same day at different hair loss establishments in Central London (yes I even made an appointment at the same place that had a few years earlier tried to sell me a glued on wig).
3 of the establishments said the cost of Finasteride would be between £550-£600 for a 12-month supply & I should use it in conjunction with a Minoxidil solution they also sold. The cost of buying a 12-month supply of both Finasteride & Minoxidil (which is basically Regaine Extra Strength) from these places was around £1,000. The 4th establishment (yes youve guessed right, its the same place that tried to sell me a glued on wig previously) tried to sell me a course of laser hair therapy at a cost of a few hundred pounds per session. I soon made my excuses & left. They used to use a famous footballer in their advertisements to advertise this laser hair therapy if anyone remembers. Anyone seen what the footballers hair looks like today? (Kojak springs to mind).
After coming home & having a long hard think about it, I was very tempted to purchase a 6-month supply of Finasteride, but a yearly cost of up to £600 on top of the £240 I would be paying for Regaine made me think that there must be a cheaper way of doing it without compromising results. Thats when I set about doing a whole lot of research on the Internet on Finasteride & Regaine (Minoxidil). In total I did about 3 months of deep research.
During this time I found out that Kirkland 5% Minoxidil was the exact
same product as Regaine Extra Strength. Not only did I find out that
they were exactly the same product but they were also both made &
distributed by the same company, Pfizer (see picture below). Switching
to Kirkland 5% Minoxidil was the way to go from here on in.
In 6 years I have saved myself £4,320 - Other pay anything up to £1,000 per year when I pay only £120 for Finasteride & Minoxidil
I also discovered where I could purchase Finasteride at a cost of only around £30 for a years supply. Yes thats correct, its not a misprint, £30 for a 12-month supply without needing to provide a prescription. The only small downside being was that each tablet was 5mg of Finasteride, when you only need to take 1mg daily (Propecia being 1mg Finasteride per tablet). Problem solved, I simply cut each tablet into half & then half again, so I had 4 pieces, each around 1.25mg Finasteride & Id then simply take one piece each day for 4 days on followed by one day off (and then continue again with 4 days on followed by a day off). This would ensure that I averaged 1mg of Finasteride per day.
So back in January 2001 I first started on Finasteride & Kirkland
5% Minoxidil. When I first started taking Finasteride I noticed that
I was shedding hair, this initially freaked me out as I though the whole
idea of this was to stop/re-grow my hair. But I was aware that some
people on starting Finasteride go through a shedding process, which
then comes to an end & they start to regrow more hair & thats
exactly what happened in my case.
As you can see Kirkland Minoxidil is distributed & Manufactured by Pfizer (the makers of Rogaine/Regaine)
So from having to pay a possible £840 per year (£600 Finasteride & £240 Regaine Extra Strength). I was able to save around £720 each & every year, simply by not purchasing Finasteride at hugely inflated prices from these hair loss establishments & switching from Regaine Extra Strength to Kirkland 5% Minoxidil. Over the course of 6 years Ive saved myself over £4,300, where others could have paid anything from £5,000+ (£70 per month) during that time for Finasteride & Regaine, I have paid only £720 (£10 per month) for Finasteride & Kirkland 5% Minoxidil. Currently Regaine extra strength (if bought on a monthly basis) costs around £360.
Since being on both Finasteride & Minoxidil I have had regrowth at both the front & back, with no further noticeable hair loss. I will continue using the daily combination of Minoxidil/Finasteride until it keeps on working. If at any point in the future it's stops working for me, then I will look into Dutasteride (Avodart) as apparently that blocks both types of DHT, whilst Finasteride only blocks one - hence Dutasteride should theoretically be twice as effective.
Finasteride has been shown to be effective in 83% (4 out of 5) of men
who are losing their hair. Also Minoxidil (Regaine) has also been shown
to work in around 4 out of 5 men. So for anyone who is losing their
hair, they have an excellent chance of success with either or both of
Other treatments for hair loss I came across included
- Shave all your hair off
- Wear a Wig
- Have a Wig glued to your shaved head
- Use a Concealer to hide your hair loss (if it is not too bad to begin with)
- Hair transplant Let them cut a strip of flesh from the back of your head & then sew it up again
For some reason none of the above options really appealed to me.
I've heard that they are very close to hair cloning in the US & apparently Bruce Willis has put himself down as a candidate. If this is all true then who knows, maybe one day in the not too distant future we can all have back the head of hair we had when we were 16 years old. In the meantime I will have to make do with Finasteride & Minoxidil :-)
The best piece of advice I would give to anyone who is losing their hair is to do lots of research & not simply take the advice given by any of these hair loss establishments as the gospel truth. They are only interested in making money in whatever way they can, your priority should be to stop/reverse your hair loss without being ripped off.
Well thats my story so far, a little on the long side, but I
did not want to leave anything out. Hope it has been of some help to
you & you can somehow relate to it in some way. If I can be of any
assistance then do not hesitate to contact me and I will do all I can
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