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TikTok may be a popular source of information and entertainment, but unfortunately, it is notoriously unreliable when it comes to so-called miracle health cures. The latest wonder product that is being heavily promoted by social media influencers is rosemary oil. In particular, they are making claims that it is an effective male hair loss treatment.

However, Men’s Health magazine points out that these claims are not supported by any scientific evidence. Rosemary oil may have some uses as a skincare treatment, but there is no current credible research to back up claims that it can lead to thicker and fuller hair.

Dr Mia Jing Gao, a London-based consultant dermatologist with a specialist interest in hair loss, told the publication: ‘There is no good clinical or scientific evidence for the use of rosemary oil for hair loss. We need a lot more research before doctors can start recommending rosemary oil.’

Dr Gao adds: ‘There is a lack of evidence that it does anything for hair. People suffering from hair loss may be wasting time and money on products that do not work, and delaying seeking effective treatment.’

What causes male hair loss?

Men’s hair loss that is permanent is most often caused by male pattern baldness, which is a hereditary condition and affects about half of all men by the time they reach middle age. It usually begins with receding around the temples, and then the crown of the head.

Some men may eventually lose all their hair, while others find that their remaining hair is more sparse and fine. It’s not medically serious, but many men find that going bald is an upsetting experience, and it can affect their confidence and self-esteem.

Other types of hair loss can be caused by illness, stress, cancer treatment, or iron deficiency. In these cases, the hair will often regrow, because the growth cycle has entered a temporary resting phase in response to stressors, and the hair follicles have not actually died. Once the source of stress has been dealt with, growth should return to normal. 

Are there any effective treatments for male hair loss?

Finasteride, which is also sold under the brand name Propecia, is one of the clinically proven and medically approved products to treat hair loss in the UK. It is not available on the NHS (except to treat an enlarged prostate), but it is available on private prescription, and can be bought after a short consultation with an online pharmacist or in person. 

It will only treat hair loss that is caused by male pattern baldness and is not suitable for women, and males under the age of 18, or to treat hair loss caused by other factors, such as stress, illness, or the side effects of medication. It should also not be taken by anyone with liver problems or severe bladder problems.